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Amazon Sponsored Ads Advanced Features: What Sellers Should Know

Jun 14, 2019 1:29:13 PM

It’s no secret Amazon wants to compete with Google and Facebook for digital advertising dollars. They have a strong case too; Amazon has the unique advantage of actual customer purchase data, where Facebook and Google focus mostly on traffic and click-through-rates. Additionally, Amazon has released a slew of new features for Sponsored Ads in the past year, including beefed up competitive targeting and dynamic bidding features.

Here’s what sellers need to know:

Product and Category Targeting

Product targeting, which could also be dubbed competitive targeting, allows sellers to target individual competitive ASINs and categories on Amazon. Previously, automatic and manual sponsored products campaigns could have placements on detail pages, but sellers did not have much control over said placement or have insight into specific detail page performance. Now, similar to keyword targeting, sellers can view impressions, clicks, spend, sales, and a host of other metrics for any targeted ASIN or category.

Category targeting in particular comes with an interesting wrinkle. Sellers can choose to modify these targets by criteria such as price, number of reviews, and specific brands on Amazon. Sellers can also choose to negatively target, or remove, brands from consideration in a competitive targeting campaign.

The addition of product targeting emphasizes the importance of utilizing automatic targeting campaigns. High-performing competitive products can be plucked from automatic campaign search data, added to a manual campaign within a product targeting group, and optimized like any other keyword.


Campaign Placement Data and Dynamic Bidding

When Amazon released advertising performance data by placement a few months ago, sellers learned that the vast majority of ad impressions were generated on product detail pages, not at the top of search results as some originally believed. The placement data also showed that top of search placements were likely to significantly outperform competitive detail page placement.

However, in conjunction to releasing this data, Amazon provided a couple tools to help sellers control advertising placements. The first, known as “adjust bids by placement”, allows sellers to increase a default keyword bid up to 900% for a particular placement. For example, if a seller only wanted to show up in top of search, they might consider a default bid of $0.20 with a 900% bid adjustment for top of search. That would result in an actual top of search bid of $1.80 and a $0.20 bid for all other placements. This feature replaces bid+, which adjusted bids upward by 50% when a seller had the opportunity to win top of search placement.

Amazon also released various dynamic campaign bidding strategies, which are algorithmic bid adjustments based on whether a particular bid is or is not likely to result in a sale. While default Amazon campaigns adjust bids downward if a sale is unlikely, sellers can also set their bids to adjust upward up to a maximum of 100%. This feature also works in conjunction with the above bidding placement adjustments, so a $0.20 bid may be dynamically adjusted to a maximum of $0.40, then be raised 900% for a maximum bid of $3.60 at the top of search results.

Obviously, the ability for sellers to shift where their impressions are coming from can dramatically impact performance. However, utilizing Amazon’s dynamic bidding features does come with some risk for inexperienced advertisers. The interaction of Amazon’s bid adjustments can quickly get out of hand if not managed appropriately or cross-referenced with placement data.


New-to-Brand Sales (Sponsored Brands Only)

Sponsored Products campaigns are not the only area where Amazon has beefed up its feature set. Sponsored Brands campaigns now have a metric known as “new-to-brand” sales, which calculates the total number of orders and sales for customers who have not previously purchased from the brand name on Amazon. This is helpful for brands who want to measure Amazon against other sales channels; Amazon is able to prove itself as a viable growth mechanism (and earn advertising dollars) by reporting how many new customers it’s bringing in each day.

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