Making the case for why it’s better to use display ads together with your sponsored search ad strategy, rather than used separately, is easy. Many brands are seeing huge success when combining sponsored ads and display advertising in an effective strategy to reach new audiences and increase overall sales. According to Amazon, 64% of shoppers use more than one retail channel to make a purchase, which is why Amazon DSP is so important, as it’s the only campaign type where you can remind potential customers about your product even when they’re not on Amazon. So, we weren’t surprised when Amazon Advertising came out with data that customers exposed to both Amazon DSP and Sponsored Products ads were five times more likely to purchase than customers only exposed to Sponsored Products ads. Amazon Search and Display are very different tools but should not be considered as mutually exclusive products, and in practice are better used together than using just one or the other.
Amazon sponsored ads, also known as search ads and analogous to search engine marketing (SEM), appear in Amazon search engine results pages (SERPs) above or alongside organic search results. Meanwhile, Amazon display ads are online ads that use text and visual elements, such as an image or animation, and can appear on websites, apps, and devices. Display ads appear in or alongside the content of a website.
Investing in Display to Supplement Search
While search ads allow advertisers to bid on keywords or products consumers might be searching for, display ads allow advertisers to bid on audiences. This allows your products to reach buyers who bought a certain product, live a certain lifestyle, or are in a certain market. Amazon DSP also offers a larger variety of ad placements and more control over creative, which can be combined with Amazon Deals and Coupons. Amazon DSP campaigns can help achieve various advertising goals but work best when paired with an integrated Display and Sponsored Products ads strategy. You can learn more about how to integrate DSP into your Amazon Ads strategy here.
The Real-World Marketing Funnel
At the awareness phase, offline ads function similarly to display, such as commercials on TV, radio, print, social media, and through sponsorships. These types of ads drive awareness of your product and brand. The consideration phase would include ads such as signage, stand-alone displays, and end cap displays in stores to reinforce awareness of the product being advertised. And finally, real-world conversion phase ads would include ads more similarly related to Search ads, such as retail “shelf talkers” (signs attached to the product itself on the physical shelf), price promotions or coupons, on-package ads (e.g., now 10% bigger or other value claim), and the actual location on the shelf.
The Online Marketing Funnel
One of the biggest differences between using Search and Display ads versus physical world examples of ads is the sheer amount of good data, custom audiences gained, and improved ad spend performance. In contrast to offline ad channels, online ads allow you to measure:
- Performance within the awareness bucket
- Attribute marketing performance to ad spend, including performance within audiences and target segments
This contrasts with in-store where you can measure foot traffic & sales but that is about it.
- Can’t see shopper foot traffic in your aisle
- Can’t see how many shoppers picked up your product (detail page view)
- Can’t see how many shoppers added product to shopping cart and then placed it elsewhere in the store (example of hard choice when you see a bag of carrots in the beer aisle)
The online marketing funnel gives you the ability to adjust strategy in-flight, with immediate reads on data and adjust based on what is or isn’t working, and the ability to target as broad or granular as you want, as well as the ability to measure performance across subsets.
Why Better Together
Using sponsored search and display ads together truly show the full story of how you could make shoppers aware of a product, brand, category, or need. Once shoppers are on-site and showing interest in something, using search to get your product in front of the shopper can drive the purchase. The in-store example of this would be upper/mid marketing to drive awareness, and then have a favorable placement on the shelf planogram to maximize eyeballs and increase chances of conversion.
- Reengage brand shoppers with display ads – use Sponsored Display purchases remarketing to reach shoppers who purchased your advertised products or other related products, product categories, brands, and other product features.
- Expand reach to new audiences – use DSP lifestyle and in-market targeting segments, with granular retargeting, to build product relevancy amongst new audiences and potential customers.
- Improve campaign performance with custom creatives – use data in your Amazon DSP campaigns to reach consumers based on real-time events and geography, such as regional weather events, to prevent wasted ad spend and capitalize on opportunities to convert customers.
- Upsell on branded items – Sponsored Products is a good tool for upselling on branded terms. Sponsored Brands helps you show up in the category (“in aisle”). And Sponsored Brands Video is a great way to include custom creative in search. To maximize search performance, you can test creatives first in a cheaper, easier way using display.
Opportunities & Risks
Third-party cookies have been a key tool for digital advertising and instrumental in serving ads to the right audience, but with cookie-geddon on the horizon amid privacy concerns and new regulations, the main beneficiary is going to be the gatekeeper of first-party data (all Amazon’s websites – IMDB, Twitch, .com, etc.). If third party cookies are deprecated, cross-internet display advertising is going to lose some value, so first party display is going to be increasingly more valuable since you can track the entire shopper journey.
Other winners would be Apple and Google, but the key difference for Amazon is the eCommerce platform that can close the loop all the way down to conversions, which is why Facebook, TikTok, and other channels are keen on building out their eCommerce platforms.
How AMC Factors into the Marketing Funnel
With hundreds of data points available via Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC), it is a top solution for having a full-funnel picture of performance. AMC brings disparate sources together under one view for total marketing activation (online & offline).
- Compare to in-store by uploading Point-of-sale (PoS) data
- Compare to when you’re running streaming TV ads
- Measure offline lift as a result of running online media
- Measure the total impact of search and display together
The tide is turning for advertisers to better understand how the funnel approach is driving conversions and sales. Pacvue now integrates with Amazon Marketing Cloud and brings AMC data to life with a self-service dashboard, including a collection of standard visualized reports with real-time data updates and user-friendly filtering. Similar to other Pacvue dashboards, reports can be easily downloaded and shared.
Pacvue’s simplified dashboard solution alleviates the need for users to learn SQL to gain access to deeper insights. Leveraging Pacvue, business and marketing teams are empowered to easily access rich data sets to better inform their sales and advertising strategies.
Common reports include:
- Assisted Conversion Analysis: first look beyond last touch attribution to gain insights into the importance of reaching the consumer at multiple stages of their shopping journey.
- Enhanced Dayparting: gain advanced insights and adapt your dayparting strategy to optimize for time of click rather than time of sale.
- Path to Purchase Analysis: gain visibility into most common purchase paths to better inform your adverting strategy and maximize conversion.
- Overlap Report: validate the efficacy of a full-funnel approach with visibility into how paid search and display ad types work together to move the consumer from consideration to purchase.