Until a few months ago, Amazon commonly promoted its private label and exclusive “Our Brand” items with dedicated modules near the top of search results pages on Amazon.com. Then, in April 2019, Amazon demoted the modules promoting its own brands to a location close to the bottom of search results pages. While Amazon stated at the time that this change was part of ongoing experimentation, spring 2019 was also a season in which there was increasing political discourse regarding whether Amazon’s methods of promoting “Our Brand” goods are anti-competitive.
Now, about four and a half months later, Amazon has moved its “Top rated from our brands” module back up closer to the top of Amazon.com search results pages. Depending on the query, this module now often appears in the second, third, or fourth row below sponsored items at top. For example, a search for “hand sanitizer” shows the “Top rated from our brands” module on the second row (below one row of half sponsored/half organic results), and a search for “whey protein” shows the module on the third row (below a half sponsored/half organic row, and an “Editorial recommendations” row).
Both before and after the April 2019 change, and now, Amazon private label and exclusive “Our Brand” items have also been scattered throughout organic search results as well (i.e. presumably for standard algorithmic reasons).
When asked about the reasons for this most recent change, an Amazon spokesperson told us, “We are always testing different experiences to help customers easily find and discover products in our store.”
Here’s how the “hand sanitizer” search results look in the US as of today. Sponsored results (i.e. ads) are highlighted in yellow. The “Top rated from our brands” module is highlighted in pink, and Amazon “Our Brand” items appearing in organic results are highlighted in blue. Of the four items highlighted in blue, three are Solimo brand, an Amazon private label, and one is Mountain Falls brand, an Amazon Exclusive “Our Brand.” Of the four items highlighted in pink, 3 are Mountain Falls and 1 is Solimo. There are many more rows of organic search results below those shown in this screenshot.
While many Amazon brands have not taken off, Amazon continues to be focused on growing its private label and exclusive brand program. As part of its Amazon Accelerator program to grow its portfolio of exclusive brands, Amazon is offering marketing services, such as special promotional placements in search results, to help give Amazon Exclusive brands a boost. Amazon Exclusive brands “receive a suite of marketing support executed by our Amazon merchandising team. Products with high ratings and reviews can receive additional placements across Amazon.com,” Amazon says.
In locations that have varied over the last year, Amazon devotes screen real estate to modules promoting its “Our Brands” items. One of the most visible, and likely influential, of these promotional modules is the “Top rated from our brands” module in search results. These promotional placements seem to incorporate Amazon private label brand products equally as well.
Amazon has stated many times that it earns about 1% of its revenues from private label products, which is much less than many other large retailers, but that hasn’t stopped the narrative promoted by some including prominent politicians like Elizabeth Warren that Amazon is effectively dissuading firms from entering the Amazon marketplace by being both the marketplace platform operator and a seller of products on the platform too.
TJI Research is currently tracking 144 Amazon private label brands and 622 Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” in our TJI Amazon Brand Database. We believe this is the most comprehensive resource available for tracking Amazon’s own brand efforts.
For a while, it appeared as though Amazon has dialed down the lever of Our Brand product promotion somewhat. Now, it seems like Amazon is dialing it back up some. We’ll continue to track further changes.