Amazon is one of the true giants of the internet age. According to Alexa's most recent data, it's the 11th most visited website worldwide. All those in front of it are either search engines, social media sites or the singular phenomenon that is Wikipedia, making Amazon the premier online sales platform.
Amazon is also uniquely placed when it comes to the effective use of consumer data. The company has collated literally billions of pieces of data and is adept at using it to work out what a customer is likely to be interested in based on previous and current searches and transactions. This allows them to target adverts more precisely and to a wider audience than any other online entity.
There are a number of formats and ways to advertise on Amazon, included on-site sponsored products, off-site product ads, Amazon Local ads and Amazon display ads.
Advertising on Amazon: Sponsored Products
Sponsored Products is a program designed for third-party sellers listing products via the Amazon website. You choose which products you want to advertise and assign keywords to those products. When a site user searches for your keywords, your product is eligible to appear in a prominent position in the search results. You are only charged when a customer clicks your ad but the system works on an auction-style cost-per-click format. You enter your maximum cost-per-click and the higher your bid, the more likely it is that your ad will be displayed ahead of someone else's for the relevant keywords.
Advertising on Amazon: Product Ads
Product Ads also display your products when an Amazon customer searches for similar or relevant items. The crucial difference here is that the products do not have to be listed on Amazon itself. Rather, clicking on the ad sends the customer to the relevant product page on your website. The ad makes it clear to the customer that the product is being sold via an external website, using a tag such as: “Available at external Web site: YourCompany." From that point on, it's your potential customer.
Additionally, the placement of the ads is not reliant on the strict matching of specific keywords. You can assign up to 5 keywords for each product but Amazon will also use its existing and highly effective algorithms to make sure the right products are being displayed to the right people.
For Product Ads, a cost-per-click pricing model takes into account the price and category of each advertised product. As with Sponsored Products, you are only charged when somebody actually clicks through to the product on your website.
To advertise your products you first create a product catalog. This should contain relevant information for each item, including a title, description and photo and product and shipping prices.
Product Ads are currently available on the main amazon.com website and amazon.co.uk. They are not available on the Canadian, German, Japanese, French or Chinese international Amazon sites. If you are willing and able to ship to the US or UK and provide prices in the relevant currencies however, you can run ads on those two sites from anywhere.
Advertising on Amazon: Amazon Local
Amazon Local essentially works like a particularly well targeted email marketing campaign using the familiarity and trustworthiness of Amazon's brand and their vast customer base. It's primarily designed for bricks-and-mortar businesses rather than long distance eCommerce sellers.
An experienced Amazon team can help you create and format your promotion, which will typically present a special offer of some kind. This offer will then be displayed online and emailed directly to Amazon Local customers in your area on the scheduled date.
Advertising on Amazon: Display ads
Display ads on Amazon are basically the same as on other major sites with two major advantages. As already noted, Amazon holds a huge amount of consumer data and is very experienced at targeting the right advertisement to the right viewer. And, as they are an eCommerce site themselves, their visitors are typically already looking to buy – either right now or in the very near future.
Display ads can run on amazon.com and the international sites, as well as Amazon-owned and operated sites including Quidsi, IMDB, and DPReview. Mobile display ads are a relatively new development and Amazon can also offer sponsored screensavers on Kindle.
Some other formats available to play with include “add to cart” ads, and coupon ads. Lisa Utzschneider, Vice President of Global Display Advertising at Amazon Media Group, notes that “46% of those who redeem a digital coupon were new consumers to the product or brand,” suggesting that a money-off coupon could serve as a primary driver towards untested brands and products.
Amazon offers a wide range of choices and opportunities for individual merchants looking to advertise online. If you're looking to boost your own online sales, it's likely that the number one eCommerce site could help you do just that.
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