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Making Amazon Advertising Tools Work for B2B Sales

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We all know that Amazon is the largest retailer in the world, but did you know it’s become the largest search engine for products? More than 60 percent of all shoppers start product searches on Amazon directly, bypassing search giant Google and others. B2B buyers, just like B2C shoppers, are starting and completing their purchases on Amazon. That means less comparison shopping across distributor websites and other traditional channels. In fact, about 1/3 of all U.S. B2B marketplace purchases take place on Amazon.

What’s more, Amazon claims there are more than 150,000 sellers in Amazon Business. For B2B firms new to selling on the platform, gaining enough visibility to justify selling there might seem like an uphill battle. You can’t just put up products and expect instant sales.

That’s where Amazon’s advertising tools come in. Advertising can provide a much-needed boost, particularly for new sellers, that can jumpstart sales and increase visibility. But like other digital advertising platforms, it’s very easy to waste money if you’re not familiar with how Amazon’s advertising tools work. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common advertising options on the platform and how a B2B firm might be able to use them.

What Is Amazon Advertising?

If you’re familiar with Google Adwords, then you already have a foundational understanding of how Amazon advertising works. Most (but not all) of it is cost-per-click (CPC) and keyword based, and advertisers bid on keywords just as they do on Google. Thus, your ads are shown when you win the bid, but you only pay when your ads are clicked on. As a best practice, it’s a good idea to bid on both branded and nonbranded, category-related keywords.

However, Amazon offers far more than just being able to plop a sponsored product listing onto a search results page the way Google does. Amazon offers a highly complex and robust advertising ecosystem, with ad inventory both on the platform as well as across other websites in Amazon’s larger advertising network. What’s more, Amazon provides advertisers with deep data and ad management tools that users can leverage to optimize their campaigns and maximize sales.

Marketplace Display Advertising

There are three core types of advertising on Amazon:

Sponsored Products: The most commonly used, sponsored product ads send viewers who click to an individual product in your catalogue. You can target specific competitor brands or specific product pages that are similar to your products.

Sponsored Brands: These ads appear on top of search results pages. They can include brand name, logo, and up to three products.

Sponsored Display Ads: Sponsored display ads show up in both search result pages and category pages. They can also drive traffic on other websites across the web, making them effective in retargeting campaigns.

In addition to these display ads, you can also use Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP), which enables you to programmatically purchase display ads across the broader Amazon network. That includes advertising inventory and formats on a wide variety of other Amazon-owned properties, such as Prime Video (video ads), Audible and Amazon Music (audio ads in audio books and podcasts), and other Amazon-owned websites.

The cool thing about Amazon DSP is that you can offer surgically-targeted ads, reaching people based on behaviors, demographics, lifestyle, etc. You can build look-alike audiences, that enable you to target buyers with similar shopping behaviors to your current buyers. You can also conduct re-marketing campaigns designed to re-engage anyone who has already viewed or purchased your products. The only caveat is that Amazon DSP is open to both sellers on Amazon and sellers who don’t have products on Amazon, meaning that competition might be a little higher. That said, the targeting tools exist to help advertisers reach the right people at the right time, and a well-planned campaign can mitigate any potential competitors using Amazon DSP.

How to Start Advertising on Amazon

Before you begin with any of these options, there are a number of fundamental things that need to be in place. This includes having product listings with accurate product data, great product images, and engaging product content. After all, why bother spending money on ad clicks if you’re going to send them to an incomplete product listing that’s not going to convert?

Next, we strongly advise to just dip your toe in Amazon’s advertising waters. Start modestly and take a test and learn approach. See what works in terms of keywords, campaign structures, and the different ad types. Doing this will not only save you money, but will let you take a crawl-walk-run approach, which will allow you to really ramp up far more efficient and effective advertising campaigns later on.

Of course, advertising on Amazon takes a significant amount of expertise in setting up and managing digital ad campaigns. It’s not something that should be tackled by an intern in the mailroom! Luckily, Enceiba is here to help! Our staff has decades of experience in both Amazon and digital advertising, and can offer you the support you need to get the most out of the platform. Contact us at to discuss how to use Amazon’s ad tools to boost your B2B sales on the world’s largest marketplace.

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