Offsite placements for Amazon Sponsored Products ads—what you need to know
Perpetua Marketing Team, August 31, 2023
Table of Contents
On August 16th 2023, Amazon announced that Amazon Sponsored Products ads will now appear offsite on third-party websites like Pinterest and Buzzfeed, among others.
Why are off-Amazon Sponsored Products a big deal?
Amazon Sponsored Products ads are designed to fit seamlessly into the Amazon shopping experience as they look the same as organic listings, convey all the same highly relevant information, and link directly to the Product Detail Page (PDP).
Thanks to this integration, as well as the wide range of available optimization levers, Amazon Sponsored Products has become a hugely successful format for advertisers. However, as Amazon's advertising business has grown, so too has the competition for inventory on the Amazon search results pages (SERPs) and PDPs.
Expanding Sponsored Products placements to include off-Amazon sites and app breaks with several key characteristics of the ad format:
Sponsored Products ads no longer solely displayed within the native Amazon environment
Sponsored Products ads no longer exclusively visible to Amazon shoppers
Available Sponsored Products placements no longer limited by inventory spots on the Amazon SERP or PDP
Amazon advertisers now able to run offsite ads without recourse to Sponsored Display or the Amazon DSP
Keyword targeting to now be used as the basis for contextual targeting outside of Amazon.
Just one of these changes would already be a major shift, but in combination they effectively open up a new paradigm for advertisers to explore—to both capture existing demand on Amazon and find new ways to create demand outside the platform.
"Leveraging off-Amazon traffic to grow an Amazon business remains a big untapped opportunity and has historically been tough for advertisers to unlock. Amazon bringing off-Amazon placements to its most effective ad unit, Sponsored Products, is going to give advertisers a new and exciting way to effectively reach upper-funnel audiences."
Where will offsite Sponsored Products ads be shown?
According to Amazon's announcement, Sponsored Products ads will now appear on premium apps and websites. The list includes Pinterest, BuzzFeed, Hearst Newspapers, Raptive, Lifehacker and Mashable, with Pinterest in particular likely to catch advertisers' attention. The discovery-focused social media platform has the potential to get Sponsored Products ads in front of consumers at a much earlier stage of the funnel than currently possible on Amazon.
While Amazon has only explicitly named a handful of partners so far, it is likely that offsite Sponsored Products placements will expand to more websites and apps as Amazon continues to roll out this feature.
What will off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads look like?
Amazon Sponsored Products ads appearing offsite will continue to be auto-generated based on the product listing. This means they require no additional creative input from advertisers, as they incorporate the existing product image and title, as well as supplementary information valuable to shoppers, such as star rating, number of reviews, and price.
"Amazon's standardized Sponsored Products ad unit, which includes a product image, star rating, price and Prime delivery promise, has proven exceptionally effective on the Amazon.com site. We're excited to see how this translates to a non-native environment and what performance for these placements will look like."
Where will off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads link to?
Just like their native counterparts, off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads will link directly to the Product Detail Page (PDP) of the ASIN being advertised.
What are the advantages of offsite Sponsored Products ads?
One primary advantage of offsite Amazon Sponsored Products ads will be their capacity to extend discovery. Previously, Sponsored Products ads only reached consumers who are already low down the funnel, as they are searching on Amazon, usually with a high intent to make a purchase, or already viewing a product page.
Off-Amazon sites and apps are a completely different environment, creating new opportunities to use Sponsored Products as a mid- or upper funnel play. Users of third-party sites—certainly based on the current list of publishers—will normally be looking for inspiration or information around a topic, placing them in the awareness or consideration phase of their buyer journey. This lets advertisers reach an audience that isn't otherwise accessible on Amazon.
"Off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads could be a great way to benefit from upper funnel visibility at bottom of funnel cost efficiency, especially with the breadth of measurement capabilities Amazon offers."
Are offsite Sponsored Products a new Amazon ad unit?
Technically speaking, no. Although they may share some characteristics with Amazon Sponsored Display ads or the Amazon DSP, off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads are a new placement type within the existing Sponsored Products ad unit.
Which Sponsored Products placements now exist?
With the introduction of off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads, the range of placements for this ad unit now includes:
Product Detail Page (PDP)
Top of Search
Rest of Search
Advertisers can use their Sponsored Products Placement Report to compare performance across these placements.
When do off-Amazon Sponsored Products go live?
Following the launch announcement (not yet confirmed), expect Amazon to roll out offsite Sponsored Products placements slowly. Some advertisers will be automatically included in a testing period before we see a general release where it's opened up to all advertisers.
What kind of Sponsored Products campaigns will have off-Amazon placements?
Currently, there are no indicators that offsite Sponsored Products ads will be tied exclusively to any specific campaign type, with early reports confirming that these placements appear for both auto and manual campaigns.
How will targeting work for offsite Sponsored Products ads?
Targeting for off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads is set to be contextual, not audience-based. This means that the determining factors for where your ad appears will depend on the nature of each third party site or app.
Sites where users navigate with internal search engines, such as Pinterest, can be expected to have Sponsored Products ads appear in or alongside the search results. The search terms deemed relevant for your ads will be aligned with your campaign targeting, essentially replicating how your ads show up in the Amazon SERP. For sites without search-driven navigation, the content of the page or article will be evaluated to determine which relevant Sponsored Products ads to display.
How can advertisers set up off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads?
Advertisers already running Sponsored Products campaigns on Amazon's US marketplace don't have to do anything specific to set up off-Amazon placements. This will be included by Amazon automatically. For anyone wondering why they are not seeing any off-Amazon placements in their reports, Amazon is likely still rolling out this update and not yet including all advertisers yet.
The only restrictions are those that already apply for existing Sponsored Products campaigns, such as keyword relevance and the advertised items being in stock.
How can I see how my offsite Sponsored Products ads are performing?
Advertisers can already view their Sponsored Products Placement Report to compare top-of-search with rest-of-search performance, for example. With the addition of a new placement classification, 'Off Amazon', this report is where metrics like impressions, clicks, spend, sales, ROAS, orders, and units for off-Amazon Sponsored Products will now be available, via both the advertising console and the API.
Can I control whether my Sponsored Products ads appear on or off-Amazon?
While there isn't currently a simple switch to opt in or out of your Sponsored Products ads appearing in off-Amazon placements, you do have some control, even at this early stage of the product rollout.
By making use of placement bid modifiers, e.g. for top-of-search, you can push campaign budget to these placements. Increasing the proportion of investment in any native Amazon placement will naturally decrease the proportion dedicated to off-Amazon ads.
Can I control which websites or apps my offsite Sponsored Products ads appear on?
Yes. Given the potential wide range of contexts off-Amazon ads could appear in, Amazon has made sure to include a brand safety mechanism from day 1. Advertisers can provide a list of opt-out domains and iOS or Android apps that they do not want their Sponsored Products ads to appear on.
As well as being an important brand safety feature, enabling advertisers to choose which sites their ads aren't displayed on also gives them more control. They can use this feature to avoid apps or websites with a consumer intent mismatch and focus on sites that will drive more relevant traffic to their Amazon product pages.
How effective will off-Amazon Sponsored Products placements be?
Traditional Sponsored Products ad placements benefit from their seamless integration into the Amazon search results page (SERP). And, as they are displayed directly to Amazon shoppers based on their search term, the alignment between customer intent and ad is extremely high, making Sponsored Products ads the go-to ad unit for driving conversions at the bottom of the funnel.
Off-Amazon Sponsored Products will reach a different audience with a different intent, at a different stage of the funnel, meaning that it would be unwise to expect identical performance metrics. Instead, advertisers should study performance and how consumers interact with their off-Amazon ads so that they can understand how best to leverage this placement effectively.
"Shoppers reading an article on Buzzfeed or browsing on Pinterest are not likely to be as low in the funnel as a shopper on the Amazon search result page. At the same time, the Amazon search result page is highly competitive and placements alongside relevant off-Amazon content may attract new-to-brand shoppers."
Which geographies are offsite Sponsored Products ads available for?
Initially, off-Amazon Sponsored Products placements will be available to advertisers in the US only. Amazon often uses the US as its testing ground before rolling out features to other geographies.
Do offsite Sponsored Products ads replace the Amazon DSP?
No. The Amazon DSP is unaffected by this latest update. Off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads are, however, an opportunity for Amazon advertisers who don't run Amazon DSP ads to explore how effective their ads can be when displayed to other audiences.
Off-Amazon Sponsored Products ads—the journey starts here
Opportunities and strategies will continue to emerge as advertisers explore the possibilities, and discover how consumers interact with this new placement type.
Similarly, as Amazon rolls out and develops this placement further, expect advertisers to be given more reporting options and optimization levers. As an Amazon Advertising Partner, Perpetua is always best-placed to integrate new features and innovations like this into our platform so that advertisers can control how they use offsite Sponsored Products as an effective part of their advertising strategy.
To get started or learn more about how Perpetua can help you scale your Amazon Advertising business