Keyword Harvesting on Amazon - A Simple Guide

Keyword harvesting on Amazon

Keyword harvesting on Amazon refers to transferring converting search terms or ASINs from one ad group or campaign to another (positive harvesting) or excluding unprofitable search terms or ASINs by putting them to the negative exact or negative phrase in campaigns in which they are targeted (negative harvesting). Both positive and negative keyword harvesting is done via the search term report.

According to Amazon’s data, 70% of Amazon customers never click past the first page of search results.  To ensure visibility and products being shown for relevant keywords, it’s necessary to create campaigns and target the right keywords and search terms. That’s why you should regularly do keyword harvesting.

Positive Keyword Harvesting

When you advertise on Amazon, it’s crucial to regularly find keywords that bring the most profit and put them into the spotlight. The type of keyword harvesting where we look for converting customer’s search terms or ASINs to add them to other campaigns or ad groups with higher bids is called positive harvesting. It helps increase sales and improve overall account performance. 

Positive harvesting is done for two types of campaigns: auto and manual.

Positive harvesting on Amazon

Keyword Harvesting for Manual Campaigns

When creating manual campaigns for Sponsored Products or Sponsored Brands, it’s possible to target broad, phrase, and exact match types; each has its use cases. Both types of campaigns can target sets of keywords in all match types and with different bids depending on their impact.

The higher the traffic - the higher the impact. A narrower keyword should have a higher bid, and the broader keyword should have a lower bid, so words in the exact match type have the highest bid, phrases have a slightly lower, and broad have the lowest bid.

  • Exact Match

The ad will only appear if the customer’s search term is exactly the same as the keyword targeted in the campaign. Keyword harvesting should not be done for this match type, as keyword and customer search term is the same and already targeted in the campaign.

  • Broad Match

The ad will appear when the customer’s search term contains all the targeted keyword terms or their close variations (plural forms, acronyms, steaming, accents, etc.). As mentioned above, to optimize campaigns with broad match keywords, you should put the lowest bid.

  • Phrase Match

The ad will show up when the customer’s search term is the same as a targeted keyword or exact amongst a sequence of words. It is more restrictive than the broad match type. For broad and phrase match types, we do keyword harvesting in order to collect and transfer converting customers’ search terms and target them in campaigns with higher bids in all three match types. When the search term is transferred, it should be added to the negative exact in that same ad group where it is taken from.

Category Targeting

Another type of manual campaign for which we do harvesting is the one where we are collecting ASINs is a category targeting campaign.

Category targeting campaigns collect competitors’ ASINs for the targeted categories we set. It is possible to target different categories depending on the number of product stars, product prices, etc. When harvesting this type of campaign, converting ASINs should be transferred to Sponsored Product or/and Sponsored Display ASIN targeting campaigns with higher bids than the bids we set for the category campaigns.

Follow the link to read more about Amazon bidding strategies

Keyword Harvesting for Auto Campaigns

Auto campaigns do not require advertisers to provide a list of keywords they want to target for a certain product. Instead, Amazon uses its algorithm to recognize words and competitors’ ASINs that match the advertised product.

When collecting keywords and ASINs from an automatic campaign, keywords with good results and conversions are assigned to manual campaigns in all three match types with higher bids than we set for auto campaigns, or if we collect ASINs, those should be transferred to ASIN targeting campaigns. Keywords/ASINs that are transferred from auto to manual campaigns should be added to negative exact in that auto campaign so they do not appear in both places and increase spend since conversions will only be attributed to the keyword/ASIN in one campaign.

Negative Keyword Harvesting

When optimizing campaigns, we want to reduce unprofitable spend and increase account profitability. One way to do that is through negative keyword harvesting. Here we look for unprofitable and overspending customers' search terms or ASINs and exclude them from the same campaigns by putting them to negative exact. Negative harvesting is done for both auto and manual (only broad and phrase match types) campaigns.

Negative keyword harvesting on Amazon

This type of harvesting should be done very carefully. If you do keyword harvesting regularly or on a weekly basis, it can happen that a certain search term that converts well one week does not make a sale the other week. Such words should not be put in the negative exact. In this part of harvesting, we need to set the parameters e.g. Orders = 0, Spend> x, uncheck Exact MT. Then we have a list with unprofitable search terms for that week. For those keywords with not so high spend, it is necessary to compare how they worked in different time periods and related to that, decide whether to put that search term in negative exact.


As each advertiser aims for greater profitability and better performance, keyword harvesting has a significant contribution to the success in improving the overall account metrics. Well done harvesting can reduce costs, increase sales and profitability of the account. This step in optimization is significant; it is necessary to dedicate a lot of time and effort to it in order to be done efficiently.

Today there are various programs and software that can automatically perform the entire harvesting process. However, besides such tools, it’s necessary to know the manual process of keyword harvesting on Amazon (why it’s done and how) because these tools need to set requirements and filters based on which they do the harvesting.

If you want to hire a PPC agency to optimize your campaigns on Amazon, book a free audit now! 



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