Casting a Wider Net with Amazon Display Advertising

Amazon Advertising (formerly known as Amazon Marketing Services) gives brands the ability to create focused, targeted ads that put products in front of people who are likely to buy them. This “search advertising” does a great job of injecting appropriate content, and leads to high conversion rates, but it’s not the only viable option for driving traffic to product pages. Amazon display advertising casts a wider net that covers more space, opting for quantity over precision. When used together, display advertising and search advertising can complement each other to create a comprehensive ad strategy.

Amazon display advertising

What is Display Advertising?

Imagine search advertising as a sniper rifle – it puts keyword-targeted content exactly where it needs to be to increase the chance of a conversion. These ads are very efficient, and as a result, the cost per click for search ads is expensive.

Display advertising is like a shotgun – less precise but sprays wide enough that it’s likely to hit something. These ads have high-impression volume that allows them to reach a lot of people, making them a great choice for branding. Because these ads reach a much broader audience, the conversion rate is significantly lower, but so is the cost. Instead of charging per click, display ads charge by CPM, the cost per thousand impressions. Whereas search ads aim to be seen by people looking to buy now, display advertising tries to get the product in front of massive numbers of people who might be interested in buying eventually. The ad is essentially an interruption, hoping to catch the attention of someone who wasn’t already actively trying to buy something.

How is Amazon Display Advertising Different than Other Services?

Amazon display advertising is run through Amazon DSP (formerly known as Amazon Advertising Platform), a different platform than Amazon search advertising. Unlike search ads, in which brands have control over their campaigns, Amazon DSP manages display advertising campaigns for the clients. Amazon display advertising also offers opportunities for agencies to become certified in Amazon DSP so that they can run Amazon display campaigns for clients.

Amazon search ads appear to customers who are already on, populating in search results pages and on product detail pages. Display ads are shown across Amazon’s broad collection of owned online properties, including Goodreads, IMDB, and more.

Though it’s not as focused as search advertising, display advertising still uses broad targeting techniques. Amazon promises its display ads to be “precise and relevant” to customers, with familiar Amazon features like customer reviews and Add to Cart buttons integrated into the ads. And unlike search ads, which are primarily text-based, display ads offer the ability to use rich media like images and video to catch the customer’s attention.

What are the Similarities Between Amazon DSP and Amazon Advertising?

The main similarity between search ads on Amazon and display ads on Amazon is that if the ad successfully gets a customer to click through, they are taken to a product detail page on Amazon. But regardless of whether the customer clicked on that ad because they used specific keywords, or they just happened to be interested in buying a product that showed up while they were browsing on a different site, the opportunity to finish the sale is severely compromised if the page they land on doesn’t offer the information they were looking for.

There’s little point in investing in diverse advertising strategies if the product page at the point of sale is inadequate. Customers demand high-quality images and thorough yet easy-to-digest product information to feel confident and informed enough to click the buy button. The unifying theme between Amazon search and display ads is that they both require high-quality landing pages to really succeed in increasing conversions.

A Holistic Approach to Advertising

Neither search nor display is the single answer to successfully serving relevant ads, but when used together they can complement the other’s strengths and cover the other’s weaknesses to offer a more comprehensive solution. If your brand is looking to explore display advertising, make sure it’s integrated into your broader Amazon content and pay-per-click strategy.

Editor’s Note: On September 5, 2018, Amazon rebranded its advertising platform. Amazon Marketing Services changed to Amazon Advertising and Amazon Advertising Platform changed to Amazon DSP, among other changes. This blog post was changed on October 5, 2018 to reflect those changes.

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