What You Need to Know About Amazon Sponsored Display Ads (2019)

Amazon just launched a new ad type that can change the game, and we’re fired up to tell you all about their brand new Sponsored Display Ads (SDA).

At release, Amazon described the new ad type with these words:

Introducing a new advertising solution that lets you create display campaigns in minutes with a budget of any size. Use Sponsored Display to reach the right audience for your business both on and off Amazon.

The total number of campaign types rises to three: Sponsored ProductSponsored Brand, and Sponsored Display. 

Product and Brand ads rely on keyword bidding to place ads on Amazon search engine results page (SERP).

The Display type sets itself apart from the other two because its ads can be displayed anywhere on Amazon’s advertising network, not just the SERP. This includes Amazon.com, any company it has a partnership with or any company it owns. For example, if you were on IMDb, you’ll see these display ads popping up on the website.

A Sponsored Display ad
What a Sponsored Display ad looks like on a 3rd-party website.

Since this ad type is brand new, you can gain an early mover advantage if you learn how to use it effectively. Now’s your chance to reset the scales and hopefully strike big before your competitors.

Today we’re going to be breaking down everything you need to know about Amazon Sponsored Display Ads. Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  1. How to create Sponsored Display Ads
  2. Pay-per-click vs. pay-per-impression
  3. DSP vs. Amazon Sponsored Display Ads
  4. Rapid-fire facts from the Amazon FAQ

How to Create Sponsored Display Ads

Step 1: Go to Amazon Seller Central and hit ‘Create Campaign’ and from the three options select ‘Sponsored Display.’

Step 2: You’ll see a lot of familiar things to fill out like campaign name, product category, and target ACOS. If you want to know the most efficient way to do this, check out this video we made about campaign naming.

Step 3: Time for the new stuff! You can target your audience with SDAs, something you can’t do with the other ad types.

Audience targeting for Sponsored Display Ads
Audience targeting is a big step forward for Amazon.

As you can see, there’s one pay-per-click option and two pay-per-impression options. Select the one that best matches your goal, and you’ll have successfully created your first Sponsored Display Ad.

However, before you’re ready to select one, we need to break down exactly how these different options work.

Pay-Per-Click vs. Pay-Per-Impression

On typical advertising platforms like Google or Facebook, you pay for display ads by the number of impressions.

People are generally not looking for these ads, so they tend to scroll past them more and click them less. The pay-per-impression model accounts for this difference in behavior.

Interestingly not only is Amazon offering this traditional pay-per-impression model but also a pay-per-click model. Let’s see how they compare.


For maximum exposure, pay-per-click is the best option. It remarkets your product to customers anywhere in the Amazon network, but there’s a catch. It can also display similar products that are not yours.

This extra kink means that it’s not a true remarketing/retargeting option. Along with your products, customers have the potential to see similar items they’ve never browsed for before.

Imagine it like remarketing + some affinity audiences based on similar products. It’s an exciting move by Amazon, and we’re interested to see how it’ll play out. 


The pay-per-impression option has two different strategies inside of it. The first option ‘Searches’ allows you to target customers who have searched keywords relevant to your product.

The second option, ‘Purchases’ lets you target customers who have previously purchased your advertised products. This option can be especially useful if your item is consumable.

For instance, let’s say you buy coffee beans off of Amazon. Then three weeks later, you see an ad for coffee beans just when it’s time to resupply. Alternatively, you could get an ad upselling a coffee bean grinder. These are just a few ways in which you could use the ‘Purchases’ option.

Running Experiments

Because these three options are all unique, it’s challenging to say which one might be right for you on the first try. Instead, we recommend creating a separate ad group with one product for each of these audience targeting options (Views, Searches, and Purchases).

Measure performance across a few weeks and adjust how much budget you’re allocating to each of these options. This segmentation isn’t hard and will give you the optimum bid distribution.

DSP v.s. Amazon Sponsored Display Ads

As it turns out, Amazon has already had audience retargeting features through its Demand Side Platform (DSP) for some time now. So how do SDAs differ?

On the DSP, you create your own media (ads, videos, etc.) and send them to Amazon. Amazon will run the campaign for you, and you have no control over it. 

With Display Ads, you don’t have to make your media or creatives. Amazon will use your product title, images, review, and more to generate an ad that they’ll display across the Amazon network. 

Sponsored Display ads can appear in multiple areas of the marketing funnel. It could be top-of-funnel if a person has never seen the product before, or it could be middle-of-funnel if the ad is working as a retarget.

Ryan Gosling Sponsored Display Ad meme
How you're going to feel when Display ads explode.

Rapid Fire Facts From the Amazon FAQ

For the release of this new ad type, Amazon created a web page detailing all the nitty-gritty of how it works here.

To save you time, we compiled the most important parts of their FAQ along with questions we thought were important too. Here they are:

Who can use Sponsored Display?

Sponsored Display is available for professional US sellers enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry, vendors, and agencies with clients who sell products on Amazon. Products must be in one or more eligible categories to advertise. 

Where will Sponsored Display ads appear?

Your ads are displayed on and off Amazon. This chart breaks down how each targeting type influences where the ad will appear:

Where Sponsored Display Ads appear
This is a great reference chart on how SDAs work

Does it have its own report?

Sponsored Display data is located inside the Sponsored Product report. If you’re doing bulk file operations, remember to filter this data apart from the Sponsored Product data.

SDA inside of other report
You have to filter the SDA data from the report yourself inside of Excel.

Are there any prohibited products?

Certain types of products can’t be advertised, for example: adult content/merchandise, spy cameras, aerosol, and specific kinds of medical equipment.

Key Takeaways

A new ad type means new possibilities. Experimenting with Sponsored Display ads could make your campaigns significantly better because they open up your products to a greater audience.

Now take to the sky young badger and start running your own Sponsored Display ad campaigns. If you come up with any cool strategies or tips, comment down below, and we’ll share it with the whole badger den!

Badger out.

Discover Us on our PPC Den Podcast

If you prefer learning via audio, we cover this same info in the podcast episode below. You can also find us on your favorite streaming platforms like Apple, Google, Spotify, and more!

  • 3:20 A funny review from cbgill83
  • 5:13 The rise of Sponsored Display Ads
  • 6:30 How does it differ from other Amazon ad types?
  • 8:45 Creating your first Sponsored Display Ad
  • 10:00 Pay-per-click vs Pay-per-impression
  • 13:46 Audience targeting
  • 15:30 Remarketing with a twist
  • 17:00 Find your data in the sponsored product report
  • 19:15 Performance breakdown
  • 20:47 Difference between DSP and Sponsored Display
  • 23:00 Pay-per-impression deep dive
  • 26:30 Best practices
  • 28:00 Pay-per-click only reaches customers off of Amazon
  • 29:55 Running experiments
  • 31:45 How it kickstarts new product launches
  • 35:21 Rapid fire facts from the Amazon help docs
  • 37:28 Prohibited categories
  •  39:02 Cheap CPMs
  •  40:48 Check out our PPC automation tool
  1. Why We’re Living In The Golden Age of Amazon PPC
  2. The Bid+ Conundrum
  3. Amazon’s New Product Targeting Features
  4. The Advanced Basics of Amazon PPC
  5. Amazon PPC Advertising Stats
  6. Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sponsored Products (Part 1)
  7. Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sponsored Products (Part 2)
  8. Campaign Naming Systems
  9. Product Targeting – Into the Great Unknown
  10. The Strangest, Most Popular PPC Strategy: The Keyword Dump
  11. Dissenting Thoughts on PPC Budgets
  12. First Look on New Bid Options in Amazon
  13. What We Love About Amazon PPC
  14. The Dreaded Amazon Data Reporting Delay
  15. All Things Negative Keywords
  16. Cranking Up Conversion Rates
  17. The Star-Crossed Lovers (Organic & Paid Traffic)
  18. How to Scale Using PPC – A Case Study
  19. The Ultimate Amazon PPC Roadmap
  20. Amazon Advertising Launch Strategy for New Products
  21. Our Gripes About Amazon Sponsored Brand Ads
  22. Should You Bid on Competitors’ Branded Keywords
  23. Making Sense of New to Brand Metrics
  24. Defining Your PPC Goals & Setting ACOS Targets
  25. The Latest Sponsored Brand Ad Updates
  26. An Introduction To Bulk File Operations
  27. Click Through Rate (CTR) Rundown
  28. The Importance of Indexation for Amazon PPC
  29. My 5 Predictions for the Future of Amazon PPC
  30. A Round-Table Discussion About Placement Settings
  31. The Complete Guide to Self-Auditing Your Campaigns
  32. Improving Your Account With Amazon Reports
  33. A Data-Driven Approach to Prime Day PPC 
  34. Clickfraud, Who to Hire, and More Common Amazon PPC Questions
  35. Increase Conversion Rates for Sponsored Brand Ads
  36. Amazon DSP with Kiri Masters
  37. 4 Things Amazon Does Better than Google and Facebook
  38. Three Effective Ways to Optimize Amazon PPC Bids
  39. Promoting your Products with Amazon Coupons
  40.  Should You Segment Your Branded Keywords in Amazon Ads?
  41. What to Expect From 30 Days of Running Amazon Ads
  42. 4 Reasons Why Lowering Your Bids Won’t Always Lower your ACOS
  43. The Problem With Optimizing Low-Converting Products (And How to Solve It)
  44. Listener Q&A: Optimizing Placement Settings

Watch Mike & Stephen on YouTube

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