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Amazon Advertising: A Quick-Start Guide

Published: November 27, 2017

Author: Jarod Reynolds

You might have figured out Google Shopping, eBay, product display ads, etc. But if you’re an e-tailer, and you’re not on Amazon, you’re missing an increasingly large source of revenue. In this guide, we’ll help get you started with platform basics so you can test out a huge new revenue stream – maybe in time to catch some holiday sales if you hustle.
First, Amazon is a self-service platform, with all ad types based on CPC and targeting available by keyword, product/category, and interest. AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) is open only to Amazon.com vendors; this means that you must already be selling at least one of your products directly to Amazon and letting the platform fulfill the orders.
If you’re not already set up as a vendor, or if you’re taking over an account from a client or an agency, you can get full set-up instructions here. (Note: as of summer 2020, Amazon attribution has gotten more robust, which helps marketers understand the value of the platform.)

Platform Basics

A. Draft List: In this section, you can edit campaigns that were saved as drafts and not published, or rejected by Amazon for policy reasons.
B. New Campaign Button: This is where to go to launch a new campaign.
C. Search Bar: This can only be used to filter by Campaign Name (since there are no filters for other fields, or any way to filter out legacy campaigns, make sure to name your campaigns carefully for easy filtering).
D. Export: This is where you can export your campaign-level data (as an Excel CSV file).
E. Campaign List: This is where you can review performance of your campaigns. You can sort by values in each column by clicking on the column header, but you cannot filter based on these values. You can also duplicate existing campaigns to quickly create new, similar campaigns.

Ad Types

Amazon features three types of ads: Sponsored Products, Headline Search Ads, and Product Display Ads. The platform’s suggested media mix is 50% Sponsored Products/40% Headline/10% Product Display (all three have separate inventory, so you need to run all formats to maximize available impressions).

Sponsored Products

Only keyword targeting is available with this ad type. CPC bids start as low as $0.02, and ads appear beside and below search results:

Headline Search Ads

Like sponsored products, these ads are only available with keyword targeting. CPC bids start at $0.10, and ads appear above search results:

Headline text recommendations and requirements:

  • 50-character limit
  • Include brand name, strong CTA, and/or offer
  • Don’t make unsupported claims or use all caps. Doing so may cause AMS moderators to reject your ad.

Product Display Ads

This is Amazon’s most versatile ad type; you can use category, product, or interest-based targeting. Ads appear on related product detail pages.

Category Targeting: Target by picking from a list of categories related to your product to target shoppers who are browsing product detail pages of these categories. Your ads will be eligible to show on every product detail page within the selected categories.
Product Targeting: Target complementary or competitive product detail pages that shoppers might visit to purchase your products at Amazon.com.
Interest-Based Targeting: Select shopper interest categories to reach a broader audience.
Amazon has its quirks, like any platform; we recommend setting aside a test budget and seeing how it stacks up with other channels. But we also recommend getting started ASAP; demand (and CPCs) for the platform’s real estate is only getting higher.

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