Automatic vs. Manual Targeting Campaigns in Amazon PPC (What You Need to Know)

Amazon PPC Campaign targeting

Quick and Dirty Definitions

Within Amazon Sponsored Products there are two different campaign types: Automatic and Manual. It’s important to understand the differences between these in order to maximize your earning potential.

Automatic Campaign: Amazon chooses which keywords to target and you can control bids on the campaign level.

Manual Campaign: You choose which keywords to target and you can control bids on the keyword level.

To Break It Down Even Further…

A table displaying automatic and manual targeting for Amazon keywords.

But how do you know which campaign type to choose?

A cartoon of a man stressfully choosing between manual or automatic Amazon PPC Campaign.

Let’s look at some different scenarios…

When Should You Use Automatic Targeting?

There are a few scenarios where you might want to consider automatic targeting.

  1. You’re new to Amazon ads and not sure where to start.
  2. You don’t have time to manage a manual campaign.
  3. You want to use automatic campaigns to get more data to optimize your manual campaigns.

While the first two scenarios are common, we wouldn’t recommend this as  a long-term strategy since Amazon will be happy to continue taking your money no matter how profitable your campaigns are.

The third scenario, in our opinion, is one of the best uses of automatic campaigns. Basically, we like to think of automatic campaigns as a keyword research tool that helps us to stay on top of keyword trends.

More on this later.

When Should You Use Manual Targeting?

You might consider using manual targeting in these scenarios.

  1. You already know what keywords you want to target.
  2. You want to be able to control your bids more precisely.
  3. You already have a decent base knowledge of Amazon PPC.

Manual targeting gives you a lot more control but it also takes a lot more time, effort, and knowledge. So, make sure you’re ready to commit before launching manual campaigns because you could risk losing money.

Why Not Both?

You don’t have to choose just one! In fact, we recommend using both. Earlier we talked about using automatic campaigns as a keyword research tool to optimize your manual campaigns.

Here’s a quick rundown of what that might look like.

Step 1: Set up an automatic campaign and let it run until you have some decent data (within your budget of course).

Step 2: Download your Search Term Report from Campaign Manager and find your high and low-performing keywords (you can start by looking at conversions).

Step 3: Set up a new manual campaign with the high-performing keywords you identified from your automatic campaigns so that you can monitor it closely and adjust the bids precisely.

How do you use automatic and manual targeting campaigns? Do you stick to just one or do you use both?

Did anything in this article spark your curiosity or bring up a question? Comment below or email us at We love talking about PPC!

Written by
Carly M.

Carly is an eCommerce expert and founder of PPC Farm, an agency that specializes in elevating Amazon sellers through strategic PPC management. With over 11 years in the industry, her and her team have successfully managed thousands of ASINs, boosting visibility, sales, and performance for their clients.

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