Developing Your Amazon Advertising Game Plan

March 6, 2020

Digital Marketing Bradley Hearn By Bradley Hearn

The Amazon search results page is pretty much the Big Dance. The battle to get your products seen is highly competitive, unpredictable, and a few small things can often make or break your year.

But you’ve got your Amazon gameplan, right? Your e-commerce team is a well-oiled machine of marketplace best practices: proper categorization, SEO-friendly titles, proven keywords, optimized product descriptions, pricing strategies and more.

Not so fast.

Just when you thought you’ve bested every opponent with your marketplace experience, preparation and execution, another young upstart brand checks in and starts boxing out your listings. Even when shoppers use your brand name in their queries, your competitor’s name shows up. 

It can be exhausting. And costly. 

Welcome to Marketplace Madness. It’s like March Madness, except it’s every day of the year.

Success on Amazon often comes down to doing one thing really well: Amazon Advertising. The popular (and competitive) program achieves two primary goals for you as an Amazon seller:

  • Reaching new customers through more visibility
  • Protecting your brand space from competitors bidding on your brand terms

An advanced Amazon Advertising program has become essential for brands and retailers on Amazon. If you’re not paying to get your products seen, your competition certainly is. Amazon is the third largest digital ad platform in the US and gaining ground on Google and Facebook every day.

So where do you start?

Your Star Players

Sponsored Products

Amazon Sponsored Products is a keyword-targeted, cost-per-click program that can be used to promote individual listings. These ads appear alongside or above organic search results and are driven by search keywords you choose. Targeting with this type of accuracy gives you higher-quality clicks on your listings — since these shoppers actually searched for terms associated with your product — and will potentially yield a much higher ROI than many other cost-per-click programs.

Shoppers who click on these ads will be directed to your product detail pages.

Sponsored Brands

If you’re a third-party retailer enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry, Sponsored Brands can help you build brand recognition and drive more sales. Sponsored Brands are often found above the search results, but can also be seen in other placements on Amazon.

These ads feature customized design, a headline (consider your brand’s best value prop), your logo and several different products.

Sponsored Brands can help you reach consumers who are browsing but might not yet know what they want to buy. At this phase, they’ll use broad keywords such as “running shoes” or “sundresses” rather than specific model numbers. Like Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands operate on a cost-per-click pricing model. 

One popular usage for Sponsored Brands is to send interested consumers to your Amazon Store, where you control the brand experience.

Sponsored Display 

Sponsored Display ads are the newest players in the Amazon Advertising game. Formerly known as Product Display Ads, this ad program allows sellers to target shoppers — both on and off Amazon — who have previously viewed your products. 

Campaigns are easy to set up and the ads are generated automatically from product information on your product detail pages. Your bids will automatically adjust based on the likelihood of conversion. Also, products that have a high chance of conversion are automatically promoted by the algorithm.

Your Initial Game Plan

1. Start small and build

If you’re new to advertising on Amazon, start with some of your more popular products and use them to test what’s working. Once you have a comfortable gauge on ad spend and ROI, expand your strategy.

2. Protect your side of the court

Does a competitor’s product show up when you search for your product? If so, that competitor is bidding on your brand terms.

If a shopper is actually searching for your brand name, they’re likely pretty far down in the buying funnel. Don’t let another brand swoop in and distract them. How? In addition to bidding up on necessary brand (and brand-related) terms, analyze search query reports and study how shoppers are finding your brand and your site. Also, think like a shopper and perform various searches on your brand. By changing your perspective, you may help fill in some keyword gaps.

3. Set a distinct ‘branded’ versus ‘non-branded’ keyword strategy

When assessing accounts for various brands and retailers, we often come across promotions that have branded and non-branded keywords in the same ad campaign. Would you bid the same amount for your brand name as you would for a keyword that vaguely describes your product or category? No. There are huge performance differences between the two, and they need to be segmented in different campaigns.

4. Use all your weapons

Like a good sports team, you wouldn’t keep any good players on the bench and let one or two players do all the work. The same applies to your advertising strategy. Experiment with various combinations of Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display, in addition to all the optimization features at your fingertips, including:

  • Category and ASIN-refined targeting within Sponsored Products
  • New-to-brand metrics
  • Placement bid adjustments
  • Dynamic bidding
  • New automatic campaign match types
  • Automated bidding within Sponsored Brands
  • Brand Stores
  • And more…

5. Find an experienced coach

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for advertising success. The key is simply to get started, experiment and align yourself with a team of e-commerce experts that can provide you with the experience, the technology and the scalability to compete on Amazon.

With ChannelAdvisor’s proven multichannel platform and expertise, our Managed Services team works to understand the goals of each brand and constructs a strategic plan that delivers success.

For more information on Amazon and the highly competitive search results page, check out our eBook: Your Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising

Or if you’d like one of our digital marketing experts to do a quick analysis of your accounts and let you know what you’re doing right — and what you could improve — request a complimentary advertising analysis today!