How to get your Amazon Ads to the top of the search results page

June 28, 2024

The top-of-search position is prime real estate for Amazon advertisers. Brands can significantly increase their exposure to potential customers by securing this coveted placement with strategic use of Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brand campaigns.

For example, check out Kitchen in the Box, who are dominating the top-of-search for terms like ‘handheld kitchen mixer’ and ‘wireless kitchen mixer’ with a sponsored brand ad at the top of the page immediately followed by multiple sponsored product ads. Nice!

Effective top-of-search dominance captures the interest of shoppers who are ready to make a purchase, driving higher click-through rates, conversions, and, ultimately, sales. Additionally, consistent top-of-search visibility reinforces brand recognition and trust, encouraging repeat purchases and customer loyalty. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to dominating the SERP for your key terms, broken out by campaign type.

Optimizing Sponsored Products Campaigns

Follow these steps to get your sponsored products ads in the top three placements on the search results page. 

First, determine if you’d like to use automatic or manual targeting – or a combination of the two. When a campaign is set to automatic targeting, Amazon automatically matches your ads to relevant queries. With manual targeting, you’ll choose the keywords and products you wish to target with ads and set your bids. Manual targeting offers you more control over your campaigns, but automatic targeting is easier to set up. You can find more details on automatic vs. manual targeting here.

Here’s what to do next based on the type of targeting you choose.

Campaigns using automatic targeting

  1. Gather data: Launch your campaign and gather data on which search terms perform well.
  2. Adjust bids by placement: In your campaign’s settings, adjust your bids by placement. To dominate the top ad positions, increase the bid multiplier for "Top of Search (first page)" to a high percentage (e.g., 100%—300%).

Campaigns using manual targeting

  1. Do keyword research: Analyze your search terms report to identify high-performing terms and add them to your campaign as target keywords. If you’re running a combination of manual and automatic campaigns, you can identify the keywords that perform best for your automatic campaigns and add those as target keywords to your manual campaigns. 
  2. Focus on Exact Match keywords: Bid mainly or exclusively on Exact Match keywords.
  3. Adjust Top of Search placement bids: In your campaign’s settings, adjust your bids by placement. To dominate the top ad positions, increase the bid multiplier for "Top of Search (first page)" to a high percentage (e.g., 100%—300%).
  4. Enable Bid+: Ensure "Bid+" is enabled to allow Amazon to increase your bids for top-of-search placements up to 50% higher when the algorithm determines it will increase the chance of conversion.
  5. Allocate spend: Ensure you have sufficient budget allocated to these campaigns to maintain top-of-search visibility throughout the day.

With manual campaigns, you can target keywords, products, and categories. You can learn more about your targeting options here. Here are the changes you should make for each type of targeting:

Keyword targeting

  1. Adjust bids dynamically: Use Amazon's dynamic bidding strategies such as "Dynamic bids – up and down" to automatically increase your bids for placements more likely to convert.

Product Targeting

  1. Target competitor ASINs: Identify competitor products that are frequently bought together with or as alternatives to your product. Use product targeting to place your ads on their product detail pages.
  2. Target complementary products: Target ASINs of products that complement yours. For example, if you sell phone cases, target cell phones that fit in your cases.
  3. Your ASINs: Target your own ASINs to cross-promote products. This can help you dominate the ad space on your product detail pages, keeping customers within your brand ecosystem and increasing the chances of upselling or cross-selling.

Category Targeting

  1. Target Relevant Categories: Target specific categories related to your products to increase the chances of your ads appearing on relevant product detail pages.

Now that your sponsored products campaigns are optimized for top-of-search, let’s get your sponsored brand ads up to the top, too.

Optimizing Sponsored Brand Campaigns

There are two main levers to pull here - optimizing your brand bidding strategies and optimizing your product collection ads. Here are the details for each.

Bidding optimizations

  1. Focus on the right keywords: Bid on your own brand keywords and high-converting competitor keywords to capture top-of-search placements.
  2. Adjust Bids by Placement: In your campaign’s settings, adjust your bids by placement. To dominate the top ad positions, increase the bid multiplier for "Top of Search (first page)" to a high percentage (e.g., 100%—300%).

Product collection ad optimizations

  1. Feature complementary products: Create product collection ads featuring complementary products. This can be especially effective if you target product detail pages of complementary ASINs, offering shoppers a complete set of products.
  2. Reinforce your brand: Use these ads to reinforce your brand presence on your own product detail pages, showcasing a range of products and cross-selling.
  3. Update Creative: Design compelling and relevant ad creatives with strong calls-to-action and engaging visuals.
  4. Target top keywords: Similar to Sponsored Products, target high-value exact match keywords.
  5. Target top of search: Focus on ad placements that appear at the top of search results.

Now that you understand the different levers to pull based on your campaign type and targeting settings, here are some tips for managing your budgets.

Budgeting tips

  1. Increase both daily and lifetime budgets: Set competitive daily and lifetime budgets to avoid running out of budget early in the day.
  2. Enable performance-based budget rules: Amazon allows you to set rules that increase your campaign budgets only when your campaigns meet a certain performance threshold, such as an ACOS, CTR, or CVR goal. Learn more here.

Advanced Tips

Here are some additional tips to increase your chances of dominating the top-of-search for Amazon Ads.

  1. A/B Testing: Run A/B tests on different ad creatives, headlines, and keywords to identify which combinations yield the best top-of-search results.
  2. Seasonal Adjustments: During high-traffic events like Prime Day, significantly increase your bids and budgets to capture more top-of-search placements.
  3. Negative Keywords: Use negative keywords to exclude irrelevant search terms and focus your budget on high-performing, relevant keywords. 
  4. Negative Product Targeting: Exclude ASINs or categories that do not perform well to optimize your ad spend.
  5. Complimentary + competitor targeting: Simultaneously target complementary product ASINs and competitor ASINs to maximize visibility and cross-selling opportunities.
  6. Enhanced Brand Content (EBC): Create Enhanced Brand Content or A+ Content for your product listings. This can improve your product's attractiveness and conversion rates, indirectly leading to better ad performance.
  7. Reviews and Ratings: Implement strategies to encourage customers to leave reviews, such as follow-up emails and customer feedback requests. High ratings and positive reviews can improve your ad’s performance.
  8. Manage Negative Feedback: Quickly address negative feedback to maintain a high overall rating, which can positively impact your ad placements.
  9. Promote Subscriptions: Activate the Subscribe & Save feature to encourage repeat purchases. This can improve your product’s rankings and visibility over time.
  10. Leverage Video Ads: Use Sponsored Brand Video ads to capture attention with engaging content. Video ads often have higher click-through rates and drive more conversions.

In a crowded marketplace like Amazon where search rankings and visibility heavily influence consumer behavior, dominating the top-of-search share makes a big difference. It transforms your brand from just another option to the preferred choice for many shoppers. This strategic positioning boosts immediate sales and builds a robust foundation for sustained growth and market leadership. These tips are all you need to gain that dominance, so go get it!

To learn more about how Marin can manage your Amazon bids for you and all our other great features for retail marketers, click here.

Jeremy Brown

Marin Software
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