The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Headlines Ads
Table of Contents
If you are at all familiar with the internet, which who isn’t these days, you are sure to know what a banner ad is.
After all, they are everywhere.
And when they are done right, they work.
Banner ads are known for being splashed across websites of all kinds.
They help generate revenue for not only product owners, but the website owners that proudly display them on their sites.
But Amazon banner ads are a little bit different than your traditional banner ad.
In fact, they even have a different name: Amazon Headline Ads.
Sounds fancy right?
Well, they are.
And if you sell anything on Amazon, you should be aware of the opportunities this type of advertising has for your business.
That’s why today we are going to share with you all the tips and tricks we know for optimizing your Amazon headline ads so you can drive more traffic than ever to your Amazon product pages…
…and of course, sell more products than ever before.
So, let’s get started.
What is Amazon Marketing Services?
Before we jump into what Amazon headline ads are, it’s a good idea to take a brief look at what the Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is so you know why Amazon headline ads even exist.
You see, Amazon headline ads are unique only to Amazon.
As are many other types of advertising strategies offered by the retail giant.
That’s because Amazon has their own exclusive marketing services dedicated to providing Amazon merchants and vendors a way to promote their products on the Amazon website.
And with over 310 million active Amazon users, spending nearly $178 billion U.S. dollars a year on Amazon products, it’s no wonder merchants want to advertise their products to the continuously growing audience base.
With Amazon’s marketing services, you are able to create targeted ads for your products and get them in front of the people that matter – those looking for what you have to offer.
And while you can do this in many ways (customizable Amazon product pages, product display ads, and sponsored product ads), the headline ad is one of the most popular because the amount of visibility it gets surpasses Amazon’s other advertising methods.
So, what is this mysterious Amazon headline ad, anyway?
Amazon Headline Ads
Amazon headline ads are advertisements that stretch across the top of an Amazon search result.
Much like this one:
As you can see, the headline ad oversees all other search results, and is what the potential customer will first see after clicking “Search”.
The top of Amazon search results is prime real estate for those trying to sell their products.
With increased visibility, brand awareness, and click through rates, all Amazon sellers want to get their best product displayed across the top of search results in hopes of generating more sales.
How Amazon Headline Ads Work – For Customers
The way headline ads work is simple.
Someone visiting the Amazon website enters a search query into the search bar.
The keywords used in the visitor’s query then trigger Amazon’s extensive search results.
Relevant products are then displayed for the visitor to see.
And, it just so happens that across the top of these search results is a headline ad that is also relevant to the search terms.
Each headline ad contains up to three ASINs, which is just technical talk for products.
In fact, ASINs are just Amazon’s way of categorizing every product available on the website.
They are assigned to every item for sale on Amazon and are useful for tracking inventory and indexing the search catalog for search and browse.
After all, without a streamlined way of organizing the 500 million+ products for sale, Amazon wouldn’t be nearly as successful as they are today.
In any case, your headline ad can include three product choices for customers to click on.
When someone clicks on an ASIN they are interested in, they are then redirected to your customized product page designed to inform the customer of what your product is all about.
Using our nail polish example, this is what clicking on an ASIN displays:
This product page also gives people the chance to buy your product if they want.
If by chance the site visitor clicks on your headline ad’s logo or headline copy, rather than the available product choices given in the ad, they are redirected to a featured product of your choice:
Headline ads include unique, customized copy and images for added visual appeal.
All of which encourage people to click and buy.
Now, you might be asking yourself why headline ads are so dang effective.
After all, if your products appear in search results, shouldn’t that be enough to bring customers to your product pages?
While search results definitely bring potential customers to your product pages, and even have the potential to convert sales, headline ads take things a little further.
The reason headline ads are so effective is because they are at the top of the sales funnel.
Headline ads are at the beginning of the buying process, when a customer is fresh and ready to browse for what they are interested in.
But most importantly, they are the first products a customer sees after clicking “Search.”
And if the keywords are right, and you have optimized your ad, this is enough for customers to forget about all of the other search results that appear below.
The thing is, you are probably wondering how your headline ad gets displayed when a site visitor starts to search the Amazon catalog.
I mean, what makes your ad appear over other seller’s ads?
After all, surely there are tons of merchants selling similar products.
That’s where keyword bids come into play.
Amazon Headline Ad Keywords
In order for your headline ad to appear in a search result, you must win the bidding war.
It’s not enough to add keywords to your ad’s copy and hope it appears when someone begins browsing Amazon products.
No, you must pay for these keywords, based on a daily budget you set, and hope that your bid is the highest amongst all other merchants trying to sell similar items with similar keywords.
If your daily budget for a specific set of keywords is the highest, your headline ad will appear at the top of the first page of search results related to the keyword you have assigned your product.
If your bid is not the highest, it may still appear in search results, though on pages 2-infinity.
This doesn’t do you a lot of good though because most people check out the first page of search results and find exactly what they are looking for, never once clicking past page 1.
That’s why optimizing your headline ads to be the very best is crucial if you want to make it onto page 1 in any search results related to your product.
And that’s why we are here to help you.
The Keys to Optimizing Your Amazon Headline Ads
Optimizing your Amazon headline ads can be difficult no thanks to Amazon’s lack of help.
As of right now, Amazon offers very little by way of reporting when it comes to the keywords being used in headline ads.
This makes knowing which keywords to use and which keywords are being searched for by site visitors really challenging.
It also leads to excess spending on keywords that aren’t converting and a lack of spending on keywords that are.
That’s why you need to invest your time into optimizing in other ways so that your headline ads win the bids, get clicked on by people, and convert sales for your business.
1. Target Keywords
Okay, so just because there isn’t much reporting available when it comes to the keywords being used in headline ads, does not mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the keywords you are using.
In fact, it means you need to step your game up even more to get your ads seen.
Selecting the right keywords for your ads boosts your chances of your ads being shown when people browse Amazon.
And, there just so happens to be a wide variety of keywords you can use in your headline ad copy that will help encourage people to check you out:
This includes your brand name and exact product names. This helps boost brand recognition and get your products into the right search results. After all, being successful goes beyond just selling a good product. It is made up of an entire buying experience.
Competitor Branded Keywords
If you know who your competitors are, consider using their branded keywords. This way when someone searches for them, your ad shows up in the mix.
You never know, someone might be in the mood to check out a different brand. Especially if you offer more value to the customer.
Oftentimes you have products that you sell separately, but that are used well together. For example, you might sell an electronic device that requires a charger. By adding in the complementary keyword of a product, you create a demand for both products and may even nab the cross-sell.
Out of Category Keywords
These are keywords that are not quite related to your product but may be powerful enough to land your ad in the headline ad spot and drive people to check your product out anyway.
By following these guidelines, you have a good starting point.
But there is a whole lot more to keyword optimization than that:
- Amazon recommends choosing 30-40 keywords that are no longer than 1-2 keywords per phrase
- You can use search volume reports available to you, but it’s better to research what your exact customer base is searching for
- Don’t add filler words because they take up valuable character space
- Consider using a hyphen to cover all keyword combinations
- Don’t worry about singular or plural, both are always included in search results
- The same rings true for capitalization, there is no distinction
- Include part numbers if they apply to your product
- Archive all keywords that have zero sales in the last 60 days – it’s a waste of money not to
- Increase the bids on keywords that are converting to make them show more often in search results
Your ultimate goal when it comes to choosing the right keywords is to make sure they are relevant to your target audience and they are converting sales.
2. Research Traffic Volume
It’s important you check out how popular the keywords you’re using are.
You may not know this, but each keyword used in Amazon headline ads actually have a traffic volume assigned to them.
This volume approximates how much traffic a particular keyword gets.
The volumes are separated into high, medium, and low categories and are calculated based on the number of impressions they are expected to receive.
Their relevance to the ASINs in your campaign also make a difference.
Your goal is to get as many high volume keywords into your ads as possible.
But make sure the keywords make sense and are relevant!
If you are looking for a really helpful Amazon keyword tool that will show you the volume of popular keywords as they relate to your ad campaigns, check out Sonar.
This tool is also available as a free Chrome extension.
All you have to do is enter your proposed keyword and see what the results are.
You’ll see keywords and their traffic volume, frequent words, and even relevant products that you can click on to see what your competitors are doing.
For example, look at what kind of information you can draw from Google’s Keyword Planner:
Though directly related to AdWords campaigns, another type of advertising method, you can still gather information related to traffic volume and potential bidding activity on popular keywords related to your products with the Keyword Planner.
Knowing which keywords are most likely to generate site visitor activity if important if you want people to click on your headline ads.
It’s even more important if you want people to actually buy what you have to offer.
3. Determine Your Budget
Since Amazon headline ads are pay-per-click, you must create an advertising budget to make sure you don’t overspend and run your business into the ground.
Keep in mind, headlines ads are expensive.
Everyone wants the coveted top spot because they know how effective ads placed in the headline section are.
That’s why you should have a strategy in mind before you start bidding on keywords to use in your ads.
Make sure you have a solid list of keywords you know are relevant, you know will get clicked on, and you know are going to lead to sales.
From there, start bidding.
Bid on high, must-have keywords – but don’t spend all your money there.
Everyone is going to bid on highly converting keywords, driving the bidding war up.
Unless you have endless amounts of money to spend on advertising, it is best to have a mix of expensive keywords you have to have, and keywords that don’t cost as much but are geared towards your products and your customers.
One really good rule of thumb for those that don’t have a lot to spend on headline ads, but want in on the action is this:
Create Amazon headline ads for new products, when you are trying to meet a sales goal, or during high-buying times such as Black Friday.
This way you can concentrate your budget on the keywords needed to make you a lot of money, without blowing an entire year’s worth of advertising budget on ads that may never make it to the first few search results pages.
4. Craft Solid Copy
You get to decide what your headlines ad say, which is a lot of responsibility.
Make sure you take care to craft copy that is engaging and makes people want to click and buy.
For example, check out the specific language used for this Google Pixelbook laptop headline ad:
It encourages potential customers to “save today”, creating a sense of urgency and a desire to get the best deal possible...right now.
Here are some of the best tips for writing compelling ad copy:5. Stay Consistent6. Add Reviews7. Always A/B Test8. Utilize the Metrics
- Aim to use language such as “exclusive” or “new”
- Add actionable language such as “buy now” or “save now”
- Avoid unsupported claims like “#1 seller” or “best-seller” because you can’t prove that
- Always include keywords in the headline of your ad, this is what will cause it to show up in relevant search results if you win the bidding war
- Show your potential customers the value of your product – don’t just focus on the what, consider the why
- Cater to your customers’ needs and wants, despite what other keyword research may tell you
- Use very narrow, specific terms until your campaigns show success, then you can broaden the keywords
- Writing engaging copy can be challenging when you first start out.That’s why starting small and specific helps give you the foundation needed to create successful ad campaigns, without spending all your profit.
If you can – meaning if it’s within your budget - try to stay consistent with your advertising.
Bidding on headlines ads that show up in search results all year long will instill a sense of trust in your customers as they begin to recognize your brand every time they search for products related to yours.
This consistency helps visibility and builds your brand.
This way when a customer is ready to buy, they will buy from you because they know your business already.
Sometimes the best way to convert a sale is to focus on what happens after a customer lands on your product page after clicking on a headline ad.
Prospective customers love to see what others have to say about products.
In fact, 55% of people surveyed by PowerReviews stated that Amazon’s number of reviews is the reason they start their online shopping on Amazon.
That’s why adding plenty of reviews to your product page is important.
In fact, some are even making the claim that reviews now fall into the category of social proof, meaning reviews are what help solidify a person’s decision to make a purchase (or not!).
There are many reasons why people read online reviews.
In fact, in a study conducted by YouGov, the main reasons for reading online product reviews included the following:
- Some want to make sure others believe the product is good and actually works as advertised
- Others want to ensure they are not being ripped off
- Some just want to make sure the product they are buying is safe
Whether you like it or not, reviews can have a major impact on a customer’s buying behavior.
In fact, a recent study found that 85% of women claim online reviews are extremely/very important when making a purchase.
And since that same study by YouGov showed 52% of Americans read 4 or more reviews before deciding whether to make a purchase or not, it’s clear having reviews on your product page is important.
Adding to that, you want to strive for positive reviews (duh!).
And if you you are going to show ratings on your headline ads underneath your ASINs, much like this:
…make sure the ratings exceed 4 stars.
That’s because customers tend to not trust businesses with ratings lower than 4 stars, with 80% of people saying the star ratings they trust most are 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0.
In the end, people want to know that what they are spending their money on is worth it.
And one of the best ways to satisfy this need is by reading reviews of your products.
A/B testing your headline ads is a necessity if you want to see where you ad weaknesses are, where you are converting, and what your customers are really looking for.
In fact, if you find that one of your headline ads is not performing that well, before throwing in the towel, see what minor changes you can make to it and see if that makes a difference.
Not sure what to A/B test?
We’ve got you covered:
- The headline copy
- Images you use for both the featured image and product images
- The number, order, and mix of ASINs you use
- The landing pages customers redirect to after clicking an ASIN
- The experience while on your product page (e.g. CTA buttons, copy, purchase process)
Making it a habit to split test your headline ads is only going to reveal where you can make your campaigns stronger.
Just make sure you only change one thing at a time so you can accurately test the change.
If you change multiple things, and you experience higher sales, it’s going to be tough to determine which change to attribute that increased success to.
Also, give your test at least two weeks before you try to evaluate the data.
You need to give your campaign enough time to generate activity so you can see whether customers are more drawn to your changes or not.
Lastly, if you want to really dig in and see how you can improve sales conversions, and your budgets allows for this, consider running simultaneous campaigns with minor changes to see which one converts the highest at the end of the two weeks.
This puts your campaigns in the exact same environment and makes the split test as fair as possible.
We said at the beginning that Amazon doesn’t offer much by way of metrics for those wanting to analyze their headline ads.
In fact, because of this, we at Skubana hope to be able to help Amazon sellers by creating a scraper tool that can pull campaign data such as SKU’s and keywords so you can collect all of your information in one place and devise better optimization strategies.
And not just for headline ads, but for your entire business.
We also hope to create a performance report that merchants can view weekly to measure things such as campaign performance, bidding activity, and sales conversions.
And the great thing about this, is that it would only add to the already existent tools designed to help you build a successful online business.
Automating daily tasks, helping you manage things like the financials and inventory, and helping you create plans for the future based on demand, Skubana’s comprehensive management software makes running an online business easy.
That said, there are some numbers worth checking out that can help guide your campaign efforts and ensure you are not spending money in the wrong places.
Start by downloading your Amazon Listing’s Search Term Report in Seller Central.
Check for things like cost-per-click, average spend, impressions, and sales generated.
Also, make sure to check the following:
If people aren’t clicking on your ads, even though they are showing up in search results, there’s a problem.
You need to figure out why your ads aren’t generating ad clicks.
Maybe the keywords are really relating to what people are looking for.
Maybe the images aren’t that appealing.
Maybe your products just aren’t that popular.
Whatever the case is, you need to figure it out.
Money Spent/Money Earned
Measure how much money you’ve spent on headlines ads against how much revenue you’ve generated.
Better yet, track your ACoS, or Advertising Cost of Sale.
This is the ratio of money you’ve spent on advertising/the amount you’ve earned in sales. The higher the ratio, the more you're spending to generate each sale, while lower ACoS means you're spending less.
Used to measure profitability and the success of your ad campaigns, your ACoS gives great insight into what you should keep doing, and what you should stop immediately.
However, you should take into consideration your entire cost structure when calculating your ACoS, not just the money you’ve spent versus the money you’ve earned.
Instead take the money you have spent on headline ads and divide it by the selling price of your products (minus overhead costs such as storage, shipping, employee salaries, and fees).
This will give you a true look at your success.
The higher the ACoS, the better you are doing.
Detail Page Views
If you find that your headline ads are receiving lots of click throughs, but not that many sales are converting, it’s time you take a look at your product pages.
Remember, there is a lot more to being a successful online retailer than simply having exceptional ads.
What happens after someone clicks an ad is more important because that’s where the sale happens!
Check out your product pages and see where you can improve.
Maybe add some more details regarding the product, add more reviews, consider your price point, lower shipping costs, make the images more appealing, and even check out the general user experience.
If people land on your product page and are confused about where to find information, how to finalize a purchase, or how to customize an order (e.g. they want a blue water bottle and not a pink one) they will leave and find what they want elsewhere.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how many people see your products, whether in the headline ad or on the product page; it matters how many people buy them.
Take the time to optimize your Amazon headline ads, monitor the effectiveness of your ad campaigns, and make improvements as needed.
This is the way to becoming a successful online retailer amongst the sea of others trying to do just the same.
Chad Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Skubana, a multichannel e-commerce software the enables brands to unlock growth by unifying their back-office operations.