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Ask Me Anything About Amazon PPC

Marketing, social media, advertising

Saad Khan

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So I've been thinking about creating this thread a long time ago because I noticed that there isn't a dedicated thread for Amazon PPC on TFLF. It's sort of a mini version of @biophase 's thread, except it will be more focused on how you can use Amazon PPC to your advantage. (You can also ask questions related to FBA). I would also like other TFLF members to leave their insights in the post.

I need your votes. How familiar are you with Amazon? Let me know in the comments so I can write a full thread explaining from the basics all the way down to the real nitty gritty stuff.



 
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SEBASTlAN

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In a forum this size there will be a considerable percentage on both sides of the spectrum. From what I've seen, these days it's rather competitive and most sellers just see it as a necessary evil that doesn't necessarily generate a positive ROI. Is that true?
 

Saad Khan

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In a forum this size there will be a considerable percentage on both sides of the spectrum. From what I've seen, these days it's rather competitive and most sellers just see it as a necessary evil that doesn't necessarily generate a positive ROI. Is that true?
It is competitive. I agree. Is Amazon pay to win? Absolutely.

PPC has more than one function

  • Building Relevancy
  • Ranking
  • Scaling (Getting Sales with Good ACoS)
  • Expanding market share
Notice why I put profitable sales in the 3rd line? Because it's our third priority.

The first priority is making sure our listing is relevant and is "properly indexed."

The second priority is making sure you are ranking on the top of the first page. How do you do that? PPC.

You pay your way to the top because your organic rank will grow as much as your sponsored rank's ceiling. If your sponsored rank is at the bottom of the page, guess what? You'll never rank for your keyword. This is where most people fail. This is where youtube tutorials fail.

To make things even harder, your listing should be "retail-ready" even before you start running PPC. A retail-ready listing means having an SEO-optimized title, bullet points, description, and EBC/A+ content (making sure it's crawlable). Keywords in alt texts of EBC images. Have the best images you can get with infographics + lifestyle photos.

There's so much to selling on Amazon I can't even write down all the basics in this message.

I remember getting into the world of Amazon PPC thinking it would be easy but it's definitely not.

After doing all of the things mentioned above and running PPC for 2 months, then you can expect to get a profitable PPC order.

Sounds hard, doesn't it? I plan to make it easier for TFLF. By sharing what I know, the best practices, mistakes I've made, etc.

And one more thing...Revolutionary Innovation isn't welcomed with open arms on Amazon. Value skews are the name of the game. Many innovative products seem to create their own micro-niche, such as a UV Self-cleaning water bottle. Who knew this kind of bottle existed?
 
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Saad Khan

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I will explain why people can't sell on FBA using real-life case studies. This is the issue many people on this forum are facing
 
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It is competitive. I agree. Is Amazon pay to win? Absolutely.

PPC has more than one function

  • Building Relevancy
  • Ranking
  • Scaling (Getting Sales with Good ACoS)
  • Expanding market share
Notice why I put profitable sales in the 3rd line? Because it's our third priority.

The first priority is making sure our listing is relevant and is "properly indexed."

The second priority is making sure you are ranking on the top of the first page. How do you do that? PPC.

You pay your way to the top because your organic rank will grow as much as your sponsored rank's ceiling. If your sponsored rank is at the bottom of the page, guess what? You'll never rank for your keyword. This is where most people fail. This is where youtube tutorials fail.

To make things even harder, your listing should be "retail-ready" even before you start running PPC. A retail-ready listing means having an SEO-optimized title, bullet points, description, and EBC/A+ content (making sure it's crawlable). Keywords in alt texts of EBC images. Have the best images you can get with infographics + lifestyle photos.

There's so much to selling on Amazon I can't even write down all the basics in this message.

I remember getting into the world of Amazon PPC thinking it would be easy but it's definitely not.

After doing all of the things mentioned above and running PPC for 2 months, then you can expect to get a profitable PPC order.

Sounds hard, doesn't it? I plan to make it easier for TFLF. By sharing what I know, the best practices, mistakes I've made, etc.

And one more thing... Innovation isn't welcomed with open arms on Amazon. Value skews are the name of the game. Many innovative products seem to create their own micro-niche, such as a UV Self-cleaning water bottle. Who knew this kind of bottle existed?

Why wouldn’t you just use google ads and your own e-commerce store at this point?
 

Saad Khan

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How much profit have you made selling on Amazon?

I do not sell on Amazon (yet). I'm a PPC manager who's managing campaigns for other FBA sellers and sharing what I learn on this forum.

As for profits, I have turned two accounts with a negative ROI into positive ROI for clients in around 2 months. If I have to be more technical, I reduced ACoS from 70-80% to 25%-20% and TACOS all the way down from 30% to 9-10%.

This is where I see the ultimate flaw of this business model. A private label store lacks "Control" in a CENTS business.

I recently acquired a third account that was supposed to launch its product a few days ago. The launch is delayed because of Amazon's miscalculation about the product's weight and dimensions. The weight is 0.4 lb but Amazon misinterpreted it as 1.1 pounds which means 3 times more FBA fees. Now the seller has opened a case with Amazon to recalculate the product's dimensions and heights.

That being said, a Private Label store doesn't even come close to a CENTS business. I would choose to build a CENTS business every day over an FBA Private Label store.

Why wouldn’t you just use google ads and your own e-commerce store at this point?

I absolutely would. I just don't have the money right now to launch one. That's why I'm managing PPC campaigns on Amazon to earn some cash and work on launching an e-commerce store myself.
 
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biophase

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So I've been thinking about creating this thread a long time ago because I noticed that there isn't a dedicated thread for Amazon PPC on TFLF. It's sort of a mini version of @biophase 's thread, except it will be more focused on how you can use Amazon PPC to your advantage. (You can also ask questions related to FBA). I would also like other TFLF members to leave their insights in the post.

I need your votes. How familiar are you with Amazon? Let me know in the comments so I can write a full thread explaining from the basics all the way down to the real nitty gritty stuff.



I run my Amazon PPC with Amazon automated targeting with a ton of negative keywords. How do you go about starting a PPC campaign.

Do you also run campaigns that target ASINs and/or do you negative out ASINs?
 

Saad Khan

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I run my Amazon PPC with Amazon automated targeting with a ton of negative keywords.
Amazon automated targeting only? You must spend hours putting irrelevant keywords in negative targeting. Sounds like a lot of work. Luckily, there's always a fix.

I'm confident you can easily 2X 3X your revenue for the same ad spend if you take the time to invest in manual targeting (which also means less negative targeting and discovering profitable search terms from auto campaigns in the long run)

If you're putting a ton of keywords in negative targeting, don't you think it's a symptom of a bigger problem?

Let me ask you a question. Do you often find yourself de-ranking for the keywords you've ranked for? This is often the case when you're relying on auto campaigns.

Auto campaigns are super powerful. I recommend never turning off auto campaigns once you've started them. They just need one thing beforehand. Relevant data. They need to use it as a base to find new search terms. Relevant data is the bottleneck for any automatic targeting campaign.

How do you gather relevant data? This is where Relevancy comes in.

You might have heard that Amazon assigns a specific "set of keywords" to each sub-category. Relevancy makes sure that we are properly indexed for those "sets of keywords."

Building relevancy means you're manually giving Amazon pointers on which sub-category you belong to. What this does is lesser irrelevant keywords and more profitable search terms in research campaigns (auto, phrase, and broad campaigns). This means lower ACoS and higher ROAS.

How do you go about starting a PPC campaign.

An Overview of My Process for a Starting Successful PPC Campaign


Keyword search through Helium 10's Reverse ASIN Cerebro, Magnet tool + Brand Analytics (Forget ever dreaming of running profitable PPC campaigns if you don't do keyword research)

Making sure the listing is properly optimized and "retail ready"

First 2 months (Build relevancy + Rank on mid-tail/long tail keywords to supplement the ranking credit system and rank on main keywords much easier without burning through money / high ACoS)

Month 2-4 (Scale campaigns and find profitable search terms faster through the automatic and broad campaigns to capture market share, boost BSR and eventually get the "Best Seller" tag)


How I Start my PPC Campaigns

In the first month, I run manual campaigns. At the end of the month when there's enough data, I turn on auto campaigns.

Day 1-6: Relevancy + Testing Campaigns ($150-$200)

Exact match of 4 to 5 main keywords (Relevancy+Testing Campaign)

I target highly relevant main keywords in exact match campaigns. The reason is that I want to get clicks on main keywords so Amazon can build a relationship of my listing with those set of keywords. This will help a lot in auto campaigns and finding profitable search terms later on.

15 highly relevant ASIN targeting competitors (Relevancy+testing Campaign)

I target 15 ASINs of my competitors which are highly relevant. This allows me to see how well I'm performing against my competitors + gives me insights into how many people are attracted to my offer. One of the best ways to test your major factors (images, pricing, offer, title).


Days 7-10: Phrase and broad match (mid-tail + long tail keywords)

This is where you focus on ranking on relevant keywords organically, boosting your BSR, and ultimately start getting organic orders in months 1-2.


Start Automatic targeting campaigns on Days 30-31 (Close and loose match only)

I start automatic targeting campaigns at the end of the month because I now have built up relevancy and automatic campaigns have relevant data in the context to use as a foundation for finding relevant and profitable search terms.

The reason why I don't run auto campaigns, in the beginning, is that it generates a lot of trash (irrelevant negative keywords that I have to put in negative targeting)


Based on my experience and the experiences of other PPC managers, you will spend hours later negatively targeting irrelevant keywords if you don't invest in building the relevancy of your listing through manual campaigns first.


Do you also run campaigns that target ASINs and/or do you negative out ASINs?

Yes, I run campaigns that target ASINs. ASIN targeting is a great way to steal traffic from your competitors. Especially when you want to get the "main keyword audience" at a budget.





Hope this helps! @biophase
 

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Amazon automated targeting only? You must spend hours putting irrelevant keywords in negative targeting. Sounds like a lot of work. Luckily, there's always a fix.

I'm confident you can easily 2X 3X your revenue for the same ad spend if you take the time to invest in manual targeting (which also means less negative targeting and discovering profitable search terms from auto campaigns in the long run)

If you're putting a ton of keywords in negative targeting, don't you think it's a symptom of a bigger problem?

Let me ask you a question. Do you often find yourself de-ranking for the keywords you've ranked for? This is often the case when you're relying on auto campaigns.

Auto campaigns are super powerful. I recommend never turning off auto campaigns once you've started them. They just need one thing beforehand. Relevant data. They need to use it as a base to find new search terms. Relevant data is the bottleneck for any automatic targeting campaign.

How do you gather relevant data? This is where Relevancy comes in.

You might have heard that Amazon assigns a specific "set of keywords" to each sub-category. Relevancy makes sure that we are properly indexed for those "sets of keywords."

Building relevancy means you're manually giving Amazon pointers on which sub-category you belong to. What this does is lesser irrelevant keywords and more profitable search terms in research campaigns (auto, phrase, and broad campaigns). This means lower ACoS and higher ROAS.



An Overview of My Process for a Starting Successful PPC Campaign


Keyword search through Helium 10's Reverse ASIN Cerebro, Magnet tool + Brand Analytics (Forget ever dreaming of running profitable PPC campaigns if you don't do keyword research)

Making sure the listing is properly optimized and "retail ready"

First 2 months (Build relevancy + Rank on mid-tail/long tail keywords to supplement the ranking credit system and rank on main keywords much easier without burning through money / high ACoS)

Month 2-4 (Scale campaigns and find profitable search terms faster through the automatic and broad campaigns to capture market share, boost BSR and eventually get the "Best Seller" tag)


How I Start my PPC Campaigns

In the first month, I run manual campaigns. At the end of the month when there's enough data, I turn on auto campaigns.

Day 1-6: Relevancy + Testing Campaigns ($150-$200)

Exact match of 4 to 5 main keywords (Relevancy+Testing Campaign)

I target highly relevant main keywords in exact match campaigns. The reason is that I want to get clicks on main keywords so Amazon can build a relationship of my listing with those set of keywords. This will help a lot in auto campaigns and finding profitable search terms later on.

15 highly relevant ASIN targeting competitors (Relevancy+testing Campaign)

I target 15 ASINs of my competitors which are highly relevant. This allows me to see how well I'm performing against my competitors + gives me insights into how many people are attracted to my offer. One of the best ways to test your major factors (images, pricing, offer, title).


Days 7-10: Phrase and broad match (mid-tail + long tail keywords)

This is where you focus on ranking on relevant keywords organically, boosting your BSR, and ultimately start getting organic orders in months 1-2.


Start Automatic targeting campaigns on Days 30-31 (Close and loose match only)

I start automatic targeting campaigns at the end of the month because I now have built up relevancy and automatic campaigns have relevant data in the context to use as a foundation for finding relevant and profitable search terms.

The reason why I don't run auto campaigns, in the beginning, is that it generates a lot of trash (irrelevant negative keywords that I have to put in negative targeting)


Based on my experience and the experiences of other PPC managers, you will spend hours later negatively targeting irrelevant keywords if you don't invest in building the relevancy of your listing through manual campaigns first.




Yes, I run campaigns that target ASINs. ASIN targeting is a great way to steal traffic from your competitors. Especially when you want to get the "main keyword audience" at a budget.





Hope this helps! @biophase

Fyi, I sell dog collars, so my keywords are like dog collar, red dog collar, small dog collar.

So I just negative out any keywords that aren’t profitable, which means any keyword above 20% ACOS.

I find it much easier to launch campaigns this way. I just don’t have time optimize everything campaign. I run about 25 campaigns now with $500 a day budgets, but I never hit the budgets because I bid low.
 
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Envision

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Fyi, I sell dog collars, so my keywords are like dog collar, red dog collar, small dog collar.

So I just negative out any keywords that aren’t profitable, which means any keyword above 20% ACOS.

I find it much easier to launch campaigns this way. I just don’t have time optimize everything campaign. I run about 25 campaigns now with $500 a day budgets, but I never hit the budgets because I bid low.

I run low autos too, but If i were you id pull your exacts and phrase into their own campaigns for your heavy hitting keywords and target them manually.

Also testing CPC retargeting via sponsored has been really interesting - its basically like FB retargeting.
 

biophase

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I run low autos too, but If i were you id pull your exacts and phrase into their own campaigns for your heavy hitting keywords and target them manually.
When I’ve done that in the past they don’t perform as well as within the auto.

If I exact match “red dog collar”, it always costs more than someone typing in red dog collar in my auto campaign that captures it.

How do your CPCs compare from auto to exacts?
 

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Hey @Saad Khan,

Thanks for taking the time to share some of your PPC wisdom.

I’ve got a new product that’s selling ok and have just joined the Amazon launchpad scheme.

If a new product starts selling really well to through ppc then runs out of stock, how detrimental is this to your listing in the medium/long term?
 
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Saad Khan

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Hey @Saad Khan,

Thanks for taking the time to share some of your PPC wisdom.

I’ve got a new product that’s selling ok and have just joined the Amazon launchpad scheme.

If a new product starts selling really well to through ppc then runs out of stock, how detrimental is this to your listing in the medium/long term?
Running out of stock is the worst thing that can happen to your listing.

You can recover to some extent. Please do 1 or 2 giveaways on your main keywords so you get your original sales velocity back in case you're out of stock for a long time.

Make sure you re-stock ASAP. I recommend investing in inventory management.

Also as a rule of thumb, you should have 3 months of stock in your FBA warehouse at any given time. If you got the money, I suggest you add buffers. What I mean is that you should have inventory in a 3PL ready to ship to the FBA warehouse and an inventory batch in the sea en route to the 3PL. warehouse You can figure out how many buffers you would need by calculating your lead time + the time it takes to get your inventory to 3PL.
 

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Running out of stock is the worst thing that can happen to your listing.

You can recover to some extent. Please do 1 or 2 giveaways on your main keywords so you get your original sales velocity back in case you're out of stock for a long time.

Make sure you re-stock ASAP. I recommend investing in inventory management.

Also as a rule of thumb, you should have 3 months of stock in your FBA warehouse at any given time. If you got the money, I suggest you add buffers. What I mean is that you should have inventory in a 3PL ready to ship to the FBA warehouse and an inventory batch in the sea en route to the 3PL. warehouse You can figure out how many buffers you would need by calculating your lead time + the time it takes to get your inventory to 3PL.
Thanks for the insight.

What’s the best way to manage this if funds don’t allow for that much stock on hand? Is it viable to disable ads until more stock is available to reduce potential sales?

Scaling too quickly is one of my biggest concerns.
 

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Friendly reminder: The PPC strategies I discussed above are for FBA sellers who want to launch their products from scratch.

For experienced FBA sellers, the only thing on their radar should be profitable PPC orders, healthy TACOS (preferably less than 7%), and capturing a bigger market share.


@biophase Dog collars are pretty competitive. 10k competing products. I'm pretty sure you've been selling this product for more than 2-3 years.

What are current TACOS and ACOS values? The ratio of PPC to organic orders? Are you ranking for all keywords? I can help you find where you can capture additional market share.

Are you leveraging sponsored brand campaigns? Video PPC? Storefront ads? It's really not necessary at your stage but if you want to dominate the niche, crush the competition and make the niche "your playground", you know what to do.


When I’ve done that in the past they don’t perform as well as within the auto.
They don't do as well as the auto campaigns because they don't have a sales history. Your auto campaigns have a much lower CPC now than when you initially launched them because you have a solid sales history. Way to go!


If I exact match “red dog collar”, it always costs more than someone typing in red dog collar in my auto campaign that captures it.
Let's say you run an exact match campaign for "red dog collar". The CPC is $1.5. If you let that keyword run for two months, it will build up a sales history, If the CTR, CVR, and sponsored rank of the keyword is good, your CPC will get down to $0.2 in just two months.


Auto campaigns are super powerful. I recommend never turning off auto campaigns once you've started them.

By the way, are the search terms you're running in auto campaigns included in your listing content/backend? If not, add them in the alt text of the EBC content (if you maxed out on front end space).

This will lower your CPC even further. What kinds of keywords do you have in your search terms? I recommend adding Spanish keywords and misspellings in your search terms. Free real estate ;).


How do your CPCs compare from auto to exacts?

My CPC for exact campaigns are lower than auto campaigns. They have been running for over a month now while auto campaigns have been running for a week. Will be downloading the bulk operations file in a few hours and migrating the profitable search terms discovered in the auto campaigns.



I find it much easier to launch campaigns this way. I just don’t have time optimize everything campaign. I run about 25 campaigns now with $500 a day budgets, but I never hit the budgets because I bid low.
As a seller, if you're running auto campaigns and it's fulfilling your bottom line, then you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ice cream.



I just don’t have time optimize everything campaign.
It's perfectly fine. As a seller, optimizing campaigns shouldn't be your primary concern. Just make sure you don't run out of stock.

Yeah, if you don't want another seller in your niche, you now know how to choke them to death :innocent: :halo:
 
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Is it viable to disable ads until more stock is available to reduce potential sales?
Please don't disable ads ever. It will erase the sales history. What I recommend is setting very low bids (make sure you reduce bids by 5-10 cents/day, not more than that) so that your ad won't show up for the keywords until you re-stock.

Scaling too quickly is one of my biggest concerns.
I have seen lots of case studies where a launch would boom, run out of stock and that would be the end of that seller. Tragic to witness tbh.

Scaling too quickly has ruined many launches. That's why I recommend having 3 months of inventory in the FBA warehouse at any given time and having buffers.
 

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What’s the best way to manage this if funds don’t allow for that much stock on hand?
I'm sorry but there isn't much you can do in that situation. Just wait it out and re-stock as soon as your funds allow you to do so. Maybe ask @biophase if he has a better solution,
 

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Also testing CPC retargeting via sponsored has been really interesting - its basically like FB retargeting.
Good thing you're not just using sponsored products. Sponsored brands and display go a long way in successful PPC campaigns.

Currently testing out different sponsored display strategies. Learning new things every day :smile2:
 
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General tip: If you haven't done the brand registry, do it now. Trust me, saving $1000 on trademark isn't worth it. You'll end up spending 2X or 3X the ad spend for the results you could've gotten if you were a brand registered seller.
 

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I run low autos too, but If i were you id pull your exacts and phrase into their own campaigns for your heavy hitting keywords and target them manually.
You know what makes it even better? You can control the placements manually!

When you find a profitable keyword, migrate it to the exact match and go sicko mode on the bids (Down only). You'll thank me later after 2 months. Just make sure your sponsored rank isn't lower than 4.
 

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In case anyone of you has manual campaigns running along with auto, here is how the bids should be.


Exact match (Highest bid)

Phrase match (Lower than exact + put the exact keywords in the negative exact match)

Broad match (Lower than phrase bid + put the phrase keyword in negative phrase match)

Auto Campaigns (Lowest bid + negative target the keywords used in manual campaigns)
 
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I'm thinking of demonstrating how to do keyword research for Amazon listings. Do you think I should do it in a separate thread? If anyone is open to sharing their ASINs, please PM me. You can get the keyword research report for free. (The research will be shared in the thread)
 

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I do not sell on Amazon (yet). I'm a PPC manager who's managing campaigns for other FBA sellers and sharing what I learn on this forum.

As for profits, I have turned two accounts with a negative ROI into positive ROI for clients in around 2 months. If I have to be more technical, I reduced ACoS from 70-80% to 25%-20% and TACOS all the way down from 30% to 9-10%.

This is where I see the ultimate flaw of this business model. A private label store lacks "Control" in a CENTS business.

I recently acquired a third account that was supposed to launch its product a few days ago. The launch is delayed because of Amazon's miscalculation about the product's weight and dimensions. The weight is 0.4 lb but Amazon misinterpreted it as 1.1 pounds which means 3 times more FBA fees. Now the seller has opened a case with Amazon to recalculate the product's dimensions and heights.

That being said, a Private Label store doesn't even come close to a CENTS business. I would choose to build a CENTS business every day over an FBA Private Label store.



I absolutely would. I just don't have the money right now to launch one. That's why I'm managing PPC campaigns on Amazon to earn some cash and work on launching an e-commerce store myself.
You don’t need money to do it. I started my first e/commerce store doing dropshipping and using fb ads. (Because you pay later, using credit card) so for example you have a credit of 900 usd so Facebook charged you only when you reach that amount. If you are goods with advertising, on that moment you need to pay, you should have received incomes , so that’s it. I did it until I sold the brand and changed my business model.
if I were you, I’d sell and offer tools and services related to ppc to amazon sellers, is scalable, and I think you can grow it a lot.
 

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