What You Need to Know about Advertising on Amazon


Advertising on Amazon is gradually becoming a popular topic amongst e-commerce marketers as an alternative or an add-on to Google Shopping and Facebook Product Ads. In this article I would like to clarify how it works and what are the pros and cons of Amazon.

Amazon Advertising vs Google Shopping

First of all Amazon advertising as a comparison to Google Shopping is pretty much limited to the Amazon property, i.e. Amazon’s website. Whereas with solutions like Smart Shopping Campaigns advertisers can show their product ads across Google Search, Maps, Gmail and YouTube. Amazon advertising is available outside the main website, too, but not in such an integrated way.

On the other side statistics shows that many people (almost 50% of US consumers) go directly in Amazon to search for a product, instead of doing a Google search. From my experience Amazon’s search is still quite inferior compared to Google’s, especially when it comes to synonyms and similar products. Often I would do a search for an Amazon section on Google, just because I cannot find it on their massive website.

Amazon Seller vs Amazon Vendor

An Amazon Seller uses Amazon Seller Central interface to list their products and control their account. This allows them full control on the price, product image, keywords and descriptions.Using Fulfilled by Amazon(FBA) service entitles you to offer your product with fast delivery to Amazon Prime members, but comes at extra costs on to of the standard Amazon fee on all sales. If on top of this you pay for a Sponsored Product ad your profit margin becomes really tiny.

An Amazon vendor is a company which produces their products and ships from their warehouse. You can only become a vendor by invitation from Amazon. This enables you to automatically do Sponsored Brand ads and create a Store. However, Amazon controls your prices and may apply discounts and promotions at their ease, therefore reducing your profits.

Amazon vs Google Search

If you make a search for a product on Google and then the same on in Amazon you will be amazed. On Amazon your first result will be a sponsored product, then smething called Amazon’s Choice or Top Seller.  On Google you will see Google Shopping results on top, followed by search ads(some of which by the same advertisers who posted the Google Shopping ads) and the Amazon’s page is likely to be first in the organic results. This result is likely to take you to a much cheaper, organic Amazon result, compared by their sponsored one.

In other words, if you do a search on Google you are likely to find a better Amazon deal, plus bunch of other results from sellers which are not on Amazon. If you directly search Amazon you might bump into an overpriced sponsored product.

Amazon ad types

Amazon ad types are quite straightforward and a bit limited as options at the moment, but as their platforms grow and develop, this would change.

Sponsored Product Ad

This is the most popular type – the ads which appear in a line above the organic results on an Amazon search page with “sponsored” label. These are based on keyword targeting and contain of a headline, price, review, description and product picture. Similar to Google Shopping the product picture has to contain only the product on a white background, not leaving much space for brand differentiation. Once you click on the ad you will get to a product page, which however contains a line of more similar sponsored products at the bottom of the page  and another line of organic results below. In this case you pay per click, but you face already competition from other sellers on the landing page. With Google Shopping you choose your landing page. On Amazon you can only direct users to the page of your product on Amazon’s website.

Sponsored Product ads ad the simplest ad format on Amazon. They are triggered by search and based on keyoword targeting.

Sponsored Brands

The ad type which actually dominates Amazon’s search results is usually the Sponsored Brand type. This ad contains a logo/branded image and several products offered by the same seller. When you click on this banner you will get to a page which is only about this brand, so you are not distracted by any other offers from competitors. Targeting for Sponsored Brands is still keyword based, but the format allows more brand differentiation.

Sponsored Brand ad comes always on top of the Sponsored Product ads. Amazon vendors and sellers with a registered brand are qualified to have this space.

This ad type is not offered to all advertisers. To qualify you must be a registered brand on Amazon. This means you must have an officially registered brand and logo and pass Amazon’s verification process. Brands usually have a lot of of products on Amazon, so this ad type is for a more sophisticated sellers.

Amazon Stores

Amazon stores are free, but you can count them as a type of advertising on the platform. Creating a store is easy with ready made drag and drop ready templates. You can add videos, photos and a lot of information about your brand story and products. You also get a personalized link like amazon.com/yourbrand which can help you attract more organic results, too. Stores on Amazon are similar to a Facebook business page with analytics on visits, views and revenue.

To create a store you must be a registered brand on Amazon, so the same process with verification applies. You only need to go through the registration if you are a seller, it does not apply  to vendors.

Display Ads

Amazon has its own limited display network of websites where you can show display ads similar to the Google Display Network. Some of the properties owned by Amazon are IMDb and devices like Amazon Echo, Fire, Kindle. To show ads there you do not need to be an Amazon seller or vendor – the ads can redirect to your own website. Amazon Display ads are available on a self service basis without minimum spending requirement, but to get some support the threshold is £10,000(not sure if this is per time period or once you just pass this threshold)

On the right you see an example of an Amazon Display ad. These are not limited to Amazon products.

Video Ads

Video ads will appear on Amazon devices like Fire Tablet and on Amazon’s website across devices. Prices vary depending on placement and time. The ads are available on a self service basis for all advertisers, regardless if the sell on Amazon or not.

Custom Ads

This is the only ad type which is not available to directly get as a self service format. These are specific formats which can include images, video and animations. Offline advertising like a branded packaging of products also falls in this category. You will have to negotiate these directly with Amazon sales reps and probably require a solid amount of spend to get access to.

What’s next?

Advertising on Amazon is an interesting field which would probably develop further in the future. At the moment the main profit of the company comes from sales fees on all products sold on their platforms. With the development of voice assistants and other powerful devices, Amazon will be a platform which advertisers should pay attention to in the future.

About me: I am an experienced digital marketing professional and a Googler. I have taught over 3000 people in online marketing, sales and PPC. Get my new book. I blog weekly and teach on Udemy with more than 2,700 students enrolled in my online course. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Follow on Instagram and Twitter @odolena