Why Your Sponsored Product Ads are “Ineligible”

Alec Maes, PPC Specialist

Having trouble advertising your products because Amazon is marking them as “not eligible”?

If you’ve ever dabbled in PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, you’ll know that your ads may sometimes get disapproved by Google/Bing due to some policy violation. Amazon has a similar set of guidelines for Sponsored Product Ads. Should you not abide by these guidelines, your ads are at risk of being labeled as ineligible.

There are several reasons why this might be happening. In this post, I’ll go through those and talk about how to fix them so you can increase your reach and revenue as soon as possible.

Screenshot showing an Amazon alert that your offer is not eligible for advertising

Why Should You Care?

If you’re not eligible for advertising, your competitors probably are; they’ll get more of an edge within the market, and it could be a struggle to compete against them in the future. Whenever your ads aren’t running, you’re missing out on the potential sales and revenue boosts that could have come from your sponsored product ads.

You’ve invested a lot into getting your products set up for success, and when your products aren’t eligible for advertising, you are losing sales velocity.

Why Are Your Products Ineligible?

The Amazon Seller Central interface isn’t the most helpful for telling you how to solve problems. If you’ve ever received these error messages, you might have been left scratching your head while trying to get your ads to work:

  • “Your offer is not eligible for advertising.”
  • “This product does not meet the category condition requirement for advertising.”
  • “Your ad is not eligible for impressions because your listing is not in the Buy Box.”
  • Your ad is not eligible for impressions because it is missing an image.”

There are five primary reasons for your sponsored products are listed as ineligible. Here’s how to resolve them.

1. You’re Not Winning the Buy Box

You can’t advertise if your products aren’t winning the Buy Box.

The Amazon Buy Box is the box on the right-hand side of a product detail page where customers can begin their purchase process by adding items to their cart. Amazon is unique in that multiple sellers can sell the same product on their platform. They may compete for the Buy Box so long as they can ship to the customer’s address.

Screenshot of a product on Amazon showing up in the Buy Box

Keep an eye on your products, and position them to win the Buy Box as frequently as possible.

How do you win the Buy Box? There’s not a formula for winning the Buy Box every time. However, there are a few best practices to follow.

There are four major areas to focus on when considering the Buy Box:

  1. Price. Amazon wants to provide the most competitive rates for customers and therefore values the best offer.
  2. Fulfillment. Providing customers with Prime or free shipping increases competitiveness and thus, their likelihood of purchasing your product.
  3. Customer Service. Providing excellent customer service can generate reviews that assist in increasing your visibility and conversion rate. Make sure to sell high-quality products and respond quickly to customer complaints and questions.
  4. Availability. As we discussed above, you can’t win the Buy Box if you have nothing to sell. Manage your inventory well, and Amazon will reward you with more visibility.

The Buy Box itself gets a lot of attention throughout Amazon’s seller community, due to its critical importance to driving sales. If you aren’t in the Buy Box, addressing that should be your top concern.

2. Your Products are Out of Stock

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? You can’t advertise if you have nothing to sell. Regularly check to make sure you are keeping up-to-date with your product inventory at all times.

Amazon has full visibility into your product inventory and is often managing the fulfillment for their sellers. This situation is a benefit in this case. There is no chance you’ll be advertising for products that aren’t available and in stock.

Keeping your inventory well-stocked and avoiding outages will ensure that there aren’t any gaps in your advertising. Additionally, keeping your products in stock is a ranking factor that the Amazon algorithm weighs when determining where to rank your product and if it will win the Buy Box.

3. Your Product Categories are Ineligible

Your products must fall under particular categories to advertise on Amazon within the US. Make sure your product categories are on Amazon’s list. Also, double-check that your products are categorized correctly in the backend of Seller Central. Items such as adult products and used or refurbished products are not eligible for advertising.

4. You’re Not in the Brand Registry

Note: since writing this article, Amazon has updated their policy and registering your brand is no longer a requirement to advertise products. However, we still highly recommend doing so.

You will also need to be in Amazon’s Brand Registry to be eligible to advertise. The Amazon Brand Registry is a program that helps manufacturers and brand owners keep control over their brands within Amazon. Users must first meet a few eligibility requirements before getting their enrollment accepted listed on Amazon’s Brand Registry page.

Here are a few benefits to enrolling for Amazon’s Brand Registry, if you haven’t already:

  1. Ensure accurate brand registration on product listings with your brand name.
  2. Access to Amazon search tools.
  3. Protection from other product listings misrepresenting your brand name or trademarked terms in their titles in the future.
  4. Access to an Amazon store. Read this article from our Director of Agency Development, Katie McKenna on whether an Amazon store is right for your brand.

5. You Lack Shipping Capabilities

Lastly, you must be able to ship across the US or the country that you are selling in. Sounds simple. If you are targeting customers in a specific country, you must be able to ship to them.

Final Thoughts

Advertising on Amazon can be relatively easy to manage compared to other PPC platforms like Google Ads. That said, Amazon tends to be much pickier. They have full control over the sales process and high visibility into what you are selling. That, combined with their high position of leverage, makes sellers at their mercy. Understand the rules and try your best to follow them. That is the best way to ensure your products will get the most visibility.

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    1. Hi Rick,

      Thank you for taking the time to read the blog post!

      When writing this article, we understood that registering your brand was a requirement to advertise sponsored products in Amazon Seller Central. Amazon has since changed its requirements, so the post has been updated accordingly. Thanks for the Catch!

      While it is no longer a requirement for product eligibility, the brand registry is still a best practice and insurance policy for your brand and products, with the suite of tools provided by Amazon (pending brand registry approval), the pros of registering to outweigh the cons of not registering.

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