Amazon Ads: the basics of Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands

20 January, 2020
4 minute read
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Looking to edge out the competition on Amazon? You’re going to need Amazon Ads. And since we’re way past the days of Mad Men, and there are no shortage of sellers flooding the market on Amazon, you may need a little help.

eCommerce Nurse is well-suited to help you achieve your goals. As we’ve learned over the years, Amazon Ads are a big part of driving traffic to your brand and products. This is why we partner with Skye High Media to develop a specific strategy, monitor your accounts, and help you scale your ads to your business.

Because there’s so much confusion around the types of ads and how to get started with advertising on Amazon, this blog will help you understand some basics.

What are Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands on Amazon? 

For starters, Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands are hard to miss. Because of where they appear and their ubiquity on Amazon, you can see them on almost every search page and on many detail pages. They are simply Amazon pay-per-click ads that drive traffic to a desired location on Amazon. They blend so well within the organic results on Amazon search pages, many customers might not realize they are, in fact, paid ads.

From Amazon: “Sponsored Products are keyword- or product-targeted ads that promote your individual listings and appear in the search results and on product detail pages on Amazon.”

“Sponsored Brands are keyword-targeted ads that appear in prominent locations within search results and feature a custom headline, brand logo, and a collection of products within the ad creative. When a shopper clicks the ad, they are taken to a product listing page, custom landing page, or Store.”

Sponsored Product example:

Sponsored Brand Listings on Amazon

Sponsored Brand example:

Sponsored Brand Ads on Amazon

Sponsored Brand Advertising on Amazon

To get these ads, businesses select products to advertise and choose their keywords or products. Alternatively, they can let Amazon target these ads with automatic targeting. As a business, you control how much you want to spend on your bids and budgets. You can scale this to your business because Amazon Ads makes it easy to measure your ads' performance.

Why use these ads?

The demand for ad space and the value of such ads has been continually increasing for a while now, as has the competition. Most categories on Amazon allow them, and Amazon even added Amazon Fresh and Prime Pantry to the list in 2019. If you want to see some case studies on Amazon Ad success, Amazon Ads has a page for this.

Consider using Sponsored Products for product visibility, new offers, unique selections, offers with low glance views, clearance items, and seasonal promotions. You can create awareness or drive demand for certain products. Sponsored Brands help visibility and sales for your brand and product portfolio by appearing in high-visibility locations within search results. These can be great for presenting a bit more about your brand to draw new customers in or show off your range. Both options can be very useful during peak traffic periods, holidays, and deal periods.

Who can use these?

Sponsored Products are available for professional sellers, vendors, book vendors, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors, and agencies. Products must be in one or more eligible categories and be eligible for the Buy Box in order to advertise.

Sponsored Brands are available for professional sellers enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry, vendors, book vendors, and agencies.

How to build ad campaigns?

Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products are a self-service ads that fall under the Amazon Advertising platform. You will need a Seller Central or Vendor Central login to create them. At a simple level, you start by choosing the products you want to advertise. You then create and customize your ad with Amazon’s options. A big step of this is determining which keywords to target and how much to bid. You can start small and increase you bids, test different options to see what works, and develop a plan.

The complicated part of this is tailoring your strategy and ads to your business and leveraging them to be successful. Of course, no one wants to spend a ton of money on ads to have no impact on sales; before doing anything, you should decide what an acceptable ad spend vs. sales amount is for your business. To be successful with your ads, businesses should know what their Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS) goals look like and adjust accordingly. No only from the beginning stages of planning, but seasonally and as they go.

What is ACoS? It’s an important benchmark for PPC ads, for starters. The percentage of attributed sales spent on advertising. The formula for this is total spend / ad sales = ACoS.

Amazon lets you create both manual and automatic campaigns, which can both be beneficial. But there are pros and cons to each.

  • Automatic Targeting: Sets up the ad to target all relevant customer searches based on product information. This allows you to create ads with a virtually hands-off method and skip a lot of the nitty gritty. It’s great for beginners, however, it may not be as specific as you need.
  • Manual Targeting: Sets up the ad based on manually set keyword options. By explicitly setting up keywords you’ve identified, you can target your add a lot more directly to help the right customer find your product.

Many businesses use a mix of automatic and manual targeting, depending on the number and type of products they budget into their ads.

Need more help?

Amazon is always rolling out new features and updating what you can do with Sponsored Ads. At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, Amazon added functionality for negative keywords (allowing you to target and exclude irrelevant terms), they began allowing ad groups for vendors (previously only available to sellers), and updated campaign copying features.

With the constant updates and the potentially high-touch nature of Sponsored Ads, it may make sense to have a more hands-on approach. eCommerce Nurse is here to help, and now is a great time to get started on your strategy for 2020 and beyond. Please contact us for more information.

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Katy Luxem

Katy Luxem

Katy Luxem is the senior content manager for eCommerce Nurse and Vendor Society. She has worked for Amazon in both Seattle and London, delivering results for multiple different teams and product lines across the U.S. and Europe. Katy's experience is centered on making sure customers have a best-in-class experience. She enjoys helping businesses and brands succeed and grow with next-level content.

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