Maximizing the impact of top-of-search Amazon ad placements
Stephen Bench-Capon, May 8, 2023
Top-of-search placements for Amazon Sponsored Products ads have long been assumed to be the most effective. And data from our Q1 2023 North American Benchmark Report confirms this. By comparing performance KPIs for top-of-search ads with their counterparts appearing in rest-of-search placements and on product detail pages, we can see just how significant the difference is.
Placement | Metric
Product Detail Page
Rest of Search
Top of Search
The higher click-through rate can be easily explained, as Amazon's top-of-search ads are far more prominent than other placements, and they are often near-indistinguishable from unpaid organic listings. For the strong conversion rates, we can propose a combination of behavioral factors on both the advertiser and the shopper side:
Advertisers on Amazon tend to select their top-converting ASINs when targeting top-of-search placements, rather than risking budget on a large number of clicks that may not result in increased sales.
Shoppers who click on Amazon's top-of-search ads tend to be more predisposed to purchasing, as the top-of-search ad can immediately satisfy what they're looking for, without the need to browse a range of competitor products.
These benchmark KPIs show that advertisers are using top-of-search ads effectively, with the superior performance keeping the ACOS down in spite of the higher bids needed to win these placements.
As with any benchmark, however, there is no guarantee that every advertiser will see identical performance. Here are three recommendations to help you maximize the impact of your top-of-search placements and avoid the potential pitfalls associated with this high-aggression strategy.
Don't burn your budget
Amazon lets you apply a top-of-search bid multiplier of up to +900%, meaning that aggressive advertisers can set a maximum bid for top-of-search placements that is 10 times higher than normal. Higher bids compounded with superior click-through rates mean that you'll use up the same budget in a much shorter space of time. If you're not prepared, your campaign will go dark and you'll miss out on sales.
To ensure this doesn't happen:
Back your top-of-search campaigns with increased budget
Isolate keywords for targeting with top-of-search bid multipliers so you have maximum control of your expenditure—you can do this with Perpetua's Keyword Boost feature
Closely monitor the performance and budget of top-of-search campaigns closely so you can react if needed.
Promote your star performers
If you win the Amazon's top-of-search placement, you're not just getting more eyeballs on Sponsored Products ad, you're also getting more clicks to your product detail page. The data shows that top-of-search clicks are more likely to convert, but given the higher price tag, it's imperative that you take measures to maximize the impact of this increased investment, such as:
Look at conversion rates at keyword level and choose an ASIN-keyword combination that has a history of turning clicks into conversions on Amazon
Review the content and images of your product listing before investing in top-of search—think about the user who has searched for your target keyword and ensure the content is geared to answer their questions and serve their needs
Check the inventory for any ASIN you are pushing as top-of-search—do you have the inventory to support a sudden boost in sales?
Top-of-search ads on Amazon are effective at making sales from shoppers who are likely to convert. But they come at a price. If your ASIN already has a high organic rank, there's the possibility that conversions made from a Sponsored Products ad could have–potentially–been made for free via your organic product listing. Advertisers should be aware that their top-of-search ads can cannibalize their organic sales, and be ready to react:
When your sales are rising due to successful top-of-search ads, you can expect a boost to your organic rank. If your ASINs aren't near the top of the organic search results, you don't need to worry much about cannibalization, but pay attention as your organic share of voice improves.
Track developments in your total ACOS (TACOS) for any ASINs you suspect may be in danger of cannibalization. If you see ACOS going down, but TACOS not following suit, this could mean your ads are negatively impacting your organic sales.
Consider adjusting bids based on products' organic rankings. If you have an ASIN sitting at the top of the unpaid listings, maybe you can shift your budget to another ASIN, improve its sales and push it up the search results.
Conclusion: be aggressive, but be strategic
Using Amazon's top-of-search bid multipliers can be an effective way to boost sales, and there is clear evidence that top-of-search Sponsored Products ads perform far better than ads that appear elsewhere within the Amazon shopping experience.
However, the increased budget needed to win top-of-search placements means that they should be implemented strategically for maximum impact. The use of advanced advertising strategies to drive incremental growth can be what can set you apart from the competition. So, by all means be aggressive in your pursuit of top-of-search ad placements, but choose your targets wisely, support them with sufficient budget, don't neglect conversion-rate optimization, and always—always—keep an eye on your TACOS.
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