Amazon Advertising is Too Big To Ignore

When you think of digital ad platforms, it’s Facebook, Google, and then everyone else. At least, that’s how the common thinking goes. But it might be time to start paying attention to a new player in the ad game: Amazon.

According to Ben Winters of Ideoclick, Amazon is now the third-largest digital ad platform, behind Facebook and Google. The difference? Amazon only started sponsoring product ads in 2012, and it’s growing five times faster than Google.

The Current State Of Amazon Advertising

If you’ve spent any time on Amazon recently — and let’s be honest, you almost certainly have — you’ve probably already seen Amazon’s ad platform. According to Winters, 54% of product searches on the internet happen on Amazon, and they’re taking advantage by pre-empting those results with ads.

Just like the first few entries on a Google search are “Sponsored Links,” the top three results on an Amazon page — pretty much everything above the fold — are paid ads. And given how rarely users click through to the second page of any search results, that top segment of the first page is premium real estate.

That also means that there’s less room on the first page for organic search results, which really puts the pressure on manufacturers to buy ad space in order to make sure their products show up. To make matters more difficult, Amazon has started to expand into its own private labels for many products, advertising them on the product detail pages for competing products.

Big Data At Work

This strategy might seem unfair, but it makes sense for Amazon — no one has more data on buyer behavior and user preferences, and it stands to reason they would use that information to place ads for the best return on their investment.

They’ve been collecting this data for decades: not just what you buy, but what you don’t buy — what you look at, what you look at next, what you put in your cart and then delete, what you buy more than once. It’s the virtual equivalent of watching someone wander around an outlet mall, multiplied by 300 million active accounts.

Add in the Amazon Go experience, which replicates all that data gathering in the real world, and Amazon has a collection of behavioral user data that just keeps getting bigger and more refined, which can only make their ad targeting more powerful.

Paying To Play

So what do you do if you’re a manufacturer fighting for page space — especially if you can’t afford to pay for the top spots? Andrea Leigh of Ideoclick suggests looking at where you have a large or engaged audience, then directing them toward Amazon.

Another tip? Focus on SEO. has a specific tool just for finding Amazon keywords, so you can optimize for what your target buyers are searching for. Once you find those keywords, be specific.

“The majority of searches on Amazon are very specific, like ‘probiotic for elementary-aged children’,” Leigh says. “And they have a really high conversion.” Leigh emphasizes that you don’t have to buy advertising on Amazon to be successful. If you have a good following, you can direct your customers from other channels and sustain traffic organically that way.

Amazon’s ad platform is growing, and if you do a lot of business through the site, you need to be paying attention. Make sure your listings are in tip-top shape as far as descriptions, metadata, and photos to make your listings as appealing as possible, and start putting some work into keywords to come up on the more specific search results.

But don’t panic! Amazon has no interest in driving away business, so there’s no need to worry that your results will be buried. Just keep putting the work in, keep an eye on your data and analytics, and the sales will follow.


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