Amazon’s Sponsored Ads platform is growing in popularity as a cost-effective and robust advertising option for sellers on Amazon’s global e-commerce website. As Amazon continues to dominate the online shopping arena, it’s no wonder more and more sellers are drawn to finding out how to get to grips with this new advertising tool. Research by Kenshoo last year found that Amazon actually outperforms Google in some stages of the purchase journey for consumers and is undoubtedly muscling in on search engine territory for product discovery.

With this growth, Amazon has set about updating its Sponsored Ads platform and is overhauling a number of options and functions. This article will take a closer look at Amazon Sponsored Ads and what the new update means for those currently using Sponsored Ads to move more products.

Exploring Amazon’s Advertising Platform

Amazon’s popular and growing advertising platform is an easy way for sellers to get their products seen by more relevant customers browsing for items just like theirs. Whilst Amazon is established as one of the world’s largest and most popular marketplaces, the advertising tools continue to evolve. In fact, it is only now gaining traction as an effective and targeted means of showcasing products, rather than simply waiting for customers to discover a traditional listing. Savvy sellers know that succeeding in e-commerce takes much more than luck – and Amazon is more than happy to help their sellers and potential buyers find one another.

Using Amazon’s seller tools in an advertising context promises to connect you to a world of new buyers, as well as boosting product sales, driving off-Amazon traffic via search engines, and increase the reach of your store. Millions of people currently use Amazon to find their perfect product – and with a little clever advertising know-how, those same buyers could soon be headed for your online store.

How Do I Advertise on Amazon?

Amazon’s advertising options are currently summarised as Amazon Marketing Services and Sponsored Products. The former is more ‘open’ than the latter and therefore requires far fewer criteria to participate and start advertising. Sponsored Products is a little less inclusive but certainly effective. Both options can be extremely cost-effective compared to other advertising platforms.

These are the steps to set up an Amazon advertising campaign:

  1. Click “Create Campaign”
  2. Name your Campaign
  3. Set your Daily Campaign Budget
  4. Choose your Start Date for the Campaign (today is fine)
  5. Select your targeting type. (Auto = Amazon determines which customer searches serve your Ads. Manual = you control the Keywords that display the Ad for your product)
  6. Continue to the next step
  7. Name your Ad Group
  8. Select the Product/s to be associated with this Ad Group.
  9. Select your default bid.
  10. Save and Finish

What are Headline Search Ads?

Headline Search Ads are there to empower sellers who want to get more from the Amazon Advertising platform. As a part of Amazon’s existing Sponsored Ads capability, they provide an important way to get your products seen by people likely to make a sale. Effectively, they promote your brand and selected products within relevant Amazon search results. This format is proving popular with sellers on Amazon’s platform – and has a track record of effectiveness when it comes to driving shoppers to the appropriate seller pages or your Amazon store.

How Do I Use Headline Search Ads?

This type of pay-per-click ad is available only to customers registered as professional sellers on Amazon. To qualify, you must also be enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry and already use Sponsored Products.

The Amazon Brand Registry protects your brand on the Amazon platform, ensuring quality is maintained and helps to make Amazon a more trusted marketplace for customers around the globe. Registering also ensures you gain access to powerful tools for advertising and managing your branding and sales, as well as giving you greater authority over your listings and brand name. It also reduces instances of violations or inaccurate representations of your company via the Amazon platform.

Getting the most from your Headline Search Ads requires a clear understanding of how important these banner-style adverts are to being noticed on Amazon. As such an immensely popular seller platform, anything you can do as a seller to cut through the competition is valuable – and this variety of advert is unsurprisingly one of the most popular for doing just that. For a long time, they have only been available at the top of the page in one long banner – but the latest round of updates have changed all that…

New Advert Placements

Online advertisers know that online ads are only effective if they’re placed in an appropriate location on the page, and the latest updates to Amazon Sponsored Ads have tackled this problem deftly. As well as offering placement above existing search results, the updates in Headline Search Ads now offer even more comprehensive visibility to customers. Not only do they show on the left side of the page, but also at the bottom of the page.

This provides advertisers with more ways of reaching, targeting and engaging with their customers during the shopping experience on Amazon. By tapping into the search habits of the customer, Amazon’s update enables a more effective means of displaying these adverts for their respective audiences, and for sellers who are dedicated to making the most of their usage of Sponsored Ads, this is great news. The new placements also come with a streamlined method of previewing the ad across all these new options.

How to adopt the new placements:

  • During the ad creation process, users simply need to head to Campaign Manager and preview the advert to see exactly how it will appear on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Previewing the ads is a great way of ensuring they look as you’ve hoped before getting the adverts live – and will enable you to make any additional changes to the location or content of the ad prior to broadcasting it to potential customers.

Updated Bidding Options

Alongside the new placements, Amazon has also added the capacity to manage bids across all placements, or choose one of two options:

Automated bids

  • Choosing automated bids means Amazon will optimise the new placements for the best means of improving conversions. In simple terminology, this means your potential customers will be more likely to see the ad in a relevant place, and in other great news – automated bidding will never increase your bid, so you can choose this option with confidence.

Manual bids

  • For those who have more confidence and experience using Amazon’s advertising platform, manual bids could be the right choice. This option allows users to decide how they want to change bids for the new placement system, including increasing or decreasing by specific percentages. As with all manual options on an advertising platform, it’s best to steer clear of this until you are more adept at handling the Amazon seller platform.

Reports Get an Upgrade

New reporting options for Amazon advertisers have also been incorporated with this latest update. The clearer, more useful reports gives advertisers more options for monitoring their ad performance and provide more useful, manageable data for the optimisation of ongoing ad campaigns. All reports can be accessed and downloaded by sellers by clicking Advertising Reports in the Reports tab once logged in to Seller Central.

The new reporting options are comprised of:

Campaign placement reports

  • These allow you to check how your ads are performing at different placement levels. The reports are particularly useful when it comes to determining pricing and budgeting strategy to suit changing needs and demand.

Keyword placement reports

  • These reports provide key insight into sales and performance metrics for all keywords across placement groups, assuming the campaign has received at least one impression. From this data, advertisers can perform keyword research and keyword management, leading to a more refined, optimised keyword strategy, as well as enabling bid adjustments for better ROI.

Campaign reports

  • Campaign reports provide key insight into your sales, budget and performance metrics across all Amazon ad campaigns. Not only is this extremely helpful information to have for your records, but the data can also be used to optimise future campaigns and help you build on your existing activity to drive up sales or better meet KPIs.

Optimising your Headline Search Ads

There are other ways to help ensure your Headline Search Ads are at peak performance. First, really explore how this format works in practice, to make sure you have chosen the right keywords in your ads and have the best possible text.

However impressive the advert may look, if it’s not hitting the right market, then ultimately all your efforts are wasted – this can be avoided with clever strategic thinking and keyword research.

Next, be sure to research the traffic for your search terms – each keyword will provide you with indicators of how much traffic you can expect to see for your selected keywords, based on predicted impressions. The auction-style methodology behind much of Amazon’s Marketing Services means you must adopt a competitive pricing strategy to get ahead and see success. Select keywords which suit your budget, and don’t be afraid to reassess if things don’t initially go to plan.

These updates are designed to help make life easier and advertising more effective for Amazon advertisers. To get started on the Amazon Advertising platform, head to Seller Central.