Amazon’s results are filled with ads: Spanish merchants explain that it is increasingly difficult to sell by organic positioning
Amazon is filling up with ads. When searching for any product, the amount of sponsored content that appears in the results compared to organic is increasing and, in addition, it occupies more and more space at the top of the page, both in the web version and in the mobile application, according to an advance by CNBC, several sources from the Spanish ecommerce sector have confirmed to Xataka and have been able to verify this medium .
Ads on Amazon are not new. Merchants who sell their products on the e-commerce giant have been able to use this method for many years to better position their items, but never before have the platform’s search results been so full of sponsored posts like now.
The number of ads varies by product, but generally On the web version of Amazon, the percentage of sponsored content that appears on the first page of results is around 30%, while in the app it is between 35 and 50%, as Xataka has been able to verify when searching for different electronic items, consumer goods and household appliances. In addition, at least the first five positions on the web, and the first two in the application, are always reserved for advertising.
“Amazon increasingly puts more payment results at the top, and each time you have to scroll more, especially on mobile, to reach organic. We started selling a lot by doing what the platform indicated to us to position our articles: quality products, competitive prices, deliveries in 24 hours throughout Spain and positive reviews. But little by little that organic positioning has dropped, and every time we see more expensive products with a worse valuation above us. Touch pay”Says José Antonio Aparisi, manager of the energy equipment company Masvoltios.
And that of Aparisi is not an isolated case, several merchants and ecommerce consultants point to the same problem: it is increasingly difficult to sell on Amazon without paying for advertising. “For us directly it is impossible, if we don’t pay, we don’t sell. Whenever we think of launching a new campaign for a product, we put in a significant budget to pay for sponsorship on Amazon ”, explains Israel Casado, head of GoodBuy Markets, a company that markets different products in the e-commerce giant.
As a result of this, marketers who do not have the possibility to spend thousands of euros a month on advertising are increasingly occupying a more marginal position in search results and, consequently, your transactions through the platform founded by Jeff Bezos are lower. Something that is especially worrying because Amazon is, by far, the main marketplace in Spain, so selling less in this electronic commerce can have a devastating impact on small and medium-sized retailers.
And Amazon, aware of this advantage, takes advantage of its dominance position to obtain huge profits also from advertising. “It is normal for Amazon to do it, since it is extremely profitable. The only investment you need to maintain it is technology and support staff, because the sponsorship service is 100% managed by the merchant himself, there is no Amazon team creating the campaigns. Almost everything is profit and it is an income leg that can be easily scaled ”, explains Jordi Ordoñez, ecommerce consultant.
In addition, several of the sources consulted by Engadget assure that bids and costs are getting higher, especially around major trade events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas.
“U.S At the beginning we did not spend anything on advertising, and in just two years we already have to invest about 3,000 euros per month. It is something unsustainable, because in addition the sale prices are increasingly lower and the margins do not give. You only get profitability based on greatly increasing sales and high spending on advertising, ”says Aparisi.
Amazon throws the stone and hides the hand
From Amazon they do not respond directly to Engadget about the increase in sponsored products in their search results, but a spokesperson for the e-commerce giant assures that there are no previously assigned advertising spaces, but several, one or none can be shown depending on what their algorithms consider which is best for the customer. A criterion that varies depending on the search, the product or the device from which it is being purchased.
“Like all retailers, we designed our store to help customers easily find and discover the right brands and products, and sponsored ads are one of the many ways we do that. In all cases, the experience that is most useful for the client and the relevance of the results shown are taken into account., regardless of how they are presented to the buyer, “they point out from Amazon.
The reality, however, seems quite different. All the sources consulted by this means ensure that ads always appear, and the research carried out by Xataka with various products in the Amazon marketplace itself confirms these statements: In all searches on the web there are at least two horizontal rows at the top of sponsored products before any organically positioned article is displayed. And in the mobile version the first two spaces are also reserved for advertising.
“What was previously number one in organic rankings is now in sixth position, behind five ads. And in the United States, up to nine advertising positions have been seen before the first organic result. It is similar to what has happened with Google and the ads in the search engine ”, explains Ordóñez.
In this sense, there are several sources that point out that it is not something that only Amazon is doing, other marketplaces such as PcComponentes or Aliexpress are also beginning to increase their advertising spaces and to promote, more and more, that content is promoted to sell. But the position of dominance of those of Jeff Bezos gives them much more power of pressure.
And, according to El Economista published in September 2020, Amazon accounts for 15% of all e-commerce in Spain. Its immediate competitor, Aliexpress, only has a market share of 4.4%, and the third in contention, El Corte Inglés, is around 2%.
“In the short term there is no choice but to payIn the middle, we are trying to diversify and reduce our dependence on Amazon, although it is difficult because of the power they have. We are starting sales on Mano a Mano and on Aliexpress, where advertising is still optional and commissions are the same, but the process is slow and sales are lower. We have also made a strong bet on promoting and positioning our own electronic commerce ”, says Aparisi.
In addition to the sources cited throughout the article, Xataka has consulted other Amazon sellers who have ratified the aforementioned data, but have not wanted to be mentioned in the article.