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How to Start Advertising on Amazon: 4 Key Ad Types and Top Performing Strategies

Written by
Chris Chan

Let’s face it. eCommerce brands can no longer ignore paid advertising on Amazon. 

Amazon’s digital ad revenue market share increased from 7.8% to 10.3% between 2019 and 2020 (Statistica, 2021). Paid advertising on Amazon can help increase brand/product visibility on the Amazon Marketplace, drive sales, and aid organic SEO efforts.

The Amazon Advertising platform, also known as Amazon Search and Amazon Marketing Services, can be used by Seller Central and Vendor Central sellers.

In this blog post, with the help of WITHIN’s Amazon expert J.P. McShane, we’ll explore what Amazon advertising is, the different types of Amazon advertising campaigns and if your brand should be running Amazon ads.

Table of Contents:
What Is Amazon Advertising?
What Are the Different Types of Amazon Ads?
Should You Run Amazon Ads?

What Is Amazon Advertising?

Amazon Advertising is Amazon’s search-based advertising platform that lets brands advertise their products on Amazon marketplaces. 

Brands looking to use Amazon’s advertising platform should meet several standards before running ads. For example, brands should have a brand store set up, with product listings optimized for organic SEO, and apply for Amazon Brand Registry.  

Insider tip: Amazon’s Advertising platforms are constantly updating and changing. Savvy brands use changes on the ad platform to stay ahead of the curve. – J.P. McShane, Amazon Expert at WITHIN.

What Are the Different Types of Amazon Ads?

Amazon has 4 distinct types of ads on their platform: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Brands Video and Sponsored Display Ads.

Sponsored Products Ads:

amazon sponsored products ad

The most commonly used type of ad on Amazon is the Sponsored Products ad.

Sponsored products ads show up most commonly in Amazon search result pages above or between organic listings. These ads can also appear in product carousels on product display pages (PDP).

When running sponsored products ads, brands select the specific products they want to promote. Highly rated products with many positive reviews will show up more prominently in search results. Ideally, sponsored products will have ratings of 4 stars or above.

The ad creative is automatically generated by your brand’s product listing which means that the title and main photo will exactly match your organic listing.

Amazon allows brands to target these ads based on specific keywords and automatically ranks the ads within the platform based on bid strategy, relevancy, and ratings.

Insider tip: You don’t have any creative control over Amazon’s sponsored product ads. They appear identical to your organic listings, so basic SEO and product image optimizations are essential. – J.P. McShane, Amazon Expert at WITHIN.

Sponsored Brands Ads (Headline Search Ads):

Amazon sponsored brands ads

Amazon’s Sponsored Brands ads are the perfect way for established brands to defend their branded search terms and keyword phrases.

A sponsored brands ad may appear when an Amazon user searches for a specific brand name like Nike or Hugo Boss. These ads typically contain the brand logo, a 50-character custom headline, a lifestyle image, and 3 product listings.

Target your brand’s name and search keywords related to your brand and branded products when bidding on sponsored brands ads. Amazon tends to favor the brand owner over competitors in sponsored brands ads.

Only one sponsored brands ad is displayed top-of-search per keyword. In theory, if you run sponsored brands ad campaign on your brand name and pay less than your competitor, you should still get the ad space.

Before you run sponsored brands ads, you must be officially registered and recognized by Amazon. To properly register, your brand can apply for a trademark through the Amazon IP Accelerator program.

Running sponsored brand ads on Amazon can discourage competitors from bidding on your keywords and help customers find you more easily.

Sponsored Brand Video Ads:

amazon sponsored brand video ads

Amazon’s Sponsored Brands Video ads allow brands to advertise a single product with video. Sponsored Brands video ads appear in search result pages with the product image beside the video (or below, for users on mobile).

Brand video ads run autoplay on silent for 6-45 seconds. Advertisers should use videos that are accessible without audio and should use subtitles when necessary.

Currently, sponsored brands videos play automatically on a CPC basis. This is an excellent opportunity for brands because Amazon only charges when a user clicks on your ad, not when they simply watch the video.

Other advertising platforms like Facebook are running sponsored videos on a CPM basis, which means that advertisers will be charged for view time on the video, rather than clicks.

These brand video ads are great for conversions and sales and provide additional brand awareness, free of charge. 

Sponsored Display Ads (Product Display Ads):

amazon sponsored display ads

One of the most well-recognized ads on the Amazon platform is Amazon Sponsored Display ads.

Amazon Display ads don’t usually appear until after a user has already navigated directly to an Amazon page.

These ads act as subsequent-step messages where advertisers drive conversions or engagement after Amazon shoppers have already clicked on a specific product.

Display ads are used for brand awareness and visibility. Larger brands advertising on Amazon can use display ads to get new customers interested in their products.

Amazon is rolling out several charges to sponsored display ads. For example, display ads will now be run on a CPM instead of a CPC basis, making them significantly more expensive to run.

Additionally, Amazon is now allowing for retargeting on its sponsored display ads. Brands can also target based on demographics such as interests, lifestyles, life events, and in-markets.

Insider tip: If your brand is looking for lower cost, higher conversion rates on ads, sponsored display ads may not be the best option. However, if your goal is overall reach, awareness, and visibility, display ads may be suitable for you. – J.P. McShane, Amazon Expert at WITHIN.

Should You Run Amazon Ads?

If you’re selling on Amazon, you should be running Amazon ads.

The Amazon ad platform can be a great way to maximize your Amazon product marketing efforts if you can set up and manage the campaigns correctly.

Amazon ads boost product visibility, defend your branded keywords from competitors, and positively impact long-term profitability. 

However, there are some prerequisites to running Amazon ads effectively. Certain ad types require specific Amazon registry setups, and almost all ads demand effective basic practices. Failing to implement these particular practices will substantially reduce your Amazon advertising effectiveness.

Here are some things to consider before running Amazon ad campaigns:

  • Make sure your product listings are SEO optimized, highly-rated products with adequate inventory, and have A+ content on your pages.
  • Build your brand store, register brand trademarks with Amazon, and ensure good standing.
  • Accumulate as many organic sales and reviews as possible on the Amazon platform to establish credibility.
  • Leverage industry professionals to keep on top of Amazon’s constantly evolving ad policies.

To learn more about the best Amazon ad campaign strategies, download our eBook, How to Make the Most of Amazon Advertising: 6 Actionable Steps to Prepare and Launch Your Amazon Ad Campaigns for Maximum ROI

If you’re ready to run your Amazon ads at maximum efficiency, talk to us at WITHIN. We help the world’s most recognizable brands grow their digital presence and build long-term profitability.

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Written by
Chris Chan

Chris Chan is a content writer at WITHIN who loves martial arts, gospel music, and all things brand marketing. His favorite pastime is watching online course videos and his favorite food is sushi.


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