3 Amazon Marketing Services Ad Types: A Comparison Guide
by Matt Ellis
Headline Search ads. Sponsored ads. Product Display ads. Each has its own appearance, screen placement, and budget; its own strengths and weaknesses; its own strategic advantage. When initiating an Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) campaign, it’s not as easy as spending a little bit on everything. You have to choose the AMS ad types that best suit your individual needs.
In this article, I'll explain the 3 types of AMS ads side-by-side so you can discover which ones to incorporate into your campaigns, and how much to invest in them. Let’s get started…
Headline Search Ads
The Headline Search ad is a good standard to start with. This robust and conveniently flexible ad shows off multiple products at the same time and allows you to customize both the ad copy and click destination. However, its performance in the field is limited.
Sponsored Product Ads
For hands-on, DIY marketers who have done their homework, Sponsored Product ads could skyrocket sales. But it requires some skill and technique to make the most of it, on top of the competitive bidding fee.
Third Party (3P) Sellers
While only vendors can use the majority of AMS services, 3P sellers can take advantage of Sponsored Product Ads. Amazon changed its policy in January 2016 to allow 3P merchants to use this type of ad, although the other two types are still exclusive. (Update 8/4/17: Amazon recently made Headline Search ads available for brand registered 3P sellers.)
It works much in the same way for 3P sellers, with a choice between automatic and manual targeting, a daily payment cap and periodic Search Term reports. All the benefits remain the same, and according to Amazon themselves, Sponsored Product Ads have the best return on investment out of the three types.
Product Display Ads
Product Display ads are in a whole separate league from the first two. They follow different targeting parameters and appear on different pages, making them particularly useful in complementing greater advertising campaigns or providing foundation for specialty ones.
No matter which ad type you decide, you want to make sure it gels with your strategy. You can even build an entirely new strategy based on the unique properties of each ad.
Do you have any results with different AMS ad types? Good or bad? I’d like to hear about them, so please share your thoughts below.
Originally published on July 18, 2017, updated August 7, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.