How to Use Amazon Editorial Recommendations to Build Your Brand

Amazon knows its customers are more likely to buy a product recommended by an authoritative source. This is apparent in its “frequently purchased together” and “suggested for you” lists; in fact, Amazon SEO (search engine optimization) credits 35% of its sales to this strategic power of suggestion. Now, the platform has introduced another on-page element for suggestions: Amazon editorial recommendations (ER).

Overall, the editorial recommendations program can:

  • Increase sales;
  • Boost a brand’s click-through and conversion rates;
  • Increase product listing rank;
  • Instill trust in consumers.

For these reasons, brands should take advantage of this novel advertising strategy.

Who Benefits from Amazon Editorial Recommendations?

Editorial recommendations, part of Amazon’s Onsite Associates Program, presents Amazon sellers with an opportunity to land their products on the first page of the search results. It also provides another option for sellers who don’t use Amazon FBA and would otherwise have a harder time qualifying for an Amazon’s Choice badge or Prime.

The program is also an excellent option for brands that have trouble paying for boosted product ads. It isn’t only seller central and Amazon itself that benefit from the program:

  • Content creators get space on the Amazon platform, driving precious traffic back to a third-party site.
  • Authoritative news sites and blogs can improve their conversion rate and click-through by appearing next to a product listing.

Customers benefit from the program as well since it brings essential information to light for buyer consideration. According to a consumer study, a staggering 68% of Amazon shoppers already “window shop” on Amazon; the Onsite Associates Program ensures that browsing customers don’t have to leave Amazon to learn which product listing is best suited for their specific needs.

What Is Amazon’s Onsite Associates Program?

The Onsite Associates Program is an affiliate program that invites third-party content creators, or publishers, onto the Amazon space. Publishers that have appeared in Amazon’s editorial recommendations box include Wirecutter, BestReviews and Reviewed. These publishers will write a “best in category” or review article featuring several product listings sold on Amazon. Amazon will then syndicate that article onto its search engine results page (SERP) in an editorial recommendations banner.

This banner appears on the first SERP, much like the Amazon’s Choice box. It displays the product listing, showcasing each item’s photos, price and rating, and the prominence of the third-party written content that makes this banner unique.

The banner also displays:

  • The publisher’s name and the article’s title make it clear to customers that this review is coming from a third-party entity.
  • A snippet copied from the publisher’s content introduces the article’s topic and features a link back to the third-party website so users can read the full article.
  • The relevant text, typically rich in search terms, extracted from the article for context

Amazon does not have any say in which products are featured in the editorial recommendations banner. This is to maintain objectivity and to build a trusted reputation among its customers. Although these banners look similar to typical product ads, consumers can be sure that brands achieved this placement by having great products.

Amazon’s algorithm does, however, determine how frequently an article with sponsored products is displayed. This depends on the keywords it targets, how customers search and how many competing editorial articles in the same categories exist.

Why Did Amazon Launch Editorial Recommendations?

Some publishers may worry that eventually, customers could get their information exclusively from the Amazon platform. However, one thing to keep in mind is that while the editorial recommendations banner is intended to keep users on Amazon, it still links to the publisher’s website.

More importantly, the objective, editorial nature of the banners reminds customers that there are experts on third-party platforms whose opinions and knowledge matter to the purchasing process.

This point is a significant reason why Amazon launched its editorial recommendations program in the first place. It needed to counter the problem of false or misleading user reviews, and it did so by promoting sources that demonstrated authority and specialization.

Buyers can know that they are purchasing sponsored products that have been vetted by subject matter specialists, thus conferring trust not only to Amazon but also to the brands selling the sponsored products.

The banner is also an answer to public disapproval of the mysterious Amazon’s Choice badge, which has been scrutinized for occasionally promoting dubious sponsored products.

The Amazon’s Choice badge is awarded algorithmically to sponsored products:

  • With many good ratings and reviews
  • That are sold at some optimal price
  • That are in stock

Amazon does not have to test or review the sponsored products themselves. Thus, this badge implies that a product is high-quality and reliable, even when Amazon makes no claims about its integrity.

Editorial recommendations, therefore, make space for informed publishers to communicate directly with purchasers. By offering a list of third-party recommended products, similarly to its line of Amazon’s Choice products, Amazon can reinstill trust in its users while promoting real reviews from publishers. Ultimately, Amazon and its publishers can contribute to a dependable, positive customer experience through the Onsite Associates Program.

What Are the Benefits of Amazon’s Onsite Associates Program?

The editorial recommendations banner isn’t just a visual element to diversify the user experience. Publishers, seller central, curious customers and Amazon itself all receive some benefit from this affiliate program.

Publishers have their article positioned firmly on Amazon’s first SERP. This brings them clicks and engagement while offering a reliable piece of editorial content on the Amazon platform. Amazon will also pay publishers a commission when a customer adds the sponsored products from the editorial recommendations to their cart. Some publishers have reported commission earnings in the six-figure range.

At the same time, sellers see great returns, as outlined below:

  • The sponsored products receive more impressions by appearing in these banners, meaning higher sales for Amazon sellers.
  • Some featured items see a boost of 10 to 50%, thanks to the editorial recommendations banner’s visual prominence.
  • As a result of this surge in profit, brands can cut down on pay-per-click (PPC) product ads spend and limit their investment in any other advertising strategy.
  • Brands that appear on these banners uphold a sense of trustworthiness. Shoppers will see a brand listed in a “best of” list from a third-party source and subsequently associate the product ads with reliability and quality. This human impact goes a long way towards building a reputable brand.

Finally, customers receive the benefit of informative, authoritative guidance without having to leave the Amazon platform. This consequence is excellent for the online retailer as it increases Amazon sales and ensures users continue to interact on its site. In fact, in 2018, more product searches began on Amazon than on Google. By capitalizing on this trend, Amazon has improved its shopping experience, reminding customers it possesses valuable product information as a retailer.

How Can Brands Get Featured in an Editorial Recommendation?

Brands looking to be featured in an editorial recommendations banner should contact a professional PR agency. The brand will then pay a fee, determined by the publisher, to have their product ads featured in a blog. In addition to the upfront placement fee, there are monthly fees to maintain the article and monitor its performance. In this way, the editorial recommendations feature operates much like a traditional advertising strategy.

Generally, brands and publishers will work together to target a few specific keywords for which the sponsored products will be indexed. These keywords should demonstrate basic Amazon SEO practices and be highly relevant to the intended products.

Once the blog is written, the publishers send it off to Amazon, where it will be shown in rotation with other articles as customers enter keyword-specific search terms. On average, an editorial recommendation for an Amazon seller’s product will be displayed about 25% of the time through Amazon SEO.

While this process is relatively hands-off for brands, it’s essential to consider the Onsite Associates Program’s reputation. Well-known publishers that report authoritative content maintain Amazon’s prominence as a user-focused platform. Note that the publishers, not Amazon itself, choose which products to write about.

Who Should Use Amazon’s Editorial Recommendations?

The editorial recommendations program offers benefits for virtually any seller with a range of high-quality, high-performing products. While the program is undoubtedly appealing to any entrepreneur, most authoritative publishers denote a specific selection process for interested brands; after all, an editorial recommendation about a low-selling, low-quality product wouldn’t hold nearly the same authority.

For a sponsored product to be picked up by a publisher, it should meet these general requirements:

  • Have at least 100 reviews
  • Have a minimum 4-star rating
  • Fall into the top 20% of the Best Seller Ranking for its category
  • Earn at least $30,000 in monthly sales

Furthermore, editorial recommendations will not feature sponsored products that make medical claims for liability reasons. Additionally, publishers won’t write about products that are out of stock. There’s no point in writing content for something customers cannot buy. Out-of-stock products harm the user experience, likely resulting in penalties on the seller’s account and an unfavorable opinion of Amazon’s platform.

Simultaneously, while brands must meet various publishers’ criteria, they should also maintain selectivity themselves when deciding which publishing agency to work with.

  1. Sellers should appraise a publisher’s initial and long-term costs; this will likely determine the extent of the working relationship.
  2. Brands should go to the trouble of looking at each potential publisher’s portfolio of previous content. It’s essential to get a sense of which publishers appear most frequently on Amazon, produce the best content and deliver the best conversion.
  3. Sellers should also look at publishers from their customer’s perspective to consider which writes the most compelling, best-organized blogs.
  4. Brands should examine the breadth of services a publisher offers. Some editorial agencies can work with a brand to navigate PPC; others offer press release material to supplement editorial content intended for Amazon.

Sellers should select a publisher that meets their exact needs while providing the highest potential for brand growth in other ways.

To recap, sellers should extensively research available publishers and select one based on which:

  • Has a fair, consistent and transparent pricing model with no surprise fees
  • Has proven to land client brands on the first Amazon SERP
  • Has the ability to analyze conversion
  • Employs a suite of the high-quality, professional writing staff
  • Demonstrates experience writing content in the brand’s industry or field
  • Integrates organically into the brand’s niche customer market
  • Demonstrates a respected, authoritative position among the editorial landscape
  • Offers a range of follow-up services

While there are several considerations for publishers and brands, the proven value of the editorial recommendations program substantiates the necessary effort.

Amazon Editorial Recommendations: Putting It All Together

Whether your goal is to boost sales or build up your brand’s image, consider taking advantage of Amazon’s Onsite Associates Program. This program merges the authority of editorial content with the convenience of Amazon sales.

To learn more about Amazon Editorial Recommendations, visit today.


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