Display ads boost growth for sponsored ads advertisers

JUNE 27, 2018

By Zach Schapira
Sr. Product Marketing Manager

Sellers and vendors often tell us they love Amazon sponsored ads because they are simple to build and deliver results. With sponsored ads, you target shopping quereies. You pay only for clicks, where some percentage of those clicks may lead to a purchase. You can then compare the total amount paid with the total sales generated by those clicks to easily determine the profitability of your campaign.

In helping advertisers draw a straight line between ad spend and performance, sponsored ad represents near-instant gratification. Display ads, in comparison, take longer to master. Instead of paying for clicks or actions, you’re paying for impressions. Rather than focusing on keywords, you’re trying to navigate unfamiliar concepts like audience segments, creative, and reach. And beyond measuring success primarily in terms of immediate sales, display advertising also introduces new ways to evaluate results.

Adding display to your advertising mix pays off

To be sure, these differences are significant. But while aspects of display advertising are indeed more complex than search, the business value makes your time and investment worthwhile: strategies that utilize both search and display ads in parallel perform better than strategies that use sponsored ads alone. Based on a 10-month study, we found that advertisers who launched display ads for the first time generated nearly 20% higher gross merchandise sales and 20% more detail page views, and outperformed category benchmarks for these metrics by 50% or more.1

Together, sponsored ads and display address a range of shopping experiences that neither can achieve alone

These statistics don’t come as a surprise.

Display advertising complements sponsored ads on Amazon and, when used together, the combination can be a powerful growth engine for your business.

Think about it this way: on Amazon, customers often start with a query—such as “polka dot neckties”—and then they receive a list of matching results. With sponsored ads, you can bid on specific keywords you want matched with your products (you might say, for example, that you’re willing to pay up to a certain amount per click for the chance for your ad to appear above or within search results for “polka dot neckties”). This is an incredibly effective method to help make your products discoverable in search results and attract new, high-intent customers. However, while you can tweak the keywords you bid on and the prices you’re willing to pay for each click, you don’t have as much control over the audience you can reach, the message you can share, or how shoppers come to search for your products in the first place.

Additionally, with sponsored ads, your ability to influence a customer’s decision is highest during a specific search session on Amazon. But what about when customers come to Amazon through referral links or search engines, or just start browsing, and never actually use the Amazon search box? How can you reach potential customers who aren’t entering the right search terms to discover your brand? What if a shopper makes it to your product detail page but doesn’t buy? How can you reengage them, anywhere? Only by using sponsored ads and display together can you proactively generate sales from these common yet diverse shopping experiences.

Adding display ads gives you more flexibility to control the audience you reach and how

By adding display ads to your existing search campaigns, the total levers available to you expand considerably.

For example:

  • In addition to reaching shoppers based on their keyword or product searches, you can reach audiences with a high likelihood to convert based on current or past shopping behaviors.
  • You can create additional opportunities to engage or reengage customers by reaching them on Amazon outside of search results; on unique touchpoints such as the Fire TV, Fire tablet, and Kindle; or on third-party websites and apps.
  • Along with creatives that feature your product image and ratings, display ads also enable you to customize the appearance and message of your ads depending on where they appear.

You can measure the impact you’re having through a range of metrics including your retail baseline, unique reach, detail page views, and brand halo sales. (In one example, over 50% of purchases attributed to Thursday Night Football campaigns—extending across display and video—came from consumers who had not purchased from the advertised brand in the previous 12 months.2)

Used together, these tactics can help influence how shoppers perceive your brand, what they search for, what they consider, and, eventually, what they buy.


Ultimately, as strategies, sponsored ads and display complement one another. Sponsored ads help drive purchases from high-intent customers on Amazon, while display ads help create high-intent customers. With sponsored ads, it’s wise to bid on your own branded keywords in addition to category keywords. With display, greater brand exposure makes it more likely that customers will search your branded keywords. While sponsored ads help drive more immediate sales, display ads generate demand for your brand that converts into long-term sales. By coordinating both search and display strategies together, you have the potential to drastically grow your business.

Contact us to learn more about how search and display work together to deliver long-term results.

1 Amazon internal study, April 2018. Based on a study of 266 advertisers that launched their first display campaign between February 2017 and November 2017. 95% of these advertisers were previously using search. Study looked at increases in average weekly revenue and glance views, by comparing the average value 8 weeks after the campaign launch to the average value 4 weeks prior to campaign launch.
2 Amazon internal data from all active campaigns for advertisers participating in the 2017 Thursday Night Football program.