A Marketer’s Intro to Advertising on Amazon

Lia Young - Portent

Part of my role as a Client Partner at Portent is to stay up-to-date with marketing platforms and channels so I may determine which ones to recommend to my clients. Recently, I’ve focused on learning as much as I can about advertising through Amazon.

Amazon’s expansion and transformation are intriguing. The twenty-year-old company’s growth from an online bookstore to a publicly traded empire currently valued at over $995 billion is fascinating. Since Amazon’s CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, announced Amazon’s  IPO in 1997, the company has expanded its portfolio to include: cloud computing (AWS), a crowdsourcing API (Amazon Mechanical Turk), eBooks (Amazon Kindle), tablet computers (Amazon Kindle Fire HD), streaming services (Amazon Music and Amazon Instant Video), wireless smart speakers (Amazon Echo) and more.

Not to mention, the giant has further diversified its investments with the purchase of multiple high-earning businesses (ex. Zappos, IMDb, and Audible). And that isn’t even the half of it. In fact, Amazon recently surprised the market when it acquired Whole Foods (August 2017).

Amazon’s empire not only offers marketers reach but also access to a broad wealth of data.

And, as you know, data is the sexiest commodity in digital marketing.  

Amazon is so appealing that CNBC reported earlier this month that notable advertisers are moving half of their search budget from Google to Amazon.

In short, B2Cs who are not selling or advertising through Amazon may be losing out on an opportunity to diversify their marketing channel portfolio, and as a result, reach fewer potential customers – especially if they are a small to mid-sized business.

Do I Have to Sell on Amazon to Advertise on Amazon?

No, you do not have to be a seller on Amazon to advertise through Amazon. However, it does limit the amount of Amazon advertising channels which will be available to you. For instance, you will be unable to build a Store or Sponsored Ads (these two options are only available for sellers and vendors).

Why Should I Advertise with Amazon?

Amazon advertising offers a broad reach and unique data set.

WordStream recently reported Amazon.com has over 300 million Amazon users. And according to Amazon.com,150 million unique visitors per month come directly from the United States.

These millions of users are interacting with Amazon.com on a daily basis – purchasing, discovering, learning. By placing your ads on this platform, your company will be uniquely positioned to capture their attention.

Not only that but as an Amazon advertiser, you’ll be able to harness the user data behind these experiences to smartly build and optimize your advertising campaigns.

This is a significant reason why Amazon is now on pace to become the 3rd-largest digital ad platform by the end of the year (behind Google and Facebook).

What Advertising Channels are Available Through Amazon?

There are currently five marketing channels available to advertisers through with Amazon:

Sponsored Ads

Promote your products and brand through Sponsored Ads – Sponsored Product, Sponsored Brand (formerly Headline Search Ads), Product Display Ads – which appear within the Amazon search engine pages (SERPs) and on relevant product pages. Users who click on these ads will be sent directly to your Amazon product listing page. As such, this advertising feature is only available to those who have their products listed on Amazon. Sponsored ads are budget friendly as marketers are only charged when a customer clicks on the ad.

Display Ads

Amazon Display Ads are formatted similarly to Google Search and Display Ads. For instance, you’re able to customize the audiences you advertise to based on Amazon shopping insights. The most significant difference is that Amazon Display Ads only appear within the Amazon network: on Amazon.com, Amazon owned and operated sites, Amazon devices, and across the Amazon network. You do not need to sell on Amazon to advertise using Amazon Display Ads. However, you must have a budget of $35k or more in the United States to run Amazon Display Ads.

Video Ads

As marketers, we know video is essential to our content marketing strategy. For instance, Hubspot reported that 81% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool and 76% of marketers saw an increase in sales from using video. Harness this power for yourself using Amazon video ads. Easily tell a story about your product and/or your brand and capture your audience’s attention. Your Amazon video ads may appear on both Amazon.com, across the Amazon network, and on Amazon devices, like Fire TV. As with Display Ads, you must have a budget of $35k or more in the United States to run Amazon Display Ads.


Amazon Sellers, vendors, and vendor agents are eligible to build free multi-page sites, otherwise known as Amazon Stores, within Amazon.com to feature their brand and products. Amazon Stores are easy to assemble (no coding necessary) and feature custom URLs. Think of Amazon Stores as a landing page hosted on Amazon.com which you can directly drive Amazon advertising traffic to, to offer a unique customer experience.


The Amazon DSP is a programmatic platform which employs Amazon shopping data to reach customers on Amazon.com, Amazon Apps, and through third-party partners.

How Do I Measure My Amazon Campaigns?

Advertisers on Amazon have access to Amazon’s Advertising measurement solutions – a platform built and maintained by Amazon to measure the performance of advertisements. Amazon’s first-party data will provide your team with the insights they need to understand the impact of Amazon ads on your brand’s reach and conversions. In addition, third-party data is available to provide a holistic view of how your ads are performing.   

Should I Advertise Through Amazon?

Yes, if you’re a B2C e-commerce site, you should consider advertising through Amazon.

What are the Cons to Advertising Through Amazon?

Amazon does not (yet) have the reach of Google.

For context, Google – the largest search engine – processes an average of 3.5 billion daily searches worldwide (Smart Insights). In comparison, Amazon.com has an average of five million visits per day from the United States.

  • Amazon’s Advertising Console is not yet as granular as other platforms (such as Google AdWords).
  • The ad infrastructure
    with Amazon is clunkier and more manual than those of competitors like Facebook and Google.

How Can I Start Advertising Through Amazon?  

Start advertising with Amazon today by visiting the Amazon advertising registration page.

If you’re already a registered Amazon seller, vendor, or vendor agent, you’ll be easily able to set-up a Store or advertise with Sponsored Ads. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to promote through the Amazon DSP, Display and Video ads until you set-up an Amazon Brand Registry account.


Amazon advertising is not a fit for every brand and product. Reach out to Portent to learn more about advertising with Amazon and determine whether or not it fits in with your company’s overall goal and digital marketing strategy.

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