Early Success in the Ever Evolving “Future of Search”: Amazon Sponsored Search Performance


Post by Lisa Tully, Media Manager “Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon… People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon… They are obviously more focused on the commerce side of the equation, but, at their roots, they are answering users’ questions and searches, just as we are.” Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, said this in 2014, confirming what everyone in the search marketing industry already knew—the battle between Google and Amazon was on.  To illustrate, Forrester reported in 2014 that 39% of U.S. online shoppers started the product research process on Amazon vs. only 11% on search engines like Google (this is compared to 24% Amazon vs. 18% search engines in 2009).  Google is continually losing share to Amazon. In response, Google has been focused on shopping, revamping its Product Listing Ad (PLA) product in late 2012 and evolving it ever since.  The new PLA format (called Google Shopping) is a much richer shopping experience for Google searchers.  Advertisers have been realizing more clicks and conversions—at lower costs—via Google Shopping vs. the old PLA format. But, most recently, Amazon sought to give advertisers more opportunities to engage and convert Amazon searchers.  It released a new ad platform in 2014 called Amazon Sponsored Search Ads, which enables advertisers to place image-rich text ads directly in Amazon search results pages.  Performics is one of the first agencies utilizing this product; and we’re seeing early success for our clients. This new ad opportunity is an exciting update for advertisers as it provides high visibility on a channel (Amazon) that your customers are deeply engaged with.  When people on Amazon search for a product, they see an image ad above the traditional search results.  Like paid search, targeting for Amazon Sponsored Search Ads is keyword-based, which means advertisers can choose which searches to show ads on: Amazon search blog imageImage from Amazon STRATEGY and EXECUTION In order to maximize ad performance on Amazon for a large electronics client, Performics focused on three core areas:

  • 100% coverage on brand terms to prevent competitor ads from appearing
  • Coverage on mission-critical generic terms that are very expensive on Google and Yahoo!/Bing, especially during highly competitive times like holiday
  • Visibility for competitors’ search terms

In early testing, we’ve driven millions of dollars in incremental revenue through high click volume and detailed page views (e.g. after a searcher clicks on our ad, they’re taken to a category page with several products we selected; clicking on a product and viewing that individual product page is defined as a detail page view).  Perhaps most significant, Amazon is driving a higher return on ad spend (ROAS) than traditional Google and Yahoo!/Bing paid search ads. Today, “searching” doesn’t just happen on Google.  Thus, “search marketing” is expanding well beyond the traditional search engines—to Amazon, content networks, wearables, automotive dashboards and the ever-expanding “Internet of Things.”  Amazon is an immediate opportunity for advertisers to break free from traditional engines to engage consumers in this future of search. For help planning, executing and optimizing search marketing campaign on Amazon, contact Performics today!


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