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Amazon Shutters Pay-Per-Click Ad Program

Amazon isn’t typically vocal when it ends a particular program, and the same seems to be true about its pay-per-click ad program that the company announced will end in late October.

Multiple media outlets reported the end of the program that was initially designed to help businesses attract traffic to their websites. Instead, Amazon will switch to text ads that sit alongside product searches. The pay-per-click ads were featured below the search results and likely took traffic away from Amazon’s marketplace.

While Amazon wasn’t vocal about why the decision was made, it did confirm the news.

“[Amazon is] constantly reviewing the services we offer partners to help them best reach our customer base,” an unidentified Amazon spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon offered no explanation as to why it was eliminating the ad program, but some reports suggest that some of the search links that were found at the bottom of Amazon’s site when a consumer searched were actually put there by Google. As commerce competitors, it’s obvious why Amazon would’t want to direct traffic to Google’s same search results.

While the pay-per-click ad program won’t be around for long, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t popular. Amazon won’t likely ever break out the figures since it doesn’t break out its advertising sales results, but the nature of the program suggested it may be popular for brands or manufacturers that want to reach Amazon’s audience of more than 280 million customers without actually selling on Amazon.

“Our customers performed really well with it because it provided a middle ground of being able to partner with Amazon but also not allowing them to see all their transaction data,” Scot Wingo told Reuters. Wingo is the executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor, a company that helps retailers and manufacturers sell on eCommerce platforms.

Angela Hsu, vice president of Internet business and marketing at Lamps Plus, told Reuters her company was “disappointed with the news.” That company in particular was part of an Amazon study that showed how the pay-per-click program could increase sales. In the case of Hsu’s company, the ads were shown to increase sales by more than 80 percent.

And, as revealed last week in a research report released by PYMNTS and Amazon, consumers are more likely to start their product searches on marketplaces than with an individual retailer. In fact, the survey revealed that 64 percent said they start on a marketplace before heading to the domain of one of their favorite retailers.

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