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October 12, 2020

The Complete Beginners Guide to Amazon Advertising

Amazon Advertising, or Amazon Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, is becoming a significant threat to both Facebook and Google's monopoly on the PPC market share. Consumers of all sorts use Amazon to check and compare prices, find new products, begin product searches, and make immediate purchases. Amazon itself claims that 76% of its shoppers use the search bar to find an item, opening the door to PPC advertising. This allows sellers and brands to reach a wide range of consumers while they shop, which means they are often already in the buying phase of the consumer journey.

With over 300 million active customer accounts, leveraging this powerful advertising channel is undeniably integral to any e-commerce campaign. Not to mention, Amazon is only getting bigger. Amazon Advertising positions your brand ahead of the competition, and your business should be taking full advantage of this platform. Below, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to further your knowledge and understanding of Amazon Advertising tools, products, and opportunities to equip your brand with the necessary knowledge to maximize its reach and boost results.

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What Is Amazon Advertising?

Digital advertising is becoming increasingly innovative, continuously providing new methods for customers to discover and engage with your brand or buy your products and services. Amazon Advertising is yet another digital marketing opportunity for businesses, offering flexible and customizable tools with interactive elements, simple execution, and real-time analytics and insights.

One of the most common questions in digital advertising today: is advertising on Amazon worth it? The short answer is yes, definitely. Amazon already has the visitors and customer base, and these consumers are hanging out with a significantly higher buyer intent than any other platform. Bloomreach estimates that 55% of consumers are already looking to make a purchase when they begin their search on Amazon.

Amazon Advertising can be broken down into these services or products.

With a full arsenal of tools and products for you to use, Amazon Advertising can appear intimidating at first. We will cover them all in detail, including the concepts and inner workings of Amazon marketing in general. However, let’s begin with the three sponsored PPC formats.

Three Amazon PPC Advertising Types

Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display are Amazon’s three main PPC advertising formats. While Sponsored Products is the most popular, they all share distinct advantages depending on the advertising campaign and several other factors.

The most widely used PPC type, Sponsored Products, offers a self-service, cost-per-click (CPC) advertising strategy for individual product listings. These ads will appear in every step of the customer journey, in both shopping results and on product detail pages, and they use targeted keywords to promote a specific product. Sponsored Products ads are optimal to gain visibility, increase direct sales, control advertising costs with CPC ads, and measure advertising success.

Sponsored Brands, also referred to as “headline search ads,” are mainly aimed at top-of-the-funnel customers, just beginning their Amazon search journey. Also a self-service, CPC-based tool, these ads appear above the search results, to the left of search results, or below search results and highlight your brand specifically with a custom headline, brand logo, and multiple products. Sponsored Brands ads are an effective tool to gain visibility, boost sales, connect shoppers to your products or store, and create a branded shopping experience.

Sponsored Display is a self-service, CPC ad tool that uses automatically generated display ads to target certain audiences based on relevant shopping behavior both on and off Amazon. These ads appear on Amazon product detail pages or retarget consumers on other webpages with specific interests or viewing history. Sponsored Display is best used to sway customers away from competitor pages or capture interest by displaying a related product or service. Amazon claims that over 64% of shoppers use more than one channel to make a purchase, so increasing your presence with display ads can often prove extremely valuable.

More Amazon Advertising Products

Amazon Live

Amazon Live is a livestream advertising tool that allows brands to interactively engage with consumers in real time. By using the Amazon Live Creator app, you can further brand awareness, showcase your products or services with live demonstrations, increase engagement, and boost sales. These livestreams appear in prominent places across the Amazon platform and prove extremely valuable on popular shopping holidays or for seasonal events.

Audio Ads (beta)

Amazon Audio Ads provide a means of reaching consumers when they’re away from the screen. These audio ads are between 10 and 30 seconds long, and surface periodically between songs on Amazon Music and Alexa-enabled products such as Echo and Fire TV, and even on desktop and mobile devices. Businesses can use Audio Ads to more fully promote their brand, products, or services, as a majority of listeners still rely on free, ad-supported music platforms as opposed to subscription-based streaming.  

Posts (beta)

Amazon Posts offers an innovative new method to drive brand and product awareness as shoppers browse through relevant categories on Amazon. Posts allows for the curation of images to specifically highlight your brand lifestyle, and enables consumers to click on your pictures and explore your feed. These images essentially act as an “Amazon-based Instagram,” allowing you to share brand content for free on detail pages, related-product feeds, and relevant product-based feeds.  


Amazon Stores are free, multi-page destinations for your brand, dedicated to all of the products and services in your portfolio. Your brand store is an excellent tool for businesses with several products to build brand awareness on Amazon, interpret consumer behaviors, and adjust campaigns based on Amazon’s insights.

Video Ads

Amazon Video Ads are an engaging form of advertising content that expand your reach across Amazon subsidiary sites, such as IMDb, or on devices like Fire TV. These ads have a high chance of reaching relevant audiences by only playing when in view. Additionally, Video Ads can be used to complement Display Ads and inspire immediate action, securing the most bang for your buck.  

Custom Ads

Custom Ads with Amazon offer a tailored advertising experience via help from Amazon ad consultants. Amazon’s expert team works with brands to create a comprehensive ad campaign to drive brand awareness using back-end insights and creative.

Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

Amazon DSP is a product platform that allows businesses to “programmatically buy display, video, and audio ads at scale.” Brands use Amazon DSP to automate the buying and selling of digital advertising to reach specific audiences, such as repeat visitors; build a metrics-based advertising strategy; or drive brand awareness and sales.

Amazon Attribution

Amazon Attribution is a product specially designed to measure how non-Amazon advertising collateral and media perform on Amazon. Advertisers can best use Amazon Attribution to provide uniform insights if they are executing advertising campaigns through several other mediums. This product analyzes the most effective ad channels, optimizes and adjusts campaigns accordingly, and helps brands discover which content drives results.

Determining An Amazon Advertising Strategy

If you are unsure where to begin with an advertising strategy on Amazon, you are not alone. Many brands lack experience with a platform like Amazon’s, as user friendly as it is. When you decide to start advertising on Amazon, it’s important to set specific goals for your brand and determine specific objectives. This will help you hone in on the optimal advertising strategy for your brand.

Advertising Goal: Awareness

Are you looking to develop or expand your brand awareness? Some brands are simply looking to become a part of the conversation in a given market. If your business is interested in maximizing its reach and impressions, Sponsored Display ads might be an excellent choice.

Advertising Goal: Conversion

Are you looking to drive sales by getting your products and services in front of a more targeted audience? By engaging with high-intent shoppers, your brand may be able to improve your return on ad spending and cost of sales. Sponsored Products ads could do the trick.

Advertising Goal: Loyalty

Are you looking to increase customer loyalty and retention? Some brands could benefit most from convincing existing customers to make repeat purchases, make referrals, or subscribe to recurring services. If this is the case for your brand, your business might want to try creating an Amazon Store, for instance.

Amazon Keyword Bidding

Much of Amazon Advertising revolves around keywords. While many advertisers are familiar with keywords and how they work in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), familiarizing yourself with Amazon Keyword Bidding is imperative if your brand is going to take advantage of Amazon ads.

Amazon Keyword Bidding is a PPC advertising method that charges the seller on a per-click basis. The bidding algorithm that Amazon uses determines which ads appear for shoppers based on a bidding war between sellers. In order for your product or service to show up for a relevant search, you must outbid competitors who are interested in and targeting similar keywords. For example, if you sell running shoes, you will want to target keywords such as “running shoes,” “sneakers,” “shoes,” and so on. Amazon Keyword Bidding is what’s called a “second price auction,” which means that the seller who bids the highest wins the auction and gets their ad to show, but they only are charged the amount of the next highest bid.

For this reason, tracking and analyzing keyword bidding performance is integral to success when advertising on Amazon as the data is always changing.

Manual and Automatic Campaigns

Amazon offers both manual and automatic campaign options. These different options refer to the way in which the customization is handled, either manually by the brand or business, or automatically, by Amazon’s algorithms.
Manual campaigns are ideal for brands that are more experienced with PPC advertising, and for those that have the time and wherewithal to set it up and continually optimize. Bidding manually allows for significantly more precise targeting, as it is easier to effectively reduce bids or pause low-performing keywords. In a manual campaign, Amazon provides three different types of keyword targeting: Exact, Phrase, and Broad. These keyword targeting match types align shoppers’ queries with relevant, correlating ads.

Keyword Match Types

  • Exact: search terms must match your chosen keyword word for word, including the same order and components.
  • Phrase: search terms must contain the same components as your chosen keyword in the same order, but can include different words before or after.
  • Broad: search terms must contain all components of your chosen keyword in any order, and can include additional words.

Automatic campaigns are simple and more optimal for beginners due to their easy setup. With this style campaign, your brand can select their budget and allow Amazon to automatically find keywords for you. Amazon’s algorithms continuously collect data and apply it to future campaigns by tracking clicks, spending, and conversions over time. While automatic campaigns give brands less control overall, they can be effective for the right business with an ideal audience.

Tips to Optimize Amazon Ads

Specific, Compelling Ad Copy

Standing out is critical to success in the digital marketing world. Ad copy for Amazon ads should be compelling, witty, and original. Create a clear sense of urgency and call attention to special discounts or specific features, dimensions, or accessories. A lucrative Amazon ad campaign must differentiate itself from the thousands of other similar products in the pool.

Create Organized Campaigns

Staying organized is imperative to any advertising campaign, but especially when it comes to Amazon ads. Structure your Amazon ad campaigns by the associated product category, and then create subgroups to get more specific. You can then choose your relevant keywords based on each subgroup, and then craft your sponsored ads based on each list of keywords. This level of organization makes results easy to track, allowing you to most effectively tailor your campaign as needed.

Use Well-Known Competitor Keywords

Including some of the same keywords your competitors target is a simple but effective tactic. You may consider bidding on extremely popular branded keywords linked to similar products. For example, if you’re selling shoes, you might bid on phrases such as “Nike running shoes.” This can create significant exposure from a massive consumer audience that may not have otherwise seen your product.

Try All Three PPC Ad Types

Sponsored Products ads may be the most widely used, but they might not be the best strategy for certain brands, depending on the products or services and the target audience. Perhaps Sponsored Brands ads might deliver a more loyal consumer base than the other types. It’s important to experiment with all three PPC ad formats to find the best combination of tactics.

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What Is Sellerly?

Sellerly is a powerful suite for optimizing and managing listing performance and pinpointing sales growth points. Sellerly consists of four tools focused on boosting visibility, growing traffic, and improving conversions:

  • Listing Protection is an automated monitoring system that helps you to keep watch on each of your Amazon listing visibility and Amazon rankings, automate price and Buy Box monitoring, while sending listing hijacking and suppression alerts.
  • Traffic Insights is an advanced analytics tool that helps to upscale your marketing strategy and assess your market and audience potential by benchmarking other Amazon listings’ traffic channels and audience counts and uncovering growth points and new high-impact traffic sources.
  • The Split Testing tool helps you to boost listing performance and maximize sales by running split tests for all Amazon listings - you can change and analyze the efficiency of every listing element from wording to visuals to pricing (the tool is available to free users – try here).
  • Listing Quality Check analyzes the compliance of your listings with Amazon requirements and style guides while providing data-driven recommendations for listing optimization to enhance your visibility and increase conversions.
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