Buried in Amazon Search Results? Try Sponsored Products

December 11, 2015

Marketplaces Amy Lubell By Amy Lubell

With the holiday season in full swing, retailers are working hard to win every possible sale. And Amazon.com sales are a significant contributor in many retailers’ marketplace portfolios. As Scot Wingo noted in a recap of the Cyber Five weekend, Amazon continued to outperform the 15% e-commerce growth level, coming in at 24.1% over the five-day shopping frenzy. With that success comes a competitive landscape for retailers, including challenges driving traffic to listings.

If you’re looking to increase traffic to your listings and boost sales, consider using Amazon Sponsored Products. It’s a program that allows sellers to advertise their products on the Amazon search results page. Similar to Google AdWords, these ads are based on keywords that match shoppers’ search queries.

In October, ChannelAdvisor announced our first-to-market support for Amazon Sponsored Products, via Amazon’s Advertising API. In addition, ChannelAdvisor released a new tool, Smart Select, that identifies the products that have the best potential for Amazon advertising success.

Smart Select Ad Group Builder

When you’re selecting which products to advertise with Amazon Sponsored Products, you can view your items listed on Amazon and use advanced filtering to create a product ad group that best matches your advertising strategy. When using ChannelAdvisor, you can go beyond just selecting products based on title, SKU or ASIN by using Smart Select to analyze your products based on their core attributes as well as Amazon-specific data points. These fields include:

  • Title
  • SKU
  • Listing Date
  • Buy Box %
  • Page View %
  • Sales Rank
  • ASIN
  • Brand
  • Category
  • Product Cost
  • Fulfillment Method
  • Item Type Keyword
  • Product Type
  • Quantity

For example, based on your strategy, Smart Select would allow you to create campaigns for new listings that have a certain amount of inventory and margin and that have the Buy Box more than 70% of the time. Ultimately, you can monitor performance and choose to focus your ad spend on products that have the best potential for advertising success.

Let’s talk a bit more about ways to use Amazon’s Sponsored Products and how to leverage ChannelAdvisor’s Smart Select technology to increase product visibility and sales.

Why Use Sponsored Products?

 

  1. Drive sales of a new offer to generate reviews

Amazon reviews are important to your listings, as they serve as word of mouth recommendations and ensure buyers of the product quality. Building up good reviews on new products can be challenging, especially when there’s low traffic to the listing. Sponsored Products can boost your visibility and sales to drive product reviews quicker.

Amazon reviews are important to your listings, as they serve as word of mouth recommendations and ensure buyers of the product quality. Building up good reviews on new products can be challenging, especially when there’s low traffic to the listing. Sponsored Products can boost your visibility and sales to drive product reviews quicker.

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For example, let’s say you have a top selling product that has historically done well. That product is being discontinued and you’ve listed a new version. You know this product should do well but will start at the bottom of the search results with low page views. You can search within ChannelAdvisor’s Smart Select to identify products that are newly listed (e.g., list date 12/1/2015 as shown below), have low pages views and are in the Buy Box. From here, you can easily add these to your campaign to test and evaluate results.

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  1. Increase sales of SKUs with low page views

When reviewing your product performance, you may find items that have a high conversion but low page views. If you could just get more visibility for the product, you would likely see more sales. One way to generate page views is to use Sponsored Products to promote these items. Within ChannelAdvisor’s Smart Select, you can easily identify items that are getting low page views and are also in the Buy Box. These products are good to test with Sponsored Products and evaluate the results to determine which products to continue advertising.

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  1. Boost visibility of SKUs in competitive categories

In competitive categories such as cell phone accessories, it can be challenging to stand out among the hundreds of search results. With the ability to create ads for select products based on the category, Sponsored Products lets you can increase the visibility of those products that otherwise would have been buried in search results.

Similarly, if you have a branded product that does well with brand term searches, but not on generic terms, that product is a good candidate to test Sponsored Products. For example, a search for “8-Piece Cookware Set” can come back with 130+ pages of results. With Sponsored Products, you can be very specific in your keywords for that product to ensure you’re placed on page one of search results.

Get Started

 

If you’re just starting out with Sponsored Products and not sure how to best set up your campaign, one option is to try the automatic targeting campaigns. Campaigns with automatic targeting use keywords automatically chosen by Amazon. This is designed to generate more search traffic to your ads because Amazon targets them to all possible relevant searches, based on your product information. On the other hand, campaigns with manual targeting use keywords you specifically select to display your ads. Amazon matches the keywords contained in your ad group to the search terms that customers are using on Amazon.

Consider using automatic targeting:

  • To learn which search keywords generate traffic to your ads
  • When you’re not sure which keywords to use
  • When you want to save time creating new Sponsored Products ads
  • When your manually selected keywords aren’t generating the number of impressions and clicks that you want

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When using the automatic targets, start harvesting keywords to see what performs well. Once you get comfortable with the management of it, you should look into moving to manual targeting. You can have much more control with the selected keywords and overall management.

Key Take-aways

 

You can use Sponsored Products to:

  • Improve product visibility with an opportunity to get listings on the first page of Amazon search results
  • Deliver highly relevant ads targeted to customer searches
  • Measure ROI and optimize advertising spend
  • Anecdotally, some merchants have reported that sales driven by Sponsored Products have contributed to natural search ranking improvements

Important Considerations

 

  • You need an Amazon advertising account, via Seller Central, and you’re billed separately from your marketplace monthly fee and Amazon category-specific referral fees.
  • Fees for Amazon Sponsored Products are in addition to your regular Amazon referral fees.
  • ChannelAdvisor supports Sponsored Products for retailers listing on Amazon.com (US) at this time. The program is available in Seller Central in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and China.
  • Amazon supports Sponsored Products for new or certified refurbished products only and currently does not offer the program in the Jewelry, Camera, Books/Media and Adult categories.
  • Sponsored Products differ from Amazon Text Ads, which direct shoppers from Amazon to the merchant’s website.

Click here to learn more about driving sales to your Amazon listings with Sponsored Products.