A guide to Amazon Sponsored Brands video ads

8 Minute Read

How to use Sponsored Brands video ads in Amazon Advertising – the platform’s best-performing ad format so far, according to Amazon.

Amazon’s latest ad innovation is Sponsored Brands video campaigns and the retail giant says this is its best-performing ad format to date. The new creative combines product ads with video footage to capture user attention on the desktop and mobile shopping pages where purchase intent is at its highest. Here’s a summary of everything we’ve learned over the past year, since they first rolled out.

What are Sponsored Brands video ads?

Sponsored Brands video is a visual ad format that shows on Amazon search results pages and product detail pages to promote your products.

Amazon Sponsored Brands Videos

The ads are keyword targeted, allowing you to pinpoint the most relevant audiences and priced on a cost-per-click model so you only pay when a user shows enough interest in your ad to click through to the product detail page.

Amazon Sponsored Brands Videos Anatomy

The ads include three key components: product details, an auto-play video and a mute toggle button, as shown above.

  1. Product details The primary product image and associated product information (title, star rating, review count, price and Prime eligibility) from the detail page are automatically displayed.
  2. Video The video will play automatically when 50% of it is on-screen.
  3. Mute toggle button The mute toggle button is overlaid in the lower right-hand corner of the video and controls audio playback. By default, videos always start without audio. Customers can enable audio by tapping on this button. If it is a silent video or there is no audio the mute toggle will not be displayed.

So your video footage automatically starts playing once half of the player is visible on the screen and footage is muted by default. Users can click to unmute your video and hear the audio or click through to the product description page to learn more about the product itself.

Video duration can be anything between 6 and 45 seconds although Amazon strongly recommends using clips of 30 seconds or less. Footage plays on loop in Sponsored Brands videos so your clip will automatically start again once it plays in full.

You can find the full video and audio specifications list on this page.

What makes Sponsored Brands video special?

During a recent Amazon Advertising webinar on Sponsored Brands video, it referenced the State of Video Marketing Survey 2020, published by Wyzowl, to highlight the importance of video ads on a platform like Amazon.

95% of video marketers say video has helped increase user understanding

In the survey, 95% of video marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service and, more importantly, 84% of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.

Sponsored Brands video ads place your footage at the point of greatest influence across mobile and desktop browsing while users are actively looking for products or brands on Amazon.

Amazon Sponsored Brands Videos Devices

These users are in shopping mode and at their most sensitive to compelling messages that inspire real purchase decisions. This is where the USP of your product or offer can make its biggest impact, whether you’re looking to beat competitors on price, quality, features or any other selling point.

In terms of the video format, Amazon highlights three key benefits of Sponsored Brands video:

Benefits of Amazon Sponsored Brands Videos

  1. Engaging: Differentiate yourself from other brands in the shopping results by engaging shoppers with videos that feature your brand story and products.
  2. Relevant: Use keyword targeting to customers actively shopping on Amazon for products related to yours.
  3. Integrated: Video is integrated directly into the Sponsored Brands creative builder; so once you have a video asset campaign creation is fast and familiar.

The effectiveness of video ads is widely documented and Amazon has its own figures to demonstrate the power of Sponsored Brands video (shown below). However, it’s also important to understand the why behind this performance and Amazon is in a unique position to show ads to shoppers in the pivotal moment where they’re actively shopping.

With keyword targeting, you can pinpoint relevant audiences with the highest level of purchase intent and deliver your ads at the crucial moment, in the most engaging format.

Amazon’s top-performing ad format

Amazon’s data shows that Sponsored Brands video campaigns generate +127%-267% higher click-through rates and +28%-43% higher returns on ad spend (ROAS) than regular Sponsored Brands campaigns.

Sponsored Brands video campaigns generate +127%-267% higher click-through rates

Amazon is pitching this as its most effective ad format and the stats look impressive.

Its advertising division suggests advertisers should start by testing Sponsored Brands video campaigns targeting branded and generic keywords to see how they perform with customers engagement, CTR and sales, compared to Sponsored Brands campaigns.

From here you can test, learn and refine campaigns to maximise performance.

Video advertising made easier

Amazon understands that creating a new set of advertising campaigns for a new ad format is a big task, especially for advertisers and companies promoting a lot of products. To reduce this workload, Amazon has developed Sponsored Product Video ads to help companies create campaigns as quickly as possible.

Amazon's tool to create sponsored brand video ads

Sponsored Brands video ads are integrated into the Sponsored Brands campaign builder, which allows you to clone existing campaigns, convert them to the video format and add your footage in a matter of minutes – and all of your keywords and bids are automatically carried over.

This means you can run video campaigns alongside regular Sponsored Brands campaigns without having to manually recreate everything from scratch.

Alternatively, you can create campaigns from scratch and create a new Sponsored Brands video campaign by selecting your product and following all of the usual steps. If you’re used to creating Sponsored Brands campaigns in Amazon Advertising, you’re already familiar with how this process works.

Best practices for Amazon Sponsored Brands video campaigns

As an Amazon Advertising partner agency, we receive exclusive insights and guidance from Amazon about how to get the best out of every ad format. Here’s a summary of the best practices:

  • Product ratings: Start with products that have ratings of 3.5 stars or higher.
  • Tell your product story: Use aesthetic product-focused video content to stand out in shopping results.
  • Highlight key features: Feature specific uses, styles or specifications of your product.
  • Drive awareness: Target broad keywords and categories to help introduce new products to relevant audiences.
  • Drive sales velocity: Target branded keywords to help with early conversions.
  • Know your audiences: Amazon customers are shopping for products and brands. Your content should be educational, demonstrative and product-focused.
  • Show your product: Videos featuring the product prominently within the first second typically perform better. Don’t waste your chance to engage shoppers by fading in from black or starting with an empty frame.
  • Keep it brief and focused: Amazon recommends an optimal video length of 15–30 seconds to relay your message and hold customers’ attention. Limit your content to just a handful of key selling points to ensure your message is received.
  • Optimise for the format: This video unit auto-plays without sound and runs inline in the search results with no option to go full screen. Your videos should work without sound, and you’ll need to ensure that on-screen text can be easily read on a mobile device and isn’t obstructed by the user interface that is positioned within the video area (See our safe area template).
  • Consider the loop: Once this video ends, it will automatically loop. Consider adding an end card to allow for some breathing room, or get creative and make your loop seamless.

On a broader scale, Amazon recommends running Sponsored Brand video ads alongside other campaign types to test and optimise performance but, also, to increase your visibility in the shopping results.

Amazon sponsored brands - combine with other adverts

Running these campaign types alongside each other also allows you to show different ad formats, in different places to different audiences who may respond to certain campaigns more than others.

We’ve also received a brief list of dos and don’ts from Amazon, which reiterates some of the best practices above while offering up some new tips in the don’ts column.

Amazon sponsored brands do's and don'ts

So you should avoid any of the following, most of which are listed under the top moderation rejection reasons on the official Sponsored Brands video page:

  • Black or empty frames at the start or end of videos: Don’t waste your chance to engage shoppers by using black or empty frames.
  • Video is abruptly cropped at the maximum video duration: Abrupt edits can result in an incomplete video and a poor customer experience.
  • Video includes Amazon branding elements: Amazon trademarks, products or references to Amazon products or services are prohibited.
  • Video includes customer reviews: Customer reviews (including star ratings), even if these reviews are on Amazon, are not permitted.
  • Letterbox/pillbox: Any black bars on any side of the video.

You’ll also find the video and audio specification on the page linked to above, which you’ll need to meet for every video campaign.

In addition to those, video ads must meet the following criteria:

  • Critical content within the video (such as on-screen text) must not obstruct the user interface. To ensure your video meets this guideline, please download the safe area template.
  • All on-screen text must be a minimum of 30 pts and be legible.
  • Videos must be in the language of the locale in which it is displayed, be easily understandable and clearly identify the brand or product promoted.

Again, you can find the official documentation for Sponsored Brands video ads on this page.

How we helped Yoto achieve a return on ad spend of 1060%!

Yoto sells screen-free, smart speakers for kids and wanted to be the first choice for parents leading up to the festive period. Kids toys is a fiercely competitive industry though so we firstly needed to build awareness of Yoto as a brand within the education and entertainment toy sectors, and then re-enforce the brand throughout the buying journey.

Amazon adverts for Yoto

Our strategy was to use a range of ads on Amazon to nurture users from awareness through to consideration and purchase. We used highly-effective video ads to bring the brand to life, raising awareness and reaching users who were searching for related products. We then used display ads throughout the consideration stages of the Amazon journey when users were researching similar products. Finally when users were ready to commit, we ensured we maintained strong visibility through banner ads at the top of the page, and through product ads as users scrolled to see which products caught their eye.

In December 2020, Yoto got over 8 million impressions, successfully connecting with their target audience and generating an impressive ‘return on ad spend’ of 1060%.

Need help with your Amazon advertising?

If you need help with Sponsored Brands video campaigns or any other aspect of Amazon Advertising, you can speak to our team by calling 02392 830 281 or completing the form at the bottom of this page.

Mike Johnson profile picture
Mike Johnson

Mike is a senior PPC specialist at Vertical Leap.

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