A computer screen showing a Sponsored Products ad circled.

The Ultimate Guide to Using Sponsored Products Ads in 2022

Ryan Faist

Ryan Faist, Channel Key

December 21, 2021

Sponsored Products are one of the most popular and effective marketing tools that Amazon provides to help brands reach customers. According to CNBC, Sponsored Products accounted for about 73% of retailers’ Amazon ad spend in the second quarter of 2021. These cost-per-click ads promote individual product listings by appearing where customers will see them when searching on Amazon, such as the first page of shopping results.

Sponsored Products allow advertisers to choose their budget, bids, and targeting parameters. This helps brands of any size reach a wide variety of goals, including generating awareness of a new product, promoting seasonal items, clearing excess inventory, or showcasing best-selling items. Sponsored Products are available for professional sellers, vendors, book vendors, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors, and agencies. Products must be in one or more eligible categories and be eligible for the Featured Offer to utilize Sponsored Products.

  • Gain visibility

Ads appear right where customers will see them on Amazon, such as the first page of shopping results and product pages, to help shoppers discover your products

  • Increase sales with relevant ads

Sponsored Products can help you grow your sales on Amazon by reaching customers who are browsing for products like yours and directing them to your product page.

  • Control costs with CPC ads

You pay only when customers click your ads. You control how much you spend by setting your budget and choosing how much to bid per click.

  • Measure advertising success

Track a variety of sales and performance metrics that allow you to measure the direct impact of advertising on your business on Amazon and optimize your campaigns.

A screenshot of an Amazon Sponsored Products ad.

How Advertisers Can Use Sponsored Products

If you’re new to advertising on Amazon, Sponsored Products are a great way to start. The ad creative is automatically generated for you, and with automatic targeting, Amazon will match your ads to shopping queries and products. This means you can create and launch a campaign in just a few minutes. You can even advertise in countries where you don’t speak the language, since automatic targeting selects shopping queries for you.

No matter your level of advertising experience, Sponsored Products can help increase the visibility of your products on Amazon. These ads reach customers as they shop and feature familiar elements to the Amazon shopping experience, like star ratings, product images, and the Amazon Prime badge.

Since you can choose your own budget, bids, and targeting, Sponsored Products can be used by advertisers of any size for a wide variety of goals, such as generating awareness of a new product, promoting seasonal items, clearing excess inventory, or showcasing a best-selling item.

Sponsored Products are one of the easiest Amazon ad types to launch. To get started, just follow these steps:

  1. Pick Your Product(s)

Help create demand for new items or give your bestsellers an extra lift. Choose similar products to advertise in your campaign, and make sure they’re priced competitively enough to win the Buy Box.

  1. Give Your Campaign a Name

Keep it straightforward so you can easily find it later.

  1. Set the Budget You Want

Just $10 a day can help you get clicks and sales.

  1. Choose Your Duration

Amazon recommends running campaigns for at least 8 weeks to generate accurate data.

  1. Select Your Targeting Type

You can configure your targeting manually or let Amazon do the work. With automatic targeting, Amazon will target keywords and products similar to the one in your ad. Enter one bid and you’re done.

Keyword and Product Targeting for Sponsored Products

Your ad can serve impressions in a variety of scenarios that are determined by two types of targeting: keywords and products. These options vary depending on the advertising campaign type you’re using. For example, keyword targeting is available for Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns. Product targeting is available for Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display campaigns.

  • Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting allows you to choose keywords to show your products in customer searches and detail pages. Use this strategy when you know the search terms that shoppers use to search products like yours. For example, if your product is a phone case, you may choose the keyword “phone case.” When a shopper searches for a product with the search term “phone case,” your ad is eligible to show in search results and detail pages.

  • Product Targeting

Product targeting allows you to choose specific products, categories, brands, or other product features that are relevant to the product in your ad. Use this strategy to help shoppers discover your product when browsing detail pages and categories, or for Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, when searching products on Amazon. You can target categories and products individually or target a combination of categories and brands in the same campaign.

To help you get started, Amazon provides targeting recommendations under the “Suggested” tab in the Product targeting section. To prevent unwanted impressions, you can specify a negative list of brands and ASINs that the ad will not be matched to. For example, if the product in your ad is a “Brand A” shoe for women, you can choose to target the category “women’s running shoes” for all search results and detail pages relevant to this category. You can also choose to target the brand “Brand B” because it’s a brand similar to “Brand A”, or you can target price points, star reviews, or variations of similar products.

Keyword Targeting Best Practices for Sponsored Products

Keywords play an important role in the success of your manual campaigns Choosing the right keywords helps your ads appear in search results for the right audience. Successful keyword-targeted campaigns target keywords that will drive impressions, clicks and sales. If you don’t add enough keywords or if your keywords are too specific, your ads won’t receive enough impressions to hit your sales goals. If your keywords are too general, you might spend a lot on ad clicks without purchase. Use the following best practices to find effective keywords and refine your keyword strategy:

  • Recommended Keywords

Review the recommended keywords in the Related tab when adding new keywords. These recommendations are based on past shopping queries and ads for the same or similar products, and in the case of Sponsored Brands campaigns, they’re based on past shopping queries for the products in the landing page. The recommended keywords will continue to be updated as the campaign runs, so check back in for new recommendations.

  • Search Term Report

The search term report from your campaigns provides visibility into the actual shopping queries entered by shoppers that resulted in at least one click on your ad. Use this report to identify top-converting search terms and trends. Then bid more competitively on these keywords in your campaigns.

  • Automatic Campaign

For Sponsored Products campaigns, you can start a new automatic campaign with your ASIN and then create a manual campaign with any shopping queries that meet your performance expectations.

  • Descriptive Words

Look at the descriptive words you use in your product detail pages (or in the pages of your competitors) and add them as keywords. Brainstorm a list of shopping queries you would expect your customers to use when looking on Amazon for products like yours.

  • Find the Right Number of Keywords for Your Campaign

While there’s no ideal number of keywords, Amazon recommends including at least 25 keywords in your campaigns and ad groups. Consider adding more keywords to ensure that your ads earn enough impressions to meet your sales goals. Some keywords may not receive many impressions because they aren’t common shopping queries.

  • Branded Terms

Depending on the objective of the campaign, use branded product keywords (containing your brand name and product name, or some variation of it). Use keywords targeting products similar to yours in the same category or use complementary product keywords. For complementary product keywords, target items sold separately from yours but used together. For example, if you sell SD cards, bid on the keyword “digital camera.” Also consider separating campaigns or ad groups based on campaign objectives.

  • Identify Your Purpose

Think about the purpose of your campaign and consider if you need to use general or specific keywords. Keep in mind that keywords that are more specific are more likely to reach a shopper that will click on the ad and purchase your product.

For example, if you sell dog shampoo, you should consider whether you want more specific or more general keywords. If you target the keyword “shampoo,” your ad may receive lots of impressions, but you’ll bid against both dog shampoo and human shampoo keywords. Also, if shoppers looking for human shampoo click on your ad for dog shampoo, they’re less likely to make a purchase.

Conversely, if you think Yorkie owners may like your shampoo brand and you target the keyword “Yorkie shampoo,” your ad may not get many impressions. Your conversions would likely be higher than a more generic keyword like “Shampoo” or “Dog Shampoo.”

  • Don’t Set and Forget
    Once your keywords have been running in a campaign for two weeks, check which words are performing best and which search terms generate the best traffic and clicks. Consider archiving your lowest-performing keywords and increasing your bid on the high-performing ones. Look at the suggested bid and suggested bid range for ads that have won impressions over the past 7 days for guidance.
  • Keywords Don’t Compete Against Each Other
    This means that using similar keywords won’t drive the ad cost up or cancel each other out. Amazon suggests keeping similar combinations of ASINs and keywords in the same campaign to best understand your campaign performance. If you advertise the same product with the same keywords across multiple campaigns, your ads won’t perform better or worse, but you’ll have to look at more campaign pages to determine your ad performance.

Other Best Practices to Keep in Mind

  • There is no need to add multiple keywords with plurals or close misspellings of existing keywords. For example, you don’t have to add both “Headphone” and “Headphones”, or “Head phones” and “Headphones.”
  • Setting three match types for the same keyword with the same bid is the same as adding a keyword once with a broad match type because you can only bid once on each available ad. Setting multiple match types for the same keyword won’t cause you to lose impressions.
  • If you have a broad match keyword but negatively target that exact match, you will still be able to receive impressions on the broad match keyword but not on the exact phrase. For example, if you Broad match “men’s running shoes” and negatively target “running shoes” you may still receive an impression on Adidas men’s shoes for the broad match query. But you will not receive any impressions where the string “running shoes” is part of the shopping query.
  • Phrase or Exact keywords should not be longer than 3 words to assure searchability.

Negative Keyword Targeting for Sponsored Products

Negative keywords prevent your ads from displaying when a shopper uses search terms that match your negative keywords. You can use negative keywords to exclude poorly performing searches, reducing your advertising cost and increasing your return on ad spend (ROAS). It can also be used to fine-tune each campaigns’ keyword targeting to understand individual performance.

You cannot block ASINs using negative keywords, but negative ASIN targeting is available for Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands using product attribute targeting or Sponsored Products using automatic targeting.

Negative keyword targeting is a targeting option in Sponsored Products when selecting automatic targeting or keyword targeting strategy, and in Sponsored Brands when selecting keyword targeting strategy.

Automatic and Manual Targeting for Sponsored Products

Targeting uses keywords and products to show your ads on search and detail pages to relevant shoppers. For Sponsored Products campaigns, you can create two types of targeting: automatic and manual.

  • Automatic Targeting

With automatic targeting, Amazon will match your ad with keywords and products that are similar to the product in your ad. Amazon chooses keywords and product matches for you based on shopper searches related to your product information. Automatic targeting allows you to create a campaign easily and quickly. After your campaign has been running, you can view its performance in your campaign manager to monitor impressions and clicks to your ad and modify the targeting to meet your business goals.

When you choose automatic targeting, Amazon uses multiple default strategies on your behalf to match your ad to a shopper looking for your product. For example, your ad will be eligible to be shown in the search results if your product closely or loosely matches searches results from shoppers. Similarly, Amazon sill show your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products that are substitutes or complements of your ad products. After you create your campaign, you can view these different targeting strategies (e.g., close match, loose match, substitutes, and complements) in campaign manager and make changes to meet your campaign objectives. For example, you can increase your bid for one tactic versus another to meet your objectives.

  • Manual Targeting

For more advanced advertisers who have targeting experience, manual targeting helps you to specifically target keywords and products. You can choose different match types for keywords, and choose categories, products, brands or features related to your product.

Channel Key Takeaway:

Sponsored Products are the most widely used ad type on Amazon. They are also the type that sellers typically use first when getting started with Amazon Ads. While it may seem like there is a lot to know about setting up a Sponsored Product campaign, there is an easy strategy that will help. If you do not have much experience with Amazon Ads, Channel Key recommends you create a Sponsored Products “test” campaign with a small budget and automatic targeting. After your ad runs for a week or two, you will be able to see which keywords triggered the most clicks and sales. Then you can use this information to create your actual campaign with manual targeting, negative keywords, and a higher budget. However you create your Sponsored Products campaigns, be sure to monitor them regularly and use your collected data to make appropriate adjustments. Before long, you will become more comfortable and knowledgeable with Sponsored Products, which will speed up the process of creating campaigns for other items in your catalog.

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