Originally published on October 15, 2019, updated January 16, 2020
It has been a whirlwind year for Amazon Advertising. The year began with Amazon rebranding their advertising department and some restructuring of internal teams. Throughout the year Amazon has introduced new advertising products and features that have kept all of us on our toes. Here is a quick recap of many of the new advertising opportunities launched this year.
Most sellers never realized that Amazon has always used dynamic bidding, which they call “down only.” This is where they lower your bids in real time if it’s less likely to convert into a sale. Earlier this year they gave sellers the option to leave bids at the down only default or change it to an up/down or fixed bid strategy. Up/down will increase or decrease bids based on the likelihood to convert. Fixed bid will leave your bids alone. After experimenting with these options, we generally recommend keeping bidding strategy at down only. Up/down may give you higher conversion rates, but will also have an increased cost per click and ACoS.
Automatic campaigns allow Amazon to place ads across search and product pages without you specifying the targeting. It’s a great way to let Amazon do keyword research for you, but can be an inefficient campaign with little control as to where your ad shows up. Automatic campaigns now have what’s called targeting groups, allowing sellers to set different bids for Close Match, Loose Match, Substitutes and Complements. Sellers can optimize based on how these segments perform. If your automatic campaigns are more than 1-2 years old, you should consider launching them with these new targeting groups.
One of Amazon’s newest advertising features, and a pretty exciting one, is product targeting. Previously only available to vendors in the Product Display Ads, product targeting allows sellers to target specific ASINs and even entire subcategories. This is a great opportunity to expand your presence beyond just bidding on keywords. Sellers can target specific ASINs, including competitors, complementary products and even their own ASINs to cross sell or as a defensive strategy. A great place to look for ideas is in your search term report for existing automatic campaigns, you’ll find a list of ASINs that Amazon has already been targeting for you and you can see what works and what doesn’t.
Sub-categories can also be targeted, although I recommend you use the available filters to narrow these down. You can filter targeting by product review (# of stars), price, fulfillment method and even target specific brands.
A small update to Sponsored Brand ads is the option to let Amazon choose your ad image based on what is on your landing page and what is most likely to convert. We are still testing this and recommend that sellers do the same. In theory, letting Amazon leverage its data to help optimize your advertising can help, but sometimes it seems to work in Amazon’s favor, not the seller. Run some A/B testing and test this feature against a campaign where you pick the items and see what works best for you.
Amazon is continuing to launch more ad products and features and there are several currently in beta. These are not available in all seller accounts, but if you see it in yours I encourage you to do some testing.
Currently mobile placement only. Instead of showing your product image or brand logo alongside your ad copy, the custom image shows an image more prominently with your ad copy in smaller font and less conspicuous. You can upload lifestyle or other images to try to stand out from the crowd and get that extra click. Infographics or other copy are not allowed in the image.
Currently in a very limited beta for sellers, Amazon is now testing video ads. This is a really exciting opportunity that I expect will take off next year once it the kinks are worked out and it comes out of beta. While you are waiting for this new campaign type, start working on short, catchy product videos that can play without sound. Video is a great way to stand out from the crowd and catch the attention of shoppers.
Just a few weeks old, the Storefront Spotlight beta is also part of Sponsored Brand ads and underscores the attention that Amazon is giving to brands and storefront. Instead of selecting a list of products to promote, you select three pages from your Storefront and traffic is sent to the storefront page instead of the product page when they click on one of the featured products. You can select which images you want to show in the as well as a title of the storefront page. This is a great way to showcase more of your products within your brand, but make sure your storefront pages are segmented clearly and are not too broad.
Amazon recently announced that Sponsored Display was replacing Product Display ads, although this ad type is quite a bit different. Sponsored Display is almost an extension of Amazon’s DSP platform where sellers and brands can re-target customers who have viewed their product pages but left without buying. There are a few different targeting options being tested and all ads are served outside of Amazon:
1. customers who viewed “the detail pages of your advertised products or similar products”
2. shoppers who showed interest in related categories
3. customers who have searched for specific keywords
4. those that have previously purchased your product
Once Amazon rolls Sponsored Display out to all sellers, this will be a great opportunity to expand your reach outside the Amazon platform and re-target both browsers and previous customers.
These are just some of the improvements Amazon made. We also saw improvements to the Campaign Manager interface, updates to reporting and bulk files. It was great to see the number and variety of new ad types and features rolled out this year and is yet another sign that Amazon is fully invested in growing it’s advertising platform and creating more opportunities for sellers to increase their reach and brand presence. I fully expect that next year will be more of the same and we’ll continue to see improvements to Amazon’s ad platform. Sellers that continue to jump on these new opportunities and learn how to leverage them will have the advantage over those who are slower to adapt. Be watching for more improvements and be prepared to test each new feature as they roll out to find out what works and doesn’t work for your brand.
Originally published on October 15, 2019, updated January 16, 2020
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.