Whether you’re a seven-figure seller or just starting out, without the top Amazon research tools, it’s impossible to succeed on Amazon FBA.
However, judging which one gives the best value for money, and which one is the best research tool for your business now, can lead to a SAAS related migraine… which is why I’m here to ease that migraine for you!
In this guide, I’m going to compare three of the most popular product/keyword research tools: Jungle Scout, Viral Launch and Helium 10. And yes, we’ve included affiliate links in this article (we need to pay for our Gulfstreams somehow), but all of the tools pay us roughly the same amounts so there’s no bias to one tool or the next.
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Analysis of the Tools
All of the software discussed in this article has evolved into offering a suite of different tools to help you sell on Amazon better. Some of these tools are legitimately useful and some are just frivolous add-ons to create perceived value.
At the core though, each software offers two primary tools:
- Product Research: Tools for discovering potential new products, mainly through sales volume estimates
- Keyword Research Tools: Tools for finding new keywords, largely through estimating keyword volume
As mentioned, each software also has numerous other tools, some valuable, some not. I’ll examine those as well.
Which is the Cheapest: Helium 10, Jungle Scout, or Viral Launch?
In Summer of 2020 Jungle Scout got rid of their pricing scheme that charged a percentage of revenue (and we trashed Jungle Scout pretty hard for having that pricing scheme to begin with). However, now all of these FBA tools are priced in the same way.
I’ll give a basic price comparison, and then dig a little deeper into each and precisely what you get for your money.
All three tools offer a month-by-month payment option, or a discounted option if you pay for the entire year in one lump sum (annualized):
Helium 10 also got rid of their $31 “just starting” plan recently. Now Helium 10’s lowest priced option is their “Beginner” Plan which is $81/month if you choose the annual plan or $97 paying month by month. They offer a plan that includes most of their tools and is the most popular plan with most users. Helium 10 also provides a Free Plan that is actually fairly robust. You get two Reverse ASIN lookups per day, two keyword searches, and more. Of all the tools reviewed, Helium 10 was the only one with a substantial free version.
Viral Launch’s Beginner Research Kit plan is $50/month but does not include their Keyword Research tool which, in my opinion, is essential in any software package you choose. To get the Viral Launch’s Keyword Research tool you will need to pay $83/month. Their Kinetic plan is anywhere from $166 to $199 and includes a PPC tool. PPC tools go beyond the scope of this article though.
Otherwise, Jungle Scout offers a different plan, but the most popular among the users is Suite, which costs $49/month. One of the strengths of this software is that you will have access to a tool called Supplier Database (which you can access with any of their plans, including the $19 that includes 20 searches).
Jungle Scout. Jungle Scout has the cheapest plan, but Helium 10 has a very robust free version.
Which Tool Has the Most Accurate Keyword Sales Estimates?
All of the tools have some version of a Sales Estimation tool. These tools are mostly looking at inventory levels and Best Selling Rank (BSR) to estimate sales and then applying some type of algorithm to give the best estimate. As we’ll see, this works to varying degrees of success.
All of the tools also allow you to see a snapshot of sales over a period of time.
To test this, I used each Chrome extension to give me the 30 day sales numbers on 4 ASINs I know the actual numbers for (Product A, Product B, Product C, Product D).
None of the tools were entirely accurate which is proof that you need to take ALL tools sales estimates with a grain of salt. However, Viral Launch had the most accurate results with a range of +8.99% to -18.77% compared to a range of +34.83% to -27.53% for Jungle Scout and +13.96 to -26.92% for Helium 10.
Which Tool Has the Most Accurate Keyword Volume Estimates?
All of the tools also have some variation of a keyword volume estimator. These estimates vary fairly significantly from tool to tool so how do we determine which is the most accurate?
While Amazon does not reveal actual keyword volume any longer (they used to through a backdoor in one of their APIs) they do rank overall keyword volume using the incredibly handy Brand Analytics tool.
Using the Brand Analytics tool we know sanuk mens is the #10,000 searched for search phrase on Amazon, Brazilian bum bum cream is the #25,000 searched for phrase, and boxing bag with stand is the #50,000.
Regardless of actual volume, we’d expect each tool to rank each search phrase in that order.
Here are the results of the test:
Helium 10 and Viral Launch each had decreasing keyword volume as we would expect and the estimated search volume decreased by an expected order of magnitude.
With Jungle Scout, however, the volume for the #10,000th and #25,000 keyword were nearly identical which is almost certainly incorrect. Subsequently, I’m a little dubious of the efficiency of Jungle Scout’s keyword accuracy.
Other keyword tools
Each of the tools looked at here has some other assortment of keyword tools.
- Reverse ASIN: Called different things by each tool (Cerebro, Competitor Intelligence, & Keyword Scout). Allows you to see what keywords any ASIN is ranking for.
- Index Tracker: Allows you to track to see if a particular ASIN is being indexed by Amazon.
- Rank Tracker: Track organic and PPC rank of a particular ASIN for a particular search term over time.
Each tool also has a lot of other keywords, for the lack of better words, gimmicks. For instance, Helium 10 has Frankenstein which cleans up keywords by removing duplicates, special characters, etc. which is something you can do fairly easily in numerous free web apps and even Excel. Another example is Jungle Scout‘s Listing Builder which will construct your keyword stuffed product descriptions written in unnatural English.
Who Has the Most Useful Assortment of Tools?
Outside of sales and keyword volume estimates, each software package also offers numerous other tools.
Viral Launch has the thinnest selection of other tools. Outside of a handy index checker, it doesn’t offer much. It has a PPC Tool and A/B testing tool, but these tools are essentially separate from the normal Viral Launch packages (use of these tools can potentially take you from $50/month to over $1000/month).
Helium 10 appears to offer a LOT of additional tools but the reality is that some of these tools are basically throw-away tools which are basically glorified Excel formulas. Specifically, their Keyword List Duplicate Remover and Profits Calculator.
However, Helium 10 does offer some truly valuable additional tools including:
- Refund Tool: Assists in getting compensation from Amazon for lost inventory
- Hijacker Alerts: Notifies you when someone changes one of your listings (critical!) or piggybacks on it
- Inventory Protector: Prevents you from accidentally selling through a high percentage of inventory through erroneous coupons
Jungle Scout does not offer a lot of additional tools. However, in 2019 Jungle Scout introduced its Supplier Database which is, by far, the best supplementary tool included of any of the software packages discussed here.
Jungle Scout’s Supplier Database tool allows you to access nearly all of the import records from nearly any American importer. That means that with Jungle Scout you can see exactly what products a competitor is importing and from whom. This type of tool isn’t new, Panjiva and ImportGenius have offered it for years, but it used to cost hundreds of dollars a month. Now it is included with your Jungle Scout subscription.
Jungle Scout’s Supplier Database tool is so good that, especially if you’re in a period of heavy product development, it’s nearly worth subscribing to Jungle Scout alone for.
Most Useful Assortment of Tools
Jungle Scout. Simply by virtue of its Supplier Database tool, Jungle Scout has the best assortment of supplementary tools. For sheer variety, Helium 10 wins though.
Which is the Best Overall Amazon Seller Software: Helium 10, Jungle Scout, or Viral Launch?
Last year, Helium 10 won this race because it had a robust set of tools and was much more reasonably priced than Jungle Scout. However, this year in 2020 the award goes to Jungle Scout thanks to their adequate set of keyword and product research tools, the supplier database, and their fairer pricing structure.
|Helium 10||Jungle Scout||Viral Launch|
If you’re going to pay for a tool, Jungle Scout is the clear winner this year. Either their $19/month plan or their $49/month plan performs adequately well. However, if you’re just starting, Helium 10 has an excellent free plan if you can live with the very limited number of searches each month.
Viral Launch performed perfectly respectably. However, having less flexible pricing than Helium 10 and a more limited selection of supplementary tools means Helium 10 gets the nod. If you’re a big fan of Viral Launch’s PPC and Launch tools (and many are) then Viral Launch is a fine choice.
Best Overall Amazon Seller Software
Jungle Scout Wins!
Thanks to Jungle Scout’s flexible pricing, reliable sales/keyword estimates, and a good assortment of tools it’s our favourite Amazon Seller software.