Selling on Amazon: When to use Amazon Sponsored Product vs. Amazon Product Ads

By Tinuiti Team

Selling on for some time has consisted of either selling on the Amazon Marketplace (a cost per acquisition marketing program) or leveraging Amazon to drive shoppers to your online store through Amazon Product Ads (a cost per click Amazon ad program).

If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between these two programs, do some quick reading here.

More recently, Amazon has expanded the reach of its Amazon’s Sponsored Products program- an additional advertising outlet for Amazon sellers which
increases visibility for Buy Box items.

Amazon Sponsored products vs. Amazon product ads

Below is an overview of both Amazon Ad programs, and a checklist to determine which retailers are a good fit for each program– to help you determine which Amazon ad program will help you increase your store revenue.


Free Guidebook: Learn how to drive more sessions to your products on Amazon

Which ad program is right for you- Amazon Sponsored Products or Amazon Product Ads?

For Amazon sellers looking to expand visibility on the marketplace, or for sellers looking to get a toehold on Amazon- both Amazon Sponsored Products and Amazon Product Ads are viable options to increase profitability for your online store with Amazon.

Identifying which ad program is a better fit for your store- and leveraging ads to push more online conversions- therein lies the Amazon ad challenge.

Amazon Product Ads

Many online sellers do not have the ability to leverage selling on the Amazon marketplace- whether that’s because of budget, category restrictions, knowledge of the marketplace, etc.

Historically, Amazon Product Ads has filled that void, by allowing retailers to advertise on the Amazon marketplace without having to sell on the marketplace itself.

Amazon Products Ads enable online sellers to feature product and store ads on Amazon search, which link to external websites.

Seller ad links appear on search pages (often at the bottom) as ‘Product ads from External Websites’:

Amazon product ads placement Or in the midst of Amazon search results/product pages when there are no appropriate marketplace options (determined by Amazon algorithm):

Amazon-product-ads While Amazon product ads appear on Amazon search and product pages, Amazon shoppers click out from the ad to your ecommerce store:

Amazon product ads for retailers

Amazon Product ads are a useful selling tool for retailers who cannot sell on Amazon, but also allows retailers to collect consumer information (through checkout), which opens the door to retargeting, email marketing, and longterm customer value.’

Amazon Product Ads for Retailers

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Amazon Product Ads Setup

To sell using Amazon Product Ads, sellers should follow the setup steps, which closely mirror selling on the Amazon marketplace.

Amazon Product Ad Best Practices

Find additional Amazon Product ad resources on Amazon.

Amazon Sponsored Products

Amazon Sponsored Products has been an Amazon ad option which boosts visibility on the Amazon marketplace since 2012, but this year Amazon updated the program (login required) with Campaign Manager features including automatic targeting, easier Seller Central usability, and most notably more visibility on Amazon search and product pages.

Amazon Sponsored Products elevates marketplace seller products that are Buy Box eligible on search and product pages with an additional cost per click fee.

Amazon Sponsored Products highlights product ads for Amazon Buy Box eligible products on Amazon search.

Sponsored Products Ads can populate at the bottom of Amazon search results: Amazon sponsored products ad placementOr alongside Amazon SERPs:

Amazon sponsored products on search   And on detail pages:

Amazon Sponsored Products on Amazon product pages Amazon Sponsored Products ad placements on are only available for products which are winning the Buy Box– and lead directly to the product detail page where your product is featured.

Frequently compared to Google AdWords ads for its keyword ad population, Sponsored Products populate on search and product pages based on seller determined keywords and max bid per click metrics.


Amazon uses keywords, bids and search relevancy to display ads.

With Google’s Automatic targeting update (09/2014), sellers can skip the process of selecting keywords. However, Automatic Targeting removes the higher level of control associated with Manual Targeting, which should be considered if you choose to utilize Automatic Targeting.

Amazon Sponsored Products for Retailers

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Amazon Sponsored Products Eligibility

Compared to Amazon Product Ads, Amazon Sponsored Products setup is much if you can vs. how you can. That is, Amazon Sponsored Products are only available for sellers who are Sponsored Products eligible.

Sellers looking to boost product visibility on Amazon with Sponsored Products must choose products which are Buy Box eligible. In addition, Sponsored Products is only available in 6 countries and across 30 categories currently.

Amazon Sponsored Products Best Practices

Consider your online store variables- what you sell, your margins, advertising budget,etc. alongside the variables for selling on the Amazon Marketplace,  through Amazon Product Ads or Amazon Sponsored Products.

Remember no advertising campaign or sales channel is a substitute for consistent elbow grease, competitive pricing and quality product.

For more Amazon Sponsored Products Best Practices?

Check out the guide!


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