Amazon is discontinuing its Product Ads as of October 31st, 2015. In place of the Product Ads, they’re offering text ads, which are very similar to Google Adwords text ads. These text ads are not available to everyone, and probably won’t be out of beta testing by October 31, but they will be available to everyone who has been using the Product Ad service.
Product Ads users are also invited to become Amazon Sellers if they are not already selling at Amazon.
I have to admit that I couldn’t bring the Product Ads to mind right away, even though I shop with Amazon regularly and also have clients who sell on Amazon. Turns out the Product Ads are those “external websites” ads you find if you scroll down the page. The ones that I make sure never to click on.
If I’m shopping at Amazon, I want to shop at Amazon, where they know me and I always get free two-day shipping. The last thing I want is to find myself on some unfamiliar ecommerce website where I’ll have to fill out forms and go get my credit card to check out. But that’s just me. Apparently, these ads have been highly effective for many users.
And, apparently, they haven’t been that great for Amazon, so they’re being discontinued. I’m pleased, as a consumer. Should you be upset if you use these in your online marketing?
Sure, take a minute to be upset. Change is always stressful. But don’t suffer too long over it. Amazon has a very robust advertising network. Not only do they offer display advertising across their own network and on other websites, as Google Adwords does, they also have ad space on Kindle, Fire tablets, and their mobile app. The new text ads won’t include the photos that Product Ads have, but Sponsored Links and display ads offer those options. There’s also Amazon Local, which includes an email blast to Amazon customers in your area as well as the online ads.
Amazon ads are simpler to set up than Adwords ads — and that includes the new text ads, according to people in the network who have seen the demo. They’re cheaper than Adwords in many cases (less competition) and they have specially targeted solutions for apps, books, and products being sold on Amazon.
Observers suggest that Amazon may have been leaking data to Google through the Product Ads or that they want to sell everything through their own marketplace and limit direct competition from other sellers. Regardless of their reasons, they have the right to make the change and there’s nothing current advertisers can do but roll with it.
Whenever your online marketing strategy relies on space that belongs to someone else, you’re subject to the whims of that someone else. This is why it makes sense to invest most heavily in the online spaces that you own.