Amazon adds new features for sponsored products

 

Amazon Updates Sponsored Products & Sponsored Brands

Amazon recently released two new features for Sponsored Product ads that will drastically improve the visibility into advertising performance: Search Terms Insights and History.

Sponsored Products History

Search Terms Insights allows advertisers to view the search terms that shoppers are entering in the Amazon search bar and which keywords they’re matching to within a Sponsored Product campaign.

The report is available at the Ad Group level within a campaign and shows all search terms that produced at least one click. Advertisers can view this data across multiple date ranges (up to 60 days) and across all keyword match types within the Ad Group. Search Terms Insights is available in both Automatic and Manual campaigns and shows both search terms and ASINs, which can be used to create Product Targeting campaigns. This feature will partially replace the need to manually download a Search Term report and filter the data for new keywords.

Sponsored products search terms feature

History is a new beta feature that allows advertisers to view changes made at the Campaign or Ad Group level.

At the campaign level, advertisers can see changes made to the settings of a campaign, daily budget adjustments, or if a campaign ran out of budget. These data points are time- and date-stamped and span the lifetime of the campaign.

At the Ad Group level, advertisers can use History to see changes made to bids on individual keywords.  The dashboard shows the keywords, the current bid, the previous bid, and the time and date it was changed. This data appears to be back dated to October 1, 2019.

Both of these features are significant improvements to Amazon’s marketing platform and address pain points that marketers have experienced for years. Amazon is clearly making an effort to improve the functionality within Seller Central as more third-party software solutions become available.

Sponsored Brands Video for Mobile Devices

Advertisers now have a new ad format to choose from for Sponsored Brand ads – Video in mobile.

This new ad placement contains an auto-play video featuring a single product, with the intent of driving traffic directly back to the listing. The ads appear on the bottom of the SERP on mobile devices. The rest of the ad functions the same way as previous versions of Sponsored Brand ads, using keyword-based placements based on Broad, Phrase, and Exact match types.

This feature is a game changer for search marketers on Amazon, as video ads were previously only available through Amazon’s DSP platform.

Amazon Sponsored Brand Video for Mobile

Amazon’s information on the service provides some basic advice for video marketing:

“Keep your video brief and relevant. It will autoplay, so make sure the first 2 seconds are highly engaging, and don’t rely on sound to communicate your message. If you use text in your video, make sure it’s legible.”

Our Results:
Updated February 2020

In a 2-month test of the beta, Kaspien achieved the following results, indicating significant potential for Sponsored Brand Videos.

  • We’ve achieved an average ACOS of 9.61% on over $2,500 ad spend, showing that video ads perform notably better than traditional banner ads.
  • CPC has averaged $0.80, again showing that video ads perform better than traditional Sponsored Brand banner ads.
  • We’ve generated 260K impressions, showing that in addition to generating more conversions than traditional Sponsored Brand banner ads, they still drive excellent brand awareness.

File Requirements:

  • Video duration is between 6 and 90 seconds
  • File format is .MP4 or .MOV
  • Display aspect ratio is 16:9 
  • Audio bit rate must be at least 192kbps

More information about requirements can be found here: https://advertising.amazon.com/resources/ad-specs/en/video-in-search 

Ad Management Software

Kaspien’s own software, Kaspien AdManager, has features like Search Terms Insights and Bid History available. Our team has used these features and others internally since 2017 to help improve and scale our marketing for our retail and agency partners. We are now introducing Kaspien AdManager as a SaaS offering in Q1 2020.

Join the Waitlist to receive a free 30-day trial and receive informational emails about product features, case studies, and strategic advice.

In mid-April, Walmart introduced keyword bidding to its online marketplace advertising platform. The addition of keyword bidding for Walmart Performance Ads (WPA) is a significant step forward for Walmart.com, although in its early stages, the service is far more limited than its Amazon counterpart. 

Kaspien has been exploring the new service and testing its capabilities. Here’s what we know so far.   

What Are Walmart Performance Ads? 

Like Amazon, Walmart.com’s sponsored ads operate on a bidding system. Sellers bid on a list of keywords assigned to their ads. When a shopper’s search query matches that keyword and the seller wins the bid, their ad populates.  

Like Amazon, WPA allow keyword bidding based on match type: sellers can bid on keywords based on broad, phrase, or exact match. As of April, the minimum keyword bid is $0.30. 

Walmart.com does not currently allow for negative keywords, but the advertising platform expects to add negative keyword capabilities by the end of 2019. 

Keyword Bidding Limited to the Campaign Level 

Currently, Walmart.com allows keyword bidding only at the campaign level. Advertisers and sellers can group any number of products into a campaign, although Walmart recommends 30-50 products. Once a campaign has been created, sellers create a list of keywords for that campaign. If you win the bid, Walmart selects what they consider to be the most relevant product in your campaign for that keyword, and then an ad for that product appears. Walmart has indicated that it considers the title, product description, backend keywords, price, and sales history when determining the most relevant product. 

Another major difference between WPA and Amazon’s Sponsored Products: Walmart requires a minimum budget of $1,000 per campaign and a minimum daily budget of $100 per day. Amazon, on the other hand, requires only $1.00 per day.  

How Are Keywords Selected? – Manual vs Automatic Campaigns 

Walmart.com offers two campaign types: manual and automatic. These campaign types function similarly to their Amazon counterparts.  

In manual campaigns, you select the keywords you want to bid on from a list Walmart provides.  Walmart uses an automated keyword suggestion tool to determine the most relevant keywords for the products in your campaign, and then provides a maximum of 220 keywords to the seller. Sellers then choose which of those 220 suggestions to add to their manual campaigns. For the time being, sellers cannot add keywords outside of the provided list to their manual campaigns, although Walmart plans on adding the ability within the year. 

  • To place, you must win the Buy Box 
  • Bids are set at the keyword match type level (broad, phrase, exact) 
  • Ads are eligible for search in-grid only 
  • 220 keywords per campaign 
  • Minimum campaign budget: $1,000 
  • Minimum daily spend: $100 

In automatic campaigns, Walmart decides when to display sponsored products based on keywords identified from the product title, description, and other sections of the product listing, product category, and related product section. Walmart sends sellers a list of search terms that have led to conversions in the automatic campaigns. 

  • To place, you must win the Buy Box 
  • Bids are set at the product level 
  • Ads are eligible for all WPA placements 
  • Minimum campaign budget: $1,000 
  • Minimum daily spend: $100 

What Are the Benefits of Walmart Performance Ads? 

When it’s all said and done, Walmart.com’s keyword bidding advancements is a great step forward, but it has a long way to go before it will be as robust as Amazon’s. Even so, Walmart Performance Ads come with their own set of benefits for the Walmart marketplace, including: 

  • Boosting sales 
  • Presenting your product to Walmart’s massive daily audience 
  • Defending against competitive product launches 
  • Enhancing seasonal campaigns 
  • Helping you discover new audiences and keywords for listings 
  • Improving organic ranking by increasing conversions and traffic 

Expand into Walmart 

While Amazon remains the dominant ecommerce marketplace, Walmart is aggressively expanding their online advertising platform. Backed by enormous capital, Walmart.com has the potential to become a significant ecommerce player, and brands would be remiss to not pay it heed.  

If you want to expand your online presence to Walmart, contact your Kaspien account manager or complete our contact form. We’ll partner with you to begin your expansion into Walmart’s online marketplace. 

Amazon Sponsored Ads

 

UPDATED – October 23rd, 2019

Marketing on the Amazon platform is always evolving, but one of the few constants is the need for a solid Search Marketing strategy. At Kaspien, we’ve seen Amazon CPC ads increase our partners’ sales up to 30%. They’re kind of a big deal.

If you want to learn about Amazon SEO optimization, check out our posts on improving your organic discoverability and listing optimization.

How Amazon CPC Campaigns Work

CPC ads operate on a bidding system. Sellers choose keywords that relate to their product and then bid on it. When shoppers search a phrase that contains the keyword, Amazon’s algorithm considers a variety of things including relevance, category rank, conversion rate, star rating, and much more with the bids. Of the products that Amazon deems most relevant and likely to be purchased, the brand with the highest bid will win the ad placement on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). No matter how large your bid is, if you win the placement and a shopper clicks on the ad, you will only be charged one cent more than the next highest bid.

We suggest updating your keywords and maximum bids at least weekly, ensuring your keywords are still relevant and adjusting your maximum bids to elicit the results you need. Pay extra attention to your keywords and bids during peak shopping seasons, like Prime Day and the Q4 holiday season.

Types of Amazon CPC Ads

Conversion rates are higher on Amazon than on search engines like Google because shoppers have a stronger intent to buy when they go to marketplaces. Amazon CPC campaigns allow you to capitalize on marketplace traffic by placing one of three types of ads in front of potential customers.

Amazon Sponsored Products Ads

Sponsored Product ads give you the most bang for your buck out of the three CPC ad types. There are manual and automatic targeting campaign types. Manual targeting is where you will choose all your keywords and bids. Automatic campaigns give Amazon the control of what keywords to bid on and you set a maximum bid. We’ve found that a mix of both campaign types tends to drive the greatest success.

Amazon Sponsored Products

One of the main reasons for Sponsored Product ads’ superb performance is that there are nine opportunities per SERP for your ad to place. Furthermore, these ads do not look like as a typical ad; they resemble a normal listing, so shoppers are typically less hesitant to click than they are with other ad types.

Sponsored Product ads also provide opportunities to place your ads inside other product listings under “Sponsored Products related to this item.” This placement typically gives you more visibility, but it yields a smaller return than SERP placement. 

In 2019, Amazon also introduced Product Targeting for Sponsored Products. Product targeting act essentially the same as traditional Sponsored Product ads, but you target specific products and product categories instead of keywords. You can even be as granular as targeting certain star ratings, price points, and brands in a specific category or sub category. These ads appear in the same SERPs as the product/category you are targeting, as well as inside product listings.

The last placement you can have for Sponsored Products is a display/retargeting ad outside of the Amazon platform. This is only possible with automatic targeting (as opposed to manual targeting). Amazon controls the campaign, so unfortunately you have no control over the keywords or products being targeted, only the maximum bid.

Kaspien AdManager

Kaspien has created a self-service software for Amazon ad management. Kaspien AdManager automates bid management and keyword optimization for CPC ads on Amazon. To date, it has driven over $48MM in sales, with an average 10:1 return on ad spend. 

We’ve used AdManager internally to run our partners’ campaigns for years. On average, we’ve seen AdManager increase Amazon sales by 30% and reduce ACoS by 50%! 

To use AdManager yourself, apply to the Beta!

Amazon Sponsored Brand Ads
(formerly Headline Search Ads)

Sponsored Brand ads are banner ads that feature 1-3 products (of the same brand) and a custom call out to shoppers. They appear at the top of the SERP, making them the first thing shoppers see after entering their search terms. Sponsored Brand ads are a great way to grow brand recognition, and if done correctly with the right landscape, can be a great way to drive more sales.

Sponsored Brand Ads

It’s worth noting that, because they have only one placement per page, Sponsored Brand ads are very competitive, making it tough to get traction. Additionally, if there are multiple sellers in a listing, these ads are particularly tough to generate a strong ROI because sales are brand-attributed. Sponsored Brand ads run continuously, regardless of who is in the buy box. This is in contrast to Sponsored Products, which only run when you are in the buy box. In other words, if you aren’t the only seller in the listing, you may be paying to generate sales for other sellers as well.

This trait means that you need to maintain a certain channel landscape to use Sponsored Brand ads effectively. They are best suited when you are the exclusive seller and the products already have good rank, as the strong rank will help your Sponsored Brand ads win the placement. With those conditions met, Sponsored Brand ads are an excellent way to promote multiple product lines and even introduce new product lines.

Amazon Sponsored Display Ads (Beta)

Sponsored Display ads are a good way to retarget relevant shoppers that have searched for, viewed, or already purchased your product or a similar product. This ad type is similar to an automatic campaign because you are not targeting keywords; instead, Amazon identifies specific shoppers to target and you set a maximum bid for the impression or click.

These ads can place both on and off the platform, which means these ads offer the greatest potential reach of the three ad types. There are three ways you can target shoppers with Sponsored Display Ads. The first is a CPC option, where you target shoppers who have viewed your product with off-platform display ads. The other two options use a Cost-per-Impression model. They target shoppers who have searched for or purchased your product (or something similar). These ads populate on and off the Amazon platform.

These campaigns have a lesser focus on ROI because of the nature of a Cost-per-Impression campaign; they’re intended to grow your customer base by increasing brand awareness and visibility rather than drive directly attributable sales. In that way, they are an investment in your brand’s long-term growth more than an immediate sales driver.

Determining Your Amazon Strategy

Before you start, define your objectives so you can create a purposeful Amazon strategy. With CPC campaigns, that means asking yourself do you want to focus on increasing brand awareness or driving sales?

If you already have good brand recognition, your marketing efforts can be more specific and focused on building relevance. Identify very specific keywords, branded and non-branded, to bid on. We call this “refining your traffic.” Consumers already know what products or services you offer, so your Amazon marketing can focus on winning ground in your category. This strategy also tends to be less expensive than the alternative because more specific keywords have less competition than more general terms.

If your brand is relatively unknown, you want to spread the word to as many shoppers as possible. Rather than refining your traffic to a targeted niche group to drive conversion rates up, your first goal should be to increase impressions. Bid on more general keywords, especially non-branded keywords, so that you can place your ads in front of as many shoppers as possible. Initially, your return may not be as high and bidding on general terms becomes expensive, but you will develop brand recognition, helping you gain a foothold in the market for the long term.

The Big Picture

Running and optimizing Amazon CPC campaigns is a crucial part of successful marketing, but their impact is magnified through a holistic marketing strategy.

Think about it: CPC campaigns are the midpoint in a consumer’s journey. First, off-site marketing draws consumers to marketplaces, where they see CPC ads. They then click on the ads and enter listings, where compelling photography and copy make the final sell, convincing shoppers to buy.

If you invest in quality marketing at every stage, you can increase the traffic entering listings and drive conversion rates up, ultimately growing your total orders.

Learn about a holistic Amazon marketing strategy in our free whitepaper, The State of Amazon Marketing.