Amazon Advertising 2019 - A review

The year 2019 says goodbye. Just like last year, 2019 saw some updates and releases in Amazon's advertising universe. We have reviewed the year 2019 from an advertiser's point of view and present to you briefly and compactly the most important changes and features of Amazon this year.  

January 2019

Right at the beginning of the year Amazon announced a real "bang" regarding the targeting possibilities of Sponsored Product Ads. For us one of the most important releases for Amazon advertisers in 2019!  

Product Targeting (PAT)

We are talking about Product Targeting. For the first time it is possible to target specific ASINs or categories. This means that advertisements can be placed specifically on product pages of the competition. This has opened up completely new possibilities in competitive strategy. When targeting categories, it is also possible to further specify the price range, brand and the number of star ratings. (In August, Prime Shipping was added as a new refinement option). 

Read more about Product Targeting here.

Dynamic bidding strategies and bids by placement

In addition to Product Targeting, two other great ways to optimize campaigns were announced earlier this year: "dynamic bidding strategies" and "bids by placement". The latter replaces the former Bid+. With the new strategies, advertisers can now choose whether their ads are displayed according to "fixed bids" or whether the bid can increase or decrease in real time depending on the probability of a sale or placement. Before the relaunch of the bidding strategies, bids were always lowered when a sale was unlikely. Only a maximum, but not a fixed bid could be chosen. 

Read more about the dynamic bidding strategies including a case study on the effects of the individual strategies as well as recommendations for practical action here.

In advance: even if the bid increase sounds extremely promising when a customer has a high probability of buying, we recommend using the "down only" strategy. 

Targeting defaults in automatic campaigns

Another update in January was the introduction of "targeting defaults" in automatic campaigns and the possibility to adjust bids per "defaults". So there are now four defaults that determine the displayed ad depending on the degree to which your advertised product matches the search queries. You can turn different defaults off or on, or bid up or down depending on your ACOS.

With this update Amazon allows a little bit of control over the displayed ads within the automatic campaigns.

February 2019

Just one month after the release of Product Targeting and the new bidding strategies, Amazon has made another major release.

Brand Analytics

In February the release of Brand Analytics for US Seller was announced. (Since March, sellers on other marketplaces also had access to it). 

Through Brand Analytics, Amazon has disclosed data on the search and buying behavior of Amazon customers for the first time. A littlel sensation! 

Sellers can see which search terms were entered most frequently on Amazon in a certain period of time. In addition, they can see the three most clicked products including relative click numbers and conversions for the corresponding search term. The search terms are displayed as a ranking, i.e. the actual number of search queries is not visible, but nevertheless you get a good feeling for the importance of certain terms. Brand Analytics is definitely one of the top 3 of the most important Amazon Updates 2019 for us.

Read more about the possibilities with Brand Analytics in our blog article

July 2019

In spring it became quieter around the news in the advertising field. In summer the next major changes concentrated on the Sponsored Brands.

Sponsored Brands Updates

For example, since July, negative keywords can also be used for Sponsored Brands to prevent them from being displayed for certain search queries.  

In addition, the Broad Match Type "allowed" variations for search terms. This means that completely different words are also possible. For example, the keyword "shoe" can also trigger your ad for the search term "sneaker". In order to be able to control the ads better, the "Broad Match modifiers" were introduced at the same time. By placing a "+" in front of a word within the keyword you can determine that exactly this word must be included in the search term in order for the Sponsored Brand to be displayed.

The Sponsored Brands on mobile devices has also been optimized. Since July, the ads are displayed dynamically in a carousel format and no longer just with a static image and headline. 

In addition, the product selection within a Sponsored Brand has been improved, as the most relevant ASINs of the merchant are displayed depending on the search query. 

September 2019

In middle of September, a completely new advertising opportunity was published, which is responsible for the departure of an old advertising format.

Sponsored Display

Sponsored Display was announced by Amazon as a new advertising solution. Among other things, these are display campaigns that can also be displayed on external sites off Amazon. In addition, since the end of October, they have replaced the Product Display Ads (which were suspected to have been abolished some time ago), but in principle they still exist - with the new name Sponsored Display. There are different targeting possibilities with the Sponsored Display Ads. Since the launch, these have been rolled out successively for the marketplaces and are still in beta phase. We are curious how the new advertising solution will develop in 2020. You can find out all about the current status and the possibilities with Sponsored Display here.

October 2019

Further changes for Sponsored Brands were announced in October.

Videos and PAT for Sponsored Brands 

Since October, Sponsored Brands have also been supporting Product Targeting. In addition, videos can be inserted within a Sponsored Brand. 

Further small updates:

  • vendors can now also use ad groups
  • traffic volume is taken into account for Amazon's suggested bids

November 2019

Also in November there was an interesting update for Sponsored Brands.

Search term reports for Sponsored Brands

Until November 2019, search term reports existed exclusively for Sponsored Product Ads. This powerful tool has now been introduced for Sponsored Brands as well. It allows sellers to see for which search terms their Sponsored Brands have been displayed and optimize their bids and keywords accordingly.

Dezember 2019

At the end of the year there was a little present for sellers, because in Seller Central the "search terms" and "history" were published.

Seller Central Updates

Since December it is possible for sellers to see the search terms directly in Seller Central - and without downloading the report. 

In addition, the bidding history can be seen in a selected period since december. So it is visible at a glance when bids were changed and what effects this had on performance indicators such as sales, ACoS etc.

With both changes, Amazon has done sellers a favour with regard to user-friendliness in Seller Central. 

Where will the journey go in 2020?

Amazon has announced most updates in 2019 - as in 2018 - especially at the beginning and end of the year. It will be exciting to see whether further "firecracker releases" (such as Product Targeting or Brand Analytics) will be announced in early 2020.  

It is noticeable that some new possibilities for Sponsored Brands have been introduced in recent months. Presumably, Amazon would like to focus advertisers' attention not only on Sponsored Product Ads (which still make up the largest share of ads on Amazon) but also on Sponsored Brands. 

It is almost certain that the Sponsored Display Ads will be rolled out in the new year on more marketplaces and with more opportunities for sellers and vendors. Currently, only a few of the announced opportunities are actually available with the new form of advertising. 

We keep an eye on all updates of Amazon 2020 and inform you about all important news via our facebook page and blog.