Originally published on February 20, 2020, updated May 13, 2020
Amazon Advertising had a busy year last year with lots of new features and new ad types rolled out to sellers. One of the most recent additions to the Advertising Campaign Manager is Amazon Sponsored Brands video ads, or SB+V. Released in a closed beta last fall, SB+V is now becoming available to more and more sellers. It was also previously limited to the mobile app, but Amazon just announced that it is now serving video ads on desktop.
As availability continues to grow, sellers need to be testing and refining their approach to this new ad type. I’ll go over some of the basics and a few tips we’ve learned as we’ve been testing this ad type at Egility.
SB+V is available only to brand registered sellers and since it is still in beta, it may not be available in every seller account just yet. To find out if your account is enabled, take the steps to create a new Sponsored Brand campaign and in the campaign builder, under Ad Type you’ll see Video as an option.
Unlike other Sponsored Brand ads, SB+V will only let you feature one ASIN, so keep that in mind when creating your video. After you choose your ASIN you’ll be able to upload the video. Amazon’s suggestions and requirements for video are as follows:
Keep your video brief and relevant. It will auto play, so make sure the first two seconds are highly engaging, and don't rely on sound to communicate your message. If you use text in your video, make sure it's legible.
After your video is uploaded, you can select keywords the same way you do for Sponsored Products and Brand ads. Keep these keywords highly relevant to your product so you don’t show up in unrelated searches.
After you create your campaign, the video will be reviewed by Amazon for compliance with their creative acceptance policies. To ensure your video is approved, follow all policies outlined. For example, do not refer to pricing, promotions, URLs, product review rating, or even quote a customer review. (Note that the ad policy says otherwise on review rating and quotes, but policies were originally written for DSP ads and we’ve had SB+V videos rejected that include them.)
Once your ads are live, customers browsing Amazon’s mobile app or, just recently, on their desktop for your keywords will see that ad at the bottom of search results. A summary of your product is shown alongside the video and when a customer clicks they are taken to the product page.
Initial results with SB+V have been very good. Depending on your category and whether or not competitors are already using this ad type, CPC (cost per click) could be extremely low, or very high. We’ve seen a wide range. What has been really notable is CTR (click-through-rate). CTR is normally in the 0.4% range for ads like Sponsored Products, while SB+V have consistently had a CTR of 1%, similar to headline ads, which is remarkable given the fact that headline ads are top of page and video is bottom of page. It will be interesting to see if this changes as desktop users are now being served ads. Conversion rates have been similar to other ad types.
One last tip on campaign creation: Be sure to identify your video ads with clear campaign names so you can measure and compare performance. We often include the product that is being promoted, a short description of the video (especially if we are testing multiple videos), and the word “video” or SB+V. That will let you filter campaigns quickly to see how these ads are performing.
A good SB+V ad starts with your video. It needs to be 15-30 seconds long and highly engaging, pulling the customer in within the first 2-3 seconds. Video will auto play with the sound off, so you need to make use of subtitles if there is a voice over. If there is no voice over, be sure to use captions and graphics to point out features and benefits of the product.
The product should be featured prominently and shown in the first couple seconds. You want the customer to immediately understand what is being advertised and what the features and benefits are. Since the SB+V ad only promotes one product, you should keep your video focused on just the single product.
Consider ending the video with a call to action such as buy now, shop now, etc. This will tell the customer what you want them to do next. Be sure to have your branding on display throughout the video so the customer will remember your name should they decide to shop later.
Lastly, do not skimp on your video. Invest wisely in a good videographer who has experience creating videos for advertising. If your budget allows for it, create 2-3 versions of an ad for the same product so you can A/B test and see what performs best.
After video, keywords are the next critical factor in a successful SB+V ad. Some of the mistakes we see sellers making are using too few or too many keywords in their campaigns. Too few words and you won’t get enough reach and will be leaving money on the table, too many and you may be trying to appeal to too broad of an audience and your conversion rate will drop.
As you choose your keywords, keep them highly relevant to the product. With an extremely high click through rate, you don’t want to waste your clicks and spend on people just curious but not actually in the market for your product. If you want to experiment on different sets of keywords, I would create separate campaigns to test them and keep the budget really low. Anything that works you can expand on and increase budget, and stop campaigns with the poor performers.
As for match type, I recommend limiting to exact and phrase. Broad match can get too broad and you risk bringing in unrelated traffic.
In setting and managing your bids, know what your break even bid is for your products. That is, at your typical conversion rate, sales price and gross margin, how many clicks does it take to get a sale and how much can you afford to spend per click before you start losing money? As tempting as it is to get aggressive on bids (especially if you are seeing low to no impressions), keep in mind that if you set bids too high, you’ll just be bleeding money.
If you have access to Amazon Sponsored Brands video ads, I recommend that you start testing them as soon as you can. Amazon is letting more and more sellers into the beta, and as they do competition (and bids) will start to increase. They are also rolling out more and more placements, so customers will start to see video ads in more places as they shop and browse. Video has been highly successful in other ad platforms like Facebook and early results on Amazon are promising, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
Originally published on February 20, 2020, updated May 13, 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.