Amazon advertisers may have recently noticed a trend in their ad performance – impressions for Sponsored Products ads started going down significantly over the last week and a half of March.
We’ve dug into this trend and uncovered where the missing impressions are coming from and why it’s not cause for concern for advertisers.
Y/Y Impression Growth Plummets at the End of March, but Click Growth Steady
Taking a look at rolling 7-day year-over-year growth for anonymized, same-store Tinuiti advertisers, we find that impression growth went from +40% on March 20 to -35% by the end of the month. At the same time, click growth held roughly steady.
As you may have deduced, the significant decline in impressions combined with relatively steady clicks to end the quarter means click-through rate (CTR) has skyrocketed and is now more than double what it was prior to this shift. As such, the impressions necessarily come from those placements that had fairly low CTR to begin with.
Digging into impression share by ad placement, it’s clear most of the missing inventory was indeed coming from ‘rest of search’ placements, which went from accounting for about 85% of impressions to 65% in a single day. These are placements in search results that are not at the top of the first page of results.
Rest of search has the lowest CTR of any Sponsored Products placement, with placements on product pages producing a CTR more than 3x that of rest of search, and top of search placements producing a CTR 20x that of rest of search.
Advertisers Shouldn’t be Too Concerned About Impression Declines – or Too Pumped About CTR Increases
All in all, this update hasn’t meaningfully affected advertisers’ ability to invest in Sponsored Products, as the impressions that are no longer available operated at a very low CTR compared to placements in more prominent positions at the top of search results. As such, click growth has remained relatively steady.
That said, this will impact some metrics which advertisers do care about even if they’re not core metrics to target, such as CTR. The casual advertiser might look at March and April CTR and think ads are absolutely killing it relative to before in terms of attracting clicks, but in reality, it’s just a result of these lower CTR placements shedding impressions. Account managers should make a note of this change in explaining any shifts moving forward.
Amazon regularly makes changes to page layout such as these, and we’ll continue to monitor performance to understand any further updates along these lines.