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Merkle Releases Automated Bidding for Amazon Sponsored Brands as the Format Continues to Grow

Today, Merkle unveiled its automated bidding solution for Amazon Sponsored Brands to help advertisers scale their programs efficiently. Previously called Headline Search Ads, Sponsored Brands used to show only above-the-fold on Amazon’s search results page. As of late August, these ads became eligible to serve in several other search results page locations, including the left-hand rail, below the fold, and in every 13th slot (placements vary by device). As such, optimized Sponsored Brands bidding is more important now than ever before.

Amazon Sponsored brands

Impressions jumped substantially in September, to a point 121% higher than we saw just 15 months prior in July 2017. With an increase in visibility came an increase in overall click and cost volume. Data from the Merkle DMR shows that spend on Sponsored Brands grew 86% year over year in Q3. Sales-per-click on Sponsored Brands are much higher than on Product Display ads and are only 8% lower than sales-per-click on Sponsored Products. There is a lot of opportunity on Sponsored Brands right now, and effective bidding is a key piece of being able to capitalize.

There are a few different components that factor into effective bidding platforms:

  • Speed: While Amazon does not provide intraday data, there are several common scenarios in which it’s key to be able to push and pull bids quickly at scale. A midday price drop for a product line on a highly competitive SERP might warrant an aggressive push. An extra $20K in advertising budget found at the end of the fiscal month might require the same. Merkle’s bidding platform can send updated bids as often as 48 times per day to react quickly to situations like these.
  • Flexibility: Historical data is an important bidding input, as are analyst insights, and the most powerful bidding strategies integrate both. Using recent history as an example, being able to layer targeted, aggressive pushes for the Black Friday weekend on top of a system’s predictive bid is necessary for proactively planning spend.
  • Scalability: There is no limit to how many Sponsored Brands campaigns each account can have, and a solution that can calculate and implement bids at scale is a necessity for larger accounts. Amazon offers bulk upload functionality for Sponsored Brands bids but using an API connection is still preferable over the process of calculating bids and creating and uploading a sheet for bulk upload.

Using a bidding method that includes these elements can pay dividends when it comes to performance. After implementing its integrated bidding solution, one Merkle client saw click-through rate improve by 47%, sales-per-click increase by 18%, and the ad-cost-to-sales ratio improve by 62%. Saving money through improved efficiency allows for re-investing in top-performing keywords to further grow advertising coverage across the product catalog. We’ll be watching closely in 2019 to see if Sponsored Brands continue to make up a greater portion of impressions with Amazon showing them in more places than in early 2018.

Want to learn more? Check out our Amazon Playbook for a deep dive into Amazon Ads best practices.

Read the full press release here