Amazon Text Ads Are Here – What Does It Mean For You?

By , Senior Account Manager, Community


In a surprising move last week, Amazon announced that Product Ads would be discontinued effective this October 31st. The actual announcement is only viewable to those who have Seller Accounts, however, here is a screenshot of the messaging.


Image of text


The move is surprising since many merchants are seeing good results from Product Ads. Merchants can show their ads on Amazon and have the clicks (and potential transactions) go directly through their sites. The downside for Amazon is that ad sellers like Google use the ads to get user information to boost their own platforms. This Business Insider article delves further into the conundrum and speaks to Amazon’s newest advertising feature – Text Ads.


What Are Amazon Text Ads?


In order to bridge the gap between Product Ads and other Amazon seller services, the platform has released Text Ads. Nearly identical to Google’s text ad format, Amazon Text Ads utilize keyword-based targeting. The ad parameters and character counts are identical to Google and many of the campaign structure and settings are similar. In fact, you can upload Google campaigns direct to Amazon (more to come shortly).


The ads show on all devices and are displayed in three areas, including:


  • Below search results
  • Browse results
  • Product detail pages


Image of sponsored links

Sponsored links on Amazon


The interesting part is that these are the same placements where AdWords ads show. Since Amazon is a Google Search Partner, AdWords ads have the ability to be displayed. In conducting sample searches for clients I have in the beta, the Amazon ads trump the AdWords ads. For example, if the keyword “blue widget” is in both Google and Amazon, the Amazon ad shows, even with the lower bid. This leads into costs.


Currently, Amazon cost-per-clicks (CPC) are extremely low. We’re talking in the $0.10 to $0.20 range. The low CPCs have to do with the program being in beta and current lack of competition. Having said this, it’s extremely beneficial to migrate your text ad campaigns to Amazon if for nothing else, to capitalize on the low CPCs.


In Google, you may bid $0.75 for a keyword. If the ad shows on Amazon as a Search Partner ad and is clicked, you have the potential to pay $0.75. If you are bidding on that same keyword through Amazon Text Ads, you’ll pay much less.


Campaign Setup


I’m going to walk through sample campaign setups when entering manually and when uploading an excel document. When entering manually, you will click the “Create campaign” button.


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Create a new text ad campaign


You’ll then name your campaign, give it a budget, and set an end date if you prefer.


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Set your campaign name and budget


Moving on, you’ll name your ad group and create your first ad.


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Name your ad group and write your first ad


You’ll then add your keywords and set your bids.


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Choose your keywords and bids


Other items to keep in mind include:


  • You can add negative keywords in exact, phrase, and broad match at both the campaign and ad group levels
  • You can set mobile bid adjustments (sorry, no tablets!) at the campaign and ad group levels
  • You don’t have to show your ads on mobile devices
  • There isn’t an option to write mobile specific ads so keep that in mind if you target mobile devices
  • You’ll need to add tracking parameters to your URLs to view post-click data in Google Analytics (or whatever Analytics platform you are using)

You can also upload AdWords campaign in bulk by using the “Bulk Operations” tab.


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Bulk upload your AdWords campaigns


Amazon does provide an excel template that includes instructions for bulk uploading. This template also provides attribute definitions and an example template.


Other Considerations


In addition to campaign setup, there are other elements you’ll want to be aware of and address.


Conversion Tracking – Amazon does provide a conversion tracking pixel. You can choose to implement partial conversion tracking (which will only report the numbers of conversions) or you can implement the full code which will dynamically track revenue and the purchased products. You can choose to copy the code or email to your developer while identifying the website’s technology.


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Create your conversion code


Reporting – The main interface shows individual campaign metrics, but doesn’t aggregate the data, nor give you the option to export.


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Text ad metrics


In order to download your metrics, you’ll need to go to the “Bulk Operations” tab and make sure you’ve selected the “Download” option. You’ll then request your default or device-level metrics.


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Request your data


The reporting process appears to be out of sync at the moment, but hopefully that will change in the future.


Lack of Features – Many of the AdWords features and settings, such as dayparting, geotargeting, ad rotation, and more, are absent in Amazon. Depending on the success of the program, these features may be added at some point, but for now you’ll have to live without them.


Final Thoughts


It’s unfortunate that Products Ads are being discontinued, but advertisers will benefit from Amazon Text Ads. CPCs are extremely low right now and campaign setup is in line with Google AdWords. If you are a merchant and don’t have a Seller account, now is the time to join.

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7 thoughts on “Amazon Text Ads Are Here – What Does It Mean For You?

  1. ZachShearer

    I had my ads deactivated but did not receive an email. Any idea when this product is coming out of beta?

  2. Brett McKay

    I can’t help but think that AMZ is just making a data snag here. They would be smart to turn around and grab all of the keyword data vendors supply them to then outbid us on AdWords with ads that point right back to AMZ so they get their 15%.

    I have ported over a couple of our larger campaigns from Adwords to AMZ TA. But after seeing it run for some days now, I can’t see much value that AMZ TA has to either AMZ or vendors on the surface.

    -Text Ad placement is hidden way down at the bottom of the page.
    -CTR is extremely low so AMZ gets very little money from clicks.
    -Conversion rates are even worse so low revenue for vendors.
    -Clicks send AMZ customers to vendor sites where AMZ loses their 15% commission, in addition to possibly losing their customer altogether for that product to a quality vendor.
    -AMZ had to develop and fund an AMZ TA infrastructure and support staff.

    So where is the value for AMZ? I would argue it is in the extensive keyword data we share.

    Am I just being paranoid?

    1. Brett McKay

      The news just hit that Text Ads are being discontinued. I believe that means my above presumption was correct – Amazon just grabbed PPC data from anyone grandfathered into the beta, and will likely add all of that data to its own PPC campaigns on Google and Bing to now compete more thoroughly against paid advertising efforts.

      Additionally, Amazon will have scraped a lot of PPC data on products not listed on Amazon, likely in an attempt to open up more avenues for more obscure or less competitive products.

  3. Phil C

    As quickly as it was here, now Amazon text ads are gone? When logging into Amazon Seller Central, I noticed the technical notification message that “Effective October 31, 2015, we will be discontinuing Amazon Text Ads.” I just heard about these text ads a week or two ago in order to try to get into the beta, but now… Does anyone have more information regarding this announcement?

  4. ChristophSEO

    Slightly different issue from my perspective: Has anyone tried to access the ad server from a place in Europe or Germany? I can’t even use my credentials to login to the adserver. Any Ideo?

  5. Bob

    The stopping of pay per clicks with Amazon (whatever they
    call it) is just pure GREED on their part. It is a twofold situation with them;
    (1) Google searches can use Amazon’s searches and in a way steal their advertisers,
    causing less money in their till. (2) Amazon would rather every seller (use their fulfillment setup) pay them stocking fees, plus take a commission on the sale, not have the buyer click and disappear
    to another site, they also want to control all of the shipping, possibly making
    even more money.

    What it seems to come down to is Amazon is using the
    seller as a tool to make money without thinking of, developing, or
    manufacturing a thing, they just want to have money coming in from both the
    sellers and buyers, yep they get bucks from both ends, what a racket.

    If any company, firm,
    or individual wants to sell over the internet, they are forced to look into
    Amazon just by necessity, the line forms to be accepted by Amazon and the all
    are told how high to jump. The cost of working with them is too high and many companies
    are not making a profit due to Amazon’s (fees) demands, what a shame.


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