Amazon Sponsored Display Ads: The Definitive Guide (2021 Update)

Amazon offers a variety of advertisement products to give you control over who or what your ad is targeting, as well as where your ad can appear. Sponsored Display Ads (formerly “Product Display Ads”) are a unique remarketing advertisement product from Amazon that allows you to show your ad to consumers who have previously viewed your product or similar products, used search terms relevant to your product, or purchased from you.

Back in 2019, Amazon built Sponsored Display to empower vendors and agencies of all sizes who sell on Amazon to expand their reach and results using display advertising that is easy to create and manage.

Product Display Ads under the buying options
This badger balm is already using Sponsored Display Ads to boost sales

Sponsored Display Ads are display ads that can boost visibility for your product’s details page and can even target your competitor’s products on Amazon. In fact, product targeting is encouraged.

Different ad types offer different ways of targeting keywords and targeting audiences. While Sponsored Product Ads and Sponsored Brand Ads use keywords to target audiences, Sponsored Display Ads use Amazon’s audience demographics data to target audiences based on their shopping behavior. These audiences may be in the market to buy your product because they viewed your product, similar products, or relevant categories. 

So let’s jump right into how display advertising can help your brand! Here’s what you can expect to learn today from the Badger on display advertising:

Table of Contents

Where do you find Sponsored Display Ads?

Like we said before, they’re usually found right under the right sidebar’s buying options, but actually they’re a little bit of everywhere. Sponsored Display Ads can appear on:

  • Product Detail Pages on Desktop and Mobile
  • Customer Review Pages
  • Top of the Offer Listing Pages
Sponsored Display Ads on mobile and desktop
Two different Display Ads appearing on the Product Details page.

Sponsored Display Ads are also unique in that they can appear outside of Amazon. They can be on any website owned by or partnered with Amazon and are usually in the form of banner ads. 

Should You Use Amazon Sponsored Display Ads?

Yes.

The main benefits of Sponsored Display Ad Campaigns:

  • Increase brand awareness in your niche
  • Bring traffic to a product’s details page
  • Place your best product under your competitors’ listing
  • Boost exposure for new product listings

Amazon Sponsored Display Ads are an absolute must-have if one of your major goals is boosting your impressions. Using Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display in tandem with Sponsored Products has compounding effects on your impressions for new products, allowing you to reach more people in less time. This is key to helping you springboard from being an industry newcomer to an established player.

Another excellent reason to use Sponsored Display Ads is to increase your upper-funnel appeal. Not only can you retarget people that have viewed your products, you can also target people who have viewed products similar to yours or used search terms relevant to your product. If you run Sponsored Display and your competitors don’t, you’re capturing more people’s attention and drawing them down the funnel.

Because these ads don’t display on Amazon’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP), product display ads tend to have slightly lower conversion rates. For that same reason, these ads tend to be less competitive than Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Product ads, so your CPCs and overall spend will likely be less than your account average.

Lastly, because you can place your ad under your competitor’s listing, you can put your best products against their best products. However, be careful. Make sure to match your ads where you have a real chance of getting clicks and beating out the products on Amazon.

 

How to Add Sponsored Display Ads to Your Amazon PPC

If you have retail-ready products, you should at the very least devote some of your ad budget to experimenting with Sponsored Display. Amazon wasn’t as serious about Sponsored Display in the past, but now that it’s fully fleshed out, they’re really doubling down on it. Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products are still going to take up most of your budget, but set some aside for Display as well. Devote around 5-15% of your total ad budget to Sponsored Display ads and see what PPC magic you can work with them.

If you’re on Day 1 of selling on Amazon, don’t jump into Sponsored Display Ads right away. There’s a sort of unspoken hierarchy among the Amazon ad types, with Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and then Sponsored Display. You’ll want to follow that hierarchy in terms of what order you introduce those ad types to your Amazon advertising.

That being said, if you already have a rock-solid foundation with your Sponsored Products but haven’t started on Sponsored Brands, there can be some merit in starting Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display simultaneously. Sponsored Display has become more and more valuable over its lifetime, and it’s quickly catching up to Sponsored Brands in this regard.

How to Create Sponsored Display Ads on Amazon

Step 1: Head over to Campaign Manager.

Step 2: Then click “Create Campaign.”

Step 3: You’ll be prompted to select what type of ad campaign you want to create. Select Sponsored Display.

amazon sponsored display ad
Choose the "Sponsored Display" campaign type.

Step 4: Pick a product to advertise by either typing its name or ASIN.

Step 5: After choosing which of your products you would like to advertise, you will be able to set a CPC bid. If you need help figuring out how to calculate this, we recommend you check out our guide to Calculating a Bid Strategy for Amazon Ads.

Step 6:  Set your campaign name, budget, and duration.

  • The minimum advertising daily budget is $1 and the minimum cost per click is $.02 according to Amazon. They also suggest running your campaigns for a month to get a full grasp of the results. 

Step 7: Preview the ad & submit the campaign. Congratulations, you’ve made your first Sponsored Display Ad!

Success GIF
Now that's a job well done. GIF courtesy of GIPHY

Audience Targeting with Sponsored Display Ads 

Rather than targeting keywords as you do with Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display has targeting based on audiences.

There are three basic types of remarketing audiences with Sponsored Display ads: views, searches, and purchases.

Views remarketing, the newest of the three, allows you to target people who have viewed your products in the past 30 days, but have not purchased from you. You can also target people who have viewed your product detail pages that have specific criteria, like star rating, brand, etc.

 

 

Searches remarketing gives you the ability to target people who have searched for keywords related to your product but haven’t specifically seen your product. Rather than the usual CPC, the bidding is based on CPM, or cost per 1,000 impressions. Searches targeting gives you the potential to drive your ACOS insanely low because it counts view-through orders. This means that if someone views your ad and then purchases the product later, that counts toward your sales numbers.

Purchases remarketing targets people who have purchased from you in the past. Bidding here is also based on CPM. This is most suited for consumable products and while it has the smallest audience by far, it’s a great tool for increasing your customer lifetime value.

When you’re building your searches or purchases audience in the Sponsored Display Ads interface, Amazon gives you estimates on how many impressions and how much reach you’ll get based on your bid. 

Where it gets really interesting is how you can fine-tune these to create custom audiences. For example, you can use purchase remarketing to target people who have bought a specific product from you and advertise a complementary product. You can also use view remarketing and hone in on a specific category. Plus, you pick which of your products are included in your remarketing efforts.

 

How to Structure your Amazon Sponsored Display Audiences

When engineering your Sponsored Display Ad campaigns, start with views remarketing, then searches, then purchases.

Because views remarketing will have by far the largest audience, that’s where it’s best to start. If your conversion rate is less than 100% (and we’re guessing it is), then there are potential sales being left on the table. Views remarketing is hugely powerful for re-engaging those potential customers and boosting your conversion rate.

Because you can only use one form of targeting per campaign, you need to create a separate campaign for each. You should also give them descriptive names so you know exactly what audience you’re targeting when you’re analyzing at the campaign level.

a group of Amazon Sponsored Display Ad campaigns in Amazon Advertising.

When selecting products to include in your targeting, you can put each product in each Sponsored Display campaign if you only have a handful of products. On the other hand, if you have tons of different products, you need to be careful not to group together too many products at once, as all of the products in each campaign are going to have the same bid. Don’t put products with huge differences in conversion rates together in the same campaign.

 

Amazon Sponsored Display Product Targeting

Amazon Sponsored Display Ads don’t only let you target shoppers by audience. Product targeting allows you to target specific product pages or categories. This can help you sell complementary products or drive consideration among those viewing competitors.

 

Bidding in Amazon Sponsored Display

In most cases, bidding for Amazon Sponsored Display Ads is dynamic down only. The one notable exception is views remarketing, which is dynamic up-and-down. This is definitely something to keep in mind when determining your bids on your Sponsored Display campaigns.

The Sponsored Display Double-Tap Strategy

As you may have seen from our shiny new Amazon PPC Checklist, we are BIG into processes. This is an expansion-type activity that you should do around once or twice per month to drive up your sales and get more traffic to your product pages.

First, take one to ten of your best products, then find each product’s top 10 paid and/or organic keywords. You can find them by downloading the advertised product report, then running a VLOOKUP to find which ones get the most ad spend. You also need to look at the keyword report to find the top keywords for each product. If you name your campaigns based on their products, this should be a snap. Finally, look at the ASINs for the top competitors on the results pages for each of those keywords. These are your prime targets.

Sponsored Display product targeting competitor ASINs

This is where the fun begins. Take those products and competitor ASINs and put them into a new Amazon Sponsored Display product targeting campaign for ultimate remarketing power. This will get your Sponsored Display ads to appear on your competitors’ product pages to remarket to customers.

Amazon Sponsored Display Product Targeting campaign

The double-tap comes into play when a shopper sees your Sponsored Product ad or organic listing on Amazon’s search results page, but for whatever reason, doesn’t click on it. When they look at a competitor’s listing, they see your ad again on the product detail page, giving you a second chance to earn a conversion. With this strategy, you’re opening yourself up to more conversions and swiping other competitors’ potential conversions at the same time. It’s a double-win!

Our Strategy Recommendations

Like all Amazon PPC ads, there are many strategies you can take. Just allow yourself time to test out strategies to see what works.

Talking to Andrew Maffettone of Seller’s Choice, he suggested experimenting with one ASIN and hitting your ACoS before changing anything. (Check out this article if you want to learn how to hit your ACoS.)

When we do [Sponsored Display Ads] for our Amazon sellers we like to take one ASIN and create a campaign targeting competitors ASINs.

As we optimize and get the ACoS within our target, we add more and more competitors. After a while, we’ll create more campaigns based on complementary products.

So, if we’re selling belts I may create a [Sponsored Display Ad] campaign [with product targeting] directed at jeans.

Andrew Maffetone

The Badger recommends choosing Sponsored Display Ads for ASINs you know are going to sell, brand new products you are launching, or ones you really want to get rid of. 

The safest bet is to take your best selling product and put it up against your competitor’s products, equipped with copy and images that highlight different features than their product.

That’s a wrap for Amazon Sponsored Display

Whew! We know that was a lot of information to swallow, but you are now an Amazon Sponsored Display Ads master. Congratulations!

Sponsored Display is a great way to improve your upper funnel and reclaim lost sales by marketing and remarketing to targeted audiences.

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to start using Sponsored Display in your own PPC campaigns and take advantage of product targeting features that Amazon has built for vendors and agencies like yours.

If boosting brand awareness and competing right under the buy box are your objectives, you can’t go without display ads on Amazon.

To learn about the other Amazon ad types or if you’re interested in practical step-by-step Amazon PPC guides, sign up for our newsletter below to get it sent straight to you.

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