Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one way to get the word out about a company or its products and services. Search engines have been pushing PPC for as long as most of us can remember. Guess what? Amazon is now in the game too. Anyone who sells on Amazon should make a point of becoming familiar with Amazon PPC.

Amazon has a proprietary search engine built into its e-commerce platform. That search engine operates independently of Google, Bing, etc. For users however, functionality is nearly identical. You just enter some keywords and let the search engine find appropriate products. The problem for sellers is competition. The sheer volume alone makes it very difficult to perform well in on-site search engine results.

PPC advertising is one way that sellers can get an edge. By paying for ads, they can increase exposure across the Amazon universe. Amazon makes it possible by selling three different types of ads.

1. Sponsored Product Ads

The entry-level Amazon PPC offering is the Sponsored Product ad. These ads appear in two places on the Amazon site and can be placed on external sites as well. Note that external placement requires use of the Extended Ad Network feature.

On-site, Sponsored Product ads show up on search engines results pages (SERPs). Generally, this means at the bottom of a results page, underneath the organic results. These types of ads are meant to drive customers directly from the SERP to the product page.

Sponsored Product ads also appear on product detail pages. Let’s say you’re selling widgets. A buyer might be looking at a related product on another detail page. If your ad shows up at the bottom of that page, you might be able to drive the customer to your own product page.

2. Sponsored Brand Ads

Next up in the Amazon PPC arena is the Sponsored Brand ad. It is similar to the Sponsored Product ad in that it is displayed on Amazon SERPs. Better yet, it is displayed four times. The first and most prominent display is at the top of the page. This is known as ‘above the fold’ placement.

A Sponsored Brand ad is also placed three more times below the fold. This is to say any three locations within the search results. These ads are intended to drive customers to the seller’s store or a dedicated brand landing page. They are not intended to target specific product detail pages.

3. Product Display Ads

The king of the castle in Amazon PPC is the Product Display ad. Sellers invest in these ads to target buyers who are looking at specific types of products. These buyers know what they want, and they are looking to find the best option. Product Display ads serve the purpose of making sure sellers get every opportunity to consider the advertiser’s products.

Product Display ads generally appear below the ‘Add to Cart’ button on product detail pages. This is done to give buyers a chance to reconsider their decision and, perhaps, take a look at the advertiser’s product. Product Display ads can also appear to the right side and bottom of SERPs.

So how did you do? Were you already familiar with the three types of Amazon PPC ads before you read this post? If not, you might not be achieving the best possible results as an Amazon seller. It might be time for you to partner up with an Amazon SEO specialist to start working on targeted PPC campaigns.

PPC advertising is as important to Amazon sellers as Google PPC is to everyone else. Paying for ads is what generates traffic and sales for new Amazon listings. Without PPC, it is very difficult for sellers to ensure their new listings get attention.