Search Success Positions Amazon to Draw Sponsored Placements

 In Shopping

While you probably think of Amazon as an eCommerce store, did you know it’s also a leading search engine? Google’s no longer the most popular search engine in town: 54% of product searches now begin on Amazon, up from 46% back in 2015. Stealing product search share from Google is certainly paying off as a revenue-generating strategy for the retailer.

Amazon is Dominating Search Clicks

There are different ways a shopper can end up on a product page on Amazon. They can find it through Google search. Or, if they’re already on Amazon’s site, they can click merchandising links (a paid ad on Amazon highlighting items on landing pages) or links for sponsored related items. They can also find product pages through articles or aggregators (often from affiliates) from outside Amazon that take them directly to a product landing page.

Despite having multiple options for finding products on Amazon, the bulk of product clicks—87%—come from Amazon search results. One of the useful thing about data from Jumpshot is that it can break down browsing behavior by product category. For some categories on Amazon, like pet supplies, and health and personal care, more than 90% of product clicks come from search results:

Being Listed on the First Page Matters

Across all product categories on Amazon, more than two-thirds of all product views come from the first page of results. This correlates with what happens in Google and other search engine results.

For the standard 3-column results page, the first two rows of products account for more than a third of product views on their own, on average. These pages are dynamically populated, and Amazon uses different ranking methods for different search terms, and, of course, users can sort the lists by price, customer reviews, or by “recent arrivals.” But being on top is incredibly valuable.

Interestingly, on listings pages that feature three columns of products, the “fourth” ranked spot does even better than the second and third ranked spots for most searches.

A heatmap of which product slots gain the most clicks

Amazon is Well-Positioned to Attract Sponsors

With this success in search, Amazon is looking to grow its revenue from sponsored placements. The more Amazon can dominate the shopping experience, the more it can corner market share in the greater marketplace.

Since most searches are not brand-specific (think “chocolate bar” instead of “Hershey’s”), Amazon has the incentive to either sell sponsorships for the optimal spots or move its ever-growing list of private labels to the top instead.

While product views from Amazon sponsored placements account for less than 7% of all product viewers, the amount of views driven by sponsorships is growing. It increased 32% from January to May of this year, indicating that it may be well worth Amazon’s time to put more effort into attracting more sponsorships.

What will Google do in retaliation? Their counter may come from a different angle: it’s starting to put more push into its Google Express service, which allows shoppers to order using their voice through Google Home.

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