Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), Amazon’s pay-per-click advertising platform, has always lagged behind its peers in its ability to generate insightful and actionable reports.
Anyone who leverages the marketing tool will tell you it is crucial to a well-rounded Amazon sales strategy, but they also will be quick to detail the frustration they experience with the platform’s lack of reporting features. From not being able to pull account-level spend and sales for a specific time frame (except for that of the entire existence of the AMS account) to not being able to quickly pull search term data for all active campaigns, Amazon has often left users wondering why they are missing features that should be foundational to a self-service advertising platform.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos must have read some of the angry emails from disgruntled AMS’ers because, as of Thursday evening, Amazon Marketing Services has rolled out game-changing platform updates that have exceeded our expectations here at Marketplace Strategy. (Editor’s Note: It doesn’t appear that all accounts have access to the new features yet, but it will surely be rolled out advertiser-wide very soon.)
After a quick run-through, our team has compiled a summary of the new features and what we believe to be the most important benefits to avid users of the platform.
Account-Level and Campaign-Level Date Ranges
Perhaps the most basic of all the new features is the addition of a Date Range function. This can be found via a drop-down function on the account-level, as well as the campaign-level views. This allows users to adjust the time frame of the data being viewed into several set time frames, or a Custom option (which, unfortunately, only dates back about 90 days.)
This feature is very valuable for the advertiser or manager that needs to quickly view performance for the entire account, or by campaign, for a specific timeframe. Although this feature may not empower users to make campaign optimizations, it will save hours of exporting reports and mending data to report on performance.
The 5 New Amazon Marketing Services Advertising Reports
Amazon released five new account-wide “Advertising Reports” to help users uncover better insights to inform their advertising campaigns optimizations. The reports are:
- Sponsored Products Search Term Report
- Sponsored Products Keyword Report
- Sponsored Products Advertised Product Report
- Sponsored Products Placement Report
- Headline Search Keyword Report
1) Sponsored Products Search Term Report
This is, in our estimation, by far the most valuable of the new reports, as it allows users to break outside the advertising data (spend, sales, impressions, clicks, ACoS, conversion rate) by campaign name, match type, and customer search term, as well as by day!
This report is extremely valuable in that:
- Users can now quickly view their entire AMS account performance on a daily basis, by campaign. Prior to this update, to obtain this data one would have to download every single campaign for the specified time period and add the data up manually.
- AMS’ers can now view a breakdown of how each Customer Search Term in a campaign performs on a daily basis, which allows a clear line of sight into what’s working and what isn’t.
2) Sponsored Products Keyword Report
This is a less-detailed version of the Search Term Report and doesn’t provide any additional value that can’t be gathered from that report. We don’t foresee using this to inform our optimizations, but it could be useful to pull more in-depth keyword-level performance reports.
3) Sponsored Products Advertised Product Report
This report displays how a specific ASIN performed per campaign, per day.
If multiple ASINs are included in one campaign, this report will provide insight into ASIN-by-ASIN performance, — data that was previously unavailable.
However, as the reporting is currently structured, it is still best to use a one-ASIN-per-campaign strategy, as it’s the only way to accurately gather and analyze keyword-level data per ASIN in AMS.
4) Sponsored Products Placement Report
This report displays the Sponsored Product Ad placement location on Amazon with its associated advertising data per campaign, per day.
As of now, the only placements displayed are “Other on Amazon,” “Top of Search on Amazon,” and “Unclassified”.
This report has the potential to provide extremely valuable insight, depending on how Amazon continues to build it out. We foresee more detailed placement names being a natural addition.
For example, very similar to Google Adwords, if a user has the ability to see when their ad is in position No. 4 vs No. 2, the click-through-rate, sales and return on ad spend (ROAS) increase, optimizations could be made based on those insights.
5) Headline Search Keyword Report
This is the only Headline Search Ad report released during this update, but it’s a big upgrade from the previous functionality.
The report creates the ability to see how a Headline campaign performs per keyword, per day. Previously, Headline Ad performance was only viewable by day and only received the high-level keyword performance data.
A continued downfall of Headline Search Ad reporting is that it still doesn’t provide the exact “customer search term” a consumer entered when triggering the Headline Ad (we can only see the “keyword”.) This leaves the advertiser in the dark when trying to determine what search phrase triggered the phrase/broad match keywords, and limits the optimizations that can be made to Headline ads.
With the roll out of the Amazon advertising API and this major upgrade to the AMS reporting abilities, if the writing wasn’t already on the wall, it’s now very clear Amazon is making a big investment in their self-serve platform, among other pieces of their monstrous ad business.
What does this mean for brands advertising on Amazon? Similar to Google AdWords, Facebook, and other pay-per-click platforms, as the technology becomes more sophisticated, so will need to be the marketers leveraging it.
The addition of these new features is going to arm brands with better data, which in turn will increase ad competition across the board.
If you don’t have a defined Amazon advertising strategy and you aren’t leveraging the reports described in this post, there is a strong chance your brand will soon fall behind competitors.
If you are interested in learning more about how Marketplace Strategy is leveraging the new AMS reports or other tactics to increase Amazon sales, don’t hesitate to reach out!