Automatic vs. manual targeting in Amazon Sponsored ads — which is right for you?

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Amazon offers numerous options for advertising campaigns, and you should work with all of them to achieve the very best results. Two popular options are automatic campaigns and manual campaigns in Sponsored ads.

Related: Product targeting — How to optimize exposure on Amazon

Amazon Targeting Campaigns Graphic

Comparison of automatic and manual campaigns

Amazon manages automatic campaigns, showing your ads using a variety of keywords and eventually selecting the most relevant queries. To run an automatic campaign, you assign only the daily budget and the maximum cost per click (CPC). You can also add negative words, and the system will automatically do the rest.

In a manual campaign, you add keywords yourself, assign them maximum bids and match types, and add negative words.

As you set up your Amazon targeting, remember each of these campaign options has advantages and disadvantages.

Amazon Targeting Comparison Automatic Vs Manual Campaigns

Pros and cons of automatic campaigns

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of automatic campaigns on Amazon:


  • Automatic campaigns are quick and easy to start.
  • It’s easier to choose successful keywords.
  • Automatic campaigns provide an in-depth look at how Amazon users can search for your product.
  • You’re able to review user demand and highlight the most important keyword requests.


  • Automatic campaigns give you less control than manual campaigns
  • You must use the same bid for all keywords.
  • The automatic campaign function might result in clicks for irrelevant search queries.

Pros and cons of manual campaigns

Compare those automatic campaign pros and cons with these advantages and disadvantages of setting up your Amazon campaigns manually:


  • Manual campaigns help ensure more accurate keyword queries.
  • They allow for use of different types of matching keywords.
  • With manual campaigns you can run ads by category and brand.
  • It’s easier to lower rates or pause ineffective words.


  • Manual campaigns require constant work to improve rate control.
  • You might miss queries on which your product is searched.
  • You’ll need to commit ongoing time and effort for success.

An automatic campaign can be launched quickly and easily, but it will also require your attention and control — and search queries are not always relevant.

On the other hand, Amazon’s automatic targeting option covers a multitude of queries that you might not have thought of if you were running a manual campaign, leading to additional conversions.

Related: Where to promote your Amazon store with paid advertising

More accurate targeting for Amazon automatic campaigns

Recently, automatic campaigns added an additional function for setting bids for different types of ad impressions, making the setup of automatic campaigns more accurate. Now you can assign a separate bid for each Amazon targeting category.

Amazon Targeting Bids

Let’s dive a little deeper into what each of those means:

  • Close match: Shows your ad to shoppers who use search terms closely related to your products.
  • Complement: Shows your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products that complement your product.
  • Loose match: Shows your ad to shoppers who use search terms loosely related to your products.
  • Substitute: Shows your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products similar to yours.

You can learn more about keyword matching types at

Leverage keyword reports to improve manual campaign targeting

By constantly browsing keyword reports in Amazon’s automatic targeting, you can understand which search queries lead to purchases and include them in your manual campaigns, and which queries are irrelevant and should be added to negative keywords.

You can generate various types of reports to track which keywords lead to sales.

Amazon Targeting Reports

A manual Amazon targeting campaign lets you highlight the most important requests for product categories, and enables you to customize target categories or competitors’ brands and products.

Another advantage of manual campaigns is that you can set the type of matching keywords, a feature similar to setting keywords in Google Ads.

Related: How to retarget website visitors with Google Ads

What type of Amazon targeting campaign to choose?

You can see what Amazon recommends in choosing campaigns in this video:

Using both automated and manual campaigns can be beneficial to your Amazon advertising strategy.

It is rather challenging for newbies to understand how to best use these so different but yet interrelated strategies. Do not be afraid of the unknown. You just have to spend some time to research the issue. After this, you will feel more confident and make the most of Amazon targeting tools.

If you are launching a manual campaign, you can launch an automatic campaign along with it to detect useful keywords that you did not manually compile.

By using both types of Amazon targeting campaigns, you are more likely to find convertible keywords, and you can identify negative keywords that are ineffective or irrelevant to your product, costing you unnecessary pay-per-click fees.

Each campaign type has its own advantages and bidding strategies, so it is important that you have a deep understanding of your entire directory, the types of campaigns that work and do not work, where you want to limit your individual keyword bids, and your ad spend.

These variables can work together to ultimately result in clicks and conversions to product sales.


Use both manual and automatic campaign types to advertise your products on Amazon. Use data collected in your automatic campaigns and add successful strategies to your manual campaigns to increase your sales.

Finally, constantly monitor your advertising rates and experiment to see what works best.

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