Amazon Editorial Recommendations Have Virtually Disappeared from the SERP

Amazon Editorial Recommendations Have Virtually Disappeared from the SERP

By Andrew Waber
Data Science
Retail Media
Retail Services
Retail Strategy
April 18, 2023 · 3  min

A new analysis makes it clear that the frequency of Amazon Editorial Recommendations appearing on US SERPs has dropped to nearly zero in April. This phenomenon is pervasive across every top-level Amazon category. 


The Research

Momentum Commerce analyzed the top 20 placements across the top 1 million most frequently searched Amazon search results pages (SERPs) from January 1 through April 16, 2023. Individual placements were then categorized by type, breaking out organic, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Editorial Recommendations etc. Searches were aligned to specific top-level categories based on what products appeared on the SERP. For each month, across each top-level category, we expressed the overall share of top 20 placements that went to Editorial Recommendations placements vs. all others.


Amazon Editorial Recommendations prevalence by category


The Story

  • Amazon removed Editorial Recommendations from search results beginning on April 6, 2023
    • In January, February, and March 2023, 1.3%, 1.5%, and 1.1% of top 20 placements on Amazon US, respectively, were Editorial Recommendations
    • Over the first 16 days of April 2023, that number has dropped to just 0.3%, with <0.1% of top 20 placements being Editorial Recommendations since April 6


Amazon Editorial Recommendations prevalence by day


  • Across every major category, the share of top 20 placements captured by Amazon Editorial Recommendations declined by -66% or more between January and April 2023
    • The largest decline was in the Appliances category, with Amazon Editorial Recommendations making up 1.8% of top 20 placements on average in January 2023, but just 0.2% in April 2023
  • Editorial Recommendations now make up less than 1% of top 20 placements across every top-level category on Amazon
    • In January 2023, Editorial Recommendations averaged 1% in top-20 appearances across 14 categories 
    • Within Pet Supplies, that number surpassed 3.5% in both January and February 2023, but has fallen to 0.8% in April 2023 – the highest share observed across any top-level category
    • Not surprisingly, individual terms that had some of the highest prevalence of Editorial Recommendations have also dropped precipitously, with some examples below


Amazon Editorial Recommendations prevalence across top terms


Biggest Takeaways for Brands

  • There is (some) simplification happening on the Amazon SERP
    • With the sunsetting of Editorial Recommendations, the top 20 placements on a SERP are almost exclusively organic, Sponsored Products, or Sponsored Brands
    • One exception are the newer ‘Featured from the Store’ placements on some branded searches (see below), but as of April 2023, these are orders of magnitude more infrequently shown than even Editorial Recommendations 


Crocs example of Featured from the Store placements


  • Another development is the emergence of the “highly rated” carousel (seen below). This is comprised of sponsored product ads with high review scores and, from its placement on the page, seems to have replaced Editorial Recommendations – essentially removing affiliate commissions and replacing them with CPCs


Example of Highly Rated carousel placements on Amazon


  • Getting a product picked as an ‘Editorial Recommendation’ one less thing for brands to stress over
    • The criteria for appearing in Editorial Recommendations was largely opaque, while the process for either achieving a high organic ranking or securing a high paid placement are both more well known
    • Relatedly, Amazon’s Search Query Performance reporting excluded product placement in Editorial Recommendations. The omission here likely means the sunsetting of these placements was a long time coming.
    • If there was any hesitation previously, brands should focus their efforts around optimizing their organic and paid strategy 
  • This development should serve as a reminder that nothing on the Amazon SERP is a constant
    • Brands need to stay vigilant by keying in on any marked changes in high-level metrics, then investigating further (subscribing to our newsletter can help keep you abreast of new developments too)
    • Gaining an edge on your competition is possible when you’re able to diagnose and adjust faster