EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 270 - September 12, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 8

Guest Column: Driving Traffic to Your Website with Amazon Product Ads

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In today's Guest Column, Rick Backus from CPC Strategy takes a look at Amazon Product Ads and explains how online merchants can take advantage of this cost-per-click advertising program, and how it differs from the Selling on Amazon program. He also interviewed Colleen Aubrey, Amazon Product Ads Senior Manager, Seller Success and Commitment, for her advice on how merchants can improve their ad listings for the upcoming holiday season.

Amazon Product Ads is a cost-per-click ad program that puts advertisers' products in front of millions of customers. When customers are interested in buying the product, they click through to the advertiser's website to purchase the product directly. The program is great for online merchants who don't list their products on the Amazon marketplace, or for merchants who only list part of their product inventory on the Amazon marketplace and are looking for supplemental income.

The Difference between Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Product Ads
How does Product Ads compare to other Amazon merchant offerings? The Selling on Amazon program (Amazon Marketplace) gives sellers the opportunity to list and sell products on Amazon manages the purchase transaction for sellers who participate in the Selling on Amazon program. As a result, sellers do not need to maintain their own point-of-sale website.

Product Ads, on the other hand, allows sellers with existing websites to advertise their products on, driving customers to their website to make the purchase. Amazon Product Ads sellers have direct control over the purchase process, allowing for merchandising of related products and tighter integration with an existing brand experience.

Amazon Product Ads charges merchants a cost per click based on the amount a merchant chooses to bid through the account interface. Recently, CPC Strategy's quarterly comparison shopping-engine rankings ranked Amazon Product Ads the best converting engine for Q2 2010, and I anticipate Amazon's strong conversion numbers to continue into the holiday season. The program will further be enhanced by Amazon's recent announcement of a new bidding model that goes into effect September 30.

Currently only certain types of products are allowed on Amazon Product Ads. These include Baby, Computer, Consumer Electronics, Health and Personal Care, Home and Garden, Office Products, Sports and Outdoors, Tools and Home Improvement or Toys. Advertising in Shoes, Jewelry and Watches is available but is restricted. To sign up or submit a request to advertise in restricted categories, visit this page.

To see where your Product Ads are displayed on Amazon or for more general information about Amazon Product Ads, click here.

Top three things on Amazon Product Ads that you need to be aware of:

1) Unlike most comparison shopping engines, Product Ads does not have its own unique tracking pixel. If you are planning to adjust the bids for your products, make sure you keep a watchful eye on your ROI. Do this by tracking stats through Google Analytics or other third-party tracking software, and make sure you add a referral tag to your product URLs so you can find sales generated by Product Ads.

2) Be ready to adjust bids through the new bidding model set to roll out on September 30.

3) Check your Amazon Product Ads feed processing summary daily to make sure your products are being processed and listed correctly by Amazon. To have your processing summary emailed to you daily, go to the Settings tab, then to Account Info, then click on the edit button by Notification Preferences and make sure that your email is correct and your notification preference is set to send.

Advice from Senior Manager of Amazon Product Ads Colleen Aubrey
Recently, I was able to field a few questions to Colleen Aubrey, Amazon Product Ads Senior Manager, Seller Success and Commitment, on merchant best practices with Amazon Product Ads. Use these tips to increase your sales this holiday season with Amazon Product Ads.

What's the most effective way to increase product conversions on Amazon Product Ads?
Colleen Aubrey: Good ads are dependent on good product data, and this is the most effective way to increase conversion from your Amazon traffic. In an Amazon test, we found that adding a good quality image to a detail page increased page views by over 60% and orders by over 25%. Other important information for discovery and conversion are UPC, brand, description, shipping price, manufacturer, color and size.

What's one thing people don't know about Amazon Product Ads?
Colleen Aubrey: Sellers new to Product Ads who get their first click before December 31 receive $75 in free clicks (link). Kick start your holiday shopping campaigns with free traffic.

What do most merchants overlook when it comes to Amazon Product Ads, whether it be specific to the data feed or the merchant interface?
Colleen Aubrey: Specific and descriptive titles. Amazon offers customers millions of products from thousands of retailers. While a generic title might make sense on an individual retailer's website, it offers little value to customers on a platform like Amazon. For a customer to be able to identify and pick your product from a page of search results, include important information like Brand, Model, Manufacturer, Model Number, Product Name and Defining features.

How can merchants best capitalize on their product bidding strategies?
Colleen Aubrey: The key to bidding is knowing your ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending), be that by product, product type or overall. Bidding makes no sense without accurate tracking. Once this is in place, bidding can be used to drive incremental sales within your budget.

Are there ways merchants can improve their listings for the holiday season?
Colleen Aubrey: In 2009, Amazon's Cyber Monday traffic was up 44% year-over-year and accounted for over 15% of all Cyber Monday traffic to top 500 retail sites (Experian Hitwise). Amazon's Q4 revenue accounted for over 37% of total revenue in 2009. Be prepared to take advantage of this spike by ensuring your listings are updated regularly, avoiding wasted clicks to unavailable products. In addition, keep your ads live on by increasing your daily budget. In 2009, we found that a number of Product Ads sellers were caught off guard and their ads were down for the majority of Cyber Monday because their budget had been exhausted.

About Rick Backus
Rick Backus worked at comparison shopping engine before launching his own firm, CPC Strategy in 2007. Rick and his team build, manage, and optimize profitable comparison shopping engine campaigns for eCommerce merchants. You can find them blogging on

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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