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Increase Your Visibility with Amazon Sponsored Display Ads

by | Jan 12, 2021

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Sponsored Display Campaigns are Amazon’s newest addition to advertising campaign types. With this expansion comes new targeting methods, opportunities for increased visibility, and remarketing options that have previously been unavailable to Amazon advertisers that are not using Amazon’s Demand-Side Platform (DSP). 

Those who have been advertising on Amazon for five years or more may recall that display campaigns are not exactly new as vendors previously had access to this type of campaign. However, the previous iteration had very minimal options — no keywords and no options for refinement beyond adjusting bids and budgets — and was phased out in 2017. These prior display campaigns only allowed advertisers to set a bid, budget, a maximum of one advertised product, and targeting — nothing more.

Now, Sponsored Display has been relaunched and is a completely different campaign type with more versatility and refinement options available. As with Sponsored Product campaigns, Sponsored Display campaigns are dependent on the buy box for the ads to be delivered. The buy box will look a little different based on your selling method on Amazon: Seller or Vendor

To be the featured offer for the buy box, the Amazon algorithm evaluates different metrics including your price, fulfillment method, shipping speed, customer feedback rating, and other factors. If your listing is the best out of all the listings for a particular product, you win the buy box. This will then allow your Sponsored Display ads to be served. 

For sellers, Sponsored Display ads will only serve when their seller offer is in the buy box. Vendor ads, on the other hand, will only serve if Amazon.com is the featured offer in the buy box for any of the Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) in the display campaigns.

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For example, in the image above on the left, you can see highlighted in red that seller Pulp Story Juice has won the buy box. As a result, if Pulp Story Juice was running Sponsored Display campaigns for this product, they would be allowed to display. If another seller had won the buy box, Pulp Story Juice’s ads would not be allowed to display.

In the vendor example on the right, however, Amazon has won the buy box. As a result, that vendor’s Sponsored Display ads would be allowed to show for every product ASIN in the display campaign that is currently winning the buy box. 

Sponsored Display campaigns do not use keywords for targeting, the way Sponsored Product or Sponsored Brand campaigns do. Instead, audiences are used for targeting, more in line with how Facebook or Google Display does targeting. 

As is the Amazon way, the options differ a bit whether you are a seller or a vendor. 

Sponsored Display Ads for Sellers

Sellers that are the registered brand owners on Amazon can target Amazon audiences based on views or products. 

View Targeting

  • Allows your remarketing campaign to target shoppers who have viewed the product detail pages that match the selected criteria. This criterion can include Amazon users who have visited your product but did not purchase or shoppers who viewed a similar product to yours. 
  • These audience groups have a lookback time frame of 30 days. This means that if a shopper visited your product within the last 30 days, they are eligible to be served a Sponsored Display campaign remarketing ad. 
  • Other criteria you can target with views are shoppers who have browsed specific product categories, similar brands, and even specific product features like price, review star ratings, and shipping options.
  • Ads are placed on the Amazon.com site as well as offsite through the DSP network. 

Product Targeting

  • Allows your remarketing ads to show on specific products or categories within Amazon. For example, if you’re selling a stapler on Amazon, you can target ads at shoppers who have frequented the Manual Office Staplers category on Amazon, or target your competitor products for an opportunity to gain new customers and market share. 
  • As with view targeting, this method allows you to target products or categories and refine by brand, price range, star rating, or shipping method. 
  • Product targeted ads cannot target shoppers who have viewed your product or similar products.
  • Different from view targeting, product targeted Sponsored Display campaigns do not appear off Amazon in the DSP network and are only shown on the Amazon.com website.

For sellers using Sponsored Display campaigns, multiple products can be added to a campaign; previously this campaign type could only feature one product. We recommend grouping similar products together in one campaign and creating a new campaign for different product groupings. 

For example, group staplers together as the targeting options are likely to be the same, and group printer ink in a different Sponsored Display campaign. This division gives you more precise control over where your ads show and how shoppers are targeted.

Sponsored Display for Vendors

Along with view and product targeting, Amazon has included interest targeting — an additional level to view targeting — for vendors using Sponsored Display campaigns. 

Interest Targeting

  • Only one product can be featured in the campaign. Although you can only select a single product, you can choose to target as many of the product-specific interest groups as you would like.
  • Only available to be shown on Amazon.com. Interested targeted ads are not served off-site though the Amazon DSP placement market.
  • Allows vendors to advertise to Amazon shoppers who fall into broad categories of interests compiled by Amazon using shopper behaviors to determine shoppers who are actively browsing for products that meet those interests.  

For example, if you’re a bookseller and want to advertise to true crime readers, you can target shoppers who have shown an interest in Mystery and Thrillers or Nonfiction books. Or, if you’re selling computer keyboards, you can target shoppers who fall into the interest groups of Computer Mavens in the Lifestyle, Hobby and Professional section.

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All Amazon Sponsored Display ad targeting methods allow you to customize your ad by offering the option to include a brand logo and a 50 character headline to appear with the auto-generated product image and title from the product detail page. Keep in mind that Amazon reviews these customized ads and it could take up to 24 hours before the campaign is approved and live. Campaigns without customization typically go live within 1-2 hours of creation.

With the rebirth and growth of the Sponsored Display campaign type, we are seeing Amazon focus more resources on its success. New features are regularly being rolled out and we expect to see previous purchase and search targeting roll out soon. Amazon’s goal is to make this an integral ad type, so start making these part of your campaign strategy now.

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