In the final week of February, Amazon finally brought CPC advertising to Amazon Fresh. Previously, Amazon ran some banner ads within Fresh, but now they’re finally allowing brands to bid on their placements in Search. For many brands, this opens an entirely new way to engage with Amazon consumers, and enables them to take control of their search rankings on the Fresh platform. This makes it a good time to take a brief refresher on what Sponsored Products are, when to use them, and what quirks Fresh brings to their value. 

What are Sponsored Products? 

In the off-chance that you’ve never seen them, Sponsored Products are paid placements in Amazon’s search results. These are CPC bid-based, and appear multiple times on every page of Amazon search. As one would expect, the top spots tend to be the most valuable. With Amazon’s search algorithm being self-fulfilling, placing the highest selling products at the top with the top placements resulting in the highest sales, Sponsored Products allow brands to overdrive their products’ performance. 

When to use Sponsored Products 

We see three general uses for Sponsored Products: 

  1. If your brand is up against a larger competitor, you can use Sponsored Products to draw consumers from their products to yours. Bid heavily on generic category terms to push their products below yours in search, and ensure new consumers find you. For a pro-tip, also bid on their branded terms, to get ahead of their loyal consumers, as well. 
  2. If your brand is up against smaller competitors,you can box them out. Ensure full coverage over the generic category terms to make sure no one takes your place. Also be defensive with your own branded terms, so consumers searching for your brand don’t find theirs. 
  3. If you have a new product launch, use Sponsored Products to fuel innovation. New launches will be buried under multiple pages of search. Use these placements to pay their way to the top, and get them in front of consumers. This will leverage your most popular products to help ensure the new products are found by the consumers you intend. 

How to increase your click-through: 

Consumers do most of their shopping on Amazon via spear-fishing – they know what they want and aim directly for it. This means you need to make sure they’re finding what they’re looking for, first and foremost. Many brands forget this granularity, and serve the wrong products tithe consumer. For instance, if a consumer searches “Strawberry Yogurt,” any yogurt brand should make certain they are serving a Sponsored Product for strawberry yogurt. Too often, we see brands creating one campaign with their top products as a catch-all. Serving plain yogurt ads to consumers searching specifically for strawberry is a good way to send them to your competitor's Product Detail Page. 

Who sees Fresh ads: 

Fresh is geographically limited, and therefore only consumers within those geographies will see your Sponsored Products. However,not everyone within that geography is an Amazon Fresh consumer, yet Amazon still offers these consumers results from the Fresh platform. This means your ad will be served to consumers that cannot convert on Amazon. 

Don’t let this dissuade you. If anything, this is an increased opportunity. Amazon is the largest product search engine in the US.Over 40% of consumers do research on Amazon before shopping offline. Your Sponsored Product may appear to someone who won’t buy on Fresh, but he may be looking for new products to buy when she stops at the grocery store on the way home from work. The halo impact from Amazon Fresh placements will be greater than that of regular Amazon placements for this reason. Make sure you work withan analytics team to develop new KPIs beyond just Amazon on-site ROAS or ACoS. 

Making the most of the ads: 

Bidding to the top is the easy part. Once the consumer clicks, though, you need to ensure they buy. Otherwise, they may just return to the search results and find your competitor. Make sure to take every step possible to ensure conversion on the site. Use all the tools Amazon affords you to increase conversion. Ensure that your Titles are concise; your Bullet Points are make an impact without being overwhelming; and that your product has alternate images, lifestyle images, and video. And make sure you have A+ Content. This content should be easily scanned, informative, and in the brand voice. It’s a fantastic way to further connect with the consumer, let her know about your brand and the value of your product, and instill the confidence to convert on your product. 

Summing it up: 

In short, this isn’t anything incredibly new. Sponsored Products are a powerful sales tool on Amazon, and help brands increase their brand equity on the site. Bringing it to Fresh creates a new way for brands to reach consumers, but ultimately, it’s a form of paid Search. Brands that are smart about their campaigns, their KPIs, and their content, will find themselves in front of many new consumers.