2021 Guide to Amazon Ad Types

As an Amazon seller — especially if enrolled in Brand Registry — there are a few different ways to internally advertise your products to millions of potential Amazon customers. 

While listing optimization and SEO are vital to your organic search results, you shouldn’t rely on just that when it comes to driving traffic to your listings. To increase your impressions and conversions, you need to be taking advantage of all the advertising opportunities Amazon has to offer. 

Through Amazon Pay-Per-Click advertising, sellers and brands can target specific keywords, categories, and even competitors with their ads. 

There are a few different types of PPC advertising on Amazon, so it’s important to understand what they are, how they work, and how to manage them. In this article, we’re going to go over:

  • Amazon PPC ad types and examples of each
  • The benefits of each ad type
  • How to set up Amazon PPC ad campaigns


Amazon PPC ad types  

Third-party Amazon sellers have three ad types to choose from within their Seller Central account. Each ad type has a specific purpose and function depending on what your goals are. 

Those three ad formats are:

  1. Sponsored Products
  2. Sponsored Brands
  3. Sponsored Display 


No matter the type you choose to run, they’re all a PPC format, meaning you will pay a small fee each time a customer clicks on your ad. Because of this, PPC ads are not a “set it and forget it” type of ad. You will need to frequently optimize and manage your campaigns to ensure you’re not overspending on keywords that do not convert into sales. 

Out of the three PPC ad types listed above, Sponsored Products are the most popular amongst Amazon sellers —  66% of third-party sellers utilize Sponsored Product ads. This is due in part to the fact that you do not need to be enrolled in Brand Registry to use them, as you do with Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display. 

If you’re not enrolled in Brand Registry, do not worry, because Sponsored Product Ads are still one of the most effective ways to advertise your products on Amazon. 

According to our data, Sponsored Brands will result in the greatest RoAS (return on ad spend) over a period of 30 days — with Sponsored Products coming in a close second. Of course, this will not be the case for every seller, so it is important to test out various campaigns to see what works best for your business. 

Now, let’s get into each PPC ad format in detail.

1. Sponsored Products

Sponsored Product ads are the type that all Amazon sellers start out with and continue to use as their business grows. As we mentioned above, they’re the most popular amongst third-party sellers and one of the most profitable. 

With this ad type, you’ll have a lot of flexibility when it comes to targeting — in other words, defining the keyword search results and product detail pages in which you want your ad to appear. You can target keywords you think your audience is searching for, relevant categories, and even your main competitors’ listings. 

With PPC, you’re bidding against your competitors for the top ad placements on Amazon. You decide what you want to target, how much you want to spend per click on each particular target, and the overall daily budget for your campaign. 

If your ads convert into sales, this will in turn increase your organic search rankings for the specific keywords you’re targeting. 

Where do Sponsored Product ads appear on Amazon?

This ad type integrates so well within the organic search results on Amazon that customers may not even realize they’re looking at an ad. And depending on your bids, they’re effective right out of the gate, too — on day one of launching your product, your ad can appear at the top of the first page for each of their main keywords. 

Let’s consider an example: say I’m shopping on Amazon for boat accessories. I type “towable tube” into the Amazon search bar and press enter. Here’s what I see when the search results page loads: 

If you look closely under the images on the first row of products pictured above, you will see tiny “Sponsored” tags. These four tagged products are examples of Sponsored Product ads, while the bottom four are the first organic search results for “towable tube.” 

While using Sponsored Product Ads are a great way to get your products to the top of page one of search results, you have to be willing to spend — if your keyword bids aren’t high enough compared to your competitors’, your ads could appear within or at the bottom of the search results, where fewer customers may notice them. 

As we mentioned above, your Sponsored Product Ads may also appear on your competitors’ listings. That way, customers can do some comparison shopping before they buy. 

What are the benefits of Sponsored Product ads?

This ad type is very beginner friendly and easy to set up — even if you have no advertising experience. 

Here are some other benefits of using Sponsored Product ads:

  • It’s easier for customers to discover products with low organic rank 
  • It helps drive sales and increase your best seller rank for newly launched products.
  • It provides an instant visibility boost to newly-launched products 
  • You can choose keywords or product attributes to target manually, or you can let Amazon automatically target keywords it thinks are relevant to your products. 
  • There’s no need to write ad copy or provide additional images. Amazon will use your listing content for the ad. 
  • You only pay Amazon for the ad service when customers click on your ads — and you decide how much you want to spend per click. 

How to set up a Sponsored Product ad

From within your Seller Central account, go to the Advertising tab and click on “Campaign Manager.”

Click “Create campaign,” then click on “Sponsored Products.”

From here, you can set your campaign name, date range, daily budget, targeting options, bidding strategy, and targets. 

For a much more in-depth step-by-step guide on how to set up and optimize your Sponsored Product Ad campaigns, please check out our Amazon Sponsored Product Ads Guide.


2. Sponsored Brands

Sponsored Brand ads are banner ads that appear at the top of the Amazon search results that feature your brand’s logo, a custom tagline, and multiple products from your brand. 

Sponsored Brand ads are different from Sponsored Product Ads in that they help drive brand awareness by funneling traffic to your Amazon Storefront or to a custom landing page displaying your product line. With Sponsored Brands, you’re also able to run video ads, which catch customers’ attention as they scan Amazon search results. As with other PPC ad formats on Amazon, you can target specific keywords, categories, or products when setting up your ad.

When searching for products on Amazon, customers are met with tons of product options and other distractions — with Sponsored Brand Ads, you’re able to create a custom shopping experience that helps cancel out all the noise.

On your landing page or Amazon Store, customers view only your brand — none of your competitors’ ads or products will be displayed. This is a huge advantage, and could account for the comparatively higher RoAS sellers experience with Sponsored Brand Ads versus other PPC ad types. 

Keep in mind that this ad type is only available for third-party sellers enrolled in Brand Registry and Vendors. 

Where do Sponsored Brand ads appear on Amazon?

If you’ve shopped on Amazon before, you have encountered a Sponsored Brand ad. They appear at the very top of Amazon search results pages — above Sponsored Product Ads — and typically feature three products from one brand. 

Unlike a Sponsored Product ad, with Sponsored Brands, you can add your own custom logo and tagline that will help your ad stand out. 

If a customer clicks on “Shop JOYIN” in the above example, they will be redirected to the brand’s custom Amazon Storefront, where they can view all the products sold by JOYIN, without interruptions from competitors’ ads. 

What are the benefits of Sponsored Brand ads?

Sponsored Brands allows you to get more creative with your ads and drive more brand awareness and recognition. Instead of promoting just one product, you have the opportunity to display three products at a time to show customers more of what  you have to offer. 

Here are a few more benefits of using Sponsored Brand ads:

  • They encourage customers to add more items to their cart, as they will be presented with multiple products from your brand. Use this as an opportunity to promote complementary items. 
  • Among the ad campaign types we measured, Sponsored Brand Ads result in the greatest RoAS over a period of 30 days.
  • You can defend your branded keywords by ensuring your ads show up when a customer searches for your brand name. 
  • You can redirect customers to a custom landing page or Amazon Store that is free of competitor ads and products. 
  • You are able to add custom ad copy that shows off your brand’s messaging. 

How to set up a Sponsored Brand ad

Getting your Sponsored Brand ads live on Amazon is simple. In your Seller Central account, go to the Advertising tab and click on “Campaign Manager,” then “Sponsored Brands.”

In the next section, enter details such as your campaign name, date range, daily budget, and the brand you will be promoting. 

Next, choose your ad format: Product collection, Store spotlight, or Video. 

Next, fill in the creative assets of your ad, such as your logo, brand name, and tagline. After that, choose what you want to target with your ad — keywords or products. You can let Amazon automatically optimize your bids, or you can set your bids manually. 

For an in-depth overview of Sponsored Brand ad formats, as well as how to set them up, please check out our step-by-step How to Use Amazon Sponsored Brands Ads guide. 


3. Sponsored Display ads

While Sponsored Display ads may be least popular ad type of the three with just 25% of sellers using them,  there’s been a noticeable shift in ad spend away from Sponsored Product ads to this newer and recently updated ad format. 

As defined by Amazon, ”Sponsored Display is a self-service display advertising solution that helps you grow your business and brand on Amazon by engaging shoppers across the purchase journey, on and off Amazon.”

Sponsored Display brings advertising on Amazon to a whole new level, giving you the ability to retarget customers on and off Amazon. So not only will your ads be displayed across Amazon as they would with other ad types, they’ll also be visible to customers on third-party websites and apps. 

Unlike Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, you cannot target keywords with Sponsored Display ads. Instead, you’ll target specific audience interests and shopping behaviors, as well as customers who have previously viewed your product’s detail page. 

Basically, Amazon knows which products customers have viewed in the past. It will display those products to the same customers again on other Amazon pages or third-party websites, in hopes of converting that view into a purchase. 

If you’re enrolled in Brand Registry, this is yet another powerful tool in your arsenal to overtake your competitors. 

This ad type may yield the lowest RoAS compared to other ad types, but it’s still effective and worth testing out for your brand. 

With Sponsored Display ads, there are three targeting options to choose from: product targeting, views remarketing, and interests. 

Where do Sponsored Display ads appear?

Now that you know where Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ads appear on Amazon, let’s go over where Sponsored Display ads will appear. 

Depending on the targeting option you choose, your ads may appear on:

  • Amazon product detail pages or search results on desktop, mobile, and app 
  • Third-party websites and apps (in the U.S. only) 

Let’s see an example of a Sponsored Display ad using product targeting or audience retargeting. 

In this example, the ads are being displayed below the bullet points and the Buy Box on a competitor’s listing. 

What are the benefits of Sponsored Display ads?

Display ads are a fantastic way to reengage with potential customers who may still be interested in purchasing your products. 

  • You have the ability to retarget customers who have viewed your listing within the past 30 days
  • You can target similar products or categories, as you can with Sponsored Products and Brands
  • Your ads will be displayed throughout Amazon’s pages and will stand out more than a standard sponsored ad
  • You can target customers off of Amazon to redirect them back to your listings
  • You can target customers based on their interests and previous shopping behaviors (vendors only)

How to set up a Sponsored Display ad

Following the same process as the previous ad types, go to the Advertising tab in Seller Central and click on “Campaign Manager,” “Create campaign,” then “Sponsored Display.”

Enter your campaign details, such as your campaign name, date range, budget, targeting, bidding, products to advertise, and products to target. 

For a much more in-depth description of the various targeting options within Sponsored Display as well as how to set them up, please check out our step-by-step guide: How to Use Amazon Sponsored Display Ads


Start advertising on Amazon

We hope this article gave you a better understanding of the advertising options available to you as a seller on Amazon. With rising competition in the marketplace, it’s important to have a detailed understanding of how to promote new products and maintain sales for your existing products — Amazon PPC can help with that. 

For a more detailed guide on advertising strategies, check out our Ultimate Guide to Amazon PPC Strategies for 2021.

Do you have questions about Amazon ad types? Let us know in the comments!




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