Amazon is to discontinue the running of an advertising option which enabled retailers to pay for traffic driven from the marketplace to their own sites.

Clients reporting to Reuters described Product Ads as a good ‘middle ground’ considering Amazon could advertise sites to its sizeable user base without gaining access to transactional data.

It was a pay-per-click service which played into the hands of companies aware that users will occasionally head to a marketplace like Amazon or eBay for product inspiration before purchasing elsewhere.

In an email to users, Amazon declared that it would be discontinuing Product Ads by October 31 whilst offering Text Ads – thought to be a stripped down version of its predecessor – and selling on Amazon as an alternative.


Product Ads were targeted and based on the user’s Amazon browsing habits. The ads themselves were displayed much like regular Amazon listings – picture, price and shipping option included – and with the tagline ‘Product Ads from External Websites’.

An active description on the Amazon Advertising page lists driving traffic, reaching Amazon shoppers, controlling the purchase experience and acquiring new business as benefits, complete with a case study from home decor retailer Lamps Plus. 

For Amazon, the product had a downside in that ad groups like Google could obtain data on what was driving people to other sites. 

On the flipside, the ads were also one of Amazon’s more return-friendly products, and in a survey from cloud group ChannelAdvisor, 35% of UK and US retailers said it was the marketplace’s best option for generating ROI.

The proposed replacement are Amazon’s Text Ads: a new product which is awaiting a description on the Amazon Advertising page.