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Amazon advertising placements explained - Top of search, Product Pages and Rest of Search

It won’t be too much of a surprise that better ad placement means better exposure, and also costs more money. 

When you’re setting a bid for a Sponsored Products PPC campaign, you have a measure of indirect control over where you want your ad to show up while someone is browsing Amazon. More specifically, you can set multipliers that will increase your base bid - and therefore your chances - of showing up in more visible places.

The three principal placements are Top of Search, Product Pages and Rest of Search. 

What do each mean?

They essentially mean just what they say - i.e. where your ad will be displayed on the site. 

  • Top of Search: 

This is the most effective ad placement and turns out the best conversion rates. For the same reason, it is also the most competitive one and the most expensive, naturally going to the highest bidders. 

The Top of Search will put your ad within the first two listings on the Amazon Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

  • Product Pages:

These are the ones displayed - as the name suggests - within the product detail pages themselves, or in any non-search page location such as the add-to-cart page. 

While valuable, there is already a steep drop-off in terms of click-through rate relative to the Top of Search, with Product Pages placement typically raking in 10 times less CTR.

  • Rest of Search: 

Rest of Search is similar to Top of Search in that it will display your ads in the search pages, but far lower down - starting at the middle or bottom of the first page before moving on to page 2 and beyond. 

This is the least competitive of the bunch - so much so that Amazon just uses your base bid and doesn’t let you put any modifiers on it. 

How much do each convert?

As mentioned above, the Top of Search is the main converter - attracting the most eyeballs and receiving the biggest bids. One of the reasons Top of Search is so successful is that there is barely a distinguishable difference between a sponsored product and an organic listing on Amazon’s SERP - it is very easy for someone browsing to miss the “sponsored” label and assume it is there because of good reviews.  

A lot of campaigns see a lower CTR from Rest of Search than they do even from Product Pages - due in part to the fact that most people won’t venture past the first search results page, so having your ad on a product page will still be more effective than having it on pages 2 or 3 of search.

Much like in physical stores - where some shoppers know exactly what they are looking for and go get it, while others are more comfortable taking their time and browning around - there seem to be certain behavioural differences between people that buy from Top of Search and those that convert from Rest of Search - the more decisive ones buy quickly  from the Top, while the more leisurely ones are more likely to venture out into the Rest. 

The good news if you don’t have too much ad spend is that there are still plenty of the latter group. 

How can I optimize placements?

Firstly, it is useful to understand how adjusting bids by placement works. It forms part of a dynamic bidding strategy that automatically modifies your base bid for certain placements. 

Once you set your base bid - determined by a calculation of conversion rates, product price and target ACoS - you can, for example, put a modifier on that will bid up to 500% on top of the base price for a Top of Search placement, with the final price determined by your competitors’ bids (not too different from setting bids on eBay). 

It differs from dynamic pricing in that dynamic pricing will set modifiers based on your past track record. 

To optimize your bids by placement, you will need to look at where you are on all three of them - if you want to increase your Top of Search modifier, you may need to decrease the modifiers on the other two in order to stay within your target ACoS.

It can also mean decreasing bids on all keywords - regardless of placement - in order to put in a higher modification on a placement. Remember, however, that just because you are hitting your target ACoS, doesn’t necessarily mean your campaign is optimized, so keep tracking it as you go along and adjust accordingly. Smaller campaigns won’t need changing too often - perhaps a couple of times a month - but if you’re a bigger business that wants to stay at the top of placements, you will need a more intensive approach and adjusting at least once a week. 

You can find how well your ad has done at each placement by opening any given campaign and selecting the Placements tab, which will take you to a table with a range of KPIs such as impressions, click-through rate, cost-per-click, sales and ACoS. 

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