The Ultimate Amazon Headline Search Ads Primer

The road to becoming successful and then maintaining that success as an Amazon seller is paved by creating an ever-expanding arsenal of tools, resources and strategies that build awareness for your brand, the uniqueness of the products you offer and clearly communicates the benefits they will convey once purchased.

Whether you are trying to gain an initial foothold in a niche, or have an established business that you are priming to explode to dominance (leaving competitors in your rear view), Amazon Headline Search Ads are an ideal and powerful tool for realizing these objectives, as well as other intermediate goals.

The goal with Amazon Headline Search Ads is to create a seamless and quick way to direct prospective shoppers to the products they are looking for.

An effective HSA compels a prospective shopper to click on the ad because the message of the ad aligns perfectly with the product they are searching for.

What Are Amazon Headline Search Ads?

Magnifying Glass

Headline Search Ads are located at the very top of the search result page, (standing out from the rest of the search results listed), stretching across the entire page, with only one HSA per search result page.

Headline Search Ads are:

  1. targeted by keyword, and operate on a cost-per-click basis
  2. visible at the top of the customer search results page, whether the customer is shopping from a desktop, tablet, phone, or other mobile device
  3. versatile – multiple ASINs (up to three) can be shown in each banner ad and headlines can be customized and the ad linked to a custom landing page

Amazon Headline Search Ads Tips

HSA feature a brand logo or custom image, a custom message with up to 50 characters, and three distinct products. If a prospective shopper clicks on any of the three products featured in the ad, they will be sent to the detail page for that specific product.

Also, if the prospective shopper clicks on the brand logo or headline in the ad, they will be sent to a search results page that includes products that the seller has chosen to feature.

Headline Search Ads are ideal for a group of products in similar categories (products that can be grouped in the same keywords, for example), that are in a highly competitive niche, or that may need a boost in search.

Headline Search Ads can be run through both AMS and Seller Central. Currently, Seller Central provides more information about how ads are performing, giving a more comprehensive level of data (sellers can know how their HSA did the previous month versus ‘month to date’, for example).

Strategically, this type of advertising can be very efficient. Because HSA’s format allows multiple products to be featured, Amazon sellers can group their products according to shared business objectives. An example of this would be to create an HSA designed to feature products for which you are trying to grow sales, while another one is used specifically for improving the visibility of your brand across certain targeted categories.

Who’s Eligible to Use Headline Search Ads?

  1. You must have an active professional seller account and be enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry.
  2. You must be able to ship to all US addresses.
  3. The products advertised with Sponsored Products must be eligible for the Buy Box. If you create an ad for a product listing that is not eligible for the Buy Box, your ad will not display to Amazon shoppers.*

* Ads that are not eligible are flagged in Campaign Manager under the Advertising tab in Seller Central.

NOTE: HSA’s are shown to prospective shoppers regardless of who is winning the Buy Box

Eligible Product Categories (US)

Product listings must be new and fall into one or more of the following available categories:

Apparel
Appliances
Arts, Crafts & Sewing
Automotive Parts & Accessories
Baby
Batteries
Beauty
Camera
Cell Phones & Accessories
Clothing & Accessories
Collectible Coins
Collectibles
Computers
Electronics
Entertainment
Fine Art
Furniture
Grocery & Gourmet Food
Handmade
Health & Personal Care
Home & Kitchen
Industrial & Scientific
Jewelry Software
Luggage
Movies & TV
Music
Musical Instruments
Office Products
Outdoors
Patio, Lawn & Garden
Pet Supplies
Shoes
Sports
Tools & Home Improvement
Toys & Games
Video Games
Watches



NOTE: Adult products, used products and refurbished products are not eligible for HSA.

Upon confirmation that Headline Search Ads are available for your Amazon business, you’ll want to put together all of the pieces that will build your HSA campaign:

  • A clearly defined business goal for your HSA
  • A clearly defined daily or lifetime budget for your ad
  • An understanding of which prospective shoppers you plan on targeting,
  • Make a list of the search keywords that they are most likely to use
  • A custom ad message that promotes your brand
  • A 400×400 pixel brand logo to include in your ad

What Are The Steps for Building a Headline Search Ad?

In Seller Central:

  1. 1. Click on Campaign Manager
  2. 2. Click Headline Search Ads
  3. 3. Click Create Campaign

Amazon has a stock template that’s loaded for sellers to utilize. This means that aside from products images, selection and keywords, sellers won’t have much flexibility when creating the ad.

There is no automatic targeting here, so you need to come up with your own search terms (PPC Entourage is ideal for this), and test them in practice.

  1. 4. The last step is to choose the duration and daily budget.

Follow these steps to create effective, revenue generating HSA campaigns.

  1. Target keywords that are proven winners found in match type expansion (using average bid prices)
  2. look at the results from any Sponsored Products campaigns that you’ve run to identify which keywords have the highest conversion rates for the products you are featuring in your HSA
  3. use the Search Term Expansion module and find all the search terms that have done well for your product
  4. use those search terms in a broad match headline campaign (much lower bid price)
  5. use the right language in headlines (choose ad verbiage that clearly aligns with the keywords you have targeted)
  6. always keep in mind the natural language prospective shoppers use to search for your product(s)
  7. if you know what your number one value proposition is, write effective ad copy that points out that value proposition
  8. use phrases that drive customer action (like “Save now” or “Buy now”)
  9. use a custom ad message that promotes your brand
  10. customize the ad creative (invest time in testing these different components:
    1. custom ad headline and image
    2. order, number, and mix of ASINs in the ad
  11. A/B split test (investing time in testing your HSA ad can have a high impact on your advertising success)

Additional points to keep in mind:

  • Headline Search ads don’t use negative keywords. They lack this refinement found in Sponsored Products ads.
  • Start with small bids to check which keywords perform well.
  • The highest traffic keywords will have the highest bids, so selecting keywords that are more niche with lower traffic can be a good strategy for getting lower bid prices.
  • Bid competitively, (increase your bid to help win more impressions).
  • Monitor performance and adjust.
  • The reporting for Headline Search ads is primarily focused on impressions.
  • When you enter keywords for your HSA, you’ll see a list of suggested keywords pop up. Next to each one is an indicator of how much traffic it gets (high/medium/low) based on expected impression volume and the relevance of the ASINs in your campaign.
  • Relevancy is a vital component for creating a successful Headline Search Ad. If you sell cat products, this isn’t the platform for converting people looking to buy personal grooming products like hair gel. Optimize your HSA’s by creating tight ad groups that don’t allow for any ambiguity.
  • Promote your unique value proposition. Prospective shoppers should know exactly how/why your product is different (and better) than the other options available.

Testing Your Headline Search Ads

The ad creative process for Headline Search Ads is customizable. Test as many different variables to identify the most successful formula including:

  • headlines and images
  • the three products featured in your ad
  • the ASIN order
  • the product mix and overall experience of your custom landing page

To test any component of your ad, always set up several campaigns to run simultaneously, while only changing a single variable within each so that you can clearly identify which option produces the best results.

No Yes Maybe

Example #1 – a sunglasses brand conducted a HSA test (branded versus non-branded headlines), in which they ran a headline campaign that offered “sunglasses” versus [BRAND NAME] Sunglasses.

Including their brand name in the headline could conceivably double or even triple the click-through rate, because with a product such as sunglasses, shoppers are often looking for known brands (and hopefully, shoppers were searching for their particular brand).

Example #2 – another component of a HSA that could be tested involves creating headline campaigns that test using a brand logo versus a product image.

An Amazon seller may find that ads where only the brand logo is used may experience a relatively low volume of sales and traffic, despite a high budgeted ad spend.

On the other hand, when a product image is used, it may produce a higher volume of traffic and more engaged customers, resulting in more sales from a lower overall ad spend.

No matter what testing strategy you decide upon, always be sure to give your test sufficient time to collect meaningful data. (Amazon suggests a minimum of two weeks to determine the effectiveness of any tweaks before making additional changes).

Once you are finished creating your HSA, Amazon will review it to make sure it meets their standards and upholds the type of customer shopping experience they want to maintain.

To improve your chances for a quick approval, make sure your headline is unique, relevant, and matches the most important keywords for your featured products, as well as check for proper punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.

You will receive an email once your ad is approved, or if any changes need to be made. The moderation process can take up to 72 hours.

Monitor Your HSA’s Metrics

Monitor Your Campaigns

After your Headline Search Ads are running, you should keep an eye on key performance metrics to help identify any areas for improvement. Monitor these important metrics:

Impressions – the number of times your HSA was viewed by a shopper (If your impressions are lower than you’d like, try increasing your keyword bids).

Clicks – the number of clicks your HSA received (You want to see a high click rate compared to the number of total impressions). If your click rate is low, consider changing the keywords associated with your HSA and/or adjust the ad messaging or images to better align with the keywords you’ve chosen.

ACoS – the percentage of brand sales spent on advertising (A low ACoS means you are spending a low percentage of sales on advertising). If this percentage is high, you are probably having a lot of clicks that don’t convert into sales. You may need to a) choose more narrowly targeted keywords, or b) improve your individual product listings to be more compelling.

Knowing the benefits of Headline Search Ads and how to optimize them to your advantage can help any qualified Amazon seller to increase sales and grow their business.

After your Headline Search Ads are running, you should keep an eye on key performance metrics to help identify any areas for improvement. Monitor these important metrics:

Impressions – the number of times your HSA was viewed by a shopper (If your impressions are lower than you’d like, try increasing your keyword bids).

Clicks – the number of clicks your HSA received (You want to see a high click rate compared to the number of total impressions). If your click rate is low, consider changing the keywords associated with your HSA and/or adjust the ad messaging or images to better align with the keywords you’ve chosen.

ACoS – the percentage of brand sales spent on advertising (A low ACoS means you are spending a low percentage of sales on advertising). If this percentage is high, you are probably having a lot of clicks that don’t convert into sales. You may need to a) choose more narrowly targeted keywords, or b) improve your individual product listings to be more compelling.

Knowing the benefits of Headline Search Ads and how to optimize them to your advantage can help any qualified Amazon seller to increase sales and grow their business.

Are you ready to create some Headline Search Ad campaigns?

If you are currently qualified for (or will be in the future) to use HSA in your Amazon business, the team at PPC Entourage has created an awesome tool to help you to create any number of high performance ads…

Entourage Spotlight Headline Creator is your FREE personal swipe file that will help you to quickly create powerful headlines that attract more customers with less effort.