Can Ratings and Reviews Affect Amazon Sponsored Products Placement?

A Look at Amazon Sponsored Products

Amazon is notoriously secretive about changes to their platform and there is often speculation surrounding their strategy. They also love to experiment and, this past week, there were quite a few different ad formats running on the search results page (SERP) in the form of sponsored product banners.  Some of the formats have been seen before, though not consistently. It also appears that some of the new banner ads align with additional Amazon endeavors.

4 Star and Above Rating Banner

The first one we want to point out is “4 stars and above” sponsored products banner. This isn’t necessarily a new banner, but it’s not a consistently present banner.  Amazon recently announced it was expanding its 4 Stars and Above brick and mortar store concept into additional cities. Is this an example of what can be found at the latest 4 Star and Above store?

This is a great example of how ratings and reviews can affect your product’s performance in search results. Brands who want to be featured in this type of ad need to stay abreast of what consumers are saying about their product and maintain a 4-star or above rating.  4 star and above Amazon

Editorial Recommendations Banner

We have also seen an uptick in the “Editorial Recommendations” banner in search results across categories. There is some speculation that consumer confidence in the Amazon’s Choice badge is falling, due to the badge being awarded to some faulty products. The editorial recommendation is a link to a blog post that provides an in-depth user review and endorsement of the product, which can help boost consumer confidence.  Others speculate that this program is an extension of Amazon’s already established Amazon Vine program or its newer “Influencer Program,” which pays people with significant social media followings to highlight and link back to products and services on Amazon. Yet again, this is an example of how product reviews of any kind influence purchase decisions – from a verified purchase to a vine review to an influencer or blogger review.Amazon Editorial reviews

Amazon Brands

And finally, Amazon, who recently came under scrutiny regarding how they advertise their own products, has introduced some new product banners featuring Amazon brands. What changes have been made? First, it clearly states these are Amazon brands. Second, they no longer appear as organic search items above the sponsored products in the SERP. Will this help even the playing field for brands competing for the digital shelf against Amazon products?

Amazon Brands

Amazon Top Brands Badge

Amazon has also been experimenting with a new badge this week, the Top Brands badge. As of this posting, it has only been seen on searches for products in Amazon Fashion. Amazon has not commented on this new badge but some are concerned with how the feature might effect lesser-known brands.  Others are speculating that it may be a test to edge out the Amazon's Choice Badge. Amazon Top Brands Banner

Stay on Top of Reviews

For brands that invest ad dollars on Amazon, we do know that ratings and reviews can influence more than customer perception. They help boost search rank and now, provide additional sponsored product banner placements. So how does a brand stay on top of product reviews and maintain high ratings? Our recommendations:

  1. Use a review tracking tool, like Reviewbox, to receive alerts when new reviews are left.
  2. Keeping consumer engagement up by responding to all reviews is ideal but can be unrealistic. Respond to the lowest rated reviews first.
  3. Amazon has strict rules regarding review solicitation. Try these tactics to get honest consumer reviews.

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