Retail media on Amazon: the secrets to a successful advertising platform

Monétisation de votre site e-commerce

In 2012, Amazon launched its own retail media platform, now called Amazon Advertising, to leverage its large e-commerce audience.

Eight years later, the internet giant has become the 3rd largest digital advertising platform in the U.S., right behind fellow internet giants Google and Facebook. Amazon’s competitive advantage is to be closer to the moment of purchase: the company retains a huge market share in e-commerce retail.

These significant figures make one wonder how Amazon’s algorithm works, both for the brands who wish to sharpen their digital advertising strategy on Amazon, and for the retailers looking to mimic it and improve their retail media offering on their e-commerce websites.

In this article, you will learn about Amazon’s retail media secrets and best practices, which you can use as a brand or as a retailer.

Before we get started: Do you need a refresher on retail media and its key components? Check out our article on the 6 questions you’ve been asking yourself about retail media before reading this article.


Amazon’s search engine optimization algorithm’s main feature is “sales velocity”: the algorithm places products with the highest number of sales at the top of the search results list.

But, for products to be sold, they need to stand out among the incredibly large Amazon catalog of over 250 million products, compared to about 100,000 on average for a big box store.

This is even more critical when you know that 70% of customers who search for products on Amazon do not go beyond the first page of results.

To make their products stand out on Amazon and increase sales velocity, sellers simply have to invest in retail media. This is one way to make advertising a key component for brands on Amazon.

Brands: best practices to stand out on Amazon


  • Pick and choose the products you would like to list: the goal is to significantly increase your products’ sales velocity, so invest in a small number of products while still representing different segments (gluten free, family size, etc.) to focus sales on a few references.
  • Focus your advertising spending on your flagship products, ones that are of interest to your target audience. You are more likely to increase sales velocity on these products, thereby getting a better return on investment.

Retailers: how to apply this principle on your e-commerce website

  • Provide retail media tools to brands so they can increase their visibility on your e-commerce website and stand out from their competitors.

Although sales velocity is an important aspect of Amazon’s algorithm, it is not the only one used to showcase brands to customers.


“I’m talking about customer obsession rather than competitor obsession.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon in a 1997 letter to shareholders.

When Amazon launches a retail media campaign, two criteria guide how the message is broadcasted to a target audience: budget, and content relevance. The relevance aspect is very important for Amazon because it is looking to offer the user the product that best matches their search.

The relevance criteria is evaluated according to several elements from the product page such as:

High performance ads should also have a certain click-through and conversion rate with the target audience.

Brands: best practices to stand out on Amazon

  • Write detailed and memorable product descriptions. Include high quality photos, and make sure your product is always available. And keep in mind the user experience on mobile, especially when it comes to photos.
  • Generate product reviews: if you don’t have customer reviews for your products yet, you can use Amazon’s Vine, which lets you generate customer feedback by sending sample products to a community of testers.
  • Work on your packaging and product delivery to avoid negative reviews, which may impact your products’ relevance ratings.

Retailers: how to apply this principle on your e-commerce website

  • Pay close attention to your website’s design. A seamless and well-designed experience builds customer loyalty. Present the products that best match the customer’s search (key words) and leverage relevance criteria (clear product description, legible images, product availability, etc.).
  • Customize ads and product suggestions. When you’re coming up with a communications strategy, think about the customers, and send them personalised and relevant messages: suggest products that complement their shopping basket, place banners related to the section they’re in, etc.
  • Let your customers rate and review products to add more to the product page and help other customers.



Third key feature: As the largest online retailer in the world, with over 300 million customers and consistently over 2 billion visits per month on its US website, Amazon has an impressive amount of data.

Transactional data, product suggestion (similar products), geolocation, browsing, etc. Amazon Advertising uses all this data to offer brands truly relevant targeting methods like:

  • Keyword targeting based on words entered in the search bar
  • Product based targeting, which can be improved using additional criteria (product review or price, socio-economic criteria, etc.)
  • Targeting using the products themselves, to make them visible when displaying similar or complimentary products

You may also target customers using these targting options: premium credit card users indicating higher income, Amazon Family or Amazon Prime Video users.

When targeting customers using Amazon’s retail media platform, you have two options:

  • Automatic targeting: to use if you are new to retail media, or would like to broaden your target audience. The website will find the most relevant users for your products.
  • Custom targeting: if you are looking to better control where and how your advertising is displayed

Amazon constantly updates its data with the behavioral information it collects during campaigns, so its targeting is even more accurate.

Brands: best practices to stand out on Amazon

  • If you are new to the platform or would like to broaden your existing target audience, you can start with automatic targeting. The algorithm will match your ad with keywords and similar products. You will then be able to adapt your targeting criteria and improve your KPIs (impressions, clicks, ROAS, etc.).
  • Start with a broad target audience, then you can focus your investments on the most responsive audiences. You will be able to see which targeting criteria yields the best results and focus on it.

Retailers: how to apply this principle on your e-commerce website

  • Let brands use your data to create retail media marketing campaigns: purchasing behaviors (real time customer and purchase profiles), browsing categories, search, geolocation, etc.
  • Collaborate with brands and create win-win situations. Brands can leverage your data to target consumers who are most likely to be interested in their products. And when they run a campaign, it allows you to gather data on your customers’ purchasing behavior.


Amazon knows this perfectly: every brand has its own goal when launching an activation campaign. That’s why the company offers a wide range of advertising formats, so brands can chose what they need to reach their specific goal.

Here are a few examples:

– To boost sales during a specific time period, a brand can use Sponsored Products Ads, which promote a specific product on the search results page.

– To increase brand awareness or support an innovation or a product launch, the advertiser should focus on Sponsored Brand Ads, with which a brand can showcase its products and brand identity with a message, at the top of the results page.

– If the focus is transformation rates, brands can offer a discount using the Coupons feature.

– Finally, if the advertiser is looking to increase penetration rate, it should choose the Sponsored Display Ads feature which highlights the brand on similar or complementary product pages.

There are other campaign tools on Amazon like stores (online shops on the Amazon website) or drive-to-store banners on third party websites, managed by Amazon.

Brands: best practices to stand out on Amazon

  • Clearly define your goals before choosing an activation method. In doing so, you will be able to select the most appropriate way to reach your goal.
  • Try A/B testing: for example, you can run the same marketing campaign with different target audiences, and then focus your investments on the best performing audience segment. Monitor results as frequently as possible.

Retailers: how to apply this principle on your e-commerce website

  • Provide different retail media formats to brands, so they can choose the option that best fits their goal.


Amazon created a reporting interface so brands can monitor the results of their campaigns, and measure their impact in real time using different metrics:

  • Impressions
  • Click-through rate & cost per click (CPC)
  • Amount spent & ROAS (Return on ad spend)
  • Number of views per page generated by an ad
  • Number of units sold per product
  • And many more!

Brands can therefore continuously optimise their marketing campaigns to reach peak performance and meet strategic goals.

Brands: best practices to stand out on Amazon


  • Monitor your results regularly, and tweak your campaigns accordingly. Look at your bids, evaluate your product pages’ and product relevance, and keep an eye on your targeting methods.
  • Do not over-react too quickly: Amazon Advertising’s algorithm needs to process a certain amount of data to understand what works best for your products and specific goals.
  • Always keep your strategic goals in mind: for brand awareness, focus on impressions; for a high-performing campaign, work on your ROAS.

Retailers: how to apply this principle on your e-commerce website

  • Create a monitoring platform that tracks marketing KPIs in real time. This will guarantee long term use of your solution because you are giving advertisers the means to perform better, thereby incentivising return to your platform.
  • Roll out an R&D taskforce, like Amazon has, to develop a uniform, high-performing, and easy to use platform that meet the needs of brands, regardless of their level of retail media expertise.

With these 5 secrets in hand, you are now ready to increase your sales, whether you are a brand or a retailer. Targeting, data, personalisation, relevance, and performance monitoring are the keys to a successful retail media strategy.