Written by Sam Yadegar on Sep 17

This primer helps you understand Amazon Advertising, determine which methods are best for your business, and gives you the steps to ensure your ads are a success.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What is Amazon Advertising?
  • How to set up your brand for Amazon ads success
  • The various types of Amazon ads
  • The approaches you can take to ad creation

Understanding the Basics

We’re going to take a shot in the dark and guess that you’ve likely seen Amazon ads before. When searching for a product on Amazon, you’ll often see a few “Sponsored” items at the top of your results. And it’s not just products — brands and entire stores can advertise themselves as well.

Amazon Advertising (formerly known as Amazon Media Group, Amazon Marketing Services, and Amazon Ad Platform) may seem daunting at first. But know that if you’ve launched a website or are familiar with social media for businesses, you’ll probably catch on quickly. The moving parts are different, but the way they interact will probably seem familiar.

Amazon Advertising refers customers to your product pages, and traffic to those pages is a big part of influencing your placement in search results. The relationship between your product page and ad content is a lot like the relationship between your website landing pages and the Google Ads that drive traffic to them.

But there’s a key difference here: the diversity of ad choices and placement. Unlike search engine ads on Google or Bing, your campaign can also appear in recommendation emails, on-site product recommendations, and banner ads, in addition to the keyword-inspired campaigns that bear resemblance to Google Ads.

Alright, now that we’re on the same page, let’s break it down.

Amazon Advertising- HawkSEM

Optimize Your Product Pages

Before taking out ads on Amazon, you need a fully optimized product page. Each aspect of the page description and layout is integral to your success, so it helps to have a checklist. You can opt for a DIY approach and build your own internal team, or you can outsource your digital marketing to pros who know the platform.

Either way, deciding on your goals and tracking their success can help you best manage your outcomes. Here are some things that should be on your list:

  • Product descriptions with information vital to the buyer, including specifications for technology, cut and fit information for apparel, and other similar details
  • A narrative description connecting your brand and a small group of keywords to the product specifications
  • Selected keywords for the product page metadata
  • Quotes from editorial reviews, if applicable — often relevant for books and other media

While Amazon restricts the number of keywords you can include in a product listing’s metadata, you can use other keywords in your product description, and the algorithm will identify and weigh them accordingly. This is a great way to leverage multiple terms while giving extra support to your highest priority selections.


Select a Format

There’s no one-size-fits-all method to Amazon Advertising, and new products are introduced regularly. Because of this, it’s wise to keep an eye on the site’s advertiser information to stay in the know about feature updates and developments.

These are the major ad categories you can choose from when setting up a campaign, and it’s a good idea to experiment with them since it’s hard to predict which format will reach your audience best for a given product.

  • Product display ads work by selecting other products or keyword-related interest themes to seed your product as a recommended product or similar option
  • Sponsored brand ads display as banner ads in search results for selected keywords, similar to the mechanism for Google Ads
  • Sponsored product ads appear within the search results for selected keywords as promoted results relevant to the person’s search

As you can see, your choice of keyword is vital to your success on the platform. Even with product display ads, identifying the right interest or theme is important, and on-target keywords can help with that, too.

Again, it helps to run test campaigns in each format to figure out which one delivers the best return for a particular product, and to see if using a few ad campaigns together provides even better results.

Amazon Advertising- HawkSEM

Decide on Self-Serve vs. Premium Ads

The best way to understand the difference between self-serve and premium ad formats is to determine where you’re more likely to see each one. Premium ads display more often as visual banner and sidebar ads on Amazon, and they’re also available to shoppers who aren’t on the site through Google’s Display Network.

Affiliates who sign up to advertise for Amazon on their sites often display premium ads. Self-serve ads are the ones that appear in the search results and on individual pages, like the types listed above. It’s worth playing with both options because they reach different audiences, even when they’re attuned to the same keywords.

Conduct Your Keyword Research

The research you put into appropriate keywords is the key to getting the returns you want out of Amazon Advertising. You can do manual research by plugging words into Amazon’s search bar and seeing when you find products similar to your own, but that’s time-consuming.

Alternatively, there are digital tools that purport to use Amazon’s API to provide accurate information, but if you don’t understand the technicalities here, you may get lost. One of the best ways to get the results you want quickly is by enlisting help.

Amazon offers its own marketing tools to assist new advertisers, which can give you some starter keyword recommendations. These aren’t always right for your product, but they can be a place to begin testing.

If you opt for enlisting professionals, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re investing in the right digital tools for your keyword research because you’re working with people who already have the tools and know how to use them.

Using Amazon as a marketplace and order fulfillment hub is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, but it’s not a guaranteed road to riches. You’ll need a good strategy and determination to play the long game to get the results you want.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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