Amazon Impressions: Everything You Need to Know


A question we get asked often by our retail advertising clients: What are Impressions on Amazon?

Amazon Impressions directly correlate to your product’s visibility and serve as a useful metric — especially when optimizing for keywords related to your products. In this article, we’ll bring you through the fundamentals of Amazon Impressions and what you can do to increase them.

What Are Amazon Impressions?

Impressions measure the number of times Amazon shows shoppers your Ad, regardless of whether they clicked on it or not. It is one of the key metrics of Amazon Advertising and can be used to check at a glance how well an Ad is doing.

Ad Impressions via Sponsored Brands Ads (formerly known as Headline Search Ads)

To better understand what Impressions are, you have to start at the beginning: how Amazon chooses how to display an Ad.

Amazon asks you to set certain parameters each time you create a new Ad. These include your bid—i.e. how much money you are willing to pay—and your keywords. Amazon then uses this information to generate its search results page (known as SERP) whenever someone searches for one of your selected keywords.

Sometimes, however, two competing Ads use the same keywords. Amazon then has to pick which one to display. It chooses the winning Ad by examining a number of factors in a process known as Amazon PPC (Pay-Per-Click) auction.

Ad Impressions via Sponsored Product Ads

A PPC auction takes three things into consideration: your bid level, the likelihood that the customer will click on your Ad, and the likelihood the shopper will then make a sale. To measure these, it doggedly tracks both the history of your Ads and the customer’s behavior, down to which parts of the screen their cursor hovers over.

Impressions measure how often your Ad has won such an auction, thus indicating how competitive your Ad is. However, they do not measure how successful your Ad is in terms of generating income, as this needs to take into account the number of Clicks your Ad produces—i.e how many people click on it.

The Importance of Amazon Ad Impressions

It is every manufacturer’s desire to place their product in front of as many eyes as possible. And there are times, such as during a product launch, when all you care about is increasing awareness for your product and/or brand. During such times, you may wish to maximize Impressions regardless of cost and show your product to as many shoppers as possible, thus reaching the maximum number of potential customers.

However, more is not always better, and that is true of Impressions as well. At the end of the day, what you want is to maximize your profit. This requires a balance between your advertising budget and the sales your Ads generate. That is why you need to make sure that your Ads are seen by the right shoppers—those most likely to buy your product.

One of the ways to target the right audience for your Ads is by using the right keywords. An example may illustrate this best:

Let’s say your product is a shampoo aimed at women with dyed hair specifically. This is a pretty specific audience, so you create an Ad with the key phrase, “shampoo for women with dyed hair.”

After running the Ad for two weeks, you discover that this keyphrase alone is too narrow to generate enough Impressions: not enough shoppers are seeing your Ads to generate enough sales.

Therefore, you decide to expand your keywords by adding, “soap” and “beauty product” as keywords.

After running the Ad for a further two weeks, you discover you have a different problem: too many people are seeing your Ads—people who are not interested in your product. Impressions are eating up your advertising budget without generating enough sales. Amazon then decides that your Ads are not relevant and refuses to display them, forcing you to terminate them and start over.

When searching for “shampoo with women with dyed hair,” Amazon chooses the ads that they thing is most relevant to users. However, the Pure Biology Sponsored Ad does not have the keywords addressing dyed hair in the title, which in turn, may result in high impressions but low sales.

High Impressions, Low Clicks?

An Ad with a low CTR—i.e. many Impressions but no Clicks—suggests you are targeting the wrong audience: they see your Ad but are not interested in it.

As Amazon prides itself in its customer-centric approach, it penalizes such Ads by lowering their ranking. This requires ever-increasing bids to display your Ad. A campaign like this will only result in you wasting your budget.

Even worse, beyond a certain point, no matter how high your bid is, Amazon will simply refuse to display it. This results in a common complaint among advertisers, as they can’t understand why their Ads fail to generate enough Impressions no matter how high their bid.

Reasons for Low Impressions

A low ranking is one of the main reasons why Amazon will refuse to show your Ad: it is not relevant to your target audience because of poorly targeted keywords. However, there are a number of other possible reasons as well.

Poor Product Page

As mentioned above, Amazon is keen on shoppers having the best possible shopping experience. As part of that effort, it wants to ensure that Ads are relevant to shoppers. It calculates your Ad’s ranking by measuring, among other things, how many shoppers who visit your product page end up making a purchase.

That is why everything on your product page needs to encourage shoppers to buy your product. This includes your keywords. Unless Amazon thinks your product is relevant to certain keywords, it will not display your Ad to shoppers for them. Include your keywords in both the product description and your title.

For example, if your shampoo is called XYZ, name it on Amazon “XYZ shampoo for women with dyed hair.” This will help both shoppers and Amazon know right away what your product is all about.

Here are some other tactics you can utilize to improve your product page:

  • Use sharp, professional photos (clear product images on a white background do best)
  • Pricing your product competitively (duh!)
  • Amazon Prime product listing (products with Prime availability do best)
  • Gaining Amazon badges (e.g. Amazon’s Choice, Best-seller, etc)
  • Accumulating  positive reviews
Nexxus shampoo product page is fully optimized for customers.

Obscure Keywords/Categories

It might also be that your product is so obscure that not enough shoppers are searching for it. This can happen with products that appeal to a limited audience, forcing you to use too specific keywords. You need to use keywords with a higher search volume in order to increase Impressions.

The same can happen when you have placed your product in the wrong subcategory. A mismatch between the product and the subcategory can result in people leaving the product page because they failed to find what they were looking for. This will lower the ranking of any Ad that leads to that page, resulting in few Impressions.

Low Bids/Budget

This is probably the easiest way an Ad can fail—and the simplest one to remedy. If your Ad keeps getting outbid, all you have to do is increase your bid and watch your Impressions take off. However, as pointed out before, you have to always keep an eye on your clicks and sales or you can end up with an underwhelming ACoS.

Insufficient Runtime

Amazon needs to run Ads for some time before it can gather enough data to display. If you have no Impressions yet, it could simply be a case of not having given your Ads enough time. Usually, you need to let an Ad run for at least two weeks before you check your metrics.

However, runtime can also impact an Ad in further ways: Amazon prefers products with an established history for a specific keyword. If you place Ads for new keywords leading to a product with a successful history for another set of keywords, you may have to increase your bid over-proportionally in order to generate your first Impressions and Clicks.

Furthermore, Automatic Campaigns have more of a history, as Amazon uses established keywords for them. That is why manual campaigns often receive no or fewer Impressions than automatic ones.

Finally, if a specific keyword is active within two separate campaigns, Amazon will usually prefer to display the older one, as this has more historical data. To force Amazon to prioritize the new campaign, you need to either pause that older campaign until the new one has collected enough historical data or to add the common terms as negative keywords in your older campaign.

This is made easier by Amazon’s metrics. To further help out advertisers, Amazon is now including monthly data, allowing you to sort sales by date. This improves the available data, as it allows you better testing of your campaigns.

How to Increase Your Impressions on Amazon

If your Ads fail to generate enough Impressions, you can try any of the following. Keep in mind that you also need to keep an eye on your Clicks/CTR and your actual sales to make sure you stay profitable at all times.

Increase your Bid and Budget

There are two different approaches with bids and budget. Most advertisers start their campaigns with a low bid and increase it only slowly. This is considered the safe route, as it ensures that you don’t accidentally overbid for a loss during the first weeks when you are still gathering data about your campaign.

However, riskier advertisers prefer the opposite approach: they use high bids at first, then lower them as they gather more historical data. Starting off with a highly competitive campaign means that you speed up the whole process and get a high number of Impressions right away. However, you need to constantly monitor your Ad to ensure you don’t end up spending your entire monthly advertising budget in a few days.

Optimize Your Product Listing

Find up to five highly relevant so-called seed keywords for your product and put them at the beginning of your title. It is important that this feels natural and not “spammy,” as customers instinctively shy away from “spammy” listings.

For example, “XYZ, the best shampoo in the world” will probably fail to impress visitors, whereas “XYZ shampoo for women with dyed hair” is fine.

You can use the rest of your keywords that are relevant to your product in your product description. You can also add them in your “Search Term” fields available to you when you set up your product page.

Utilize Amazon Ad Types

There are many different ways to target and raise impressions on Amazon — and certain ad types generate more impressions than others. If you have access to all Amazon Advertising products, some of the more popular ad types are Sponsored Products, Headline Search Ads, and Product Display Ads. These work nicely together to maximize your products’ visibility and sales on Amazon.

One trick that advertisers often use is to start an Auto campaign and let Amazon take care of the hard work of choosing the best seed keywords. After letting the campaign run for two weeks, download the Report and see which keywords perform well for your product. Create a Manual campaign and Headline Search Ads using these as your keywords. This will ensure high Impressions with minimal effort.

Sponsored Product Ad
Sponsored Brands Ad
Sponsored Display Ad

Don't Forget...

By constantly monitoring your Impressions you can see at a glance how well your Ads are performing. That said,  Impressions on their own can only tell you so much. You also need to keep an eye on your Clicks, your CTR, your ACoS, and, of course, your sales. Run regular A/B tests to remove underperforming keywords and even Ads.

Does juggling all this sound like a nightmare to you? That’s probably because your job is to create the best possible product. Why not focus on what you do best and let us take care of what we do best?

Need help with your Amazon Ads?