Merchant Words vs. Jungle Scout: Keyword Tool Showdown
Selling products on Amazon using their FBA program is a great way make money online, but this business model has definitely entered the mainstream and competition is fierce.
The key to success has always been about finding the right product in a profitable niche with low competition. Sounds simple, right? Well, it used to be a lot easier but now the low hanging fruit is gone, meaning you might have to do some serious digging to find that perfect product.
Gone are the days where you could start making money throwing up any old random product on Amazon. You can still be wildly successful with FBA despite the competition now, it’s just paramount that you invest some time and resources into product research before jumping in head first.
Although it is possible to do this manually, the sheer amount of data you would need to process is overwhelming. Luckily, there are a number of powerful Amazon research tools that can do all of the hard work for you.
The big question is, which of the many research tools out there is the best?
Since its release as a simple browser application, Jungle Scout has gone on to become a fully featured suite of tools that covers almost all the needs of an Amazon seller.
In comparison, Merchant Words has stayed close to its roots, primarily functioning as a keyword research tool that pulls key data from Amazon to help you find profitable niches more effectively.
Because Jungle Scout as a whole offers more functionality, it would be unfair to directly compare the tools side-by-side. Instead, Merchant Words will be directly compared to Jungle Scout’s Keyword Scout tool, which serves the same purpose as Merchant Words.
Let’s get straight into it and see what each of these powerful keyword research tools has to offer and how they stack up against each other.
Table of Contents
What Does Jungle Scout’s Keyword Tool Have to Offer?
Jungle Scout has been around for quite some time, but is regularly updated by the development team and remains one of the top research tools for anyone selling on Amazon.
This software is available as both a web application as well as a browser extension, but the main keyword research functionality is only available when using the web app, so that is what we will primarily be discussing.
Like Merchant Words, Jungle Scout’s Keyword Scout is primarily a keyword research tool, pulling key data from Amazon to help you find profitable niches more effectively.
Many Amazon sellers consider Keyword Scout their go to research program, but is it right for you? Let’s take a look at what interesting new features have been added and how they measure up to the competition.
You will find Keyword Scout within the main Jungle Scout application, under the ‘Keywords’ menu on the main sidebar:
For existing users of Jungle Scout, this is super convenient and helps to keep all of your research in one ecosystem, potentially streamlining your workflow. We’ve covered Keyword Scout extensively on this site before.
What exactly can it do?
- Discover Keywords: Keyword Scout offers users a fully dynamic ‘smart’ search. Other tools like Merchant Words only offer variations on your original search term. Keyword Scout actually looks for related keywords that may not actually contain the key terms but are still highly relevant. This helps you find niche products and keywords that you may not have even been aware of and which can be the basis for further research.
- Precise Search Volume: Using the Amazon API, Jungle Scout’s keyword tool is able to much more accurately estimate search volume and demand. As you can see, you are given both ‘exact match’ data, which tells you about searches that contain the exact keyword, while the ‘broad match’ also includes similar or even misspelled searches. This is exactly the depth of information you need to make an informed decision about a new niche.
- PPC Estimates: Keyword Scout also gives an estimate of how much PPC advertising for your listing will set you back and how easy it will be to rank on the first page. With the competition you’re up against these days in order to get on the front page of a search term, this is essential information that tools like Merchant Words don’t yet supply.
- Giveaway Estimates: Running promos and giveaways are some of the newest and most effective ways of ranking a new product and all serious Amazon sellers are using them. Keyword Scout has kept up with this trend with its giveaway estimate analysis. This gives you an idea about how many giveaways will be needed to rank your product and Keyword Scout is one of the only tools to give this vital information.
Now that you have a good understanding of the main keyword research features Jungle Scout has to offer, let’s take a look at the main strengths and weaknesses so we can more easily compare it to its rival, Merchant Words.
The biggest strength of Jungle Scout overall has always been how fast the development team have reacted to changes in the way sellers operate and use research tools.
This constant effort put into improvement has seen Jungle Scout move out ahead of the competition and cement itself as the number one research tool of choice for Amazon FBA sellers.
Merchant Words may have individual features that work as well as the corresponding ones in Jungle Scout, but the strength of this tool is in how it brings a wide range of necessary data into one neat package.
The main weakness I would really highlight is the marginalization of the browser extension with the release of the latest update. In the past, the extension was quite important and worth paying extra for on its own merits.
Now though, the most powerful features are exclusive to the web application and the extra price of the extension, at $39 a month can be hard to justify. For power sellers, the extension can still be worth it, but for a beginner I would skip it and focus on the web application.
Can Merchant Words Measure Up?
Merchant Words is no newcomer to the Amazon research market. The company was founded in 2012 by software engineer George Lawrence who saw a real need for Amazon sellers to get more insight into what buyers were looking for on the platform. Read our full review of the tool here.
The software has been through a number of iterations since then, adding new and powerful features each time to help sellers find great products in profitable niches.
With the primary search function, you can easily access data on search number estimates for a keyword and also see a range of related alternate keywords to help you find the perfect product.
Now, I will take you through the main features of Merchant Words and show you what new features have been added in the latest update. Most importantly, we will see how this measures up to what Keyword Scout has to offer.
Although it began as a simple Amazon keyword tool, the scope of features offered by Merchant Words has expanded over the years. It now has a number of powerful tools and filters to help streamline your product research.
The main features of Merchant Words are:
- Keyword Search: This is the standard search offered by Merchant Words. It takes your initial search term and gives you valuable analytics data on it, as well as a large number of related terms. It is the related terms that provide a lot of opportunities to hone in on new and interesting niches. The information provided is basic when compared to Keyword Scout but this does make it easy to understand for newcomers.
- Countries Filter: The countries filter was introduced to help sellers target Amazon stores outside of the US. Amazon has dedicated stores and domains for a number of countries around the world and popular searches and product niches in these locations can differ significantly. The countries filter gives specific results from the selected countries and even includes keyword suggestions in the native language of the site.
- Page 1 Results: Using the Page 1 Results feature, you are able to quickly see what the first page of results looks like on both Amazon and Walmart for your chosen keyword. This is a quick and easy way for you to scope out the competition and evaluate your chances of ranking alongside those products. However, it does not really show you anything that could not have been learnt with a manual Amazon search.
These are the main feature you can expect from a Merchant Words subscription but how do they actually stack up against Jungle Scouts Keyword Tool?
Merchant Words basic search tool is still a great way to get some useful data fast. It filters out all of the useless information and gives you a good rundown in a clean and easy to read format. Also, if you choose to analyze the data elsewhere, it is easy to generate a .csv file with your search data.
Getting dynamic keyword suggestions based on your search term is also a great way to uncover niches you would not have looked for on your own.
The countries filter is a great addition to this basic search and helps the growing number of sellers outside the US, or US sellers expanding into new markets, access information they may have found hard to access previously. This feature is one of the main differentiators with Jungle Scouts Keyword tool and something that Merchant Words does particularly well.
While this all makes for a solid research tool, it is nothing world beating. All of these features can also be found on other popular tools and in Jungle Scout’s Keyword Tool. That makes some of the weaknesses of the software hard to ignore.
Given how much competition there is now for Amazon research tools, I feel like the latest update to Merchant Words, as well as the price changes are very underwhelming.
Besides the country filters, Merchant Words does not do anything that Keyword Scout doesn’t already do and in some cases Keyword Scout offers more in depth information, especially with the estimates for the PPC costs and giveaways.
The price of the base service is still affordable, but if you want to access any of the more advanced features it will cost you.
Previously, it was possible to access the global search at a very discounted rate, but now the only plan offering this search is the ‘Platinum’ $149 a month option. The ‘Gold’ plan at $79 a month only offers regional searches, while the basic plan, while good value at $19, is heavily limited and does not give you ASIN searches, the keyword multiplier or the digital shelf dashboard.
At only $19 for the basic plan, you won’t be out of pocket much giving MerchantWords a try, but you will eventually want to upgrade to access the full functionality, which is where it gets pricey. By the time you are paying for the higher level plans, I do not find Merchant Words good value, even with two months free for an annual subscription. The Jungle Scout suite of software gives better functionality at a similar price.
So Which Amazon Research Tool is the Best?
Merchant Words is a commendable Amazon research tool, but it has fallen a little behind the times. It used to be worthwhile having Merchant Words as a supplementary service, however, with the new higher price, it is hard to justify the cost and I would suggest investing in other research tools instead.
While both Keyword Scout and Merchant Words have their individual merits, when considering the value provided, Jungle Scout comes out as the clear winner. If you are serious about making it as an Amazon FBA seller, then you need to be using Jungle Scout.
There can be a slight learning curve for some of the included tools, but once you have it figured out, this is the most powerful set of tools available on the market.
The detailed information you will have access to is unrivalled and your entire research and listing creation process will be streamlined significantly, saving you time and money in the long run.
Though Jungle Scout (which you will need to purchase to access Keyword Scout) can be more expensive for high volume sellers, the range and power of the included features are well worth the price and will save you time and money.
If you want to be competitive on the Amazon Marketplace these days, you need an edge on the competition and Jungle Scout’s Keyword Tool can give you that.