Amazon will no longer show product ads at the bottom of search results that lead to third-party retail sites starting this November.
Amazon will continue offering other advertising options going forward, like their sponsored ads program, which promotes products for sales that are sold on Amazon. The changes were confirmed by an Amazon spokesperson to Reuters.
“At Amazon we are constantly reviewing the services we offer partners to help them best reach our customer base and grow their businesses,” the spokesperson said.
The changes are taking some off guard, especially retailers that found the program valuable. Lamps Plus, a retailer who used the program and was featured in an Amazon case study, said the program increased sales by more than 80 percent.
Amazon offered a cost per click advertising model, and in its original messaging to customers, claimed that the links were in an effort “to provide you with greater product selection and more price information in one place. “We want Amazon.com to be the place you think of to find, discover, and buy anything online,” it said in a pop-up explaining the external links.
In the place of product ads, Amazon told advertisers it was kicking off something called “Amazon Text Ads,” which will still enable you to drive traffic to your website through a pay per click model. Presumably, the only difference is that it will no longer feature a photo of the product.
In the above picture, for example, Amazon is offering a variety of ads for spoon rests on a page displaying baby spoons. While the products don’t directly apply to the search being conducted, the fifth product — a John Deere children’s table set — is more relevant. In the future, those ads could potentially consist only of a blue link.
In a Wall Street Journal story, it offers one potential explanation for Amazon’s sudden decision: Google. It said Google has been able to glean valuable information by participating in the advertising program. It is not clear if Google would be able to participate in the new Text Ads program.
Amazon does not break out its advertising sales in its financial results, however, it’s presumed by many to be a significant and growing business as it experiments with other forms of advertising. Amazon’s overall advertising business is estimated to total $1.26 billion this year worldwide and grow to $1.83 billion by 2018, according to eMarketer, which tracks online advertising.