May 20, 2019

Enter the Rival: The Essentials of Amazon Ads

At present, the global online advertising industry, across channels, is worth a colossal $88 billion, a figure that is likely to keep rising.

Based on this number alone, it’s fair to say that the online advertising space is thriving - and 90% of its growth is attributed to two single major players - namely, Google and Facebook. This is a real duopoly.

While these two digital giants have dominated the paid advertising domain for some time, it seems that things are about to get particularly interesting as a new contestant enters the arena.

Amazon, ever the eCommerce innovator, has launched its very own platform, Amazon Ads, in a bid to take on Google as well as Facebook, and stake its claim in the paid advertising space.

While paid advertising has been available to vendors on Amazon since 2012, it is Amazon’s new API that facilitates self-serving advertising on the platform that has really grabbed attention, with the promise of taking its functionality, scope, and reach to exciting new heights.

That said, can Amazon take on Google and Facebook in the paid advertising space? And what are the key features of Amazon Ads?

Let’s explore.

Amazon Ads: key features and functionality

One of the most striking developments of Amazon Ads is its expansion beyond the evaluation and purchase stage of the buyer journey.

This wider PPC-based advertising scope means that brands will be able to create and display targeted ads across its entire display network while reducing the amount of steps (or clicks) it takes to click on an advertisement and place an order.

But, while Amazon has certainly made enhancements to its self-service ad-based opportunities, it seems that it hasn’t veered too far from the established tactics, concepts, and approaches adopted by Google and Facebook. That said, these tried-and-tested methods have worked for its competitors, so they may work for Amazon too.

In addition to its new API and richer level of promotional opportunities, here is an overview of Amazon’s key functions and features:

Entry requirements

First of all, to take advantage of Amazon Ads to its full potential, you must be a qualified member of the Buy Box - a white box located at the right-hand side of the product page that allows shoppers to add suggested items to their shopping cart (for your reference, it’s the ‘Other Seller’s Box detailed in this image):

Enter the Rival: The Essentials of Amazon Ads

In addition to the necessity of being a Big Box member, if you’re a brand or seller in the EU, owning a verified Professional Seller Account or Pro Merchant Account is also an essential entry requirement.

Sponsored Ad Reporting

To enhance its sponsored ad offerings and expand its marketing portfolio, Amazon is now offering comprehensive reporting and analytical functionality to help brands measure the success of their campaigns and optimize their efforts for success.

These new advertising reports include:

  • The performance of campaign keyword and search terms.
  • Campaign-level targeting and performance data based on your active ads.
  • Advertised product reports drilling into how many times a product has been featured on the display network and its click-through rate (CTR) performance.
  • Placement analytics that show where your advertised products are being placed or positioned, in addition to their individual performance.

Product Category Targeting

Another notable new feature of Amazon Ads is its product category-based targeting options.

A feature referred to as Product Display Ads (PDAs), this option empowers brands or marketers to select specific categories relevant to the items they’re looking to promote - categories that are pre-determined by Amazon.

This new piece of targeting functionality stands to make your product promotions more focused, more relevant, and ultimately more appealing to your target audience.

Amazon Ads: a Real Competitor?

While Google and Facebook currently have a stronghold on the online advertising space, Amazon’s fresh features, functionality, and newfound depth certainly stack up against its competitors.

One early roadblock for Amazon is the consumer’s perception of the platform. Typically, shoppers visit Amazon with a specific item or product in mind and thus, perform a swift search to find it at a competitive price, coupled with the platform’s user convenience.

The majority of Amazon users don’t visit the site to browse or consume content, which means that to compete, the eCommerce colossus may focus on adding new features that lend themselves to the top of the sales funnel.

But, as such an established digital player and world-renowned innovator, Amazon's wealth of new paid advertising platforms and features have already started to gain momentum, offering a viable new channel for brands looking to expand their commercial reach and boost awareness.

Established brands including L’Oreal, who exceeded its own expectations with the launch of its new product range through Amazon, and the gift experience business, Buyagift – which reported a 79% increase in exposure through Amazon ads optimization - are already singing the platform’s praises.

In relative terms, Amazon Ads is in its infancy, but the scope for growth and evolution is there for the brand’s ambitious new platform.

Final Thoughts

Google and Facebook are forces to be reckoned with and gaining a lion’s share of the world’s online advertising revenue may prove challenging - but, Amazon is ambitious and it has the resources to provide a healthy level of competition.

At this point in the game, what is clear is that Amazon Ads offers a potentially rewarding new promotional tool for brands, marketers, and eCommerce vendors looking to attract new audiences and boost their revenue.

Amazon Ads, if leveraged to its full potential, will make an excellent addition to your eCommerce marketing campaign and without a doubt, it’s an avenue worth exploring.

Happy Shopping!

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos

Dan Hughes
Dan Hughes

Dan is a content writer specializing in digital marketing, emerging tech, music and looking after a toddler. You can find out more about him and his work by visiting his Catchy Space.

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