September 7, 2018

Understanding Amazon Headline Search, Product Display, and Sponsored Product Ads

By Eric Krueger / Advertising, Amazon

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past several years, you’re aware that Amazon has completely revolutionized the e-commerce space. According to a study by Pew Research, eight out of ten American shoppers now make their purchases online, and over 50 percent of product searches begin on Amazon. That means a lot of people are searching for products to buy on Amazon every day.

In response to the enormous amount of traffic, Amazon has unveiled its own advertising platform with three main types of campaigns to use. These Amazon advertising campaign tools include: headline search ads, sponsored product ads and product display ads. For a new user these different campaigns might seem confusing, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of three ad campaigns.


Headline search ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a headline search ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires at least three separate products.

headline search ad

Unlike other campaigns used on the amazon platform, headline search requires ad copy and a unique logo. Competition for headline search ads is high, due to the prime real estate location and limited available space. In order to successfully launch a headline search campaign they require constant vigilance and monitoring.


Sponsored product ads are a mid-funnel advertising strategy and give visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). It uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well. These pay-per-click ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

sponsored product ad

These types of ads can be really effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. These ads can help you get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.


Product display ads are an end-of-funnel play that show in a variety locations. Although most commonly found under the Buy Box (ad example shown below), these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations. Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, product display ads target specific products or ASIN’s (Amazon’s identification system for each product). This unique targeting possibility sets it apart from other forms of Amazon advertising.

product display ad

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three ad formats attacks a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers no matter where they are in the buying process. Marketers are most successful when they learn to use these different types of campaigns in tandem, and with a consistent marketing message.

If you’re interested in learning more about Amazon advertising or would like help developing your eCommerce strategy, fill out the form below and someone from our team will be in touch shortly.

More Resources
20 No-Brainer Tactics For Growing Amazon Sales in 2020
The Experts' Guide to Amazon Advertising Strategy
The Ultimate Guide to Amazon SEO