Advertising on Amazon is now considered one of the most important eCommerce marketing strategies for businesses to get their brand seen by millions of shoppers around the globe – around 300 million of them, in fact.
For an eCommerce store in particular Amazon PPC can be used alongside traditional online marketing methods such as SEO and Google PPC to get your product in front of your customer base.
Consider also that Amazon Prime counts over 100 million subscribers among this number, and you have the capacity to tap into an enormous and growing market.
The company has spent considerable time developing its platform, maximizing its conversion rate and improving advertising capabilities, and these efforts are already starting to pay off for both advertisers and Amazon customers.
In this blog, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the many facets of Amazon advertising, unpicking the ways in which your brand could benefit from devising a solid Amazon advertising strategy.
Whilst digital marketing has long been an established part of many advertising strategies, Amazon is fast becoming a true giant of the format with it now being the largest eCommerce store in the world by a considerable margin.
According to a recent report from eMarketer, the company is estimated to have achieved 10% of all digital ad revenue by 2020 – an impressive figure for any business, and a signifier that Amazon will continue to make essential improvements and adaptations to its advertising platform in anticipation of increased demand.
Amazon may have some tough competition to combat – most prominently, Google and social media sites such as Facebook. However, it is worth remembering that Amazon processes a vast number of transactions each day, providing the platform with unprecedented data on how, when and why we all buy the things we do.
If you’re an online seller, then advertising on Amazon is a sensible way to boost your sales and drive more traffic to your products.
While rapid growth for Amazon provides plenty of opportunities to innovate and expand its adoptions, it also means those eager to make the most of the new advertising capabilities must move quickly to stay up to date with new features, formats and campaign types. A solid Amazon advertising strategy can take your business to the next level.
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When a user searches terms in Amazon’s search bar, results appear. At the top of the page, some of these results will show up as ‘Sponsored’ posts, which qualify as Amazon adverts. You’ll be able to identify them quite easily once you get used to this terminology.
Advertisers can pay to highlight their own products in this way. The advertiser is charged every time an Amazon user clicks on the ad. Adverts can also be purchased on product pages, often showcasing similar or complementary products to the item depicted on the product page itself.
If you’re selling a product which is tangible and can be bought online, then you should consider Amazon as a valid marketing strategy for advertising this product. With its unbeatable conversion rate, selling on Amazon massively enhances your chances of getting sales, and getting started can be accomplished quickly and easily.
One of the top reasons to advertise on Amazon is that if you start using Amazon PPC services, you’re also likely to see returns on your organic Amazon rankings. This tendency for both to improve simultaneously has been noted by many online selling experts, in large part because the sales history of a particular item helps determine whether Amazon ranks that product highly.
For nervous first-time Amazon advertisers, it’s possible to start with small advertising steps and build up from there. Go for a product which you already know has sold well, perhaps a top-selling product for extra security.
Begin by putting together an ad for this product, and when you begin to see tangible ROI, start incorporating more items and search terms to build a more comprehensive campaign.
The costs of your Amazon advertising activities will depend on the size and scale of what you plan to do. Amazon compares favourably on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis with its competitors such as Google Ads, either matching or exceeding them for a low CPC.
This is particularly good news as Amazon searches are often already carried out with the intent to buy, which cannot be said for some other PPC advertising platforms. If selling products is important to you, then Amazon is a great option.
Amazon offers both self-service advertising products and a managed option, where clients work with an Amazon ad consultant to create their campaign.
Managed services typically require a generous ad-spend budget, which immediately eliminates smaller brands (or simply the more frugal) from taking part. However, for those without these budgetary constraints, it is worth considering.
There are a few key terms to familiarise yourself with when getting to know Amazon Advertising. These will be referenced throughout the guide, so let’s take a look at what they are what they mean:
∙ Sponsored Product Ads
Sponsored Products are essentially standardised product listings, with each product displayed as a result of various keywords, chosen by the seller. The link generated will lead buyers to a page with product details listed after they click on your sponsored product ad.
These ads are generally displayed either above or below search results pages, instantly making them stand out on the search page. The ads are highly oriented towards the use of keywords, and as an advertiser, you have the opportunity to decide every exact word, phrase and broad match which is linked to every sponsored ad.
Campaigns using Sponsored Products must run for at least 24 hours.
∙ Sponsored Brands
This is an upscale take on Amazon advertising, with ads displayed as a result of the relevancy of particular keywords. There is much more to Sponsored Brands than just this, however.
When using this tool, Amazon sellers are able to upload customised creative, and up to three Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) or products.
A link is also generated, which leads to a customised landing page.
∙ Display Ads
Product display ads (or PDAs as they are sometimes known) are further sub-categorised by Amazon into three distinct types – video, custom and display. They each provide the standard type of display ad, simply in a differing format.
This type of Amazon inventory is available to all advertisers, not simply sellers on the platform.
∙ Product Display Ads
Product display ads are not reliant on keywords but instead appear below the ‘Add to basket’ symbol on individual product pages, with their placement and relevant depending on the category and product which is being advertised.
The fact that they are not linked to keywords makes them distinct from other forms of Amazon advertising, though they will still help to drive potential purchases to an assigned detail page.
In addition, they operate using a cost-per-click method. When advertising, these ads can be assigned based on selections which range from similar products to the one you’re selling, to similar interests and items which are deemed to be relevant to buyers in your target audience.
They appear on the bottom of the page, or the right-hand side of search result pages, as well as on customer review pages and on offer listings pages. Product display ads also sometimes appear in Amazon marketing e-mails.
∙ Headline Search Ads
These ads are displayed as headline banner ads, above the results which appear after an Amazon user has searched for a specific keyword or search term. They are available on a cost-per-click basis, and the landing page they correspond to is generally customised and branded.
As with other ad formats, they are linked to keywords, with campaigns able to be scheduled up to four months before they get started. This makes them a great option for long-term planning.
Amazon is an enormous marketplace, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stand out! These top tips should help you make your ads good enough to support your overall strategy:
Structure your campaigns with care, using ad groups which are applicable to each of the categories of product you sell (if selling more than one product).
Try to be as specific as possible to ensure your keywords are relevant to these products. Ensuring you approach your Amazon account in this way will help your ads maintain their relevancy and effectiveness.
Your ad copy is as important as the items you sell, in terms of creating results on Amazon. Remember to focus on urgency and appeal to what matters to your target audience.
Highlight the benefits of your products, and be compelling with your content.
Advertising copy must also be as specific as possible on Amazon, letting customers know exactly what they’re buying. It’s important customers have the information they need, as they’ll feel more compelled to purchase.
Don’t forget to check what your competitors are doing. This can often be a valuable source of information, informing your future activities. Using tools such as Helium 10’s X Ray allows you to understand which of your competitors generate the best sales and what terms they are optimised for. This information is crucial as you want to make sure that your product stands out in the Amazon marketplace.
Achieving great results from advertising on Amazon requires dedication and attention, with few ‘shortcuts’ to sustained success. However, we do have a few key tips which will help you improve your results by forging an effective strategy:
Amazon has made no secret of its push towards Sponsored Brands, but Sponsored Products is the space where much of your ad spend should be targeted, with Sponsored Brands following a close second.
Focus on the unique goals of your own account and brand, and expect to spend around 50% of your budget on Sponsored Products, with Sponsored Brands and Display Ads/Product Display Ads taking up the rest of your allotted funds.
This functionality works to group campaigns together, setting a budgetary limit for each. While some advertisers choose to set their budgets for each individual campaign, bunching them together can have many positive benefits.
However, Portfolios does not allow users to set their own daily or monthly spending caps. As a result, to avoid going over budget, you’ll need to readjust the date frequently.
Portfolios, therefore, work particularly well just for campaigns with a limited run time, such as advertising a new product or launching a new item onto the marketplace. For these kinds of activities, this aspect of Amazon can be immensely useful.
We recommend using the function in conjunction with special promotional days on the Amazon platform, such as Cyber Monday, Black Friday or Prime Day.
Be sure to plan in advance to promote specific products you’re eager to sell during these time periods.
∙ Amazon attribution
This Amazon tool is rarely discussed, but many have suggested the tool has only limited capabilities, particularly when compared to Facebook attribution.
Amazon attribution is designed to provide measurements on the impact of all your advertising activities, including everything from display ads to search, video, email and more.
Attribution looks at how your customers find your products, analysing their research process right up to the point of sale. Amazon Attribution is still in the beta stage, so it is not yet available to vendors outside of the US (with some additional availability in UK).
Brands who want to give it a try have to sign up and request access. Agency partners can also sign up on the behalf of the brand they represent, using just a few key pieces of data to identify themselves.
It is likely there will be further updates to this tool within the next year or so, so you may wish to wait until then to assess the progress Amazon has made.
If you’re eager to see whether the tool is right for you and your strategy now, then it is worth trying – but be aware of its potential limitations, especially at this early stage.
∙ Measuring Sponsored Brand performance
It is currently not possible to measure which products were sold using Sponsored Brands campaigns. This will obviously be something of a deterrent for advertisers who want to be able to keep track of all their activities on Amazon.
Sponsored Brands allow you to advertise no more than three products on each page, and it is an unfortunate limitation that Amazon does not currently also permit performance to be broken down any further than per page.
Until this aspect of Amazon advertising is improved, it is best to take an experimental approach and test which combinations produce the most sales.
∙ Dynamic bidding
Dynamic bidding was added for Sponsored Products on Amazon during early 2019. The feature provides two options for advertisers eager to get the most from this tool.
Firstly, you can choose to bid low, or you can bid a combination of high and low depending on your selected modifications you are making.
The feature is particularly useful for those with a large budget, who are eager to experiment with one of the newer tools available on the Amazon advertising platform.
For more modest budgets, we recommend sticking to simply bidding down, particularly until you have got to grips with the tool itself and its capabilities. This will prevent overspend, which could prove devastating to your Amazon advertising strategy.
∙ Keyword Targeting (Sponsored Products)
Amazon has added product targeting to its automated adaptation of Sponsored Products. This will likely ensure users take part in more automated keyword targeting, but there are plenty of ways you can glean great value from Amazon’s ad platform without simply letting automation take over.
Instead, we recommend adopting a blended approach, using both automated and manual bidding. You can begin by manually choosing keywords which are effective for your brand, before using the automated keyword targeting to enhance your advertising and prevent any glaring omissions.
This capability can also be used to find new keywords you might not have thought of previously, and will ultimately prove complementary to your manual campaign activities.
Remember to continuously adapt your keyword targeting as a result of the insights gathered, adapting your targeting using the same process as before. Using this method will likely prove more time-consuming than a purely automated approach, but it is worth the extra effort for the positive results.
This is the way to ensure keyword targeting success using the advertising capabilities currently available on Amazon.
∙ Accelerated delivery
At present, Amazon offers accelerated delivery as its default delivery mode for advertising activities. To simplify this term, what it means is that your daily budget will be spent as quickly as possible.
For advertisers themselves, this is not a great way for campaigns to be organised, as performance may differ during different times of the day – yet you could already have spent all of the day’s budget.
There are few ways to get around this, but you could look into external solutions to alter the delivery mode to suit your own Amazon advertising needs.
Amazon currently only allows reporting up to 90 days. This can (and probably will) be improved up, to provide sellers with lifetime data relating to their accounts.
However, until there are more updates, we recommend finding a way to work around the current limitations of Amazon reporting. There are a few ways to approach this problem.
One is to simply stay on top of your reporting by downloading reports within this time-frame and filing them away for future reference and cross-referencing. Whilst it is not ideal, this does provide a way for you to ensure no data is lost which could be needed later on.
Alternatively, you can find third-party reporting software which suits your needs, creating custom reports of your own. Whichever of these approaches you adopt, remember to check whether Amazon has added more functionality to its reporting on a regular basis, as you may be able to make the switch.
Since 2018, there have already been a number of major changes to the Amazon advertising platform. We’ll now look at some of these changes, to demonstrate how crucial it is to remain on top of new updates:
∙ Greater options
There are many more options for sellers than were offered simply last year, giving more scope to even the most ambitious of bidding strategies and advertising plans.
Everything from ad inventory to reporting has been given a worthwhile boost, and while this is all sure to be reinvigorated further, for now there’s lots to get involved with which is sure to keep advertisers and brands happy.
∙ More flexibility for automated bids
Amazon has also begun to offer more options for automated bidding. While the company is still far behind Google in this respect, the functionality itself has undergone some serious improvements since it was first added as an option for Amazon sellers.
Automated bidding now includes adjustments to both product targeting and keywords, with optimisations designed around conversion rates. Amazon adjusts bids automatically, responding to the parameters which have been chosen by each user.
∙ Enhanced inventory for Sponsored Brands
The inventory available for Sponsored Brands has been greatly enhanced since 2018, which is likely to mean paid ads begin to dominate over organic. In turn, this will lead to greater competition for this particular part of Amazon Advertising.
∙ Flexible campaign budgets
The Portfolio function has some similarities to Google Ads’ Shared Budgets, and it represents a serious improvement for the Amazon Advertising platform.
The feature allows budgets to be divided among numerous different campaigns, instead of (as before) requiring that budgets are each assigned to an individual campaign, with no flexibility.
Adding this feature will help advertisers adjust multiple campaigns similarity, and could prove particularly useful for agencies which handle several client accounts.
It is also a good sign that Amazon is responding to the true needs of its advertising community, and bodes well for future adjustments and updates.
To make the most of the Amazon advertising platform, you need to keep on top of all of the updates the company makes. The rapid growth of Amazon advertising is partly down to this commitment to continual improvement, and feedback from sellers and advertisers.
While further changes are inevitable, they shouldn’t prevent you from getting started with a solid Amazon advertising strategy and as marketers, we must learn to use these changes to our advantage. Keep aware of new developments, and learn how to prioritise each change by its importance to your own activities.
Once you’ve developed a strong strategy on Amazon, you’ll be in a great position to incorporate any changes which are valid a little further down the line.