Jul 22 2019
Basis Technologies

Ask the Expert: How Do I Use Amazon Search Ads?


‘Ask the Expert’ is a series that breaks down the tools, tech, and trends you’ve been hearing about in the trade pubs and around the office. We ask our in-house experts the tough questions and write up the answers in bite-sized pieces for your reading pleasure.

This month’s topic? Amazon search. We brought in Centro’s national director of paid search, Lindsay Martin, to give us the breakdown.

How does Amazon search advertising work? 

Amazon search advertising provides paid opportunities within the results that show up when a user searches a keyword on Amazon. Ads can be served on desktop and mobile browsers as well as on the Amazon mobile app. Unlike Amazon’s programmatic ad offerings, advertisers must sell products directly on Amazon if they want to use Amazon search ads. It is like paid search on Google, where campaigns are targeted through a combination of keywords and bids.

What ad formats are included as part of Amazon search? 

Amazon search is inclusive of three different ad formats.

  1. Sponsored Brands are the largest placement option at the top of the search results page. Sponsored Brands feature three ASINs (product skews or products), a headline, logo, and short description. The ad destination can either be an Amazon store or the specific product detail pages.
  2. Sponsored Products are paid ads that appear as product thumbnails within the search results on Amazon to promote individual ASINs (products). Sponsored products are also seen as a carousel of options on the product detail pages once a user clicks through to learn more.
  3. Product Display Ads are product- or interest-targeted. Creative is generated in the native UI. They are great as an upper funnel tactic and best for competitive conquesting. They “remind” users of your product before that user puts another (competitive) product in his/her cart.

Should a brand create an Amazon store? 

An Amazon store provides a more immersive experience for consumers to interact with your brand. Creating one is free and can be done based on templates within the Amazon search console. It’s like going to Target and looking at an entire display for a makeup brand.

What is ACOS? 

ACOS is the advertising cost of sale. The goal of Amazon search campaigns is typically to drive the lowest ACOS. This is the inverse of return on ad spend (ROAS) and can be calculated as a percentage. ACOS = total ad spend / total ad sales x 100.

How much do Amazon search campaigns cost?

Ads are priced based on cost-per-click (CPC). Amazon search is a real-time bidding atmosphere. Demand is created by a combination of user interest (search volume) as well as the competitive auction. Sponsored product ads must also win the buy-box to be shown within the search results.

What’s imperative to success on Amazon search?

Advertisers need a strong handle on inventory to see success with Amazon search. If inventory is a challenge, it is easy to lose your spot in the buy box to a third-party seller. Ratings, reviews, and content are also important factors to consider. It is recommended that all advertisers have at least 3.5 stars and a minimum of 15 reviews before choosing to advertise an individual ASIN (product). High quality content integrates product descriptions, images, comparative charts, and copy to help customers make informed decisions. All of these impact ad campaign effectiveness on Amazon.

How would Amazon search ads synchronize with other advertising a marketer uses outside of the Amazon ecosystem? 

Amazon search complements a full funnel digital strategy. Amazon campaigns focus on “in aisle” purchases. Users can filter for product features such as reviews, pricing, etc. Google is focused on exploration, where to buy, and perhaps pricing. There’s a strong case to be made that these platforms should complement each other, rather than be viewed as either/or.

While you can’t pixel an Amazon page, you can understand attribution of your other digital media by:

  1. Driving traffic to an Amazon Store, which has reporting functionality (similar to a UTM code) where brands can understand Amazon sales metrics as a result of the traffic driven.
  2. Utilizing Amazon attribution. This product (currently in beta), allows for measurement of Amazon sales based on ad exposure within a 14-day cookie window.

I’m sold. How does Centro help with Amazon search advertising? 

Centro offers full-service management of Amazon search. This is inclusive of keyword research, copywriting, bid strategy, and campaign optimization, as well as reporting and insights around campaign performance.