Amazon Video Ads – Dos and Don’ts on Videos in Search

Hand holding cell phone displaying YouTube video loading

By Brandon Titmus, Marketing Director

Advanced digital platforms have increasingly heightened the shopping experience. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are both technological trends that enhance the buyer’s path to purchase, but they’re not yet ubiquitous among sellers.

Video is… or at least it can be. And, it’s becoming a highly effective tool for optimizing online shopping—from the very beginnings of product research all the way through checkout.

However, there are some “dos and don’ts” to consider when creating content specifically for Amazon’s Sponsored Brands video ads. In fact, Amazon is very inflexible about the technical and creative specifications required and can reject ads if they don’t adhere to those specs.

Here are some best practices sellers should follow, as well as the strict guidelines surrounding file size, video length, video/audio format, and more.

Allow for Soundless Display

The most important best practice, according to Jeff Bundy, Client Success Director – Enterprise at Ideoclick, is that 70-90% of online videos are viewed with the sound off, so a video ad “should always be understandable on mute.” The videos are inherently designed to auto-play on mute, which solidifies a need to communicate the message via on-screen text.

Mobile presents a bit of a challenge in this regard, with its small display. Amazon’s guidelines recommend using Helvetica or a similar san-serif font at a minimum size of 80 pixels. Amazon also suggests displaying the text in white on top of a black bounding box set to 80% opacity.

Focus on Quality, Creativity (but also Simplicity)

Retailers with massive budgets can easily allocate funds for a highly-produced, “slick” video ad—but doing so doesn’t necessarily garner better performance. Per Bundy, “Anything in motion draws attention to otherwise static sites like Amazon.” Yet, companies should not forget about creativity and quality content. Even simplistic videos need these key components to be successful.

And, don’t forget to actually show your product and keep it prominent throughout. Fading in and out or using other “cinematic” techniques only take away from the short amount of time you have: a maximum 45 seconds, but recommended 30 seconds or less.

Know your Audience(s)

Who is perusing your products? Consider tailoring the style of your video ad to meet your audience’s needs. While mobile use is up across the board, the younger generations (Millennials, Zoomers) are trending toward almost exclusively mobile over desktop. It’s important to ensure all videos are optimized for mobile, but certain products—ones that appeal to a younger audience—might dictate the video ad’s creative direction.

No matter the target audience, or the product, the end result should be a video that is educational, demonstrative, and product focused.

Adhere to Amazon’s Technical Specifications

While the above best practices are guidelines, Amazon does have some “non-negotiable” specifications. Not adhering to the following will get your video ad rejected.

16:9 aspect ratio1280 x 720px, 1920 x 1080px or 3840 x 2160px23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 29.98, or 30 fps1 mbps or higher bit rateH.264 or H.265 codec6-45 seconds long500 MB or smallerMP4 or MOV fileMain or baseline profileProgressive scan typeOne video stream only44.1 kHz or higher sample ratePCM, AAC, or MP3 codec96 kbps or higher bit rateStereo or mono formatNo more than one audio stream

Advance Past the Static

Product videos are not only in more demand among Amazon shoppers, they’re on their way to becoming the norm. If you want to keep up with competitors, it’s time to advance from a static presence to a more engaging, more memorable visual experience.

About Brandon Titmus

Brandon Titmus, Director of Marketing, is an ex-Amazonian, Amazon digital marketer, and eCommerce expert helping Ideoclick’s clients develop and implement effective advertising strategies.

Ready to get started?

Get a consultation from Ideoclick experts.