We need to talk about Amazon Marketing Services

Published on April 9, 2017 | Written by 

Amazon is an online retail behemoth worth billions of dollars that serves 300 million users and employs approximately 45,000 robots. The online retailer has revolutionized ecommerce and is likely to be among the first companies to reach $1 trillion in market value.

So why — with all that going for it — is Amazon’s marketing platform so awful?

First, the basics.

Amazon Marketing Services allows advertisers to promote products on Amazon with pay-per-click ads. There are three types of ad campaigns: Sponsored Products, Headline Search and Product Display. Similar to other digital advertising platforms, Amazon Marketing Services allows an advertiser to bid for ad space on targeted keywords, products or interests.

Here’s Amazon’s hype video, for your consideration.


Let’s get this out of the way.

Amazon Marketing Services is an effective and useful means to increase sales. If you are an Amazon vendor, you should use Amazon Marketing Services to promote your products. This post is not intended to dissuade you from doing so.

And now, without further ado, here are some things I wish Amazon Marketing Services would do better.

Amazon Marketing Services Wishlist

Supply Campaign Filter Tools

When I review my Amazon marketing campaigns, 99.9 percent of the time I only want to view the campaigns that are in progress. Unfortunately, the default campaign view shows you every campaign you’ve ever started, and bewilderingly, Amazon does not provide traditional filtering options.

The Amazon solution to see your campaigns in progress? Type “running” into the search tool.

An adequate option, sure, but certainly not ideal. The search feature works as a pseudo-filter, allowing you to view specific campaign types, dates and campaign names.

The search tool is an incomplete solution, however, when you are looking for more nuanced metrics. For example, without traditional filtering options, Amazon makes it impossible to generate a quick overview report of a month’s worth of campaign results, meaning you can only view the lifetime results of all of your campaigns at once.

The only way to generate a monthly report, as far as I can tell, is to download the daily campaign metrics report data from each individual campaign. Depending on how many campaigns you’re managing, this could mean hours of work and aggregating data for a simple month over month snapshot.

If I could get something half as simple as Google’s solution, I’d be one happy Amazon marketer.

Simplify Management Of Multiple Brands

I manage several different brands in Amazon Marketing Services, each with multiple campaigns, products, budgets, etc. I try to make time to review Amazon campaigns a couple of times a week, but it’s a magnificent timesuck to navigate through multiple brands using the cumbersome campaign filter tools a million times just to accomplish basic campaign maintenance.

My biggest gripe with brand management comes once a month when I’ve got to download invoices for every individual brand and lose an hour of my life on a task that should: 1. Be automated or 2. Be accomplished with one click.

The simple solution here would be to allow a marketer to view all of the campaigns across all of the brands they manage in one place on one landing page.

Expand Editing Options After Campaigns Begin

I want to be able to edit the names of campaigns after they’ve been created. The only way to correct a typo in a campaign name now is to terminate the campaign, create a copy and start over.

I’d also like to be able to change the match type of a campaign keyword after the campaign has started. Yes, I can disable the keyword and create a new one, but it could be so much more simple than that.

Lastly, and most importantly, I want to be able to bulk edit my CPC bid amounts after the campaign has been created. (Please let me know in the comments if there is already a way to do this!) I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve realized after a campaign was created that my bids were too low and had to go in and edit hundreds of keyword bids one by one.

Provide Keyword Data Upfront

I’m going to use the G word again — Google.

I need Amazon Marketing Services to provide something akin to Google’s Keyword Planner. I know Amazon has the data; why they refuse to be upfront with marketers with it is beyond me.

It doesn’t have to be anything exceptionally fancy, all I want is a way to estimate the traffic I’m going to generate based on the keywords I’m bidding for. Is this too much to ask?

Amazon has recently taken a step in the right direction in sharing Keyword traffic potential for Headline Search campaigns, however it appears this feature can only be utilized after a campaign has been initiated.

Offer Greater Display Campaign Options

Let marketers test various creative within the same campaign. Amazon Marketing Services offers the unique ability to target shoppers when we know they are at their most willing to buy. If only marketers were given the chance to A/B test copy and images to determine the most optimal solution for that unique audience.

What marketer doesn’t love to experiment?

I’d also love to be able to include dynamic content in Amazon product display ads. Imagine how much more effective an ad would be if we could dynamically include a first name?

Or even location?

For the record, I don’t do any marketing for Honeywell. I created these to illustrate the point.

Every Amazon Prime member gives Amazon personal information about themselves and it could easily be leveraged to increase sales.

Automate Weekly Summary Reports

Let me sign up for a simple weekly campaign report that covers key metrics from the week. Facebook does something similar that’s super user friendly and can be forwarded along to interested stakeholders within the company without any trouble.

To Amazon’s credit, I’ve seen some great improvements across the platform lately, including the win rate for headline search campaigns and the new step-by-step guidance feature. Customer satisfaction and feedback surveys indicate they have taken note of many of these concerns.

Are my expectations unrealistic? Do you have something on your wish list I failed to mention? Let’s discuss in the comments.


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