Did you know that Amazon advertising is more than just PPC? This post covers all ways you can market (free) or advertise (paid) your products ON Amazon’s platform.
Related post: OFF Amazon marketing (driving traffic to your product listings).
First, let’s start out by differentiating what is free and what is paid. While ‘nothing in life is truly free’, what we mean here is that ‘paid’ means paying Amazon directly for using specific services. ‘Free’ kinds of Amazon advertising still require an investment of your time and include everything from Amazon Ranking Optimization to offering promotions.
1. Amazon Ranking Optimization (SEO): Better Ranking = More Sales
If you’re new to selling on Amazon, then you should definitely check out our post on the Differences Between Optimization for Google vs. Amazon. You might think that your product listing will rank really well if you follow all the optimization guidelines to a T – but that’s not the whole story. Amazon’s search engine algorithm takes other factors into account, such as how many sales your product generates or how high your listing’s Click Through Rate (CTR) is.
In this post, we’ll just run through the basics of what’s available as far as SEO for Amazon marketing. For details, check out our post on Amazon SEO.
1.1. Keywords: The Essential Foundation of Your Product Listing
Selecting the right keywords for your product listing is absolutely, fundamentally crucial for good ranking because your product will only be found via search if your listing contains the same words as the search query.
In addition, keyword placement plays an important role in ranking. Through extensive testing, we know the most important keywords for a product are the ones in the title, followed by the backend keywords you can enter for the product listing in the Sellar Central. This is followed by the bullet points and the description.
An important point to remember is that repeating keywords across these different text fields is of no value.
1.2. Product Listing Text: Optimize For Humans and Machines for Best Results
When optimizing different product information – especially in the bullet points – you need to be careful to balance keywords with sales elements: All information for the Amazon product should make the product rank high and enable the customer to make an informed buying decision. Also include the benefits in your listing text – not just the product features. That will make them more likely to purchase your product.
This should help you make a framework for your product descriptions. Instead of writing “Made of 100% beech wood” for example, write “100% beech wood makes it very easy to clean” in the attributes. Remember to include keywords, but to space them out, so you create a persuasive and natural reading flow.
Only the title is the place where it’s ‘okay’ to squish together keywords in a way that’s not so pleasant for reading. Here’s an example:
In the example above, the wallet on the right has a better keyword placement and optimization of keywords within the title. Remember, customers see very little in the search results page itself – usually just looking at the picture, title and price before scrolling on. Therefore, the title is the one place where it’s better to cram in keywords. More information can help increase click-through-rate if not conversion as well:
- Synonyms: In the example above, they write wallet and money clip.
- Detailed Features: They include ‘genuine leather’ as well as ‘full grain leather’ – which is much better than just ‘leather’ as the poor example has.
- Length: Putting aside immature jokes about size, the general rule on Amazon listing optimization is ‘the bigger, the better’. The product on the right will rank well for the long-tail keyword search ‘full grain leather’, but also be found for a simple search for ‘leather wallet’.
1.3. Pictures: Include Information and Benefits to Increase Purchase Likelihood
Having good, high-quality pictures of your product is a must. Remember, these pictures will also be used in sponsored product ads if you choose to do paid Amazon advertizing. The general guidelines for good pictures are:
- White / transparent background
- Product alone, without hands or models
- Product takes up at least 85% of the pictures
- High-definition, clear photos
- No flash or shadows
Beyond these basics, though, we suggest that you add extra information written on your pictures to increase the likelihood of the shopper to make a purchase. You have 8 other pictures (besides the main photo) to use – try adding benefits and uses to the photo like in the example below.
1.4. Price: Make It Attractive to Increase Conversion
Attractive pricing isn’t just necessary to remain competitive; It also contributes to good organic ranking. A price’s attractiveness depends on the competitive environment for a keyword. A seller should take into account the prices above and below their own product, and position their prices accordingly. It’s messy, but the best price for your product must be determined by trial and error. If you use Sellics, for example, you could modify prices and check how that affects your product’s ranking, conversions and profit margin – even running A/B comparisons. (Check out our features page for details.)
1.5. Amazon Product Reviews: Crucial Information for Customers
Amazon reviews can be the determining factor in a buying decision. As such, it’s important to respond to negative reviews. The best outcome, of course, is where you respond to a negative review quickly and professionally, and the user then amends the review or removes it.
Generating new reviews only takes a brief foray into ‘product tester’ communities or review clubs. There, users can obtain a free copy of the product, and review it in return. Don’t worry: These communities are made up of independent testers, which means they are unbiased. That also means however, that if they say the product is bad, it’s not out of bias: The product is bad.
Using review clubs is a much-debated topic among Amazon sellers, and we cover this topic in more detail in other blog posts.
1.6. Delivery: FBA Leads to Better Ranking
The use of the FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) shipping service also has a positive impact on ranking. More and more buyers are Amazon Prime members who prefer to buy FBA products, because they don’t pay shipping fees. Often, they’ll even receive the parcel faster than with other shipping methods.
The fact is: More sales leads to better ranking. So if you offer your customers ‘free shipping’ with Prime, then that’ll lead to more sales which will improve your ranking.
2. Promotions: Generate Reviews, Increase Sales Rank and Other Business Boosters
In Seller Central, you’ll see five different kinds of promotions that Amazon offers. These are a great form of Amazon advertising. You can add these promotions to your entire product catalogue or only a section of it:
- Free Shipping: This means you offer the customer free delivery. The costs will be paid by the you, the seller.
- Money Off: You can choose to reduce the price of a product which is then listed as ‘reduced’.
- Buy 1 Get 1: In this type of coupon, the purchaser receives a free product for each product purchased. It’s also known as a 2-for-1 promotion.
- External Benefits: These can be, for example, loyalty points.
- Giveaways: This is a relatively new promotion that Amazon offers. You can make your product(s) available as a prize for a giveaway. Often, sellers and authors will host the giveaway themselves (to promote a new book, for example).
2.1. Coupons: When to Implement Them In Your Amazon Advertising Strategies
Before delving into various Amazon promotions, or trying out a few different ones randomly, give some thought to your business and what kind of promotions would be best suited to your customers.
Coupons can be a great way to target your customers who subscribe to your newsletter. It will increase your open rates and clicks, and make your customers more interested in communication coming from you. (If they’re interested in using the coupon codes!)
You can also include coupon codes in shipments that you send, encouraging customers to buy more products from you and build up loyalty.
2.2 Discounts: A Former Tactic to Get Product Reviews on Amazon
Until the update to Amazon’s review policy on October 3rd, 2016, many sellers on Amazon would use review clubs to boost reviews for a new product. In exchange for a free or discounted product, users would leave a product review. This is called an ‘incentivized’ review.
Despite the ban on incentivized reviews, discounts are a great Amazon advertising scheme and can increase your conversion rate and sales significantly. These, in turn, lead to a positive impact on your ranking. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to make less profit in the short term in order to boost your ranking – which will improve your sales.
2.3. Amazon Lightning Deals: Time Pressure Animates Purchase Decisions
One strong aspect of marketing is giving the customer a sense of urgency. They should click and purchase NOW, rather than thinking it over for awhile and likely forgetting about it.
These Amazon Lightning Deals can be found under the ‘Deals’ section of the site. The flash offers are valid for:
- A limited number of products
- A limited time (often shown with a count-down timer)
- At a reduced price
Lightning deals must be pre-approved by Amazon – you can submit an application in Seller Central – and offer a discount greater than 30% of the retail price your product had for the last 30 days.
Thus, lightning deals should be seen as a reinforcement of classical promotions. The advantage of these great deals is that they will be listed on a separate page on Amazon. This separate page is seen by many customers, since Amazon targets customers with these deals directly. These offers are normally reserved for the largest sellers of a product, and seriously reinforce their grip on that product. You may even think strategically about increasing your prices a month in advance to ensure the placement of a flash bid gets an even larger-looking discount.
3. Sponsored Products: The Most Commonly Used Form of ON Amazon Advertising
Sponsored Products ads are also called Amazon PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and are available to both sellers and vendors. Sellers can set up these campaigns in Seller Central (if they have a Professional selling plan), and vendors have the option to let Amazon run the campaigns for them.These ads are shown at the top and the bottom of the search results list.
Tip: You can see both organic and PPC-generated sales in the same profit analysis breakdown Sellics offers.
Normally, you can only see these figures if you export Excel reports from Seller Central and spend half an hour crunching the data yourself – each time you want a report. But with Sellics, you have this all at a glance – start your free trial today.
Running sponsored products ads are a great way to increase the visibility of your product. Rather than acquiescing to a trickle of click-throughs and sales from being on page 8 of organic Amazon search results, you can jump right to the top of page one with a paid ad.
What Are Amazon Sponsored Product Ads?
Also known as PPC ads, they closely resemble Amazon product listings, but the seller (or vendor) pays for the ad to be displayed on Amazon. Hence the name Pay-Per-Click, sellers and vendors only pay each time the ad is clicked on. Whether or not the shopper goes on to buy the product is irrelevant.
For a PPC ad to be shown, certain keywords must be matched up to the ad campaigns. If those keywords in a sponsored product ad group are contained in the search, the ad will appear. It won’t appear all the time – the number of impressions (times the ad is shown) depends on your budget, how well your ad keywords correlate to your product’s keywords, etc. You can learn more about this in our post Optimizing Sponsored Products.
How Does Amazon Advertising with Sponsored Products Work?
Amazon’s sponsored product function is based upon keywords and auctions. That is, sellers offer a certain amount for their product to appear when a shopper enters certain keywords. Put simply, the first position is given to the seller offering the highest bid for a keyword, the second position for the next highest and so on.
How Much Does A Sponsored Products Click Cost?
Amazon advertising with sponsored products are relatively cheap compared to other PPC (Pay Per Click) advertizing services such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. According to Amazon, the average winning bids are (that is, getting the 1st position place) between $0.03 and $0.17 depending on the category. That’s roughly 8x cheaper than Google AdWords!
Placing and optimizing sponsored products can be a great way to jump start your new business, especially since sponsored products also have a positive impact on organic rankings (by increasing sales). Sponsored products are still currently a not-often-used secret – which means that you can utilize this advantage over other sellers to boost your Amazon business.
4. Amazon Marketing Services: Special Treatment for Vendors
It’s no secret that Amazon likes to make money, and part of their revenue comes from their slice of the pie when goods are sold. So, they like to encourage more selling – which means that big companies will get special treatment. The vendor program is basically a form of wholesaling, where Amazon itself acts as the retailer. Keep in mind that Amazon advertising for vendors and sellers is largely similar (see the points below).
4.1. Banners (Display Ads) on Amazon
Both sellers and vendors can run sponsored product ads, but banners are reserved exclusively for vendors. Banners can be shown on search results or on product listing pages themselves pages (see the screenshot below).
Amazon Pages: A Brand Store Mixed With A Landing Page Feeling
Also vendor-only, this part of Amazon Marketing Services offers more brand awareness and an elegant feeling to the page. An Amazon Page is simply a page on Amazon full of a single brand’s products, often with banners and features and product information mixed in – which is why it feels more like a classic landing page that an online shop would use.
5. Amazon Vine: A Review Platform for Vendors
Vine is a program Amazon offers for vendors to generate new reviews. Here you have the possibility to provide very active Amazon reviewers with a free copy of the product. In return, the reviewer will write a review of the product. Once again, reviewers are very honest!
Stay On Top Of Your Amazon Advertising & Marketing Measures
Congratulations on having scrolled this far! As you’ve just seen in this post, there are many ways to utilize Amazon advertising to increase your product’s visibility – and sales. Even if your product line is small, a tool like Sellics can help you with inventory management, staying on top of reviews, calculating profit margins and more – all in the same place.
Ready to take your Amazon business to the next level? Don’t waste a second.
Most sellers have optimized their product listings, but have little experience with other forms of Amazon advertising such as Lightning Deals or Buy-One-Get-One-Free. Which Amazon marketing method works best for your busines? Share your experiences and opinions in the comment section below!