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Amazon Sponsored Products Gets New Targeting Options and a Portfolio Tool

In the midst of the holiday season Amazon released two new features to their search advertisers: new Sponsored Product targeting options and portfolios. We will walk through each in detail and how advertisers can leverage them effectively.

Sponsored Product Manual Campaigns Now Able to Target Products and Categories

Amazon rolled out changes to both manual and automatic campaign targeting that expand targeting options on Sponsored Product campaigns. Manual campaigns, which previously had only keyword targeting, now have a product-targeted campaign option. Product-targeted campaigns can target individual ASINs or categories, with categories in this context referring to ‘groups of similar ASINs.’

These new manual campaign options present opportunities on Sponsored Products that sound a lot like what’s current offered under Product Display Ads (available only to vendors). Advertisers can target particular ASINs or categories to defend their own product pages and conquest on competitor’s products. A campaign with product targeting allows the advertiser’s SKUs to show up in any instance where a shopper might be served the targeted SKU, be that on the product detail page or search results page.

The category targeting options go a step further than Product Display to let advertisers target what might be considered ‘weaker’ ASINs. Advertisers can refine their category targets to only include products with certain star ratings or prices, meaning they can go after competitor products that are less desirable either because they’re priced higher or rated lower than the advertiser’s comparable offering. Could this option be foreshadowing an end to Product Display in 2019? Only time will tell.

Sponsored Product Automatic Campaign Enhancements Expand Reach of Amazon's Matching"

On automatic campaigns, advertisers now have more levers to signal how far they want Amazon to reach on their behalf when serving their ads. As a quick reminder, with automatic campaigns Amazon chooses which ads to show on a given query based on product information and how relevant the ASIN is. Now, advertisers can choose if they want Amazon to show on close match search terms, loose match search terms, substitute products, or complementary products. The definitions of each are below:

  • Close match: Amazon shows your ad to shoppers who use search terms closely related to your products. This is similar to how automatic campaigns have worked historically.
  • Loose match: Amazon shows your ad to shoppers who use search terms loosely related to your products.
  • Substitutes: Amazon shows your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products similar to yours.
  • Complements: Amazon shows your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products that complement your product.

Any automatic campaigns or ad groups created after 11/14/18 have all four options set to “on” by default, and advertisers that aren’t interested in any of the above targeting need to opt new campaigns out. Within a given campaign, each targeting option has separate bidding and reporting. There is also new reporting available to see on which products or search terms Amazon is serving your ads.

Amazon Ads Match Targeting

Advertisers launching new automatic campaigns should start with all targeting options enabled, with bids assigned based on how valuable the traffic is expected to be. With these new settings the same overall best practices still apply: closely monitor reports and performance to make bidding adjustments and mine for negatives.

We’ll report back with client data as Amazon fine-tunes the new targeting options and more advertisers launch new campaigns to opt-in.

Portfolios Provide More Flexible Ways to View Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand Ad Campaigns

Portfolios provide a more customizable way for advertisers to organize and view their Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ad campaigns. Portfolios are most beneficial for advertisers whose catalog spans multiple brands or product lines.

The most impactful portfolios feature for day-to-day management is budget controls, which allows advertisers to set one budget for all campaigns within a portfolio to share. One example use case for this is a set of campaigns that are pulling from one co-op budget, where the budget only applies to part of the account but must be shared across multiple campaigns.

Advertisers that don’t need to segment their account can create an account-level budget by creating a portfolio that encompasses all their campaigns. Previously only campaign-level budgets were an option.

In addition to shared budgets, performance for a portfolio can be viewed either holistically or at the campaign-level, which can improve usability within the UI for reporting. Invoices can be grouped by portfolio which can help simplify billing, especially for CPGs that might be advertising on various brands within one account. Previously, invoices were organized by campaign and required some Excel work to calculate total spend by brand.

Additionally, CPGs that previously used separate accounts for invoicing reasons could use portfolios to consolidate those accounts into one. Advertisers that had to go this route before were likely competing with themselves on brand search terms to some degree. Housing all Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand campaigns under one account can help reduce or eliminate that self-competition.

Amazon Performance Reports

It’s encouraging to see Amazon rolling out enhancements for advertisers as more money is getting funneled into those programs. We’re excited to see what 2019 brings!

Learn more about Amazon Marketing Services and build your Amazon Marketing & Advertising Strategy with Merkle’s team of experts.