UPDATE: On September 5, 2018, Amazon consolidated all of its advertising offerings into a single program. In addition to the consolidation under the Amazon Advertising umbrella, the “Headline Search Ads” program title was changed to “Sponsored Brands Ads.”
Amazon quietly made Headline Search Ads for Amazon Sellers available today in Seller Central. Headline Search Ads are the ad banners that appear at the top of a search results page after a user performs a search on Amazon.com; not to be confused with Sponsored Products ad placements, which appear among the search results. While there can be up to twelve Sponsored Products ads on a search results page, there is only one spot for a Headline Search Ad.
Some Background on Headline Search Ads
Headline Search Ads have been available to 1P Amazon Vendors for years on Vendor Express and Vendor Central through Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). The addition of this ad placement for 3P Sellers continues the trend that we are seeing to bring parity between the two distinct platforms—regardless of how a brand sells their products on Amazon. A third ad placement called Product Display Ads is still only available to 1P vendors through AMS. We expect in the next 6-12 months, Product Display ad placement will also find its way over to the Seller Central platform.
In order to make use of the Headline Search ad position as a seller, you first need to complete the Brand Registry and have your products properly associated with the brand. You can only create Headline Search Ads as a seller for products for which you are the brand owner.
How Headline Search Ads Differ from Sponsored Products Ads
Headline Search Ads are different from Sponsored Product Ads in several ways. The ad itself contains a brand logo or “main image” along with an up-to-50-character headline, as well as three separate products. You must have three distinct products (not variations) in order to create this type of ad.
A buyer can click on any of the three products to go to their respective product detail pages. Buyers can also click on the logo or headline of the banner ad and they will be taken to a page that resembles a search results page, but with only products, the seller has chosen to advertise.
Headline Search Ads are keyword-based and paid per-click. When you create a campaign, you need to select keywords using Broad, Phrase, or Exact match types with bids on each keyword. Existing Sponsored Products campaigns can help you decide which keywords to utilize. It is important to note that negative keywords are not currently supported in Headline Search Ads.
Creating Headline Search Ad Campaigns
When creating a campaign, you must set a daily budget greater than $10 per day. After creating your campaign, it goes to the Amazon Advertising Team for manual review and approval. It is important to note that campaigns are rejected if they fail to meet certain guidelines. Campaigns that do not contain capitalized letters at the beginning of the title or proper nouns will more than likely get rejected.
Approval of new campaigns takes around 8-24 hours on the AMS side. We expect this to be the same timeframe on the Seller Central side for the time being but will likely get longer soon because as sellers start utilizing this feature, I expect the approval times to increase to multiple days.
Headline Search Ads Reporting
Reporting for Headline Search Ads have not been nearly as detailed as they are for Sponsored Products. Since the option is new, I haven’t seen any reports yet, but I expect the reports to be similar to what is available to vendors through AMS. The most notable aspect that is missing is the User Search Terms report that we’ve grown accustomed to for Sponsored Products ad placements.
The absence of the User Search Terms and the inability to create negative keywords means that it is easy to waste money on Headline Search Ads. Creating broad match keywords without those important features means you may have to spend money on irrelevant user search terms which will increase your costs.
Since Headline Search Ads contain a creative headline and an image, this means there are two extra important components to optimization efforts. Sellers who spend the time testing these and optimizing them will find they have the upper hand against their competitors
I’m excited that this new ad placement option is available to sellers. As a brand new development, we’ll have lots more on the Seller Labs blog and our Facebook Page to share about advertising on Amazon in general—and Headline Search Ads specifically.
Seller Labs Founder