Amazon Ads Targeting options – The Ultimate Targeting Guide

Amazon’s sponsored ads have a vast range of targeting options to reach prospective customers on the Amazon marketplace. Selecting the most suited targeting options helps you to achieve your campaign objectives.

This article introduces you to both automatic and manual targeting options. 

 Sponsored Product campaigns have options for manual or automatic targeting. n controls, Keyword targeting is available for both Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products. Manually targeting by ASIN (Amazon SKU) or category are available options.. 

Automatic targeting is a especially useful for new advertisers or when promoting a new product category.  Thereafter manual targeting to bid more competitively and increase control over spend.

Automatic Targeting Options

Automatic targeting settings are configured to allow Amazon to match your ads with keywords, as well as products which are similar to the product in your advert. Keyword and product matches are based on shopping searches related to your product information. 

Advert targeting is done using keyword and products, with defaults settings adjusted to meet specific advertising goals.:

  • When launching a new product in a different category
  • To expand reach beyond the current targeting.
  • Automatic targeting is only available for Sponsored Products (not Sponsored Brands).

Automatic Targeting has 4 targeting options to refine how your ads are targeted to search terms and products:

  • Close match: Show your ad for search terms very closely related to your products
  • Loose match: Show adverts for search terms loosely related to your products. 
  • Substitutes:  Show your ads to people who view products detail pages similar to yours. 
  • Compliments: Show your ads to people who view products detail pages that complement your products.

Manual Targeting Options

When you know what keywords your customers use to search, manual targeting can work better than automatic, at least for your best keywords. Manual product targeting for Sponsored Products is targeting by ASIN or product category. 

Manual Targeting Details

Manual targeting lets you choose your own keywords (and/or Amazon’s suggested keywords), ASINs, or categories to target. When targeting by category, you can further refine by price, brand, and star rating

Manual targeting lets you set individual bid for each keyword, ASIN, or category. 

Sellers can use both keyword and ASIN or category targeting in the same campaign, but not in the same ad group. Vendors can only use one targeting type per campaign.

When Manual Targeting Works Best

  • Known list of keywords
  • Known list of product categories
  • Known price point, brand, or customer review rating
  • Known goal or/and budget 
  • Individual optimisation for targets that are generating clicks and sales from automatic campaigns (Sponsored Products only)
  • Keyword targeting is available for both Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. ASIN and category targeting is available for Sponsored Products.

Keyword Targeting & Match Type

Match type is refinement of keywords targeting to be wider or narrower depending on your advertising goals. The broader the match type, the wider the reach of search terms. The narrower, or more restrictive, the match type, the more specific your ad will match the search term. Most keyword match types are only available to manual targeting for both Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Product campaigns. Negative matching is available to sellers using Sponsored Products campaigns.

Keyword Rules

Close Variations:  Plural or singular. Ex: “Bikes” is a close variation of “bike.”

Misspellings:  Common misspellings of brands/products should also be added as keywords. Why? Misspellings are not considered for. Ex: If a customer enters “tenis ” in the search bar, an ad that is only associated with “tennis” will not serve.

Ignored Words: The following words are ignored: “the,” “of,” “when,” “and,” “if.”

Match Type Options

As with Google Ads and Microsoft Ads, Amazon Ads has keyword match type to refine targeting. 

Broad Match

  • A search term must contain all the keyword terms, or close variations. (Similar to Google Ads modified broad match). 
  • The words can be in any order, as well as contain additional words.
  • Broad match will reach ar larger audience since it is not restrictive.
  • Most suited for new campaigns and/or when you don’t know specific searches your target market would use. 

Phrase Match

  • With phrase match, the search term must be in the same order as keyword term, as well as contain the exact phrase, or close variations.
  • The search term may contain words before or after keyword term phrase.
  • Phrase match reaches a smaller audience than broad match, while targeting more specific searches.
  • Most useful when you are more confident that you know what your customer is searching for. 

Exact Match

  • The search term needs to be in the same order and cannot contain additional words.
  • Exact match will show ads for specific searches only
  • Most suited when you are absolutely certain what customers are searching for. These are your best keywords. 

Negative Keyword Match Type (Sponsored Products only)

Negative keywords reduce costs by making sure you only advertise for the most relevant searches and you’re not wasting money on irrelevant  click traffic.

  • Negative match types are available for Sponsored Products.
  • Negative match types are searches for the exact match type or phrase match. 
  • Negative phrase match is less restrictive by allowing additional words before and/or after. 
  • Negative exact match is more targeted – by blocking the exact search entered into Amazon.
  • Sponsored brands does not have Negative phrase or negative exact match types

How to select Keywords on the Amazon Marketplace

You can input your own keywords such as those from Google Ads, or you can use Amazon’s suggested keywords. The suggested keywords are generated from customer search queries that result in driving traffic to the ASINs in your campaign on Amazon. Suggested keywords are automatically set to broad match and cannot be changed. The advertising console, bulk operations upload and API can be used to input keywords.

Product Targeting

Product targeting is just available to Sponsored Products only. This targeting option provides more control when your ads appear on product detail pages and search results.

Product targeting for manual campaigns targets individual products or product categories. This helps shoppers find your product when when searching products on Amazon or browsing detail pages and categories, 

Targeting by ASIN shows your adverts to people browsing certain ASINs on Amazon. 

Targeting by category shows your adverts to people browsing within product categories, with options to refine for price, brand and star ratings. These refinements allow you to use specific criteria for when your adverts are shown.


Targeting by ASIN (Individual products)

 ASINs are Amazon’s unique identifier for individual products, like a SKU or inventory code. ASIN targeting suggests individual products that are similar to the product your are advertising. Another way to find relevant products is by searching for specific products in the search field, or by uploading a list of ASINs. 

Targeting by category

Categories are groups ASINs organised by similarities. Each category will have an estimate of the total products contained within it. You can limit the ASINs contained in your category with the “refine” button. This allows you to only target ASINs associated with specific brands, prices, and star reviews. 

We recommend using the most specific category available.  Category targeting allows you to refine for price, brand, and star ratings. These refinements allow you to set specific criteria for when your ad will be shown.

Negative product targeting

Prevent your ads from appearing on specific search results or detail pages that don’t meet your performance goals by using negative product targeting.

Similar to negative keywords negative product targeting blocks irrelevant traffic. Negative product targeting can filter out certain products or brands to prevent your ads showing for these. It is also possible to search for products and then exclude these to. Prevent your ads from appearing on specific search results or detail pages.

Automatic targeting, product targeting, and negative targeting options are not available for Sponsored Brands, just Sponsored Products.


Amazon Ads targeting has an increasing amount of options. Traditionally much like Google Ads, however nowadays their are many new Amazon specific targeting features.

Liam Holmes

Liam Holmes

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