Definitive Guide: Sponsored Display Ad Types (2020 Update)

By Joe Rideout on September 15th, 2020

Sponsored Display (SD) is Amazon's new self-service display advertising solution. With no minimum budget and a PPC model for bids, SD is designed to make display ads accessible to anyone who sells on Amazon.

Amazon recently announced Sponsored Display "enhanced product targeting" becoming available in 7 new regions - UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and The United Arab Emirates). If you're a vendor you might be wondering how this is any different from the product targeting that was available worldwide for years via Product Display Ads.

Amazon has been adding so much under the Sponsored Display umbrella recently we thought it would be good to put together a definitive guide of each of the ad types that fall under SD and what regions and advertiser types that can access them.

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New Generation: Sponsored Display

Product Targeting

The new generation product targeting tactic, also referred to as contextual targeting or enhanced product targeting, is now available to all sellers and vendors in the US, Canada, Japan, UAE, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. If you sell in these marketplaces and are using Perpetua, you can launch sponsored display ads with product targeting directly in app. Perpetua's ad engine will automatically harvest high-performing product targets from existing Sponsored Product campaigns and automatically set bids based on past performance to optimize for future sales.

Amazon is touting this tactic as the most-assured way to have ads appear above the fold on the product detail page, and our early results are consistent with this claim. Our data shows that 40% of Sponsored Ad spend is allocated to product pages, and 33% of total conversions occur on these placements. Like legacy PDA ads, SD product targeting campaigns now support customizing the ad creative with a logo and a 50 character headline.

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SD Product Targeting campaigns provide almost exactly the same targeting capabilities as Sponsored Products Product Targeting campaigns, allowing you to target either individual ASINs or categories in a single campaign, with a custom CPC bid set for each target. Categories can be further refined by brand, price range, star rating and shipping types.

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Considered manual targeting campaigns, these provide a high degree of control over which product pages are targeted and what the advertiser is willing to pay for clicks on each.

Who should be using it?

Every advertiser should be leveraging Sponsored Display Product Targeting. If you're not leveraging this valuable inventory, your competitors are. We wrote extensively on whether advertisers should leverage Sponsored Display or Amazon DSP earlier this month and stand by our position that if you're not leveraging this inventory, your competitors are.

Audiences

Amazon has recently rolled out several audience-based targeting types within SD: views, searches and purchases.

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Views

Views, also known as remarketing, was the first of the new generation of sponsored display ad types to be rolled out. It is now available to all vendors and sellers in the US only. This audience is available to advertisers via Amazon's UI or directly in Perpetua.

Structured like an auto campaign with a single bid, these campaigns remarket to customers off Amazon that viewed the details pages of your advertised products or similar products within the last 30 days but haven't purchased. Little control is provided over where these ads are shown and the audience is based solely on the advertised ASINs.

There's a reason this was the first tactic rolled out - it works. If you have a flexible budget, we encourage you to activate this tactic right away. We also encourage you to test this audience if you have a product with a higher price point and and a longer consideration period, as retargeting allows you to remain top of mind for the shopper along their purchasing journey.

Searches / Purchases

These tactics are currently available to a limited set of US sellers in closed beta. Like with Views, these audiences are based off of shopper behavior around the advertised products and cannot be customized. Unlike every other SD tactic, these two audiences both have an impression-based CPM bid rather than a CPC bid.

Searches

The searches audience allows you to reach customers on and off Amazon that searched for keywords relevant to your advertised products.

Purchases

The purchases audience allows you to reach customers on and off Amazon that previously purchased your advertised products. This tactic is especially effective for products that are consumable - for example pepper - that are likely to require repeat purchases. Additionally, you can use this product to upsell complementary products — like a pepper grinder.

Old Generation: Legacy Product Display Ads

Historically known as Product Display Ads (PDA), these ads have been available to Vendors (and sellers fortunate enough to have access to an AMS account) for years in the US, Canada, Japan, UAE, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. They have not changed in a long time and will soon be going the way of the dodo as their capabilities get rolled into the new generation.

PDA has two main flavors, Product Targeting and Interest targeting. Both types support creative customization and use a single CPC bid for the entire campaign.

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Interest Targeting

This will show your ad to shoppers who showed interest in related categories. A UI is presented for adding interests.

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Product Targeting (Legacy)

As of July, 2020, vendors can no longer create new legacy product targeting campaigns and will be directed to the new SD Product Targeting Ads. However, existing campaigns will continue to run and provide reporting for now.

In the legacy ad type, vendors had to choose to either target Products or Categories in a campaign but not both and only a single bid is set for the entire campaign. This differs from the new enhanced product targeting, where a single campaign can have a mix of both product and category targets as well as set individual bids for each target.

Where to start with Amazon Sponsored Display Ads

Staying on top of each new SD ad and targeting type as they become available can be a daunting task. At the same time, new ad types often have early-mover advantages since not all advertisers are quick to adopt them.

If you want to learn more or if we can help support your full funnel advertising strategy in any way, reach out to us at hello@perpetua.io and we would be happy to present you with our recommendations.