The power of marketing on ecommerce sites, such as Amazon, is largely shown by: 1) The ability to reach consumers who are looking to buy, and 2) the ability to attribute product sales to an ad.

Today, we’ll address the second - attribution.

When you first look at it, attribution seems to be straight forward - when someone clicks on an ad and buys the product, the sale is attributed to the ad. But what if a shopper sees an ad for a product and then buys the same product, but in a different package quantity? A similar one from the same brand? What if the shopper was dead-set on buying that product anyway? How does attribution work for the same brand’s products advertised by a first party vendor but sold by a third party seller, and vice-versa?

As you can see, attribution requires some assumptions, and that can make things really complex really fast.

Attribution is key

Before we go into the weeds of how attribution is calculated, let’s talk about why it’s so important to understand. Attribution is arguably the key differentiator between search marketing on Amazon in comparison to all other search marketing platforms. This is because it is the secret data point that allows you to get golden insights from your campaign data.

Attribution tells you which specific ads are driving sales. It’s also a key piece of the formula to determine return on ad spend (RoAS), or how much revenue is produced from your advertising investment.

Now that we have the all important “why” out of the way, let’s dive into the details.

Attributed to clicks

Amazon search advertising, including Product Display Ads, is click-attributed. Once a sale is completed, it is attributed back to the day that the click occurred. This is in contrast with Amazon’s display offerings, which attribute sales to ad views.

Attribution windows

The attribution window is the timeframe within which someone takes two actions: 1) clicks on an ad and 2) purchases the applicable product(s).

The Amazon Marketing Services campaign management platform uses a standard attribution window of 14 days, while the campaign management platform on Seller Central uses 14-day attribution for Headline Search Ads and a 7-day attribution window for Sponsored Products ads.

Here’s an example to illustrate how attribution works. If you’re an Amazon Vendor who has Sponsored Products campaigns:

  • When a shopper clicks on your Sponsored Products ad for Product A, and buys Product A two weeks later, the sale is attributed to the ad campaign back to the day of the click.
  • However, when a shopper clicks on your Sponsored Products ad, and buys Product A a month later, the sale is not attributed to the ad campaign.

Pro tip: Unlock more (1-, 7-, 14-, and 30-day) attribution windows with Downstream to more accurately understand the effects of deals and promotions, and gain insight into which ads are effective in getting shoppers to click “Add to Cart” right away. Schedule a demo to see this and more.

Attribution by ad and supplier type

What counts as an attribution varies by ad type and supplier type (Vendors vs. Sellers) on Amazon.

Amazon Vendors (1P)

  • Purchases are attributed to Sponsored Products ad campaigns when a shopper clicks on your ad and then purchases something within the same category from your brand. Purchases from Sellers are not included.
  • Purchases are attributed to Headline Search Ads when a shopper clicks on your ad and then purchases any product from your brand, including purchases from Sellers.
  • Purchases are attributed to Product Display Ads when a shopper clicks on your ad and then purchases any product from your brand, including purchases from Sellers.

Amazon Sellers (3P)

  • Purchases are attributed to Sponsored Products when a shopper clicks on your ad and then purchases a product from your inventory.
  • Purchases are attributed to Headline Search Ads when a shopper clicks on your ad and then purchases any product from your brand. You must enroll your brand via the Brand Registry to run Headline Search Ads as a Seller.

Pro tip: Uncover which product ads drive sales to the exact same product (same ASIN/SKU vs same brand) with Downstream. Schedule a demo and let us show you how this works.

Now that you know how Amazon calculates ad attribution, you can better understand how to interpret your Amazon data points and turn those numbers into actionable insights that increase your revenue.

Easier data analysis with Downstream

Downstream offers a software solution that helps brands (and the agencies that support them) get the most out of their Amazon marketing investment.

  • Optimize your ads with deeper insights into the effect they have on sales through increased attribution windows and same-product attribution.
  • Quickly identify business drivers with charts that show trends over time, product, keywords, and more.

Interested to see how this looks for your brand? Let’s chat.

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