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Amazon Advertising Options Guide: What Marketers Need to Know

Thinking of advertising on Amazon? This guide will walk you through four ways to get your products in front of millions of shoppers.

Amazon’s market share has grown exponentially, with more brands shifting their attention to Amazon Advertising.

Brands can no longer ignore the power that Amazon has when it comes to marketing directly to consumers.

After all, $0.51 of every ecommerce dollar is spent on Amazon.

And more product searches are done on Amazon than on Google.

Over the years, Amazon has grown to become the third largest advertising platform – and for good reasons.

While initially, simply having your product on Amazon was enough to start to win sales, today, if you want to be successful on Amazon, you must participate in their advertising programs.

Why Brand Should Focus on Amazon Advertising

The Amazon search algorithm is complex.

Lots of factors come into play when trying to rank your products in Amazon search.

Also, Amazon has been cracking down on reviews and rank manipulation.

To stay compliant a lot of marketing energy that was previously focused on gathering reviews has shifted to advertising on Amazon.

Rather than focusing on discounted products for reviews – or, even worse, incentivized reviews – you can use Amazon Advertising to get initial conversions.

This leads to product reviews as your sales velocity increases.

This allows you to get the traffic and conversions you need for your product to be ranked organically.

When working with products on Amazon, the ranking problem is solved by combining Amazon advertising with different promotional offerings that Amazon offers (e.g., clippable coupons).

Initially, after launching a product, you will heavily rely on Amazon advertising to rank your product on the first page.

However, if your product is optimized correctly, your reliance on Amazon advertising will decrease with time.

Nevertheless, you might still need to carry on some advertising even after your products have ranked high to protect your digital real estate or from competitors who might still be using Amazon advertising.

The more niche your product is, the less you will likely have to spend on advertising on Amazon’s platform.

However, for most products, I have found that at present the cost to advertise on Amazon is significantly less than other advertising platforms like Google Ads.

Should You Advertise on Amazon?

If you already have a product that can sell online, then you can advertise on Amazon.

Amazon offers you a way to get your product in front of shoppers at a much lower cost than competing advertising platforms.

You can start with a product that already sells well and measures your ROI before adding other products.

Over the last several years, Amazon Advertising has had a variety of changes, and recently, they renamed some of their products.

Here are four ways to advertise on Amazon.

Advertising on Amazon

1. Sponsored Products

This is the most popular method of advertising on Amazon.

Brands have used this powerful tool for many years to automatically and manually target shoppers.

Here, you can use different match types that are familiar to you as an advertiser – broad, phrase and exact match, as well as negative keyword matching.

Any seller on Amazon Seller Central, Kindle Direct Publishing, or Vendor Central platform can participate in the Sponsored Products program.

Amazon has been rolling out additional targeting options on its Seller Central platform such as Product, Interest, and Category Targeting.

It is rumored that even more match types might be available to advertisers in the near future.

Sponsored Product Ads on AmazonWhen running Sponsored Products using a feature called Bid+ is turned on Amazon will increase the default bid for your ads to compete for the top of search results location.

While the match types mimic Google’s advertising platforms, there are some nuances to Sponsored Products.

Before setting up your campaign, check the following to make sure that your campaign will run:

Own the Buy-Box

Your ad will not run if you do not have the buy box for that product.

This means if a brand is selling a product directly and there are third-party sellers in the buy box, the brand will be unable to run any Sponsored Products Ads for that product.

Before you create your campaigns, I recommend that you check your current Buy-Box percentage on a product.

You can view your Buy-Box percentage by viewing the Detailed Page Sales and Traffic by Child Report.

In Seller Central go to Reports > Tab > Detailed Sales and Traffic.

Here, you will see whether you have a significant percentage of the Buy Box to run ads.

It is possible to be the only seller of a product and still not have the buy box is if your item has a suppressed buy box.

In order to protect the customer experience, Amazon will sometimes suppress the Buy Box because Amazon feels that the price for that product is too high or they believe the product is available on another site for cheaper.

Example of how to indentify which seller has the Buy Box on AmazonThe Buy Box will be rotating among eligible sellers that are price competitive on that listing. Having your item available with a Prime offer (using Fulfillment By Amazon, Small and Light, or Seller Fulfilled Prime) will greatly increase your chances of winning the Buy Box.

Keyword Indexing

Your ad will only run for words that Amazon feels your product is relevant.

For any keyword you use, your product needs to be indexed for the keyword being targeted.

There are several tools on the market to check for keyword indexing on Amazon, and you can also check your keywords manually by doing a search for the ASIN plus the keyword you are looking to verify indexing.

Some Amazon PPC agencies use the keywords farmed while using an Automatic Sponsored Products campaign to verify indexed keywords.

2. Sponsored Brands Programs

Headline Search Ads were rebranded as Sponsored Brands in September.

The program is available to those on Seller Central who have registered their brand with the Brand Registry program and those on Vendor Central Platform.

Sponsored Brands Ad Exampls on AmazonSponsored Brand Ads allow you to highlight three products on Amazon in a single ad placement.

Sponsored Brands program is a powerful tool allowing you to have a banner ad at the top and the bottom of the search results page and on side columns.

The Sponsored Brand program, just like the Sponsored Products program, allows you to target shoppers based on keywords.

However, unlike the former, the Sponsored Brand program gives you creative control where you can add the tagline you want, and it also allows you to display three products within the ad.

You can also direct shoppers to the page of your choice. It can be a:

  • Custom page on Amazon with different products that you want to sell.
  • Brand or Store page that can be created on Amazon to represent your brand or store.

Sponsored Brands campaigns can be a powerful tool to target similar products and take market share away from your direct competitors.

For most brands eligible for Sponsored Brands, a campaign can be immediately started for at least their brand and product names to make sure that customers are not diverted to other listings when they search for the brand or product name of our clients.

3. Product Display Ads

Product Display ads have not had the same popularity as Sponsored Products or Sponsored Brands Programs, primarily because it is a different form of advertising.

In general, you’ll see lower conversion rates on Product Display Ads than its Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brands counterparts.

However, these ads can be effective in certain marketplaces, including the book industry.

Product Display and Sponsored Products are the only two advertising options for authors on Amazon Kindle’s Direct Publishing service.

Example of a Product Display Ad on AmazonProduct Display Ads will be placed below the Buy Box.

The main advantage of product display ads is that you can market your product directly on your competitor’s product detail page. Your ad will appear below the Buy Box of your competitor.

Product Display Ads can also be effective if you have an assortment of similar products and you are trying to cross-sell to your Amazon customers.

If you have five products in your brand, for instance, you can market four of the slow-selling product on the main product’s detail page.

This keeps people from leaving the detail page of the main product and instead makes them check out other products on your brand.

4. Amazon Demand-Site Platform (DSP Platform)

While the first three methods of advertising on Amazon are popular among advertisers, Amazon’s DSP platform is for big brands looking to create awareness for their brands.

The platform allows you to reach Amazon audiences through Apps. Ad formats include:

  • Mobile banner.
  • Video.
  • Mobile interstitial.
  • Desktop.
  • Mobile web display.

The Amazon DSP program is the only way advertisers can purchase the advertisement on Amazon’s websites.

While this is a great platform for marketing products, note that it will not most likely not generate direct sales.

The Amazon DSP program also gives you access to video ads, which are recent additions to Amazon’s advertising platform.

Sellers targeting the Amazon marketplace don’t commonly use videos.

These videos fall more into traditional marketing, where the goal is building brand awareness rather than increasing sales through a single ad.

Bottom Line

While Amazon advertising programs have continuously been updated, over the years we have found these advertising platforms to offer great benefits to advertisers.

Using these platforms can help you gain more market share, increase brand awareness, and help you to better utilize Amazon as a channel for customer acquisition.

Because Amazon reduces the friction of the initial purchase for a product, it can be a great way to present your product to new audiences.

Amazon Advertising can help you to generate the conversions needed to help you organically gather reviews and increase your organic ranking on Amazon.

Advertisers can combine different advertising methods on Amazon to place their products in front of millions of shoppers.

More Resources:

Image Credits

In-post Image: Created by author, November 2018
Screenshots taken by author, November 2018

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Robyn Johnson Founder and CEO at Marketplace Blueprint

Robyn is the owner of both Best From The Nest and Marketplace Blueprint is an Amazon expert. Robyn has been ...

Amazon Advertising Options Guide: What Marketers Need to Know

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