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Navigating Amazon Private Label Exclusive Search Placements

This article is a follow-up to our August 2020 blog post ‘New Exclusive Search Placements for Amazon Private Label Products’ detailing the release of the new “from our brands” placements that started appearing in Summer 2020.

As they become more disruptive in their promotion of Private Label products, having a robust paid search strategy is more critical than ever. In this blog, we’ll give updates and recommendations based on the status of Amazon Private Label Products and ad placements.

Current Search-Query Landscape for Brands Competing with Amazon Private Label Products

In some categories the search experience looks similar to what shoppers and advertisers are used to over the past year (see picture 1 for Top of Search experience in batteries category) – you start out with a Sponsored Brands ad type, which has been rolled out in the past year with several desktop and mobile experiences so it may look different by category. In what used to be Sponsored Products slot 1 is now a “Featured from Our Brands” placement. This is followed by 3-4 paid Sponsored Products ad slots, 1-2 rows of organic results, and a Sponsored Brands Video ad placement (this ad unit sometimes moves up or down from this slot). Then, a medley of organic and paid slots until you hit the bottom, where you get 3 miniature Sponsored Brands ads to bookend the results on the page.

Duracell Amazon Advertising Ad Placements

In other categories, Amazon has introduced or expanded the reach of Whole Foods products within search on Amazon to totally dominate the search experience (Picture 2, soap example).

Soap Ads Placements - Amazon Advertising

In another variant of the Whole Foods competition where there are fewer available private label products, you may see a more traditional looking experience with a few items in the top of search organic positions, but much less intrusive than the soap example (Picture 3, probiotic example).

Probiotic Amazon Advertising Ad Placements

How Does This Impact Your Amazon Search Strategy?

  • Fewer organic placements for non-Amazon 1P products elevates the importance of having a full, diverse, and effective paid search strategy that stays ahead of the competition.
  • You may end up increasing your percentage of retail sales coming via paid clicks (Amazon is pay to play after all), which is even more of a reason to make those sales more efficient and incremental.
  • Since paid search is integral to winning on keywords that are shelf-blocked by private label, closely monitor the cost and efficiency on these keywords as your competitors are likely to increase their aggressiveness. If efficiency is your primary objective, diversify your targeting to find keywords that are not being shelf-blocked and have lower competition.

How Can You Mitigate the Impact of a Change in Favor of “The House”?

  • Shift to ad types that are less impacted by Amazon placements, such as Sponsored Brands ads, which are top of page regardless of the “from our brands” placement (though these might get expensive if competitors follow your lead and increase spend). Also, Sponsored Brands Video is not utilized by Amazon private label and has shown to be very effective for Pacvue clients. Top of Search Sponsored Products ads remain very visible.
  • Test the efficiency of your Top of Search versus rest of search ad placements (available at the campaign level in the Amazon ad console and at the custom tag level for Pacvue clients in our tool). Adjust your top of search multipliers often to ensure ideal placement (again – available at the campaign level in the Amazon ad console and eligible for rule-based optimizations in Pacvue).
  • Ads that surface on Product Detail Pages (product targeting capabilities for Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display, and now Sponsored Brand Video in some categories showcase products very nicely outside of the search experience). These are very high impression, low CTR compared to in-grid ad placements so they can be hard to scale. This can be compensated for with a higher campaign count (more placements = more impressions = more clicks).

What Pacvue Tools Will Help Improve Your Competitive Advantage Vs Private Label and Other Brands When Competition’s Heightened?

Use Case 1: Understanding the Impact/Situation

  • Share of Voice (who’s winning, when did things change, where on the page are brands appearing, etc.)
  • Tag-level look at efficiency by ad placement. You can identify performance at top of search vs rest of search vs product detail page (mentioned above)

Use Case 2: Improving Efficiency

  • Dayparting (ensure your ads run at the most efficient times)
  • Rule based search placement bid multipliers (ensure you’re maximizing placement efficiency)

Use Case 3: Expanding Scale

  • Keyword research, PAT research, etc. to expand your campaign strategy to hit more keywords (less concentrated on a few keywords allows you to mitigate risk of CPC escalation or organic rank loss on those top keywords)
  • Keyword mining & sorting – save time and let Pacvue discover efficient areas and sort them into manual campaigns.

Finally, use rule-based optimizations or AI to free up your time to do more strategy insights + identify new tests to remain competitive.

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