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Amazon Sponsored Brands: How to Run Effective Sponsored Ads

Amazon Sponsored Brands (previously Amazon Headline Search Ads, HSA) are keyword-targeted ads that can be used to capture more top of funnel customers with Amazon Advertising while the heavily utilized Amazon Sponsored Products are typically used to drive lower funnel conversion. Both ad types are popular with vendors and sellers with the Brand Registry looking for new ways to increase their Amazon PPC efficiency.

Amazon Sponsored Brands are displayed:

  • in the top of search results on Amazon
  • on the left-hand rail
  • at the bottom of page in search results

In total, there are 4 ad placements available for Amazon Sponsored Brands Ads; one placement displayed above the fold (‘Top of Search’), and three placements below the fold in search results.

amazon sponsored brands strategy

Sponsored Brand ads that are displayed in the top of search results on Amazon are considered prime real-estate for search visibility – it means your ad (showcasing your brand & top products) will be the first thing seen by customers browsing for products similar to yours on Page 1 of Amazon.

New: Try Sellics Advertising to grow your Amazon Advertising with automation tools, world-class resources and expert support.

5 Tips for Running Amazon Sponsored Brands

At Sellics we want to share our recommended best practices and strategies to help advertisers get the most out of using Amazon Sponsored Brands. Read below to learn how to build targeted keyword lists, A/B test your campaign variables to improve your CTR, analyze your Sponsored Brand Ads performance, and much more.

Before we proceed, we recommend you to benchmark your account and compare your Amazon Advertising performance to your competition.

1. Amazon Sponsored Brands: Define Your Goals & KPIs

A) Goal: Brand Awareness

If your goal is to drive brand awareness, you will want to pay close attention to your impressions; this will give you a sense of how much awareness you are driving with your campaigns, and identify which campaigns are the most effective for driving awareness.

B) Goal: Sales

If your goal is to drive sales, you will want to look at your conversion rate to see how much of the awareness generated from impressions is converting into sales. You will also need to pay close attention to your average Amazon CPC (Cost-Per-Click), and here it’s important to understand that your CPC can also vary for the different placements: ‘Top of Search’ v.s. ‘Other Placements’.

You can expect to pay a higher CPC for your ad displayed Top of Search, as it is the only ad placement displayed above the fold and above organic search results on Amazon. This placement will also have the highest bid competition amongst advertisers, who are all vying for the top advertising spot that they know will get them the most eyeballs.

C) Goal: New Customers

If the goal of your campaign is to acquire new customers, you can leverage New-to-brand metrics to determine whether a purchase from your Amazon Sponsored Brands ad was made by a new customer or existing customer. Amazon will consider the order as ‘new-to-brand’ if the customer has not purchased from your brand within the last 12 months.

Within the 4 metrics provided by Amazon, you can see your new-to-brand orders, new-to-brand sales, % of new-to-brand orders, and % of new-to-brand sales. This is a useful feature that enables advertisers to estimate the cost of acquiring new customers on Amazon, and assess the effectiveness of using Amazon Sponsored Brands to achieve specific campaign goals.

2. Sponsored Brands Ads: Target Relevant Keywords

Keyword research is critical for the success of your Sponsored Brand campaigns. Your ad will only be displayed in the search results if one of your keywords matches the search query of the shopper. Your keyword selection should be highly relevant to the three products you are advertising together using Amazon Sponsored Ads.

A) Branded v.s. Unbranded Keywords

For a brand awareness campaign, a best practice is that you will typically want to include generic, unbranded short-tail keywords, and display your best-seller products in your ad to shoppers who are interacting with your brand for the first time.

The goal here is to match the shopper’s intent to your keyword; if the customer is searching for generic terms such as “organic hair care”, it signals the shopper knows they want hair care products, but they don’t know exactly which products they want. In this scenario, you would want to display a mix of your best-seller hair products and send the shopper to your Stores page, where they can then browse through a larger selection of curated products.

If your brand is fairly well-known or established, you will also want to create a separate brand defense campaign and focus on your branded keywords, in order to defend your market share from smaller brands and Amazon’s own private label products. In other words, if your own product ads do not surface during a customer’s search query looking for your product, your competitor’s products will.

B) Add High-converting Keywords From Your Manual Campaign

If you are already running Sponsored Products ads for the products that will be displayed in your Amazon Sponsored Brands campaign, a best practice is to create a relevant keyword list by pulling the top-performing keywords from your Sponsored Product campaigns.

This is a simple process in Sellics; simply select the relevant Manual campaign in your PPC Manager (for sellers) or AMS Manager (for vendors), and filter for a list of the keywords that have generated the most orders for your product.

amazon sponsored brands management

C) Add Relevant Keywords From Your Automatic Campaign

You should regularly browse through your Sponsored Products Auto Campaign to identify new customer search terms that have generated a high number of orders for your campaign. You can then add these new search terms as keywords to your Amazon Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products advertising campaigns.

This is very simple in Sellics; you can easily filter for a list of relevant search terms without having to manually download reports from Seller Central or the Amazon Advertising Console (for vendors).

Simply click on the relevant ‘Auto campaign’ in your PPC/AMS Manager to instantly see a list of all the new customer search terms Amazon has matched to your ad. You will want to add new search terms that have generated the most orders for your ad.

amazon ppc management

3. Amazon Sponsored Brands: Analyze Performance by Placement

Once your Amazon Sponsored Brands campaign is up and running, you will want to analyze the performance of your ad placements. Here, you can use the Sponsored Brands ‘Keyword Placement’ and ‘Campaign Placement’ reports to evaluate your placement performance data on a more granular level.

amazon placement report sponsored brands

Unfortunately, Amazon does not distinguish between the left-hand rail and bottom of search placements – both fall under ‘Other Placements’. This means you can only compare how your ‘Top of Search’ placement performs against your ‘Other Placements.’

A) Top of Search v.s. Other Placements

It is very possible that you will see a huge difference in performance when you compare KPIs for Top of Search v.s. Other Placements. This is because while the other placements for Amazon Sponsored Brands Ads will greatly increase your ad visibility (impressions), it does not mean it will correspond with the same CTR and conversion rate as your Top of Search ad placement.

In our Keyword Placement report below, you can see that while the Other Placements received a significantly higher number of overall impressions, the CTR was much lower compared with Top of Search.

placement report amazon sponsored brands

It could simply be that shoppers are generally less inclined to click on ads displayed on the left-hand rail and bottom of page on Amazon. This can be a huge problem for advertisers — if your CTR drops for your other placements, it will drag down your overall CTR. If your overall CTR drops significantly, you will end up paying more for your clicks, as Amazon will assume your ad is less relevant for the shopper.

Followingly, if you find that the CTR and conversion rate for your placements below the fold is not aligned with your advertising goals, you have the option to turn off Amazon’s automated bidding function and set up your own custom bidding strategies for your other placements.

B) Automated Bidding v.s. Custom Bid Adjustments

With the introduction of the new advertising placements for Sponsored Brands Ads, Amazon has also given advertisers expanded bidding capabilities to manage their other placements – you can choose to either use Amazon’s automated bidding function (which is the default setting for all your campaigns) or set up your own custom bid adjustments.

  • Automated Bidding: Amazon will automatically decrease the bids for your other placements based on the expected conversion rates compared to your top of search placement. Automated bidding cannot increase bids for your other placements.
  • Custom Bid Adjustments: Advertisers can manually manage their other placement bids, and increase or decrease bids by applying a percentage modifier. If the advertiser turns off automated bidding and does not set up a custom bid adjustment, then the default bid will be applied evenly across all placements.
custom bid adjustment amazon

If you find the CTR (and corresponding sales) for your placements below the fold are extremely low, you can use the custom bid adjustment functionality to lower your bid percentage for your other placements.

You can even use the bid percentage modifier to ensure you only target top of search placements. However, please be aware that using the custom bidding option will require more manual work for the advertiser; you will need to dedicate more time every week to manage your bids and monitor their ongoing performance.

4. A/B test Campaign Variables to Improve CTR

One of the perks of Amazon Sponsored Brands is that you have a customizable ad format – the ad will feature your header image, a custom headline, and three of your products. This means you have quite a few variables you can use for testing; your landing page, ad copy, image, and product selection.

When setting up your Sponsored Brand campaigns for A/B testing, Amazon recommends advertisers to:

  1. Set-up multiple campaigns to run simultaneously
  2. Change one variable at a time
  3. Run the test for at least 2 weeks
  4. Identify winning criteria based on your business goal and the test set-up

A) Stores v.s. Custom Landing Page

You can choose to send customers to your Amazon Stores page, or a custom landing page where you select the aggregated products you wish to display. If you are using Amazon Sponsored Brands to drive brand discovery, we recommend sending shoppers to your Stores page, where you can create a more immersive brand experience and make a deeper impression on first-time shoppers.

However, if you are using Amazon Sponsored Brands to drive advertising sales for a specific product selection, it would make sense to send customers to a custom landing page that only display your selected ASINs, allowing you to remove any visual distractions and focus on closing the sale. But of course, the best way to find out which landing page will drive the most sales is to test the performance of your Stores v.s. custom landing page.

B) Sponsored Brands: Product Selection

sponsored brands ad amazon

You can select up to three products to be displayed in your Sponsored Brands Ads, and typically you will want to select your best seller products, and/or the products that are iconic for your brand to be featured.

If your goal is to drive sales, you can look at the conversion rate of your ASIN selection to determine which products should be featured in the ad, and consider testing different products accordingly. Focus on promoting the products that have good reviews – your product’s star ratings will be displayed in the ad and therefore will have an immediate influencing factor on your CTR.

C) Ad Copy & Images

For your Amazon Sponsored Brands ad, you need to display a custom message (50 characters or less) and a 400×400 pixel image. Make sure your copy and image are line with Amazon’s Creative Acceptance Policy, as Amazon will also need to approve the creatives for your ad.

For your header image, you can opt to display your brand logo or consider showcasing another product and test to see which performs better. For your ad copy, you need to make sure the copy is aligned with your keyword and product selection and try testing different CTAs to find out which message resonates the most with shoppers.

5. Amazon Sponsored Brands: How to Analyze Performance

Once you’ve set up your Sponsored Brand campaigns, it’s important to track how your campaigns perform and understand which keyword or bid changes have had a positive impact on your ad performance. Sellics offers you comprehensive tools to analyze your Sponsored Brands performance.

A) Amazon Sponsored Brands v.s. Sponsored Products: Compare Performance

To assess the efficiency of your overall Amazon ad spend, you will want to compare how your new Sponsored Brand ads perform against your Sponsored Product ads. You can see this in your Sellics PPC/AMS Manager, and directly compare the KPIs (sales, ACoS, conversion rate, etc) of your Sponsored Products v.s. Sponsored Brand ads.

This will allow you to easily see which ad format is performing better/more efficiently, enabling you to make data-driven decisions when figuring out how to allocate your Amazon ad spend budget more effectively.

amazon sponsored ads

Track your total aggregated Ad Spend on Amazon

It’s very likely that your ad spend will see a huge spike with using Amazon Sponsored Brands Ads (aka Amazon Headline Search Ads), as it is a considerably more expensive ad format offered by Amazon compared to Sponsored Products.

Currently, it’s very difficult for advertisers to track their total aggregated ad spend on Amazon, and if you have a set budget allocated for Amazon Advertising, it’s important that you’re able to track and compare how much you’re spending on Amazon’s various ad formats.

This is now displayed for you in Sellics; you can see your total aggregated sales and ad spend for Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands simply by navigating to your PPC/AMS Manager ‘Overview’ page.

amazon sponsored brands budget

If you’re a seller or vendor interested in using Sellics to manage your Amazon Advertising performance, you can signup for a 14-day free trial below and try all our features for free.

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