Updated: May 4



As the largest online retailer in the U.S., Amazon’s share of the ecommerce market hit 49 percent in 2018—representing approximately 5 percent of all retail purchases. By comparison, that’s more than its three major competitors combined. eBay’s share was only 6.6 percent, while Apple maintained only 3.9 percent and Walmart at 3.7 percent. This is why it’s crucial for your brand to have a strong, professional presence and a keenly informed Amazon strategy if you hope to survive in today’s retail marketplace.


It’s also why competition is so fierce; and Amazon certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Only 25,000 of its sellers were able to earn over $1 million in sales in 2018. That’s roughly 2 percent of all global sellers. So if the marketplace is so cutthroat, how do sellers find an in? To understand how, you need to first understand how Amazon advertising works.


The Landscape Of Amazon Advertising 

There’s no doubt that Amazon advertising is one of the best ways to generate more sales for your brand. Amazon advertising experienced explosive growth in 2019, with an estimated $9.85 billion in sales predicted by the end of the fourth quarter. As the number 3 digital ad seller in the country, there’s not even a slight chance of taking down Facebook and Google. The odds are clearly in its favor.


How do you take advantage of this shift? And how can this help you reach more customers? Amazon advertising isn’t simply a nicety. It’s becoming a necessity. And you need to put the same consideration, strategy and budget into it as Google and Facebook…Let’s take a deeper look at the type of ad features currently available from Amazon Advertising. 

Sponsored Products Ads

Sponsored product ads help you to promote products to shoppers actively searching with related keywords or viewing similar products on Amazon.


They look similar to Amazon’s organic results, but with a subtle “sponsored” flag. Sponsored product ads are keyword targeted and trigger when someone uses the Amazon search bar. You can use different match types to get the right kind of traffic, alongside negative keywords to exclude unwanted clicks. It’s a good practice to separate brand and non-brand terms to avoid muddying performance metrics for any sponsored ad campaigns. Targeting uses keywords and products to show your ads on search and detail pages to relevant shoppers. For sponsored product campaigns, you can create two types: automatic and manual.


Sponsored Product Automatic Targeting 

With automatic targeting you just simply have to provide ASINS of your products. Amazon will automatically target keywords and products similar to your product. Sponsored product automatic targeting is probably best suited for newly launched products, but it’s also helpful in collecting data on competitive product lines.


Sponsored Product Manual Targeting

With sponsored product manual targeting, you can target specific product keywords, choosing both keywords and products to target shopper searches and set custom bids. You can choose different match types for keywords, and choose related categories, products, brands or features.


Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting allows you to manually add specific keywords you want to target.


Product Targeting 

With product targeting you have two additional options: Category and Individual Products. With category, you can choose and target related categories, while individual products allows you to target both your individual products as well as your competitors’.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored brands allow you to showcase a collection of your brand to shoppers actively searching with related keywords. They’re paid placements where you can map campaigns to ASINs. Just like with paid search, many companies will try to target your audience by advertising competitive brands on your product pages.


Sponsored brands (formerly Headline Search ads), however, can be a great way to generate brand visibility by filling available inventory with your brand. ASINs also provide an opportunity for you to sell complementary products and drive incremental sales.


Sponsored brand ads have two separate categories:

Amazon Brand Store Pages

With the Amazon brand store page option, you can customize specific pages of your brand store you want to highlight, which is ideal for seasonal items as well as best sellers.


Product List Pages

In this option you can add a list of ASINS; Amazon will automatically generate a landing page and brand your ads for you.

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored display ads help drive customer engagement from shoppers who previously viewed your products and directs them to your detail pages. They’re similar to sponsored product ads, but offer a much greater variety of ad sizes and formats. Note that sponsored display is only available for sellers enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry, and vendors and agencies selling on Amazon. Current features available in beta testing allow you to access campaigns and targeting features from product display ads, including:

  • Targeting: With targeting, you have two specific types – Audiences and Products:

  • Audiences: Allowing you to choose exactly which audiences you want to see your ads. Within Audiences, two options include Views and Interests. Views is targeting customers and potential customers who previously viewed the detail pages of both your products as well as those of your competitors. Interests is targeting customers and potential with an interest in related categories. 

  • Products:  Highlighting specific products and categories for promotions.


Measurement On Amazon Advertising

Can campaign ROI be measured accurately on Amazon Advertising? It may be too early to tell. It’s certainly one of the fastest growing digital ad platforms for retailers, with 85 percent indicating Amazon will have a significant impact on their business, according to a recent report from Marin.


Facebook and Google may be Goliaths in the digital advertising arena. But there’s no reason to view a $232.9 billion entity as the proverbial David. In fact they’re already there. In 2018, the company announced the introduction of a pixel-based attribution solution to track conversions across their properties, further cementing their lead against their two chief competitors.


Amazon may provide advertisers with all the standard metrics they need to measure conversions and impressions across your product line. But measuring your own stats can be a challenge. There’s an attribution window of only 14 days with Amazon; which is rarely sufficient for retailers looking to measure the impact of the holiday rush and still manage to fulfill shipping and delivery in the post holiday season.



Can Smaller Brands Win With Amazon Advertising?

You don’t have to look very far to find examples of large brands winning on Amazon. But what about smaller retailers? Here’s a great example. We have a client currently selling oils and supplements on Amazon. When they started in 2016, they began with a very low advertising budget—just $10k per year. That budget these days is more than $100K per year. That’s just on Amazon alone. It may be a competitive environment for smaller companies, but it’s not impossible. Where their competitors were afraid to step out of their comfort zones, this client saw an opportunity with Amazon Advertising and seized it.


 You don’t have to chase non-brand terms. And you don’t have to rely on search alone anymore. Color More Lines focuses on all kinds of advertising platforms; including emerging entities like Amazon advertising. We encourage your to think differently about your customer acquisition strategy. Both your market share and your product line deserve it.


What’s Next?

Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.

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