Table of Contents
Goals: For the Year and for the Months
Real August Stats (Sales, Ad, Spend, and Profit)
PPC Updates: Only the Essentials.
What’s going on with the E-Commerce Space
Adjusting Forecasts and Reading Search Volume Trends
Million-Dollar Product Line Updates
Winter is Coming
It’s been a while! We know we still need to put out an update for September. So, in this update, we’ll talk about the past two months – October and September. These two months were pretty eye-opening as we are officially in the slow season. We’ll primarily discuss some errors in judgment and the patchwork we did to remedy those errors in this update. For the past few months, you’ve been reading up on mostly positive things, but we have to face the fact that being an Amazon seller also entails a lot of more significant issues. So, get comfortable as we talk about our failures and successes over the past two months.
Recap of the Past Few Months:
We had a solid past five months with our revenue streak – we hit our goals for five consecutive months. Summer and spring brought about our most considerable revenue to date, making over $7.3M which is about 79% of our total revenue generated this year.
TACoS was excellent until September when we had to go into overdrive to combat a threat to one of our most established product lines.
For Sept, we had the following goals:
- Sales Revenue: $1,000,000
- ACoS and TACoS: 21% and 13%, respectively.
Then for October, we had the following:
- Sales Revenue: $545,000
- ACoS and TACoS: 21% and 12.5%, respectively.
For September, ASIN forecasts adjustments were done, which we use to set our revenue goals based on how July went. Mainly, two product lines were continuing to grow. We believe that the growth of these two lines should slightly offset the slowdown we expected to happen to our other products. As such, we set our goal at 1,000,000 with the same PPC Goals as last month.
Unfortunately, towards the end of October, more realizations were made, and only one of the two products mentioned above lines started to slow down so much. For context, 2022 was the first time these two products would sell during these months, so we had no sales data from the previous year. Other than that, October is the start of Q4, our slowest season. Naturally, we had to drop our revenue goals hence the $545,000.
Fortunately, we’ve trained our team to read and adjust expectations through multiple indicators so we were able to quickly readjust and recalibrate budgets.
Real September and October Stats (Sales, Ad, Spend and Profit)
- Ended the month at $891,164.10 vs $1,235,005.10
- Down by 93,013.5 (8.2%) vs July 2022
- Overall Conversion Across All 100+ ASINs: 8.45% vs 6.93% Last Month
- Session Value: $5.5/Session vs $4.39/Session Last Month
- ACoS: Up to 22.22% vs 21.97% Last Month
- TACoS: at 13.83% vs 14.95% Last Month
- Ended the month at 496,121.80
- Overall Conversion Across All 100+ ASINs: 6.88%
- Session Value: $5.2/Session
- ACoS: Up to 20.71%
- TACoS: at 12.00%
September 2022 Sales:
Let’s start with the apparent downward trendline throughout the month. In the first few days of the month, we were confident we would get to our $1M goal. However, it slowly got worse and worse as the days went on. One of the major causes we determined was just simple over-forecasting. Unfortunately, most of our products did not perform as well as last year. At least 3 of our major product niches saw an exponential decline – more than 40% down in just four weeks. Unfortunately, being below the blue line, our daily revenue goal for three-quarters of the month has caused us to miss September’s revenue goal.
If you look at the overall PPC performance for the month, you’ll see that the TACoS was lower than in July, primarily because of cleaning up PPC as things started to slow down. We wanted to be more cautious and ensure only the essential spots were targeted with ads, this caused a better conversion percentage than in July, even with lower sessions overall. Similarly, the quality of sessions improved, the higher the revenue per session.
October 2022 Sales:
A similar trend can be seen for October’s revenue. If connected with the graph of September, you’ll see a clear downward trend – a clear indicator that we are officially going out of season. Much of this was also aggravated due to the return of the competitor mentioned in August’s update. Our market share went down further this month. We lost over $32,000 from this niche. Don’t get us wrong, though, and we’re not blaming just our competitor. We’ll get into other reasons in part in this update.
Similar to what happened in September, we had reduced aggression with our PPC to cushion a slower month to ensure we’re securing profits. This caused an even better percentage of conversion and conversion per session.
A Year-to-Date Update:
Before we get into the essential part of most of our updates, the PPC strategies implemented, let’s take a quick look at our account’s performance and compare it to the overall revenue goal this year of $10M.
With ten months over, we’ve generated about 98% of the revenue goal, or $9.763M. That leaves only $237,000 left for the year to be split between November and December. Based on our projections and forecast, we should be able to hit the $10M!
Not bad for a somewhat shot-in-the-dark goal set at the end of 2021!
During the start of the year, we could not hit revenues for January to March, which caused a huge revenue gap. However, due to our success during Q2 and Q3, we exceeded our revenue forecasts for five consecutive months, closing the gap.
PPC Strategies: Back to Essentials
Let’s paint a little story so that the next few parts make more sense. Looking back at the sales trend of September, you can see that revenue started to decrease after the first week of September. We were quite alerted by this as this was pretty sudden. We noticed our campaigns started to convert less and our TACoS increasing. So, we did a little digging.
These are the market volumes of 3 of the niches of our 3 strongest product lines. Take a look at the months where all of them started to decrease constantly – it’s September. We double checked our search volumes for the most relevant keywords and all of them started to decrease as well. So, everything started to make sense, our slow season is beginning officially.
To combat the decreasing rate of conversion and increasing PPC ACoS, we did two things. Unlike other months, a slowdown in sales would call for more aggression, more experiments, etc. We decided to go the opposite and stick to more straightforward and less aggressive tactics.
1. Become more conservative with the determination of bleeders through PPC Automation:
This means lowering our PPC spend threshold for the niches that we’re dropping. Before, we’d allow up to $20 in spend (after ten clicks) it would get paused. During this decline in market volume, we decided to decrease the spend threshold to $15. This made less room for error and excess spend, lowering ACoS. With conversions dropping, we know that customers are less likely to purchase now, so to avoid overspending by being more conservative.
2. Stick to only the essential campaigns.
This is pretty straightforward. During the start of peak season, we set up a bunch of dynamic ads and experiments – which mostly went well. However, we noticed that starting in September. These campaigns worsened, and lots of bleeders or ACoS just kept increasing. Due to this, we decided that the best option is to pause these campaigns. We kept them in a portfolio so we didn’t accidentally turn them on. Simple as it sounds, few people do this and insist on retaining specific campaigns.
To look at these two simple strategies’ effects, we analyze essential indicators like TACos and Spend.
As you can see here, this is a graph of our TACoS plotted over the month. It’s not a night and day difference since this is TACoS, which is also affected by organic sales, which, as I’ve shown above, are decreasing. Again, not super drastic, but the dotted line represented a clear downward trend. To further prove our point, below is a graph of the daily spend.
Here it’s a lot clearer how these two steps reduced spend. During the start of the month, the spend was higher, and then it began to slow down and then almost become consistent towards the end, which indicates, we think, the plateauing of spend and maximization of the effects of our efforts.
To finalize our points, let’s look back at our conversion percentage. Compared to July, September and October had a higher conversion percentage which is a good indicator of quality traffic.
What’s going on with the e-commerce space:
It’s no secret that the overall e-commerce market has been slowing down during the last 2 quarters of 2022. The question now is, by how much? Let’s take a look at two graphs
These two graphs represent the MoM comparison of Amazon’s and Walmart’s total visits. There was a massive decrease in traffic from July to August. July had a total of 2.75B on Amazon and only 2.5 B in August – a difference of 2.35M in traffic and 3.35M compared to September. In comparison, Walmart receives 3M to 4M in monthly traffic. In short, Amazon lost traffic the same size as one website.
Since Amazon is one of the biggest e-commerce sites in the US, it clearly represents consumer behavior in the US. Meaning we could continue to see a drop in overall consumption and, thus, revenue for the next couple of months. So, it’s high time to change forecasts and expectations to consider the impact of these on budgets.
Million-Dollar Product Line Updates:
For people new here, we’ll give a short summary of what this is. This product line was launched this year in an effort to close in the $10M revenue by generation $1M. Unfortunately, last month was the last update we’ll give regarding this product line for a few reasons:
- We are nowhere near the expected $1 million dollars that this line would generate. Unfortunate, but since the year’s revenue goal is almost sure to be locked in, this was not a big loss.
- An unexpected product line has grown exponentially this year, which has mostly caused the excess we had the past couple of months. This product line was the line we decided to expand on as market study has indicated a lot of green flags.
So what’s the lesson here?
You win some and you lose some 🙂
Winter is coming!
The title says it all, both metaphorically and literally. It will be winter very soon, which will be our weakest month for the entire year for this particular brand. So, we are expecting colder sales and colder PPC conversions.
We’ve prepared for this season through proper budget allocation and fine-tuning our forecast and projections to combat losses.