Video is fast becoming one of the most powerful advertising tools available today. Why? Because it’s incredibly effective at engaging buyers and influencing customer behaviour. In fact, 90% of shoppers say video has helped them on their journey, particularly when they’re in the challenging decision stage of the sales funnel.
This means that businesses must be incorporating video into their advertising efforts. And if you’re selling on Amazon already – or thinking of using the platform for e-commerce – then the easiest way to do that is to use Sponsored Brands Video Ads.
What are Amazon Sponsored Brands Video Ads?
Sponsored Brands Video Ads are an innovative ad format available through Amazon’s Sponsored Brands campaigns, which can be displayed on both desktop and mobile. When using this format, sellers can embed their own video content directly into the search results pages (SERPs) to engage with Amazon customers.
When a user conducts a search on Amazon, they are directed to a list of products that have been determined by the algorithm to be the most relevant for that search. Typically, these results are presented as an image, accompanied by a title. This is also exactly how Sponsored Products ads are displayed to users. They look almost exactly the same as organic results, differentiated by a small ‘Sponsored’ tag.
However, for sellers using Sponsored Brands Video ads, their ads are displayed differently; they’re still in the SERPs result list, but the image is replaced with video. The video remains paused – so it appears as an image – until the user scrolls to a point where that particular product takes up half of the results page, or more. At this point, the video begins to play automatically, pausing again as the user scrolls past.
How They Work
Sponsored Brands Video Ads work by using:
A PPC model
Video ads are certainly not new to Amazon. However, Sponsored Brands Video Ads are the first to use the same simple, self-service pay per click (PPC) model that powers Sponsored Products ads and Sponsored Brands ads. Before the launch of Sponsored Brands Video, the only way to leverage the power of video was through Amazon Video Ads which required a costly Amazon managed advertising account.
When launching a campaign, sellers typically have the option of selecting automatic targeting – where Amazon decides where and when to display an ad – or manual targeting, which puts the seller in control. However, Sponsored Brands Video Ads work with manual targeting only. This means there’s a little more effort involved, but it also gives you peace of mind your videos are showing up in the best and most targeted of places.
Single ad groups
Sellers can usually create campaigns with multiple ad groups, depending on whether they want to target broad, exact, or phrase match keywords. But Sponsored Brands Video Ads work with single ad groups only. There’s an upside and downside to this. The downside? More effort is required to create multiple campaigns for different groups. The upside? You know your full budget is flowing into that ad group.
In the Amazon SERPs, you’ll usually see a number of Sponsored Products ads on each page. However, Sponsored Brands Video Ads work with limited placements, so – for the moment, at least – there will only ever be one video add per SERP. As the only video ad on the page, you know you’ll stand out. But it also means you’ll need to compete harder to grab that one spot, so optimising your campaign is essential.
Who Should Use Them + Eligibility
Amazon suggests that the majority of their users would rather learn about a product by watching a video than reading a description. With statistics like that, it’s clear that any seller wanting to elevate their Amazon sales results should be considering video.
There’s a very, very low barrier to entry, too. Unlike Amazon Video Ads which require a managed advertising account, Sponsored Brand Video is a self-service ad type, just the same as Sponsored Products or Sponsored Brands. This means that, as long as you’re enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry programme, you can use video.
The only factor to be aware of is that there are some restrictions surrounding what type of products can and can’t be advertised in this way. Currently, Amazon doesn’t permit the use of Sponsored Brands Video Ads for products in ‘gated’ categories, and restricted items such as adult products. Only new products can be advertised through video, too, not used products or refurbished products.
Are They Worth the Investment?
A number of brands have reported seeing impressive results from Sponsored Brands Video Ads. On average, Amazon estimates that sellers using video for the first time see sales increase by 21% in the next month, compared to those not using video.
There are a few case studies that you may wish to check out to see how brands have used Sponsored Brands Video Ads to maximise their impact and generate better outcomes. One is a case study for a consumer electronics company who grew their return on advertising spend (RoAS) threefold from embracing video. Another is a case study for Pringles, who saw 200% higher click through rates and a 152% higher RoAS when incorporating Sponsored Brands Video into their strategy.
However, every business is different. Just because a particular method has worked for one business doesn’t mean it will work for you. That’s why it’s so important to track and monitor your efforts, making sure you’re getting back more than you put in.
Fortunately, Amazon makes tracking your campaign easy.
Within your campaign settings, you’ll find built-in reporting functionality that can help you to keep a close eye on how your video ads are performing over a given period.
There are three main types of reports available:
1. Campaign report
This shows you how all your different campaign types are reporting, so you can see how Sponsored Brands Video is stacking up against any other campaigns you’re running. It allows you to allocate your budget to areas delivering the best results.
2. Keyword report
This shows you how your individual keywords are performing within your Sponsored Brands Video campaign. It allows you to make adjustments to how much you’re bidding on specific keywords, again helping you to manage your ad budget.
3. Search term report
This shows you which user search terms are resulting in a click through to your product. This can help you to refine your keyword strategy, eliminate those that aren’t generating bids, and drive more budget into the higher performing keywords.
How to Set Up Sponsored Brands Video Ads
Setting up Sponsored Brands Video Ads is probably a lot easier than you may think. Much of the initial setup is handled in the exact same way as setting up a standard Sponsored Brands ad, so if you have experience in this area, you should find it somewhat familiar. The big difference, of course, is the creation of the video.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to setting up a video ad campaign:
Step 1: Choose your campaign type
In Seller Central, you’ll be presented with three types of Sponsored campaign: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display. Here, you simply need to select ‘Sponsored Brands’, as Sponsored Brands Video comes under this category.
Step 2: Add in your details
In much the same way as any Sponsored Brands campaign, you’ll need to fill out some initial details. This includes the name of your campaign, how long you want your campaign to run for, and your maximum daily budget for your PPC bids.
Step 3: Select your ad type
It’s only here at step three that things start to look a little different. Rather than selecting ‘product collection’ or ‘store spotlight’, you’ll need to select the ‘video’ ad type. This will direct you to the Sponsored Brands Video feature where you can add video.
Step 4: Enter keywords
The final step before uploading your video is to enter your chosen keywords. As Sponsored Brands Video works with manual targeting only, it’s important that you conduct thorough keyword research to select the best performing keywords.
Step 5: Create & upload your video
Not creative? Don’t worry. Amazon offers a video builder that has customisable templates you can use. It automatically pulls down information from your listing – images, text, and so on – to generate a basic video that you can edit and publish.
Step 6: Adjust as needed
With Sponsored Brands Video you can make changes to live campaigns. This means that, if you want to add a new headline or logo to the video, you can do so without having to set up a new campaign, so you don’t lose all your performance history.
Requirements, Specs, and Dimensions
As Sponsored Brands Video Ads are a part of the Sponsored Brands campaign type, the same creative acceptance policies are used for both. If you’re already using Sponsored Brands, these policies shouldn’t come as any surprise to you. However, as there’s video involved here, rather than just text and images, there are a few additional requirements that sellers will need to abide by to use the ad type.
Video dimensions should be 1920 x 1080px, 1280 x 720px, or 3840 x 2160px, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The frame rate can be 23.976fps, 24fps, 25fps, 29.97fps, 29.98fps, or 30fps, and the minimum bit rate 1Mbps. Video codec can be H.264 or H.265.
Audio for the videos can be either stereo or mono. The main requirements here are that the bit rate must be a minimum 96kbps, and the sample rate must be a minimum 44.1KhZ. The accepted audio codec can be either PCM, AAC, or MP3.
If using text in your video, it must be legible, and sized at a minimum of 30 pts. And, while not strictly necessary, Amazon does recommend using a clear sans-serif font at a minimum of 80px. Where possible, screen text should be white, on a black box.
The requirements and specifications inform you of what you *must* do. However, simply ticking these boxes won’t help you create a powerful and effective video; it will just help you create a compliant video! Here are a few best practices that, while aren’t strictly mandatory, can help sellers to produce higher quality video ads:
Don’t rely on speech alone
Having speech in your video is fine. However, you must remember that the default setting is for videos to begin auto-playing without sound. Users must manually toggle the audio playback button to hear it. But many won’t. A video should be able to tell a brand story visually, without relying on speech. If you do opt to include speech, it’s always best to accompany that with captions that users can read as they go along.
Take a ‘product-first’ approach
Amazon’s research shows that videos which display the product within the first second typically perform better than those that introduce the product later on. So when creating your video, try to take a product-first approach that is built around the features and functions of what you’re trying to sell. By rooting your approach in your product, you’re giving yourself the best chance to promote that product.
Consider video duration
Officially, a Sponsored Brands Video can be anywhere from 6 seconds to 45 seconds in length. However, Amazon’s research shows that videos that are closer to the two extremes don’t perform as well. The optimal length, according to Amazon? Between 15 – 30 seconds. Many Amazon sellers find this isn’t a lot of time. To keep to an optimal video length, you may have to be selective in the information you share.
Always think about storytelling
Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. So your video should, too. In fact, the ending is one of the most important considerations. Why? Because Amazon video ads automatically loop, so it’s important to ensure you have something that marks the end of the content. You can’t, however, use a black or empty frame; this is prohibited by Amazon. Instead, consider adding an end card to your video.
Don’t forget your logo
Amazon allows you to add your logo into your video, so do it! It’s a fantastic chance to help raise awareness of your brand, rather than just your product. If possible, try to include your logo either at the start of the video, to introduce your brand, or at the end of the video, to remind viewers of who you are. You could include your logo as part of your call to action, or CTA, which is something every good ad should have.
Reasons a Sponsored Brands Video Ad Might Get Rejected
Failure to meet the audio, text and video best practise criteria may result in your video being rejected by Amazon. However there are a number of other reasons why a video may be rejected including:
- Incorrect file size: it should be under 500mb
- Incorrect file format: it should be either .mp4 or .mov
- Letterboxing: there can’t be any black bars along the sides
- Mention of the Amazon brand or Amazon-branded products
- Inclusion of customer reviews: feedback or star ratings are not permitted
- Incorrect language: the language of the Amazon region must be used
Tips for Using Video Ads Effectively
Best practices can help you create a video that converts. But a great video doesn’t automatically produce great results. It’s just one part of the process. Here are a few simple tips that can help you use Sponsored Brands Video campaigns in the best possible way, helping you to derive even more value from your advertising efforts:
Remember to write a good product description
When users click on a video ad in the Amazon SERPs, they are directed straight to the detail page for that item. Therefore, you need to make sure that the product detail page has something of value; something that encourages a conversion. Make sure your product description is informative and includes key selling points.
Optimise your listing
In the SERPs, your video ad will be featured alongside the same sort of information that accompanies a Sponsored Product ad: product title, star rating, price, review count, and so on. So, it’s important to make sure that all these things are optimised for best effect. They can make a difference to who watches your videos.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken
If you’re already using other advertising campaigns, then it makes sense to take what you’ve learned from your previous efforts and use them to shape how you approach Sponsored Brands Video. What campaign settings have been working? What targeting strategy has been working? Apply these to your new ad type.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
When you see just how much Sponsored Brands Video ads have helped other businesses, it’s tempting to drive all your budget into this one ad type. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Amazon’s research shows that businesses using video alongside Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands can boost sales by 10%.
Amazon’s online library has some excellent support articles that are designed to help you create videos and use this powerful ad type in the best possible way; in a way that can really help to enhance and maximise the customer experience. For more dedicated support, get in touch with us here at ClearAds. We’re here to help businesses like yours get the most possible value out of Amazon Advertising.