How to Set Up an Amazon Display Ads Campaign

Amazon display ads are some of the most effective advertisements to help you build a stronger following when selling on Amazon’s marketplace. With so many different advertising choices to choose from – ranging from sponsored products and brands through to video advertising – it is essential to know what you’re purchasing before you go ahead and set up an Amazon advertising campaign.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn about the benefits of using Amazon display ads for your business. We will introduce Amazon’s advertising platform and the specifics that’ll help you understand your return on investment (ROI) when you’re paying for clicks through to your products pages on Amazon.

We’ll also talk through some of the smart strategies that you can use to boost your display advertising campaign on Amazon, ensuring that you’re paying an optimal amount of cash per click on the products that you’re promoting on Amazon’s platform.

Now, let us turn to the kind of adverts that we’ll be specifically discussing in this piece. There are dozens of different ways to get your products seen on Amazon – you can boost your Amazon SEO, you can pay for sponsored ads, or place video advertisements on Amazon’s homepage.

And one of the most-loved forms of advertising on Amazon has to be its most effective –, and that is the display ad. As you will see from the following images, the display advert on Amazon can be located on an array of different Amazon marketplace locations.

Advertising on Amazon

Amazon has traditionally made money through its sellers and vendors and has only relatively recently built out its advertising services arm. In 2018, this was renamed Amazon Advertising – the platform upon which you’ll build all of your marketing campaigns on Amazon-affiliated sites.

Advertising on Amazon

Building this advertising arm was a no-brainer for Amazon. With market dominance established in e-commerce, Amazon caters towards over 50% of online retail spending in the US. More than half of US households own an Amazon Prime account, and 90% of US consumers use the platform to price-check products. Due to the competition between sellers on Amazon, prices are often lowest on the platform.

This self-reinforcing system, which sees consumers find the best products for the best price on Amazon, means that the online ecommerce platform is only set to grow in the months and years ahead. It is becoming the de facto go-to for consumers looking to shop online – and this means it’s the perfect place to situate your products.

Advertising – which, more often than not means boosting your search results ranking on Amazon’s products pages – is now big business for the firm. By 2021, more than one in every ten US digital marketing dollars will be spent on Amazon. Why? Because that Amazon search bar is now almost ubiquitous with online shopping in the US and around the world.

Why Advertise on Amazon?

Amazon advertising applies almost solely to those primary or third-party sellers who already have products listed on the site. That said, many ecommerce businesses that do not sell on Amazon also choose to advertise on the platform. Advertising on Amazon simply means boosting the chances that your products will be seen, clicked on, and purchased – either on Amazon or on your own business website.

At this point, it’s important to note a proviso: Amazon requires you to spend over $35,000 on your advertising campaign if you’re planning on setting up display adverts with them without having a business and products sold on Amazon’s platform. If you already have an Amazon business account, you can start your ad campaigns with just one dollar.

So, why should you advertise on Amazon? One of the enormous benefits of advertising on Amazon, as explained in more detail below, is that you pay per click (PPC). This means that you’re not paying for those consumers who see your advert, yet don’t interact with it. This, of course, dramatically improves your conversion rate.

Meanwhile, you do not have to commit to an advertising campaign. You can run one for only a day – or for months and years. And you can place a limit on your PPC spending – at $1 per day, or $100. This flexibility means that you are free to experiment with Amazon adverts without committing to a considerable investment; it is quick, simple, and likely to return results to your business.

Boosting Your Amazon Sales: An Investment for the Future

It is become increasingly clear, over the past few years, that Amazon will become and remain the place to purchase a range of goods online for years to come. The COVID-19 pandemic has done much to cement Amazon as a monopolistic market leader in online retail, with more people than ever ordering goods online as physical stores closed down due to the virus.

A quick look at Amazon’s sales figures goes some way to illustrate how your advertising spend – helping you get a foothold in Amazon’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) – will help you jump on this growing and lucrative bandwagon for the future.

Amazon Sales growth

For those Amazon vendors who are unsure as to whether to invest in Amazon adverts – including Amazon display adverts – it is essential to take the marketplace’s growth into account. As Amazon grows in reach and dominance, you are going to find a larger and larger proportion of your target consumers heading to the same website for their goods.

This represents an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to take advantage of a still-growing marketplace. If you are able to find and establish a niche, with the help of some initial marketing drives to cement your position in your market, you’ll be able to reign supreme in your niche for years to come. With this in mind, let us take our deep dive into the world of display advertising on Amazon.

The Benefits of Amazon Display Ads

There is plenty to be gained if you manage to set up a display ad campaign that squeezes the most out of Amazon’s generous array of options and target demographics. The benefits of advertising on Amazon through display ads include:

  • Increased exposure to your new product listings, getting them ranked higher on Amazon’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) as a result
  • Increasing the awareness of your brand in your given market, industry, or niche
  • Encouraging clicks to your brand’s product listings pages, and to specific product description pages
  • Placing your most competitive products near your closest competitors, so that you are able to conquer your market with aplomb

Display Ads are also cheaper than other types of advertising. For instance, Sponsored Product Ads are displayed in the SERPs that end-users view when they have searched for a specific product. These are more expensive because the conversion rate tends to be higher. Because Display Ads do not appear on SERPs, they’re cheaper – and therefore easier to experiment with to find the perfect balance for your company’s product ads.

It is worth noting that, despite your display ads not featuring on end-user SERPs, the fact that your display ads encourage engagement will naturally present Amazon’s result-ranking algorithms with more of a reason to rank your products higher in its SERPs. Therefore, indirectly, the engagement you receive from display ads on Amazon can boost your SERP position, too.

Amazon Display Ads: The Basics

Now, let us turn to the kind of adverts that we’ll be specifically discussing in this piece. There are dozens of different ways to get your products seen on Amazon – you can boost your Amazon SEO, you can pay for sponsored ads, or place video advertisements on Amazon’s homepage.

And one of the most-loved forms of advertising on Amazon has to be its most effective –, and that is the display ad. As you will see from the following images, the display advert on Amazon can be located on an array of different Amazon marketplace locations.

Amazon Display Ads

As you will see when you browse the results for any Amazon search, the marketplace’s interface allows for several locations for display ads. Yours might feature on the right-hand sidebar of results pages, or at the bottom of those pages. Amazon’s platform has been increasingly built around these potential display ad locations. So, your ad has plenty of places to be seen when shown to consumers using Amazon for their shopping needs.

Other Amazon Display Ad Locations

Amazon display ads are not just shown on Amazon marketplace pages, though. Many consumers and businesses are unaware of the advertising capabilities that Amazon boasts across its different platforms. That means that adverts can run not only on the Amazon ecommerce site, but also on Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Prime, IMDb websites, and even the kindle.

Amazon Display Ad Locations

While you might want to target many of your display advertisements directly on the product listings pages on Amazon, you should not disregard the many platforms and devices that Amazon can help your advert appear on.

Amazon Display Ad Locations

Perhaps most exciting of all, display ads from Amazon can be placed across the web – and not only on Amazon-affiliated channels. This is a game-changer for those brands that are looking to increase their visibility and their reach beyond the product listing pages on Amazon.

As the example image shows below, it’s possible to share an Amazon-originated display advert on websites across the internet – including blogs, news channels, and popular websites that cater towards specific audiences that you’re looking to reach with your adverts.

Amazon Display Ad Locations

How Display Ads Work: The Nuts and Bolts

If you are new to digital marketing or new to Amazon’s own brand of digital advertising, then it’s worth getting your head around a few industry terms before we get started with piecing together your own display ad campaign.

First, the cost. On Amazon, adverts are Pay-Per-Click (PPC). This means that you will only be paying for your advertisement if a consumer clicks on it and is routed to your product listings page. For advertisers on Amazon, this means that you will not feel like you’re wasting money on a live campaign that’s not generating many clicks.

Alongside the PPC mechanism that Amazon Display Ads are run against is your maximum bid per click. Adverts on Amazon are shown to consumers in several different forms and in different locations on the website. Through programmatic marketing, you are encouraged to bid for the attention of consumers on Amazon. The highest bid – in an auction that takes place instantaneously in Amazon’s back-end – has their display ad shown.

Why does this matter? Because if you are most keen to show your display ad to relevant, targeted consumers, you’re going to need to outbid your competitors, who are working on a similar campaign strategy. Low bids mean that your display ad is rarely shown; high bids will mean it is commonly shown – but that you may be wasting cash on outbidding your rivals.

Finally, you are able to control how much your display ad marketing campaign spends in a single day. This is a relief to those businesses that might otherwise see a surge in clicks on their Amazon display ads without a parallel surge in purchases. Putting a cap on your daily spending will mean your marketing campaign is always under control.

What is Shown in a Display Ad

The product that you are advertising in a display ad on Amazon will ordinarily show only the basic information that a consumer needs to make a decision about clicking on the ad. This includes only:

  • Your main product pictures
  • Your produce headline/title
  • The product reviews (stars)
  • The product prices
  • Whether the product is available for Amazon Prime delivery

This means that your Amazon display advert is only a snapshot of your product. There are two lessons from this that Amazon advertisers should bear in mind. You should keep your product listing representative, for clicks to stand the highest chance of conversion into sales. You should also, meanwhile, balance this representativeness with eye-catching photos and succinct titles – as well as price points that will impress consumers.

Step-by-Step Guide to Display Ad Creation on Amazon

Now you are aware of the benefits of Amazon display ads, and you’re up to speed with exactly how they work, it’s time to walk you through how to create your own. As mentioned above, you will need an Amazon business account to access Campaign Mode in Amazon Advertising. The only alternative – spending $35,000 with the help of an Amazon consultant – helps non-Amazon seller buy adverts on Amazon.

So, first, get logged in to your Amazon account, and head over to Campaign Manager. This is the interface you will always use to run Amazon adverts, including display adverts.

Next, you will be presented with a choice of three advert categories. You are going to click on the last one: ‘Sponsored Display’ adverts, as they’re now called by Amazon

Display Ad Creation on Amazon

The interface will now ask you to select a product that you would like to boost with display advertising on Amazon. The quickest way to select your product is to type in the title you know it is sold under on Amazon. Select your product once you find it in Amazon’s system.

Targeting Your Display Ads

You will now be asked to target your Amazon display ads. This is an important step, as you will be deciding which group of end-users your ads will be shown to. You have two choices: product display ads and interest display ads.

Targeting Your Display Ads

Product display ads allow you to select from the products that are similar to yours which you would like to be displayed alongside. If your product is a book, then you’ll be able to advertise alongside books of a similar genre, theme, or subject matter, which will help your product achieve more sales based on the products that end users are searching for.

Meanwhile, if your product is a bicycle helmet, you might find that advertising alongside other bicycle products – like lights, reflective clothing, bike locks, or bike equipment – might be useful, too. You will be jogging the memory of consumers who are also on the lookout for your product – in this case, a helmet. You can select products that you would like to be advertised alongside from across Amazon – including by searching across Amazon’s product categories.

Interest display ads work slightly differently. They allow you to expose your display ads to end-users who show the kind of shopping behaviors that you believe will align with your product. So, when you are selling your bicycle helmet, you’ll be looking for end-users who are into sport and leisure, or who enjoy outdoors activities. If you are selling a book, you want to find demographics likely to purchase books like yours online.

Like other large advertising firms, Amazon boasts a wide array of interest advertising categories for you to choose from. They are designed to help you display your adverts to the consumers who matter the most to you – ignoring those who are unlikely to purchase a book, a bicycle helmet, or whatever product you’re advertising.

Setting Your CPC

Next up is your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) bid amount. This figure represents what you are prepared to bid to be seen – and potentially clicked – by consumers that you’re targeting. As a general rule, you should start with a low figure, and work up as you observe your impressions and engagements data improve – more on that later.

There’s an excellent guide on CPC strategies from BigCommerce, which is worth getting to grips with if this is to be the focal point of your campaign. If you are happy to start low and to be patient with the number of clicks you generate over time, then you can go ahead and enter a low figure as your CPC bid. You can always come back to change it later.

Adding Campaign Specifications

Finally, you are going to need to add a campaign name – so it’s easily identifiable in your advertising dashboard – as well as a budget and a duration.

With regards to your budget, remember to set a daily cap that you can genuinely afford. It is damaging and challenging to recover from a couple of weeks over which you’ve been paying through the nose for advertising, without the sales revenues generated to pay for your display ads. Amazon’s system is not set up to let you down like this – and you’d expect clicks to convert into purchases, on the whole – but this cap is your failsafe – your safety net.

Meanwhile, you can set your campaign duration. To leave your campaign live and ongoing, leave this box blank; otherwise, you can specify an exact time at which you would like to stop paying for this particular display ad campaign on Amazon. This feature enables you to experiment with Amazon display ads without committing to a month’s spending.

Amazon has specified that the minimum daily budget for your display ad is $1, while the minimum bid amount is $0.02.

Going Live with Your Display Ad on Amazon

Once you are happy with your specifications, you can go ahead and preview your Amazon display ad. You are unlikely to get a horrible surprise here: it will look a lot like your product listing graphic, expect this will be presented as a display ad. Click submit, and your campaign will go live instantly. It will be found in a variety of places on Amazon’s ecommerce platform – helping you generate more clicks and more sales as a result.

Going Live with Your Display Ad on Amazon

Now is the time to sit back and let Amazon gather the data on how successful your campaign is. You will be able to read this data in real-time – though it is important to remember that your data will only be meaningful if you gather enough of it. A day’s worth of ad conversion data cannot be considered a sound dataset from which to draw future marketing insights and strategies.

Measuring the Success of Your Amazon Display Ads

If you’re new to the Amazon advertising game, it’s recommended that you start off with just one campaign focusing on one product, for you to have the time and the space to reflect on the figures that are coming back through to you on Amazon Advertising’s interface.

When you advertise with Amazon, you are granted access to their excellent real-time reporting, which provides the analytics you need to understand what is happening with your live campaigns. Simply click on your live campaign, from your dashboard, to see your clicks and sales figures – as well as your total spend, and some figures that place your ad spend into an equation alongside the clicks you’re generating and the sales you’re enjoying from those clicks.

After a week or two of your campaign is live, you should be able to see that your investment in PPC display adverts is paying off – you’ll be making more in revenue that you’re spending on advert bids and the clicks they generate. But what is the key indicator of a successful Amazon display ad campaign?

Driving Down Your ACoS

Your ROI is a fluffy number – it might state that you are making $5 for every $1 you invest in your Amazon marketing campaign. But it does not help you drill down into what really matters: what each click is helping you generate, in terms of sales.

For that, you will need to measure your Advertising Cost of Sale or your ACoS. You’ll use this metric to help you assess and evaluate all display advertising campaigns that you run on your Amazon products – and once you get comfortable using this figure, you’ll become acquainted with what represents a good figure, and which campaigns need improving based on your poor ACoS figures.

Your AcoS is a simple calculation. You will take your total ad spend, and you will divide it by your total sales. To generate a percentage after this calculation, you will multiply the figure you get by 100. Spend $500 on advertising, and generate $1,000 in sales, and you will be looking at 100(100/200) = 50%. Your AcoS figure will be 50% – and now you are looking to drive that figure down. The lower the figure, the less revenue you are spending on advertising on Amazon.

As a general rule, you should look to keep your ACoS beneath 30% at all times – and as low as 15 or 20% for great campaigns. Remember that there are several ways you can tinker with an Amazon display ad to make it more effective – and to reduce your AcoS.

How to Reduce the ACoS For Your Amazon Display Ad Campaign

How can you drag down your ACoS to be spending less of your earnings on the display ads that are generating your sales? There is no clear answer – but here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  • Reduce your bid amount. If you are able to reduce the amount of cash, you’re bidding for each display ad, you’ll reduce your PPC amount, which will translate into less expenditure on the same number of clicks.
  • Alter your daily budget. It is possible that you need to up your daily budget to reach more consumers and to reach that critical mass of clicks that will generate more purchases for your product.
  • Change your product listing. There is a chance that low conversion rates (represented by your click-through figures not leading to comparable volume in sales) is due to your product listing being off-putting to consumers. Try changing it slightly to encourage your click-through end users to purchase your product.
  • Make your product price more competitive. If a consumer likes your product, they may still avoid purchasing it if they find a better value deal elsewhere. You may need to make your price point more competitive to see your conversion rate dramatically increase – as consumers decide yours is the best-value product on the market.

When you are making these changes, you should ensure that there’s only one variable changing at a time. This is one of the simple rules that govern A/B testing. If you only change one variable at a time, you will come to understand what generates a better ACoS for your products – and what fails to do so.

When Display Ads Are Less Effective

Marketing agencies are quick to point out that display ads on Amazon tend to be less effective than other forms of advertising on the platform. Above, we included the example of a sponsored ad, which responds to keywords used by consumers, boosting products in Amazon’s display listings – their SERPs.

But that is not to say that display ads are not at all effective on Amazon. Actually, a well-developed advertising campaign for your products on Amazon will use an array of advertising techniques to reap the benefits of being seen in search results, sidebars, and other advertising locations both on Amazon and across the web.

Display ads tend to be ineffective – and a waste of your investment – if you are operating them on a low volume. As you up the volume of ad clicks, you will see an increasing volume of sales to justify your investment, providing the ROI that you’re seeking.

Display Adverts on Amazon: A Final Overview

So, in this guide, you have learned how gloriously simple it is to set up a display ad campaign on Amazon. In only a few steps, you can go live with a cost-effective, controlled experiment to see how your products fare with a little advertising spin behind them.

You have also got your head around how Amazon decides where to place your adverts – and to which consumers, with this knowledge, you’ll know how to target different consumers with your product display ads. You will also know when to invest by upping your spending cap per day or upping the bid you place to secure your display ads to the end-users who are matched with your targeting specifications.

Most importantly, you know how to measure your success rate, through the use of ACoS figures, which you will always be turning to judge just how effective your current display ad campaign is. Amazon provides you with the tools you need to set up, maintain, change, and monitor your display ad campaigns on its platform.

Conclusion

Armed with the knowledge contained in this article, you will be ready to share more of your products to more of the millions of consumers who visit Amazon across the US every day.

Even if you are still unsure about spending your earnings on Amazon’s advertising platform, you should still log in, and explore the opportunities to grow your brand, and sell your products online.

If you’re still not convinced, head over to Amazon Advertising’s case study center, where they share some of their most successful campaigns, with sales figure to back why it can be so profitable to engage in display advertising on Amazon.

Remember, too, that Amazon is at hand with dozens of informative webinars and tutorials to help you curate your display ad campaigns, and that marketing professionals are at hand – both at Amazon and at expert agencies – to help build your ideal display ad campaign.