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11 June 2019 / Opinion

The rise of Amazon search: optimising your strategy

Laura Harbord

When it comes to shopping, Amazon has overtaken Google as the number one shopping search engine.

Statistics provided by Amazon reveal that the website has 37 million total monthly visitors in the UK alone, which shows that more and more consumers are skipping Google and turning directly to Amazon when searching for products online.

In addition, further statistics from Amazon show that 90% of the users who start their purchase journey on Amazon, go on to make their final purchase with Amazon.

As a result, Amazon ads are becoming more popular with advertisers so now is the ideal time to start advertising on the platform before it becomes completely saturated.

When thinking about an Amazon search strategy, first page visibility is crucial as only 30% of Amazon shoppers click past the first results page.

Using ads is a great way to ensure that your brand appears on the first page of results on Amazon.

Using Amazon ads to boost sales not only helps to improve organic rankings, they can also be used to maximise a brand’s presence during key shopping periods such as Black Friday and Christmas.

So, how do you optimise your paid search strategy on Amazon?

Use a granular structure

In the same way as Google and Bing, when it comes to Amazon search, a granular structure should be used to enable optimisation at product level.

It’s possible to use the same structures as Google Adwords campaigns which also includes adding negative keywords and increasing bids on top performing Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs).

Keeping ad accounts structured in this way will help to maintain the relevance of ads and ensure the best results.

Use the right types of ad for your business goals

Amazon offers three types of ad formats:

1. Sponsored product ads

These are one of the most widely used and effective ad formats and are displayed within Amazon’s usual search results.

These ads can be shown across the customer journey and are keyword targeted, providing precise control over exactly who sees any given ad. Primarily used to drive sales, this ad format can also help to drive brand awareness too.

2. Product display ads

This type of ad allows targeting of prospective customers by interest, allowing advertising within competitor’s products and categories in order to maximise the reach of ads.

3. Sponsored brand ads

These are shown at the top of every search result page and offer a more visible ad format, they are most commonly used to build brand awareness and brand loyalty.

To maximise budget, it’s important to choose the correct ad format but it may be necessary to experiment a little to find out which ad format provides the best results and brings the highest returns.

Ensure product detail pages are up to scratch

Directing users to product pages through paid ads is extremely effective but, if product detail pages are not updated, optimise or provide the correct information, it could lead to wasted budget.

It’s important to always test changes to product listings pages such as images, titles, bullet points, descriptions and prices to improve conversion rates.

In addition, having a number of good reviews can affect the CPCs needed to win premium placements on Amazon.

Customer reviews have a huge influencing factor on conversions, making them critical to any strategy.

It’s highly likely that customers will browse reviews before making a purchase and negative reviews can encourage them to click away.

If customers do leave negative reviews, it has been proven that responding to them rather than ignoring them helps to reduce the effect of customers clicking away.

Use tools to find keyword opportunities

Customer’s search habits on Amazon compared to Google are very different.

On Amazon, a customer can only find a product if their search query matches a product keyword.

This means that relying on Google Adwords data for keyword research, risks building inaccurate keyword lists that are simply not relevant to the searches of Amazon customers.

Amazon has a Search Term Report function to help find the keywords that shoppers use when searching for related products.

Reverse ASIN lookups can be used to find keywords associated with any ASIN and how they rank.

Sponsored Ad strategy

Start with an automatically targeted campaign. This will help to identify top performing ASINs and keywords that can be used in manual campaigns.

Similarly to Google Shopping campaigns, this can help to identify keywords such as synonyms or alternative product names that may not be included originally.

It also helps to find the correct keywords to target, as Amazon users search differently to search engine users, using more product or brand specific queries.

Create a testing plan for success

As with any Google and Bing strategy, it’s important to constantly test ads to help increase sales and revenue.

Test all ad formats to find out exactly what works for your brand. Sponsored Product ads can increase the discoverability of products whereas Sponsored Brand ads (formally Headline Search Ads) are eye catching and will dominate the top of the results page.

This makes them perfect for brand awareness and there is much less competition, as you need to be a brand registered seller or registered vendor to use them.

You should also test:

  • New automated bidding strategies - these adjust bids in real-time based on the likelihood of conversion
  • Seasonal campaigns
  • Changes to product listing pages such as images, titles, bullets, descriptions or prices

Competitor strategy

It’s possible to run Sponsored Product ads on product detail pages of competitor’s products which could help to grab their customers before they make a purchase.

These ads should also be run on owned product detail pages to prevent competitors from showing their ads.

These spots can be used to cross or up sell, e.g. the latest version of a product, compatible products or product bundles.