A search term is the explicit string of text that a customer enters into the Amazon search bar when searching for a product in the marketplace.
Keywords are word combinations and phrases you physically add and bid on within manual campaigns to more specifically target your advertisements to customers, the goal being to match your advertisements with search terms shoppers are using to find products.
Depending on your keyword match type, customer search terms are mapped to keywords you enter into your manual campaigns. For example, if you are bidding on the keyword “rain coat,” your product may show up any time a customer types into Amazon’s search bar, “Patagonia Coat for Rain,” “Purple Rain Coat,” or “Rain Coat for Women”
Use customer search to your advantage and identify the top performing customer search terms for your campaigns and ad groups – these are the keywords you should be adding in to your campaigns as new keywords each week.
In the SP Optimizer software, you can see the difference between keywords and search terms more clearly within the “Targeting Improvements” section of the Keyword Actions header.
In this example, you can clearly see this customer is currently bidding on the keyword, “kid raincoat” as a phrase match in the “Children’s Raincoats – Manual” campaign in the “Black Raincoats” ad group.
However, this is not what people are truly typing in to Amazon’s search bar that is causing them to convert into sales. Instead, notice that the customer typed in, “kid raincoat marmot” and “small kid raincoat.” Both search terms mapped back to the same keyword, “kid raincoat,” and each search term converted into a sale at least two times.
Therefore, you should be adding the customer search terms, “kid raincoat marmot” and “small kid raincoat” as new, exact match keywords in the “Children’s Raincoats Manual” campaign to the “Black Raincoats” ad group to ensure your products within that ad group are showing up for the most relevant keywords possible.