An Amazon “Turf War”?

By Buy Box Experts on August 15, 2016

People, like animals, can be territorial. Businesses and business owners are no different. Disrespect their market share percentages and you have outright dared them to defend themselves. Amazon is no different.

Let’s call it what it is. A turf war.

“How can this be?” you ask. By tempting customers away from Amazon’s Marketplace to an outside company’s’ website, you have thrown down the gauntlet and dared Amazon to defend its turf. If you are a business owner or market and sell your products online, then you can probably relate.

Amazon offers a great platform to expand your business and increase sales, but their Marketplace is much like a jungle fraught with many dangers for the inexperienced. Once you learn to successfully navigate the tools and adhere to its ever-changing policies, that is.

Amazon offers a tool which allows sellers to self-promote their products through Sponsored Products ads: The Campaign Manager. This tool offers basic reporting and operates on a price per click business model that most online e-commerce sellers are familiar with.

But what you might not know, is that Amazon allowed “Advertisers” to run Product Ads to compete with what you set up through Sponsored Products ads. These Product Ads were found at the bottom of the page under the heading “Products Ads from External Websites,” had nice visual images and short descriptions with prices showing for the products. These ads looked almost identical to official Amazon product listings.

This was a problem for Amazon.

Clicking on those ads would link you to another website and exit you from the Amazon marketplace. Which, of course, was another problem.

Advertisers did not have to be selling their products on the Amazon marketplace to take advantage of this marketing in the past. If you were smart, however, you probably were utilizing this along with your other marketing and advertising strategies.

So last year Amazon notified Product Ads Advertisers of the following policy change.

Effective October 31, 2015, we will be discontinuing Amazon Product Ads. While your ads will no longer be visible on Amazon as of that date, you may access your performance reports through December 31, 2015.

Then, Amazon recommends two alternatives:

  • Selling on Amazon
  • Amazon Text Ads

The first option, Selling on Amazon, is a no brainer. If you want to ride the Amazon e-commerce gravy train then you’d best be all-in and onboard.

Simply put, Amazon wants you know it’s time to start selling your products on Amazon advertise your products by utilizing Sponsored Product ads!

And then the second option, Amazon Text Ads, replaced the previous Advertisers Product Ads.

Confused? You’re not alone.

Amazon effectively eliminated the nice images of the products and reduced the visibility of the Product Ads considerably. They became a simple text link under the heading Sponsored Links. This also reduced the competition somewhat with Sponsored Product ads. Advertisers quickly noticed their ROI went down when the Amazon Text Ads change went into effect.

But wait … there’s more!

Text Ads Advertisers were sent the following communication late last year:

Effective October 31, 2015, we will be discontinuing Amazon Text Ads. While your Amazon Text Ads will no longer be visible on Amazon as of that date, you may access your performance reports through February 29, 2016.

Amazon discontinued Product Ads and Text Ads because they diverted traffic away from their marketplace. But, obviously, Amazon sponsored ads are totally fine….

Amazon made these moves to protect its own turf.

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Buy Box Experts
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