Which Side of the Amazon Are You On? Getting Started With Amazon Vendor Central

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the basics of setting up promotional ads for products on Amazon Seller Central.  However, there is another Amazon option for some: Amazon Vendor Central.  If you’re tilting your head sideways in confusion, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  We’ve all done that.

There are actually 3 ways to sell on Amazon:  Amazon Seller Central, Amazon Vendor Express and Amazon Vendor Central.  I love how the folks at Seller Labs broke it all down to outline the differences between the three.  Amazon Vendor is available by invitation only, so if you or your client has received that invitation, you now have several advertising options available to you through Amazon Marketing Services (AMS).

Amazon Vendor Central Ad Types & Set-Up

You have three great options for promoting your products in the AMS system by promoting them in the middle of the search results, at the top of the search results or in a product page itself.  I’m going to give you a brief overview of each of these types of ads, then some high-level steps on how to set-up the campaigns.

Sponsored Products

Your highlighted product appears below the search listings based on the keywords that you select.  It can also appear on product detail pages for other products.  These ads are great because your product blends into the search listings or product page, yet still stands out among the other product listings.  These campaigns are easy to set-up in just a few minutes.  When someone clicks on your sponsored product, they are taken to that product’s detail page.

Headline Search

Your headline and product images appear above the search listings based on the keywords that you select. These types of ads are great because you can feature multiple products in one ad, which can be great for brand awareness, product bundles or product variations.  You customize every component of this ad from the headline to the images to the landing page.


Product Display

Your ad appears below the buy box on a product page.  Instead of targeting at the keyword level, you target based on the shopper’s interests.  You can select specific products (think competitor’s products or a complimentary product to yours) or general topics for your product targeting.  Shoppers are taken to your product’s detail page when they click on your ad.

How to Get Started with Amazon Vendor Central

  1. Sign-in at ams.amazon.com.
  2. Click on the Advertising tab at the top.
  3. Click on the “New Campaign” button.
  4. Pick the campaign type you’d like to feature.

How To Build a Sponsored Ad Campaign:

1. Choose Your Products

After selecting “Sponsored” products in the screen shot above, you’ll start by selecting the product(s) you’d like to be featured.  If you’re not finding your product, use the drop down box to search all of Amazon and not just your company’s products.

2. Pick your targeting type:

  • Automatic: This lets Amazon decide which searches your products will appear based on your product description.
  • Manual: You decide your keywords at the phrase, exact or broad match levels and negative keywords at the phrase and exact levels. If you manually enter the keywords in the keyword box, just note that you can only enter one match type at a time.  I typically add the keywords (making sure I copy them), then select my match type, then click “Add.” Paste the same keywords, select the next match type…you get the idea.  You can adjust the CPC later by keyword/type if you choose instead of entering each keyword separately to do so at this stage.


How To Build a Headline Search Campaign:

1. Select Landing Page

  • Select a landing page. You can create your own page ahead of time within AMS through the “pages” tab at the top or use your store page.  If you select “create a page,” Amazon will make a page with three or more products that you select on this campaign page.
  • Select the products you’d like to be featured, remembering that the first three will be the ones featured in the headline ad. You can preview the landing page once you’ve added the products you wanted to see.

2. Build Your Ad

  • Next, you’ll complete all the campaign settings (campaign name, start date, etc).
  • Enter in keywords in the same manner described above for Sponsored Search ads.
  • Add your 50 character headline.

3. Modify Your Images

  • For the featured image, you can use a product image, logo or another related image. If you click “edit” on the preview buttons for the desktop, mobile or mobile website versions, you can adjust the featured image.
  • Under product images, you can select the images for the headline of your ad. You might want to swap these out if you have the same image for products you selected (this sometimes happens if you have various sizes, styles or colors of the same product).  That way, you don’t have 3 images that are exactly the same in the headline ad.

How To Build a Product Display Campaign:

1. Select Your Targeting:

  • Product-Targeting: Your ad is featured on product pages (corresponding to your product or competitors)
    • Pick your product.
    • Choose the product targeting type:
      • Specific products: Search for the exact product(s) on whose pages your ad will show.
      • Related categories: Pick from categories available for your product type.
  • Interest-Based Targeting: Your ad is featured to potential prospects based on their search behavior.
    • Pick your product.
    • Decide which shopper interests you’d like to feature for your campaign.

2. Complete Your Campaign Settings and Ad Information

  • Name your campaign, set your budget and all of your campaign settings.
  • Add your headline, edit your product description (if needed) and change anything else if needed.
  • Preview your ad in all the sizes to make sure everything looks right.

Items To Note Across Multiple Campaigns:

  • Similar to other PPC advertising platforms, you should organize your Amazon campaigns by similar products and/or keywords.
  • You can have the same product(s) in multiple types of campaigns to determine which works best and also get maximum coverage.
  • Anytime you’re searching for your products to add them to the campaign, you can search by keyword, product name, UPC or ASIN number.
  • In the headlines, avoid any claims you can’t prove (You’re #1, the best, top-selling, etc). You also can’t use exclamation marks or special characters. There are a few other quirks and AMS will immediately let you know if you’ve violated one of their headline policies.

The best way to learn is to get in to AMS and play around to help yourself get familiar with the campaign types.  Once you’re in there, you’ll see many of the ways AMS has tried to make it as easy as possible for you to set your campaigns up.  I can’t say the same for reading the results, but that’s for another blog post…

What’s your favorite Amazon campaign type? Have tips to share about getting more out of Amazon? We’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments!