top of page

A Guide to Sponsored Display Advertising in 2021

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Full Funnel Advertising

You've probably heard of full funnel advertising. It is the concept of reaching audiences in different stages of the "funnel" or shopping journey, ranging from mildly curious to super interested to ready-to-buy. Amazon has been rolling out several ads types, each designed to perform best for a specific stage of the funnel. Sponsored Display ads have become a vehicle to effectively tap into top of funnel shoppers including new-to-brand audiences. Let's dive into it.


What are Sponsored Display ads?

Available to Brand Registered sellers, Sponsored Display ads have quickly become a popular choice that allow advertisers the ability to target shoppers both on and off Amazon based on Amazon’s priceless 1st party behavioral data.

What targeting options are available with Sponsored Display ads?

Unlike keyword based targeting that you are familiar with, think of Sponsored Display as behavioral targeting.Under the hood you really have 4 different subtypes that can help you reach shoppers that have exhibited certain behaviors.

  • Products: Shoppers who engaged with certain products

  • Categories: Shoppers who engaged with certain categories

  • Amazon Audiences: Shoppers who:

    • Are “in-market” for a certain type of product

    • Have a “lifestyle” that is associated with with certain categories

    • Have exhibited an “interest” in certain activities or topics

    • Have recently have had a “life event” that can be leveraged for certain types of shopping

  • Views Remarketing: Shoppers who have engaged with:

    • Advertised Product (Yours), or

    • Similar Products in the past 30 days

Where do these ads show up?

These ads can show up both ON and OFF Amazon. Amazon knows their shoppers and can place ads on inventory they own on websites across the internet.

On the Amazon platform, SD ads can be quickly located under the buy box or directly under the bullet points on a Product Detail Page. Other typical placements on Amazon include the following placements:

Note that many of the on-channel placements are shared with the DSP (Demand Side Platform).

How are Sponsored Display different from Sponsored Products or Sponsored Brands?

Perhaps the biggest difference is that this ad type does not target user generated queries, rather it targets shopper behavior. This is great because most shoppers are not always expressing their interest in products through direct queries. Often their shopping choices are instinctual or impulse buys triggered by a recommendation or ad suggestion. This technically places Sponsored Display at the top of the shopping funnel, where there is not yet a clear purchase intent. Be prepared for lower conversion rate and hence lower ROAS as shoppers click but may not be prepared to buy right away.

What Remarketing options are available with Sponsored Display?

Within Sponsored Display you have the ability to either retarget or remarket. You can retarget someone who engaged with your ad in the past 30 days but did not buy, through the Views Remarketing subtype. You could also remarket to shoppers that have already purchased from you in the past 12 months via the Purchases subtype (you may not have access to this type yet). According to research, repeat buyers are 9 times more likely to buy from you than from a new or unknown brand.

When should I use Amazon Audiences?

Audience remarketing is great for developing top-of-funnel or new to brand audiences that may not immediately be ready for a purchase but could be pushed into the consideration phase through the Views remarketing ad type and then further down with Purchases sub type.

Used in combination, these three sub types can be a powerful combination that spins up a flywheel of Awareness -> Consideration->Purchases.

Is it better to use Product Targeting or Category Targeting?

While Category Targeting has broad targeting that can bring in a lot of impressions, Product Targeting is more tightly targeted at specific ASINs. Used in combination they can help you get reach, by closely latching on to and "following" all the products in a category, while at the same time help you steal some really targeted customer conversions.

Don’t be afraid to target neighboring categories or subcategories for the widest reach. You can go after the exact same ASINs or Categories that you already target with Sponsored Products or Sponsored Brands.

How are Sponsored Display ads different from DSP?

DSP (Demand Side Platform) is a programmatic media buying mechanism that is charged based on an impression based (CMP) model. These ads can get expensive and out of reach for most Amazon sellers who are focussed more on performance based marketing with tight ROAS targets. But now, through sponsored Display we have access to a lot of the Audiences (nearly 3000) that were only available to DSP users. This is an amazing opportunity to access and target upper funnel audiences at CPC rates.

  • The two definitely have some differences. Here are a few:

  • DSP allows much more granular control of audience targeting with And, Or, and Not logic

  • CPM vs CPC pricing

  • Day parting available on DSP, not on SD

  • Placement viewability controls on DSP

  • Geographic targeting

  • Blacklisting/Whitelisting of websites and apps on DSP

Is it better to use DSP or Sponsored Display?

Since SD ads are CPC based, if you have tight ROAS goals, then we recommend that you go for Sponsored Display first. Include DSP in the mix only if you have fully utilized and maxed out all your Sponsored Ads options.

DSP is great for OTT (TV) ads, off-channel video ads or even Twitch ads that can help with your Awareness building campaigns to win new audiences. Definitely use DSP in combination with SD if you have a dual focus on NTB (New to Brand) and ROAS. An agency like PPC Ninja can help you run DSP ads without any minimum spend commitments.

Display Ad Types Mapped on to the Funnel

If there is one ad type that can touch both top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel advertising, it is Sponsored Display. Here's how we mapped them on the funnel.

Does PPC Ninja support Sponsored Display Ads?

Yes! As of June 2021, PPC Ninja fully supports Sponsored Display Ads reporting. Use our tool to slice and dice your Sponsored Display performance data, analyze audiences to learn which ones delivered the best performance. Do all this while entirely skipping the painful step of downloading archaic csv files from Amazon. All your data is synced automatically!

Here is a complete Ad type coverage for PPC Ninja software as on June 2021:

Contact Us

To learn more about our full funnel approach and how Sponsored Display fits in with your overall Amazon strategy reach out to our Amazon accredited ad experts at We are more than happy to help!

Signup for a 14 Day Free trial:

Did this post spark your curiosity or trigger a question? Comment below or email us at We'd love to hear from you!

Amazon PPC can be complex, but once you master it, you are going to have fun! PPC Ninja is now offering a FREE 4-week PPC Mastermind to all Amazon sellers. If your monthly ad sales are above 500 USD, we invite you to join us on this 4-week deep dive into Amazon PPC. Click here for details.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page