In case you missed it, Amazon announced a second Prime Day this week! The “Prime Early Access Sale” happens October 11 at 12 a.m. PDT and runs through October 12 in 15 countries: Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, and the U.S.
Amazon is also introducing a Top 100 list with deals dropping on ASIN’s throughout the event across categories including electronics, fashion, home, kitchen, pets, toys, and Amazon devices. Of course Amazon will release their annual Holiday gift guides and Amazon’s Toys We Love list as well.
Prime Day in July was Amazon’s most successful to date with 300 million items purchased and $11.9 billion in sales, an 8.5% increase over 2021. But ecommerce is slowing as inflation continues to increase and shoppers become more wary of stagflation or a looming recession in the not so distant future.
So needless to say you do not want to miss out on a second opportunity to get your products in front of eager consumers just before the holiday shopping season starts! Check out Amazon’s Prime Day guide here, and for detailed info on how to maximize sales during the entire holiday season, Marin’s got you covered with our Amazon 2022 Holiday Playbook.
There’s no denying the popularity of Amazon. Amazon is a major player in the world of ecommerce and one of the biggest online marketplaces. With over 300 million customers worldwide, 2.3 billion sellers on the platform, and over 100 new advertisers daily, competition is fierce. Countless brands battle for shoppers around the clock. In the race to be successful sellers, advertisers are aiming to win first place—or at least the best position when it comes to getting their products seen. The trick? Amazon bidding, with a combination of effective strategies to increase sales that will put you on top and set you apart from your biggest competitors.
What is Amazon bidding?
Amazon bidding is an auction-based system that allows sellers to place bids for keywords or products with the goal of showing their ads to potential buyers. When a shopper clicks on their ads, an advertiser pays for the bid. This is known as cost-per-click (CPC) advertising.
How does Amazon bidding work?
Amazon has access to a vast amount of data that helps them calculate the probability of a shopper clicking your ad and converting.
- When creating Amazon pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, advertisers bid on specific keywords that could make their product appear when a buyer searches for that word.
- Buyers type search terms in the search bar and scroll through the search result pages driven by the keywords selected by sellers.
- Winning the keyword primarily depends on a combination of a seller's bid, the relevance of their product, and the quality of their product listing.
- If you win the bidding auction, Amazon’s PPC algorithm uses a Second-Price Auction, resulting in your winning bid being lower than your original bid.
3 Amazon bidding strategies
Amazon Dynamic Bids, down only
Amazon reduces bids by up to 100% if a click is unlikely to result in a sale and is less likely to convert. This option is automatically applied by default to all existing campaigns.
When to use it: This is a good option for a profit-driven strategy. Dynamic bids help you preserve ad spend for conversions that are unlikely and help to ensure that you don’t overspend on advertising.
Amazon Dynamic Bids, up and down
For first-page search result placement, Amazon raises bids by up to 100% if a click is more likely to convert. It increases bids by 50% for all other placements, and will reduce a bid by up to 100% if a click is less likely to convert.
When to use it: This option is recommended if bids happen to be highly variable in your market because up and down dynamic bids are more flexible. Up and down are perfect for existing campaigns that are well-optimized.
Amazon will not dynamically adjust a bid based on the likelihood of a conversion.
When to use it: Fixed bids are great for an impression strategy and are ideal for raising brand awareness. Using this strategy, however, will most likely cause you to overpay for a good amount of your clicks. Why? With fixed bids, Amazon applies your bid to every single placement—regardless of the likelihood of conversion. The silver lining is that they allow you to exercise complete control of your sponsored ad campaign budget.
How to calculate the optimal bid
To calculate the optimal bid, use the formula below.
- Bid = Max. CPC = Avg. Order Value x Conversion Rate x ACOS Target
- Alternatively, the equation can be understood as:
Bid = Max. CPC = (Ad Sales / Ad Orders) x (Ad Orders / Ad Clicks) x (Ad Spend / Ad Sales)
- Additionally, the formula can be simplified like so:
Bid = Max. CPC = (Ad Sales / Ad Clicks) x (Ad Spend / Ad Sales)
While these formulas are there to help you with the Amazon bidding process, the goal is to maximize your profit while simultaneously decreasing your spend.
4 tips to increase sales
Keywords influence the chance of conversion and the amount you need to bid. They are key to determining the search results that your campaign will target. To identify the most profitable and relevant keywords, consider using an Amazon keyword tool or reverse ASIN search.
Improve your product listing
If your listing is impressive, attractive, and enticing enough to draw a potential customer’s attention, a click is more likely to result in a conversion. Make sure to use clear and informative descriptions, include high-resolution photos, and improve your Amazon feedback rating.
Get on Amazon Prime
Shoppers like it when their Amazon products arrive as quickly as possible. There’s no doubt that Amazon’s same-day or next-day deliveries are a huge appeal for customers —especially when there is no extra charge for it. In fact, 83% of shoppers favor free delivery so much so that more than half (54%) of them will abandon their carts if they have to pay a delivery fee. Take part in Amazon’s fast shipping program by getting the blue Prime badge or by qualifying for Amazon Prime via Seller Fulfilled Prime or FBA.
Follow an advertising strategy
Determine the outcome you’re trying to achieve in order to decide which bidding method is best for your campaign. Develop a strategy so you commit to your goals by selecting the bid that’s most appropriate.
Amazon Bidding Key Takeaways
Amazon bidding is a big determinant in the success or failure of your Amazon campaign advertising efforts. Regardless of how much target-marketing research you conduct, it’s still a challenge to truly know what shoppers want and why. Amazon’s algorithm does a good job of analyzing and predicting success, so with a detailed understanding of how Amazon bidding works, you can still implement winning campaigns to ultimately achieve your business goals.
How MarinOne can help
Getting your products seen among millions of other Amazon sellers is no easy feat.
If you're not yet up to speed with advertising on Amazon, MarinOne can help. Our automated bidding tool can be used to manage bids for Amazon Advertising accounts directly within the MarinOne platform.
MarinOne also manages keyword-level and target-level calculated bids for Amazon Advertising accounts:
- For manually targeted sponsored products
- Auto-targeted sponsored products
- Sponsored brands
- Sponsored brand video
- Sponsored display
To learn more about other Amazon Advertising management functionality in MarinOne, check out our Amazon Advertising article.
If you're new to MarinOne's automated bidding, learn more about our automated bidding tool from our Bid Strategy article.
Interested in learning more? Try a free trial today.
Amazon receives over two billion visitors a month. With such a large audience frequently visiting its platform, it’s no wonder the number of marketplace sellers has exploded over the last decade. The volume of online shoppers is making it harder than ever for sellers to make an impression and grab the attention of customers. If your goal is to expand your reach and attract new customers, Amazon’s Demand-Side Platform (DSP) may be the answer. And there is no better time than now. Why? Amazon DSP is on track to make $17.6 billion from advertising this year and is expected to reach a staggering $46.6 billion by 2025.
What is Amazon DSP?
Amazon DSP enables programmatic buying and selling of display, video, and audio ads. The demand-side platform allows you to reach audiences both on and off of Amazon and across leading publishers’ sites like Twitch.tv, IMDb, Audible, Zappos, and others. The ads often appear not only on Amazon and Amazon-owned websites, but across Amazon-owned apps, Amazon devices, and affiliate websites and apps within Amazon’s network. Through Amazon DSP, you can create more brand and product awareness to encourage shopper re-engagement and retarget lost or potential customers.
The 4 Amazon DSP Ad Types
Dynamic E-commerce Ads
Dynamic ads automatically optimize which ad to display based on your campaign goal. Using machine learning, Amazon DSP can feed audiences relevant ads based on predictable behavior—delivering coupon code strategy tactics to incentivize impulse buyers and generating ads with customer reviews in them to engage customers who prefer to read reviews before purchasing a product. Since dynamic ads only direct to an Amazon product listing page, they are not a viable option if you use DSP to promote your direct website.
Unlike dynamic ads, static ads feature a call-to-action and a simple image. They can lead customers to an Amazon product listing, an Amazon Brand store, or directly to your website.
Video Ads Through DSP
In-stream or out-stream video content can be displayed both on and off Amazon. Your video ads can link directly to your website or to a product detail page on Amazon. Video ads through DSP help you leverage Amazon’s audiences to target the right shoppers.
Over-The-Top Video Ads (OTT)
These ads, displayed as full-screen videos on TV, allow you to create brand awareness in a separate medium. By using OTT, you can expand your reach to millions more people and target specific Amazon audiences. Keep in mind though: with OTT ads shoppers have no way to click and take action.
Amazon DSP Targeting Options
With Amazon DSP’s thousands of customer segments and its insights into shopper history and intent, it can help support many of your advertising goals. Here’s a glance at the different targeting options available.
Behavioral targeting is often used for brand awareness purposes and enables you to set any number of triggers so you can target shoppers further down the funnel.
With Lifestyle targeting, relevant ads are served to people who buy from a particular category habitually. This type of targeting allows you to target customers who share similar characteristics with your current customers or are interested in brand-relevant categories.
You can target ads based on gender, age, income, or location.
Target your ads based on specific end-user devices including Android or Apple phones, different operating systems, desktop users, or other niche devices such as the Amazon Fire tablet.
By using in-market targeting, you can build brand awareness and increase sales. Audiences who are “in-market” are those who have high intent with a greater likelihood of purchasing your product or services.
Serve ads to users based on what they are browsing right now. Contextual targeting is a great option to encourage impulse buys and drive conversions quickly.
For consumers who are on the fence about buying a product or a competitive product, remarketing targeting can help. The different types of remarketing targets include Pixel-Based, ASIN, Purchased ASIN, Brand Halo, and Similar Product remarketing.
Audience Lookalike Targeting
Audience Lookalike targeting hones in on customers who share similarities with your existing customers. With this option, you can take advantage of Amazon’s unique data combined with its collaborative filtering that can create detailed consumer profiles.
Amazon DSP allows you to leverage third-party data so you don’t have to solely rely on the first-party data that Amazon provides. Through the use of pixels, CRM data, and/or DMP audience transfers, you can reach customers who have previously engaged with your brand.
5 Reasons Amazon DSP Is a Powerful Tool for Advertisers
By using Amazon DSP, you can take your campaign performance to a whole new level and achieve your programmatic advertising goals. Here’s how:
Audience Insights and Analytics
One of the greatest benefits of Amazon DSP is that advertisers can tap into Amazon’s first-party shopper data. Every search, view, click, purchase, and other shopper action along the customer journey is tracked. With Amazon DSP’s robust data capabilities, you can glean more information about how, what, when, and why customers buy what they buy. You can also gain access to key performance metrics such as total purchases, product units sold, add-to-cart rates, and more to help you determine what’s driving results and what’s not.
Retaining your current audience is not only critical to sustaining your company’s success but is also a more cost-effective way to spend your ad dollars instead of attracting new customers. Using Amazon DSP, you can retarget potential customers who have already engaged with your brand or products.
Targeting shifts over time. Amazon DSP allows you to adjust your strategy accordingly so you can move your ad placements, reroute your creative spending, or reposition your domain ads to reach customers who have expressed interest in your product.
With Amazon DSP, you can expand your audience reach across a vast range of sites. An attention-grabbing display ad or video campaign can improve your brand perception and increase awareness by being displayed on a large number of websites simultaneously.
Amazon DSP enables you to have your campaigns up and running in just minutes so you don’t have to spend time playing phone tag, negotiating, handing off creative tasks, reconciling billing, and settling up payments.
How MarinOne Can Help
Looking to take your Amazon DSP to the next level?
MarinOne integrates with Amazon DSP to help you better understand your customers on Amazon. Our platform goes far beyond what Amazon provides with a comprehensive suite of tools that activate and amplify your entire Amazon advertising campaign portfolio.
With MarinOne, you can analyze paid search and social advertising as well as other retail media, shipping campaigns, and marketplaces, giving you a cross-publisher and cross-channel view of performance.
Our alerts provide real-time updates on changes in activity so you can always be in the know and never miss an opportunity to improve performance. Use our marketplace signals to link your DSP performance to reviews, ratings, inventory status, price, and more. In addition, MarinOne features Amazon metrics like detailed page views and new to brand.
Ready to find out more about how MarinOne can help with your Amazon DSP campaigns? Get a personalized demo today.
Getting Started with Amazon Live
Visibility is the key if you are aiming to succeed as a seller on Amazon. Keeping up with platform changes and new features is a great way to stay ahead of the competition and have more visibility on Amazon for your brand. One such feature your company ought to be utilizing is Amazon Live.
Since the inception of Amazon Live in 2016, it has slowly but surely grown in status and notoriety. What initially seemed cheesy to many brands has now become a highly profitable revenue platform. As Prime Day 2022 numbers have improved year over year, being able to engage users already shopping on Amazon offers up audiences who are more likely to convert right away.
This is great news for individual influencers as well as major brands. Most of the users active on Amazon Live view shopping as being highly therapeutic or personal in some way. So with an ever-growing audience of highly-engaged active shoppers, the question arises ‘How can my brand use this too?” Here’s a playbook on how to get started.
What is Amazon Live?
Amazon Live is regarded as one of the most successful initiatives launched by Amazon in the form of a live streaming platform. Sellers can create videos and tutorials as a way to market new or unique products. Creators can host live streams on their Amazon Live to advertise their product to their customers and followers. The live streams come in a myriad of formats: from direct interactions between seller and shopper, to giving product demos, offering promo codes, and holding Q&A sessions, all amounting to the creator earning commission from sales produced by their streamable content.
Amazon Live has been made customer and seller friendly, as both parties can access the platform on desktop as well on mobile. There is also growth potential from a global perspective for brands, as the website and mobile app versions of Amazon Live are available across many countries.
What are Amazon Live influencers?
Social media influencers have been an integral part of the entire concept behind Amazon Live. Amazon’s foray into live shopping with this QVC style shopping stream changed the influencer landscape at large as thousands of streamers have taken advantage of a new place to sell their products in an interactive way.
The Amazon Live platform also offers the Amazon Influencer Program, where individuals with an existing social media following can re-direct that following to the influencers' favorite Amazon products. Using tagged codes and links, the influencer in turn receives a sales commission for those product purchases from Amazon.
By developing a unique Amazon Storefront, influencers can choose and promote any product on the platform on this layout to generate a permanent income stream. Based on the type of product, total influencer sales, etc., the commission for influencers is set up in the range of 10% of all revenue.
Developing great Amazon Live content as an influencer
Amazon Live offers the influencers a chance to showcase a products' features in real time while answering questions and engaging with shoppers, much like Facebook Live and Youtube Live. Developing content for live streams is as personal as any other content an influencer may create. If you're a content creator looking to produce a unique streaming experience on Amazon Live, don't be afraid to wear your product, use it, and flaunt it the way you want…just as you would on any other social media platform. (So long as you're within Amazon's guidelines of course.)
Keep in mind that shoppers want to see:
- How the product works
- What sets it apart from other similar products
- Why you recommend it as their trusted influencer.
You can sign up for the Amazon Influencer Program in order to live stream products here. All you need to apply for the Amazon Influencer Program is your YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account information. It takes 3-5 days to get the application approved and setup your account.
Partnering with Amazon Live influencers as a brand
Just like other forms of influencer marketing, there are several benefits to working with influencers on Amazon. For brand owners looking to use Amazon content creator relationships as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy, a few objectives you could set as part of an Amazon influencer program are:
- Exposure to new audiences and brand awareness
- Authentic, top of funnel content creation
- Reputation boosts through influencer trust
- Optimization of your Amazon product listings
- Increased sales and conversion
When done correctly, influencer marketing has been shown to drive qualified traffic that will not only deliver an immediate return on investment but also provide momentum for Amazon listings. This helps increase Best Seller Rank, organic rank, and ad visibility.
Remember, in influencer marketing, authenticity is #1
Keep in mind that content creators prioritize their own brand identity and authentic voice above all else. So to have success, you must find the right partnerships that are a fit for the company and the influencer.
In a recent interview with Amazon, popular influencer Trisha Hershberger described her early experiences as a content creator, and how she was met with resistance by the industry to be herself. Many brands only wanted to collaborate with her if she changed her appearance to what they considered the "typical" gamer look.
“I was told, ‘you can't wear a dress on camera and talk about video games, no one's going to take you seriously, you have to wear a graphic T-shirt.' I was told often that I didn’t look like the gaming type,” she says.
Hershberger shared that she was adamant about her point of view despite the pushback she had received. Her reward for this fortitude came in the form of seeing audiences respond positively to her individuality. Viewers are wanting to connect with creators who are being true to themselves and their interests. By sticking to her guns and presenting the image she wanted to portray, Hershberger managed to help shape a culture of communication and openness between herself and the brands she promotes.
She believes the stalwart attitude she and other influencers have had has helped to create more diversity in online content at large. “With more diverse creators coming forward with different backgrounds and interests, there is something for everyone,” she says.
Connecting Amazon Live and Amazon influencers to your omnichannel marketing strategy
Amazon Live has the potential to be another powerful asset in the digital marketers' toolkit, just like many other platforms, tools, or features that have come before it. You've most likely already tackled Pinterest advertising, TikTok content, programmatic ads, and many other unknowns in the past…so don't be afraid to get bold here too. Amazon Live is simply another opportunity to dig deep and get creative, scaling your marketing initiatives to new heights. Some low hanging fruit for omnichannel applications we would suggest include:
- Repurpose Amazon Live content on other social media channels
- Extend your Amazon Live influencer collaborations to include promotion on their other content platforms
- Use Amazon Live as an opportunity to test new product launches, or get passive market feedback on existing products
- Create community and ongoing dialogue amongst the Amazon audience by driving them to other forums where your brand spends time
Managing Amazon Live budgets and campaigns with MarinOne
While some of the execution to an Amazon Live campaign may be distinctive to other campaigns your brand is running, what will be consistent is the need for clear audience tracking, insightful data analysis, and accurate attribution. Marin Software is prepared to help you do just that with our all-in-one paid media management platform. Our tool integrates directly with Amazon Ads so you can see how a multitude of campaign types are performing all at once, against one another. It's also one of the only tools available that offers true omnichannel budgeting across nearly 30 publisher platforms, so you'll know whether to put more or less engine spend toward Amazon, Facebook, TikTok, or anywhere else your ads are running. Let our team set up the infrastructure for your team to make the best advertising decisions possible. Get a consultation from one of our digital marketing experts today.
What’s the difference between Amazon CPC and vCPM cost models?
It’s important for brands to measure their digital marketing metrics, including comparing CPC vs vCPM (cost per thousand viewable impressions). CPC is based on the number of actual clicks the ad receives, while vCPM is based on the number of times an ad is viewed, regardless of whether shoppers click on it or not. Sponsored Display vCPM adheres to the MRC definition for an ad view: at least 50% of the ad should have been in the shopper’s view port for at least one second for it to be registered as a viewed impression.
CPC = Total Spend / Total Clicks
vCPM = Total Spend / ((Total impressions * % in-view) / 1000)
vCPM is often used for advertisers focusing on brand awareness or delivering a specific message, because this pricing model is more focused on exposure as opposed to a cost-per-click model.
In Marin, brands can use both metrics, considering the implications of each, for a more comprehensive view of the performance of their ad campaigns. This information will help advertisers better understand the impact of their Sponsored Display campaigns, regardless of whether you are using click-based (CPC) or view-based (vCPM) attribution.
How does Amazon’s vCPM cost model work?
Conversions and Revenue for Sponsored Display vCPM campaigns are an ESTIMATED value that is attributed to BOTH viewable impressions AND clicks (because the cost type is based on viewable impressions - vCPM). To put it simply, alongside the actual Conversions and Revenue generated via the vCPM campaign, Amazon is also including estimated Conversions and Revenue when someone VIEWs your Sponsored Display Ad, but does not click on it.
It's also worth noting that the vCPM Conversions and Revenue are attributed to your brand sales and not the products in the campaign. For example if you run an 'Advertised Product Report' from Amazon you'll notice that the orders and sales do not match what is being displayed in Amazon's UI at campaign level. See below screenshot from a Sponsored Display Advertised Product Report:
- The 14 Day Total Orders (#) and 14 Day Total Sales columns reflect the Cost Type of a campaign
- The 14-Day Total Orders (#) - (Click) and 14-Day Total Sales - (Click) columns are based on click attribution (CPC Cost Type), regardless of whether your campaign cost type is set to CPC or vCPM
- Campaign A has parity across all 4 columns - because it’s campaign Cost Type is set to CPC
- Campaigns B to M, unlike Campaign A, differ because their campaign Cost Type’s are set to vCPM - the (Click) columns are your actual Orders and Sales, whereas your non-click columns are a combination of actual Orders and Revenue as well as Amazon’s estimated Orders and Revenue based on your ad being ‘viewed’.
Campaign C generated 8 orders with a total revenue of £112.96 and to identify the estimated view Orders and Revenue, you subtract the (Click) column away from the regular column;
207 [14 Day Total Orders (#)] - 8 [14-Day Total Orders (#) - (Click)] = 199 estimated ‘view’ Orders
£2,564.39 [14 Day Total Sales] - £112.96 [14-Day Total Sales - (Click)] = £2,451.43 estimated ‘view’ Sales
How does this impact reporting of Amazon Sponsored Display campaigns in Marin?
Regardless of the cost type that you specify when creating your Sponsored Display Campaign (CPC or vCPM), Marin is able to report on both attribution models against that campaign.
For example, if you create a Sponsored Display campaign with vCPM as the Cost Type, Marin is still able to show you the Conversions and Revenue generated from the ad being clicked on (CPC Cost Type), alongside the ‘estimated’ view Conversions and Revenue (vCPM Cost Type) that Amazon is providing, and vice-versa.
In the screenshot above you can see that, regardless of cost type, for a Sponsored Display campaign Marin is able to report on both traditional Conversions and Revenue (click based) and also the ‘view’ Conversions and Revenue - which is the combination of both actual and estimated Conversions and Revenue set by Amazon.
The table below shows the Conversion Types available via the MarinOne column selector that you can bring into view alongside your Sponsored Display campaigns.
How should I bid on this activity?
The decision is entirely yours. In Marin you have the option to either bid based upon actual clicked Conversions and Revenue or use the estimated ‘View’ Conversions or Revenue to target a CPA or ROAS goal - regardless of the cost model you’ve chosen to set up for your Sponsored Display campaign.
If your goal is performance (CPA / ROAS) Marin’s recommendation is to optimise towards actual clicked Conversion and Revenue and not ‘View’ Conversions or Revenue (even if your campaign is set to vCPM) because this is the actual performance of your Sponsored Display campaign and not an ‘estimated’ number of Conversions or Revenue.
If you've used Marin's automated bidding tool to manage Bid Strategies for other publishers, then managing bids for Amazon Advertising accounts should be pretty familiar. Marin manages keyword-level and target-level calculated bids and supports all ‘performance’ Goals for your Amazon activity:
- Maximise Conversions to CPA
- Maximise Revenue to ROAS
If your goal is awareness advertisers and registered sellers in CA, DE, FR, ES, IT, IN, JP, UAE, UK and the US can set up an “Optimise for Viewable Impressions” strategy directly in the Amazon Ads UI to help create product awareness.
If you have any further questions related to the above please reach out to your Account Representative.
In 2021, more than 250 million items were purchased by Prime members worldwide over the two-day timeframe. This year, preparations for Prime Day should be well underway by now so that your brand can be ready when millions of consumers shop during one of the most significant retail events of the year. Here are a few tips so you can be prepared ahead of time.
Amazon Prime Day Tips:
- View your historical performance of past Prime Day events
- Create a ‘Prime Day’ page within your Amazon Store
- Start planning your budgets NOW. Remember, traffic to Amazon’s website is increased exponentially during the Prime Day event, so you want to capitalize on this. If you don’t have enough budget for your campaigns to stay visible throughout the day(s), your ads will be paused until the next day.
- Build brand awareness ahead of the event with Sponsored Display Ads and Sponsored Brand Video ads. Shoppers are more likely to purchase a product during Prime Day that they discovered during the lead-up to the event.
- During Prime Day, use Sponsored Display and Sponsored Product ads to engage with shoppers browsing similar products or even remarket to audiences that visited your product detail pages before Prime Day to stay top of mind on the day of the event.
- Use negative targeting to help prevent your ads from appearing on shopping results pages that don’t meet your performance goals.
- Check your inventory levels for your products, as well as understand your top-selling and least-selling products, so you know where to focus your efforts.
- Create and choose strong products to focus on in your Sponsored Product campaigns. Ensure their product detail pages are informative, have high-quality and detailed descriptions, and include four or more high-resolution images with a strong title.
- There are many more solutions for brands to reach audiences you might not be aware of. Consider diversifying your content before Prime day by streaming a video game on Twitch, listening to music through Amazon Music’s ad-supported tier, or streaming video via Freevee (formerly IMDb TV) and Fire TV…all of which are available via Amazon DSP ads.
- Use Sponsored Display Ads to target other products in your category to help reach new customers, or consider targeting your product detail pages to introduce shoppers to other products you sell. Let’s take ‘Computers & Office’ as an example: to engage new customers and ensure that your laptops are top of mind, you can target similar product pages within the Computers & Office category, or you can target your own product pages to promote your complementary products (e.g., laptop cases or external hard drives).
- Lastly, don’t forget, there’s the lead-up (- two weeks) and lead-out (+ two weeks) of the Prime Day event. Brands that advertise throughout all phases of Prime Day can better build brand presence with shoppers. According to Amazon’s internal data, “Brands that advertised leading up to and during Prime Day showed a 216% increase in awareness and 214% increase in considerations, compared to the week before.”
Amazon Prime Day Deadlines
Keep the following deadlines in mind for Prime Day as they are right around the corner, and some have already passed.
Prime Day Deals Deadline (for consideration):
- April 29
Lightning Deals Submission Deadline:
- April 29 (U.S. and Canada)
- May 13 (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and the UK)
Coupon Submission Deadline:
- June 10 (U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and the UK)
FBA Inventory Cutoff Deadline:
- June 20 (U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal)
- June 29 (Japan)
Inbound Shipping Cutoff Deadline:
- June 2 (U.S. and Canada)
- June 22 (Mexico and Portugal)
- June 29 (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK)
Prime Member Promotions Deadline:
- April 29 (U.S. and Canada)
- May 13 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Australia, Japan, India, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates)
Prime Exclusive Discounts Deadline:
- July 8 (the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Australia, and Japan)
- July 19 (India, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates)
- July 12-13 (U.S.)
Victoria’s Secret has undergone an evolution over the past several years, and part of that evolution is testing new opportunities. The ecommerce giant recently announced that it would break the tradition of direct selling only with an Amazon storefront. Fans of VS will now be able to shop roughly 120 Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Pink Beauty products on Amazon.
While a Victoria’s Secret x Amazon collab line is probably not on the horizon, this move could be indicative of future D2C expansion onto the infamous selling platform. It’s also indicative of the current success that many sellers are seeing on the platform.
Amazon accounts for significant percentages of retail ecommerce sales share across a wide variety of product categories (graphic below). Plus, Research shows that 56% of US consumers say that if they could only shop at one store, it would be Amazon. Amazon has a purchase-ready audience that sellers can leverage easily and effectively.
Unlike Google Ads, Amazon never takes users off of the platform when they tap on an ad. They’re able to seamlessly purchase items of interest and remain on a trusted platform for the entire experience. No wonder this Amazon Ad Agency reported an average conversion rate of 9.5% on Sponsored Product Ads!
Another bonus of selling on Amazon for retail giants like Victoria’s Secret: they have leverage to negotiate Amazon’s fee structure. This is especially advantageous given the increased cost of advertising on the platform. In Q1 2022, Amazon’s advertising business increased by 23% per Insider Intelligence. Retailers are realizing that if they don’t pay to have their products on Amazon, third party sellers and competitors will.
Victoria’s Secret isn’t the first major D2C player to foray into the world of Amazon selling - other household names like Adidas and Levi’s currently have storefronts on Amazon. Amazon has the volume and customer base to make selling worthwhile, but only if it doesn’t come at a cost that eats into the bottom line.
Companies that are already advertising (or interested in advertising) on Amazon can leverage Marin Software to make the most out of their efforts. Our unique Amazon integration allows advertisers to import Amazon Advertising campaigns into our platform, enabling you to view and comprehensively manage your Amazon campaigns, as well as accessing our full suite of automated bidding and reporting options. Reach out to your Marin Software representative to learn more!
As many of us already know, on Amazon half of the work is already done if you can manage to have a quality organic listing and positive seller standing with Amazon itself. The algorithm on Amazon is a combination of organic and paid advertising, and to get the most out of Amazon in terms of sales and revenue, these two channels must be working hand-in-hand. This is far more crucial on Amazon than most other platforms, where organic and paid work can be somewhat disparate.
Recently, competitiveness amongst Amazon listings continues to escalate. Getting a quality ROI from this marketplace is not as simple as it once was. There are plenty of sellers, within the United States especially, who seem to be struggling in establishing their businesses and getting their brand the visibility they would like.
We have assembled a list of tactics that should help you get the edge over your competition in 2022 and into the coming years. A sophisticated advertising strategy stands out as the most empowering place to start. If done correctly, Amazon search ads and display ads can be a game-changer for your business.
Be methodical when making budget decisions
If you are just getting started with Amazon ads, it is better if you take it slow, one day at a time. Start with a limited budget so that you can easily do trial-and-error testing to see what works for you. You are bound to face high competition in the beginning.
When you set your budget, it’s important to look at your average cost of sale (ACoS). This is the amount you spend to obtain leads which can help make sure that your budget will work with it. You need to understand how this works so that you can maintain healthy profitability.
Just like any other channel, you'll want to carefully weigh the costs of advertising and production when it comes to determining just how much you should spend on marketing. Amazon advertising is no different.
Sales tax, fees, product and overhead costs take off around 50% from your earnings. After those are accounted for, you'll only have 50% of the original budget to go around on advertising and then finally, profit.
This means that your ACoS needs to be less than 50% for your business to gain a profit. Anywhere from a 15-40% ACoS is not uncommon on Amazon advertising, so you’ll want to keep this in mind as you account for your budget on this platform.
As you identify your ACoS, your confidence as an advertiser and business owner will increase as you establish a system for healthy profitability and increasing revenue over time.
Try a web-based calculator to calculate the margin built into a product. There are many online tools for calculating ACoS as well—don’t be afraid to try these shortcuts to know for certain you are making sound financial decisions…especially if you’re just starting out in this kind of budget management.
Opt for Sponsored Display Ads
Sponsored Display Ads are yet another unique feature introduced by Amazon for self-advertising one’s business. The primary distinction of these ads from other Amazon ads is that they don’t target keywords. Instead, they target customers by their interests and behaviors. They also compare consumers’ with similar interests or purchase histories to grow the audience segments and see if new customers might also be interested in what you're advertising.
Therefore, for all the newly established businesses or even the well-established ones, these Sponsored Ads might work as an important tool for bringing incremental traffic and brand awareness your way effortlessly. Using Sponsored Display Ad campaigns, you can feel assured that any potential customer who might have viewed a product similar to yours at another business store will be able to view your product(s) as well, making your brand more prevalent within the category segment.
Sponsored Display Ads are currently one of Amazon’s less popular campaign types due to their newness. As advertisers become more comfortable with this ad type, competitiveness will surely increase; so this is one easy way to get ahead of the competition.
Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform)
Amazon DSP, or Demand-Side Platform, is where advertisers can go to programmatically buy video and ad placements. Like many other DSPs, Amazon provides the connection for programmatic ads that include placements on Amazon directly or across the web, including a network of thousands of Amazon partner websites. This gives brands a more diverse range of targeting opportunities. Use audience insights to determine what reach is available in your audience segments. Exclusions are an effective way to keep your audiences fresh: rule out past purchasers or set a 30 day purchase window…there are very few products on Amazon that would have a buying cycle longer than 30 days. If a customer was not ready to make a purchase decision in that time frame on this platform, they are not likely to make a purchase at all.
Take advantage of your Amazon ‘honeymoon period’ wisely
The initial 45 days of advertising on Amazon are known as the ‘honeymoon’ or ‘learning’ period. This is the time when you can best put your efforts into making the most of experimentation and learning about everything that goes on in establishing one’s business.
If you fail to make the most of this period, chances are high that even after this time, you will struggle to meet your goals in this very competitive marketplace. The first month or so is a crucial time for testing product pricing, keywords, descriptions, ad messaging, and promotions. All of these factors could greatly impact your effectiveness on Amazon, so be aggressive and don’t be afraid to test many different approaches week over week. Just be careful that your A/B testing is clean and well-documented so you know exactly what was productive and what wasn’t moving into the post-honeymoon phase.
Don’t use too many keywords(or the wrong ones)
Keywords can become a source of big problems for you when you are targeting too many terms on the ad side, keyword stuffing your description or product names, or simply taking the wrong approach in how or what you are bidding on.
To avoid these pitfalls, it is best if you do your research, evaluate similar sellers, and see how many keywords they use to promote their products. Thorough competitive analysis at the forefront will save you a lot of headache in the long run. There are many tools that can help you with this work, or it can be done manually. Either way, be specific in establishing the right competitor list to evaluate; and be thorough in your analysis of each competitor.
Consider using an Amazon partner
Once you feel comfortable with Amazon ad formats and key strategies, you may want to consider leveraging an Amazon Advertising partner. Amazon evaluates and approves key vendors to help their advertisers drive even more value from their campaigns. A partner like Marin Software can help you use machine learning and cutting-edge technology to streamline and amplify your Amazon campaigns.
Advanced analytics can deliver reports and insights within and across your Amazon campaigns and also give you a cross-publisher view if you are using other marketplaces like Instacart, Criteo, or CitrusAd. MarinOne also proactively scans your account every day to identify opportunities to grow revenue and decrease costs. It’s important to note that Amazon only holds your historical data for 90 days. A tool like MarinOne can give you access to all your previous campaigns with unlimited data retention.
It’s never a bad idea to incorporate automation into the day-to-day management of campaigns to save you time. Actions like bulk changes perform the same edits across objects and campaigns so you don’t need to do that manually. Another big time saver is SmartFeed which pulls in your inventory feed and syndicates that data to Amazon (and other publishers) to automatically pause and resume campaigns based on your inventory levels. You can also take advantage of day parting which schedules and deploys your budget during the most effective times of the day for your products.
Some Amazon partners, like Marin, also offer bid optimization to help advertisers determine the right level of spend and forecast the expected conversions, revenue, and profit based on your goals. You can also use MarinOne’s pacing tool that shows you how you are progressing over your selling period and adjusts your bids to keep you on track.
While it is a competitive market, don’t be off put or consider stepping back from Amazon advertising just yet. With thorough research, careful planning, and ongoing optimization, Amazon absolutely can produce the results you are looking for. It is unmatched in terms of customer intent, quick purchase conversions, and return on investment. It also happens to be the second largest search engine in the world; and therefore, not to be ignored.
To embrace Amazon for the good of your business, go along with its competitive pace and keep on implementing new strategies until you feel confident in your AMZ marketing chops. If you are keen to learn and implement the right techniques, you will find yourself reaching your KPI goals on Amazon in no time.
Amazon is, of course, the leading online sales marketplace, with more than half of all eCommerce sales completed on their site and app. It’s no surprise that many Amazon sellers take advantage of Amazon’s Sponsored Products, Brands and Display formats to lead customers shopping on Amazon to the buy box. But Amazon has a large offering of advertising opportunities on the open web as well.
What is Amazon DSP?
Amazon’s Demand Side Platform (Amazon DSP) is software that provides automated, centralized media buying from multiple sources including thousands of publisher partners and data exchanges in addition to Amazon’s own sites, apps, and devices.
Amazon leverages billions of first-party consumer insights to help advertisers reach consumers who are in-market for specific products. With this data, brands can deliver customers relevant ads in display, video and audio formats. And you don’t need to sell on Amazon to benefit from DSP ad placements. These ads can link to product detail pages on Amazon or on a brand’s own website.
Amazon DSP + MarinOne Reporting
With the addition of Amazon DSP, MarinOne customers now have a comprehensive suite of tools to activate and amplify their entire Amazon Advertising campaign portfolio. MarinOne’s advanced analytics tools provide advertisers with intelligent dashboards and customizable reports. Automated insights identify opportunities to improve performance, and alerts provide real-time updates on changes in activity.
MarinOne supports 140 DSP metrics including detailed page views and new to brand metrics. Advertisers can use marketplace signals to tie their DSP performance to reviews, ratings, inventory status, and price. And MarinOne never deletes data, allowing for simple year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter analysis.
Holistic View of Advertising Performance
In addition to viewing Amazon DSP results alongside Amazon Sponsored Products, Brands and Display Ads, MarinOne customers can also analyze paid search and social advertising as well as other marketplaces, retail media, and shopping campaigns, delivering a cross-publisher and cross-channel view of performance.
To start gaining the benefits of MarinOne reporting on your Amazon DSP account, reach out to your account manager or our sales team today.
Welcome to part three of our Amazon Prime Day 2021 three-part series.
In part one, Are you ready for Prime Day 2021?, we took a look at last year's performance, noted key deadlines for retailers, and highlighted some top-level levers to get the most out of Prime Day, before, during and after the event.
In part two, Top tactics for a successful Prime Day 2021, we expanded upon the key levers and focused more on best practices and optimization techniques for promotional periods such as Prime Day
Prime Day starts today, so in part three we’ll talk through some of the strategies to keep the momentum going during the period after Prime Day (2+ weeks):
For at least 2 weeks after the 2 day Prime event, you should focus on reengaging with your Prime Day audiences that continue to visit Amazon to browse and shop products. During this time, consider promoting complementary products to your existing audiences and even reach new audiences who viewed your products but didn’t purchase them during Prime Day.
A lot of Brands decide to cut their spend significantly right after Prime Day has ended or even pause campaigns entirely, which is an oversight. Continuing to invest in a strategic approach is crucial. According to Amazon, it takes on average between 6 and 7 days before a shoppers initial browse on Amazon and making a purchase. In addition, a shopper makes 14 average detail page views before making a purchase. Because of this it's very likely that a shopper is still considering your brand/products, even after Prime Day, but has yet to convert - making the period after Prime Day the perfect time to re-engage with those audiences. Brands that continue to advertise after prime Day will remain at the forefront of shoppers’ minds, while those that don’t could lose the brand awareness that has been built during the lead up to Prime Day and the event itself.
Below we’ve put together some strategic opportunities to help Brand reap the rewards during the period after Prime Day;
Review Prime Day sales performance
- Some of your products may have sold better than others during Prime Day. The differences between them may be as transparent as budget issues but it could also be as small as targeting the wrong keyword. Use this data to refine your ASINs and hopefully improve impressions and conversion rate during the period after Prime Day.
- It is highly likely that shoppers saw your brand during Prime day via your Sponsored Ads campaigns and may be considering your products but have yet to convert. They need to be reengaged.
Focus on top selling products
- Focus on increasing visibility in all stages of the funnel, especially on branded terms to help upsell your products
- Increase budgets for your top-selling products to maintain higher spend levels and engage with shoppers looking for deals
- Keep increased top of page bids for ASINs that helped to drive Prime Day sales
Re engage with new-to-brand shoppers
- Review your new-to-brand performance. You might discover that a high number of new-to-brand shoppers ended up purchasing a particular product
- Boost bids on Sponsored Brands ASINs that have the highest new-to-brand sales to drive loyalty
- Create custom-built remarketing audiences in Sponsored Display based on new-to-brand engagement.
- Create new Amazon audience campaign with top selling new-to-brand products and assign higher bids to help increase scale
- Consider adding views remarketing segments to your ad groups in your new campaign(s) to manage efficiency in your NTB efforts. For example, you could create a custom-built category audience to remarket a top selling product to audiences who have previously viewed related detail pages of highly rated or Prime-eligible detail pages
Continue to offer deals
- Following Prime Day, shoppers are still budget-conscious and want to find the best deals. Because of this, consider continuing to run deals, coupons, and promotions during the Prime Day lead out.
- Products don’t have to be discounted as steeply as they were during Prime Day. But even smaller discounts could make a product more tempting to a shopper and will help to combat the slower nature of the first few weeks after Prime Day has ended.
- Coupons are a great way to entice a shopper to purchase, as the coupons badge will appear on the ad in search results and product pages. These badges signal a good deal to shoppers and will help to improve your click-through-rate (CTR) and conversion rates.
- If using coupons you have the choice of selecting a percent or monetary value coupon. Our recommendation is to use a monetary value. There’s nothing wrong with percent coupons, but how much is the actual discount? People don’t want to do this kind of math when they’re trying to decide if they even like the product or not.
Remarket to existing audiences
- Re-engage customers who viewed your products but didn’t purchase your products during Prime Day
- By adding audiences to your Sponsored Display ads, you can prioritise customers more likely to add your product to their cart
- Use audience controls to customise campaigns based on key detail page attributes, such as product category and price range.
Co-sell and upsell with product targeting
- Use Sponsored Display Product targeting to reach new or existing customers on any product detail page or category on Amazon – even outside of your own category. Reaching new customers outside of your category allows you to help inspire shoppers to consider products that might be relevant to them
- Review Amazon’s Market Basket report, which shows the top 3 products most frequently purchased at the same time as the Brand Owner’s products - Use this data to create ads that show up in the “Sponsored Products Related to this Item” carousel on Amazon
- Target detail pages for top selling competitor products that relate to your products. Review the Item Comparison Report which shows all the different ASINs that were viewed and compared against your ASIN. These are your competitors and provides you with an indication of which products you should target.
- Play defensive and target closely related / complementary products in your own catalog to make sure shoppers who land on your product detail pages do not see competitor products
If you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative or, if you’re an existing Marin customer, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for more information.
Welcome to part two of our Amazon Prime Day 2021 three-part series. In part one, Are you ready for Prime Day 2021?, we took a look at last year's performance, noted key deadlines for retailers, and highlighted some top-level levers to get the most out of Prime Day, before, during and after the event.
Since our last blog, Amazon announced that Prime Day 2021 will kick off at midnight PDT (3 AM EDT) on June 21 and run through to the end of June 22.
There’s still some lead up time to the event, so in this blog we’ll expand upon the key levers and focus more on best practices and optimization techniques for promotional periods such as Prime Day:
Experiment with Sponsored Brands creatives
- Create ads that showcase your top products and also products featuring deals.
- Forgo generic ad copy and use custom headlines that relate to the products you are featuring and your audience strategy.
- Try out new headlines and different collections of products to see which outperform the others.
- Review new-to-brand metrics, which can help you to measure the number of first-time customers or total first-time sales your brand acquired.
Use Sponsored Display for the the lead up to Prime Day
- Product targeting and audiences for Sponsored Display can help you to reach more audiences before the Prime Day event, and it will also help with brand awareness during the lead-up too.
- Review new-to-brand metrics to help determine whether an ad-attributed purchase was made from an existing customer or one buying your brand’s product on Amazon for the first time.
- Adjust budgets, add more ASINs, and broaden your reach prior to the Prime Day week. These three steps, according to Amazon, drove an average 3x sales lift and +45% better ROAS during Prime Day 2020.
- Sponsored Display is a great way to reach shoppers at every stage of the shopping journey:
- Awareness - Utilize category targeting, Amazon Audiences, and Views remarketing to grow the total audience of Amazon shoppers who are aware of your products.
- Consideration - Utilize Views remarketing, Amazon Audiences, and product and category targeting to help maximize purchase intent by telling your brand's story.
- Purchase - Utilize Views remarketing and Product targeting to help stay visible when shoppers are ready to buy.
- Loyalty - Utilize Views remarketing and product targeting to drive repeat orders and engagement with your Amazon Stores.
Drive shoppers to your Amazon Store
- Engage shoppers with curated pages that showcase your deals and top products
- Use product detail page placements to showcase your brand to shoppers viewing related categories, and direct them to your store.
- Sponsored Brands Store Spotlights let you feature Store pages in your creative, along with a customizable headline, sub-page image, and label (US Only).
- If your SB campaign is targeting product keywords around products that are found in a specific page in your store, you should link directly to that specific page.
- Creating separate campaigns for each keyword strategy will give you visibility into how each strategy performs. For example, if you’re targeting keywords that contain a competitor’s brand name, separate them into their own campaign to see how well you’re able to drive a competitor-related search to your Store.
- According to Amazon, linking Sponsored Brand campaigns to a Store delivers +29% better return on ad spend when compared to linking to a product list page.
Schedule your Store updates
- Scheduling enables you to build out Prime Day updates for your Store to showcase your promotions and offers ahead of the Prime Day event. Aim to have a Prime Day version of your store created by June 14.
- Showcase deal ASINs in your Store, including on special deal pages. Leverage the Featured Deals Widget within Stores to showcase Prime Day-specific deals and discounted items or promotions - and choose between Lightning Deals (when available) and Deals by Category.
Drive discovery and engagement with Sponsored Brands video
- Use Sponsored Brands video to stand out in desktop and mobile shopping results and help shoppers discover your brand and products as they shop on Amazon during the leadup to Prime Day.
- Review our earlier blog post, Video Ads on Amazon, Do I Need to Get Involved?, for Marin’s top tips and insights on running Sponsored Brands Video ads.
- According to Amazon, Sponsored Brands video campaigns have, on average, shown 127-267% higher CTR compared to product collection campaigns.
Keep your ads discoverable to shoppers
- Boost your daily budget to help ensure that your ads serve throughout the Prime Day event. Amazon recommends a 200% increase on your average daily spend.
- For the budget-conscious retailers, consider using Marin’s Amazon dayparting / ad scheduling solution where you'll be able to increase or decrease your keyword bids not just on a certain day, but also by a specific hour – as precisely as 15-minute increments. For example, if you know historically you saw a 20% increase in revenue/clicks between 1PM and 3PM, you can set a 20% boost to increase your bids during those specific hours.
Improve campaign performance
- Pause low-performing campaigns, and consider moving the budget to high-performing campaigns
- Use negative targeting to restrict how your ads appear, which is especially important for broad match keywords.
- Consider using Marin’s machine learning bidding algorithm to help raise ACOS and improve ROAS Marin was able to increase exposure by 79% for Buyagift (a leading provider of gift experiences in the UK) by optimizing bids with our leading ad management platform. We were also able to increase click volume by 36%, with a 7.4% lower cost-per-click than before. The campaign grew awareness and engagement, and ultimately helped Buyagift boost revenue on Amazon by 17%. See the Amazon case study for more information.
- Use Amazon Budget rules to automatically adjust budgets based upon performance or seasonality.
Use Product Targeting to increase your market share, defend your brand and drive more sales
- Hijack the detail pages of competing high-performing products to increase your impression volume if you are trying to launch a product in a competitive space.
- When targeting competitor products, make sure the product is a similar product to the one you are selling to make sure you have the best chance of a conversion to take place.
- Consider targeting complementary products that go well with yours. For example, if you are selling a foundation makeup brush, place your product on the detail page of a liquid foundation for the face.
- Defend your branded space by targeting your own products to combat the risk of a consumer navigating to your detail page and then clicking on a competitor’s ad.
Get on board with Amazon Attribution
Amazon Attribution provides visibility and insights into how non-Amazon digital marketing (search, social, display, video and email) impact shopping activity and sales on Amazon. Without the Marin + Amazon Attribution integration, you will not be able to connect the cost from a paid search or paid social click to a resulting Amazon conversion metric (such as page views, add to carts, and purchases).
- Gain an accurate measure of your ROI by seeing cost and revenue data together.
- Utilize Marin’s automated bidding against total revenue, including Amazon Attribution revenue data and event metrics.
- According to a survey, 52% of shoppers are more likely to buy an unfamiliar brand on Amazon vs any other store.
- Create Google Sitelinks with the messaging “Buy Now on Amazon” that take visitors directly to your Amazon Store, or an Instagram ad that takes visitors directly to the Amazon product detail page with an “Add to Cart” button.
- AccuQuilt was able to increase revenue +213% while improving ad clicks by 154% and average order value by 17% using the Marin + Amazon Attribution Integration. See the case study for more information.
Bidding for success
Make sure that your bids are competitive, even after Prime Day has ended. Amazon’s research shows that it’s between 6 and 7 days from when a shopper browses to when they actually make a purchase, and an average shopper makes 14 detailed page views before making a purchase. With that in mind, there's ample opportunity to improve performance for the period after Prime Day has ended.
- Take the strain out of manual bidding by using Marin’s machine learning bidding algorithm to automatically calculate bids based upon your targets and goals.
- Use Marin’s automated bidding in conjunction with our Promotional Bid Modifier optimization. This automatically draws on your historic Prime Day performance data to optimize bids based on your promotional calendar. The algorithm uses your historic data to generate keyword-level boosts based on each keyword's performance during previous Prime Day promotions.
- Use Amazon Dynamic Bids “up and down” - If a click is likely to convert, Amazon will raise your bid up to 100% for placements at the top of the first page of search results and up to 50% for all other placements. This is fully compatible and works in conjunction with Marin’s bidding algorithms.
It may seem like that’s a lot to take in, but as with any digital marketing activity there are numerous optimization strategies to help improve performance. The ones mentioned above are some of the key levers available to get you the best out of Prime Day 2021.
Look out for part three in our series, which highlights some of the strategies to keep the momentum going during the period after Prime Day. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative or, if you’re an existing Marin customer, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for more information.
It’s that time again. Over the past few years - typically around mid-July - Amazon has launched Prime Day for its Prime members to shop new deals and discounts. Although last year’s shopping event was delayed to October due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Amazon’s first quarter results call, the company announced that Prime Day will “take place later in the second quarter” of 2021, which means we’re likely to see Prime Day hit sometime in June.
The Prime Day page is up and reads “Prime Day is coming,” although as of this publication no “official” announcement has been made to confirm when Prime Day will actually take place in Q2. However, as the last shipping cut-off date and FBA inventory cut-off date is June 13th (shown below), we’re betting that Prime Day will take place sometime between June 14th and 27th.
Looking Back: Prime Day 2020
According to Amazon’s press release, and SimilarWeb’s research, Prime Day 2020 was a record-breaking event worldwide with an increase in sales of nearly 60% from the prior year and amazing deals across a variety of categories from small businesses to top brands. Some of the key takeaways from 2020 Prime Day are shown below:
These results represent a staggering growth opportunity for any retail company. So if the numbers above aren’t enough to persuade you to take part in Prime Day 2021, bringing with it the potential to reach a colossal number of shoppers, then what will?
Getting the most out of Prime Day
Although Prime Day is officially a one- to two-day event, retailers should consider the lead up to the event and also the period after to be just as important. You should consider separating your activity into three phases: before, during and after.
Prep for Prime Day - Key dates for retailers
MAY 20 - JUNE 13: Inbound shipping cutoff for vendors. Deal inventory must be in transit:
- May 20: the United States and Canada
- May 30: India
- June 1: Australia and Mexico
- June 6: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- June 13: Japan
MAY 28 - Deadline to submit coupons in the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Australia.
MAY 30 - JUNE 13: FBA inventory cut-off date for sellers. Make sure your shipments arrive at Amazon well in advance of key shopping dates. Inventory should arrive at Amazon’s fulfillment centers by this date to ensure your products are available for customers during Prime Day:
- May 30: India
- May 31: the United States and Canada
- June 1: Australia and Mexico
- June 6: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Turkey
- June 7: the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- June 13: Japan
In part two of our Amazon Prime Day 2021 blog series, we’ll go into greater detail about our recommendations and techniques to boost your Prime Day performance with key strategies to maximize returns.
In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more, click here to connect with a sales representative or, if you’re an existing Marin Software customer, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager for additional information.
Sponsored Brands video is a relatively new ad format from Amazon that can display an eye-catching video alongside the ad on the Home Page, Detail Page and Search Results Page on Amazon, across desktop, mobile and tablet devices. What’s great is that these ads will automatically play when the video is at least 50% visible on screen then pause if the video is scrolled out of view.
How difficult are they to set up?
Sponsored Brands video ads include the advertiser’s brand logo, a text headline, and a call-to-action link alongside the video player as default and do not require creative design support from Amazon Advertising. Plus, thanks to the standardized mute function, the annoyance level of Sponsored Brands video ads is very low.
The product image and associated information (title, price, review count, star rating and Prime eligibility) are automatically displayed, so the only step to be taken is having the video content created for the brand or product in question. However, once the video is available, the process is simple and the ad can be created in a matter of minutes. As with any video ad, certain guidelines must be met, which can be found on Amazon’s website here.
Why should I put in the effort?
Ask yourself the following questions;
- Do I want to reach incremental shoppers and boost sales?
- Would I be more likely to stop and take notice of a moving image rather than a static one?
- Do I want to increase my brand’s exposure on the world’s #1 most visited internet marketplace?
- Do I want to show off a new product or strengthen a top seller with impactful visuals that tell a story?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above then it's a no-brainer--you should unquestionably take advantage of this valuable opportunity to increase your exposure on Amazon.
Top tips for your Sponsored Brands video ads
- Don’t start the video with an empty frame, feature the product prominently within the first second
- Keep it brief - Aim to have a video length of 15-30 seconds to relay your message
- Videos should work without sound - Remember, the majority of viewers won’t have their sound turned on, so make use of subtitles
- If appropriate, ensure that on-screen text / subtitles / captions can easily be seen and read across all devices. Amazon recommends “using Helvetica or a similar san-serif font at a minimum size of 80 px”
- Add a logo at the beginning and end of your video to remind the viewer who you are
- Consider using a custom background image behind the video player to stand out even more
- Include a call to action (CTA) within your video that’s punchy and precise, i.e. ‘Learn More’ or ‘See Details’
- A/B test your landing pages to understand your best performers. Customers can be sent to an Amazon Store Page, Product Listing Page or Category Page
- Time is of the essence, so forgo the whimsy fade-ins and lengthy introductions, and keep the video brief and straight to the point. Customers need to know what you’re selling straight off the bat
- If using music in your video, keep in mind your audience and don’t use a soundtrack that's annoying or loud
- If your goal is consideration or purchase, focus on what makes your product unique and why customers should buy it over your competitors
- If your goal is brand awareness, focus on building a connection between your potential customer and the product you’re trying to sell
How can Marin help?
Marin is here to support our eCommerce customers in any way possible. Amazon Sponsored Brands video is just one of the many ad types supported in MarinOne, giving our customers the opportunity to use our award winning, robust AI-powered bidding solution for Amazon video ads. Below are some additional advantages of using Marin to manage your Amazon sponsored ads:
- Complete visibility of all settings and performance metrics across all levels: Campaign, Group, Keyword and Ad
- Marin keeps all historical performance data whereas the Amazon console makes only the most recent 90 days available
- Use Marin’s Bidding for enhanced long-tail keyword targeting results with progressive lookback modeling
- Combine AI with inventory signals and contextual modifiers
- Have visibility into attributes, including Image, Price, Rating, Reviews and Availability
- Marin’s Keyword Expansion tool allows you to quickly and easily add search terms as new keywords or negative keywords for your Amazon activity, as well as the ability to see conversion and revenue data for each search rerm
- Link conversions and revenue driven on Amazon with your Google, Bing, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Verizon Media and Facebook spend using Marin’s Amazon Attribution solution
- Improve performance and combat wasted spend by adjusting bids by day-of-week and hour-of-day using Marin’s Ad Scheduling (Day-Parting) Tool
- Isolate underperforming keywords and ASINs using advanced filters
- Maximize growth opportunities with budget planning and predictive intelligence
To learn more about Amazon Sponsored Brands video and beyond, reach out to your Marin Customer Success Manager or click here to schedule a conversation.
This is our final blog post on Prime Day ahead of the day itself, and here we’ll focus on the practicalities of getting the most out of the Prime Day opportunity.
Learn From the Past
Have you been advertising on Amazon for more than a year? Then review what worked for you before and incorporate it in your strategy for Prime Day 2020:
- Which products performed best?
- What verticals saw the largest increase?
- What promotions worked out well for you?
Go beyond ROI/ROAS and take into account products with positive reviews, but also have a look at how your current stock compares to what you have historically shipped on Prime Day. Take into account all factors that contribute to winning the Buy Box in getting your campaigns ready and your products selected.
It’s easy to focus on products and categories, but you should also investigate what messaging has previously worked in your Sponsored Display activity in particular.
Because Prime Day focuses a lot on increasing sales, it is also important to investigate what has historically not worked. The Prime Day marketing environment is really different from the everyday, so your normal top performers might not be the products you want to put forth for Prime Day.
Marin Software is a great place to start this process, as we aggregate data from many sources to surface details about your advertised products. Marin allows you to see an overview of all your products, targets, and keywords across all accounts, so you don’t have to drill down into each campaign/group to see product performance.
Assure your Presence
Prime Day means an incredible increase in volume of impressions, clicks, and sales, not only on Amazon, but on other channels as well. While it is important to be present on each of these channels, you need to be tactical to get the most out of your budget. Here are some tips:
- Identify your top performing products and ensure that budget is allocated to those top products in your Sponsored Product and Sponsored Display campaigns.
- Be tactical and budget-aware:
- Leverage product targeting to target competitors, either to win their customers by promoting your own products, or cross-selling with complementary products. Go very specific by targeting specific ASINs.
- Leverage Marin’s Keyword Expansion to identify both keywords to add to your targeting, as well as negative keywords.
- Use macro figures to identify categories to aim for, with the goal of being present where most volume is expected. As we wrote previously, while Electronics is the main category, Toys and Games along with Beauty & Personal Care are expected to see a rise in volume in 2020.
- Ensure your Product Detail Page is updated to drive relevancy for advertising on certain targets and keywords.
Budgets & Bids
- Increase your budgets to avoid lost impressions and sales due to budget constraints
- Increase bids across the board: Amazon estimates that simply maintaining your visibility might require bids that are twice as high as usual. Marin allows you to do this very easily, and come back to your usual levels quickly post-Prime Day as well
- Capitalize on Intraday Bidding & Ad Scheduling: Prime Day means Lightning Deals! Make sure you get the most out of those opportunities by temporarily increasing your bids even further.
- Set up automated rules based on inventory, making sure you only put your budget where you have a good amount of stock. Learn from the past, as the sheer volume of sales means low stock will be very different on Prime Day than almost any other day of the year.
Next up in this series, don't miss our upcoming webinar Delivering for the Holidayswith Amazon Attribution. Join Amazon and Marin to get ready for a challenging Q4 Retail season.
Prime Day is a great example of a “rising tide” lifting all retail “ships” - if you are focusing your Prime Day activities exclusively on Amazon Advertising you are likely missing out on a lot of great traffic.
Google search trends highlights how customers are not always starting their Prime Day shopping on Amazon. Instead, we see a healthy amount of people who are still using Google as their starting point - even if they end up converting via Amazon.
Retailers should be ready for an increase in their search impressions as consumers are executing Prime Day focused searches on channels like Google. To take advantage of this increase in traffic, retailers should enable Marin’s Amazon Attribution feature. This feature allows our advertisers to easily see the advertising impression and cost information alongside the purchases that occur on Amazon. This insight allows Marin customers to explore some Prime Day tactics that would otherwise be impossible to measure.
Consider sending non-branded search terms directly to Amazon
During normal time periods, consumers are more likely to buy a product on Amazon.com than on another eCommerce site. Our advertisers have seen this even more strongly during Prime Day for New to Brand shoppers. With Marin and Amazon Attribution configured you have a full view of the search costs and Amazon purchases tied together in MarinOne. Take advantage of the increased search traffic and the “ready to buy” attitude of a Prime Day shopper to achieve higher ROAS on these non branded terms, even after accounting for the higher fees of selling on Amazon vs your site.
Advertise your Prime Day deals on social channels
Highlight your sales, coupons, or lightning deals via social media and retargeting. Prior to Marin’s Amazon Attribution support this tactic would have resulted in social expenditures but zero visibility into the return. Now our advertisers can take advantage of Prime Day buzz and proactively drive customers to their deals and track every step of the way!
Add Prime Day Sitelinks
For Branded terms, advertisers might not want to direct all traffic directly to Amazon, however a Prime Day specific sitelink could be a great opportunity to allow consumers to self select if they prefer to go directly to Amazon. Consider directing the sitelink to your Amazon Store for a more brand focused approach.
Prime Day 2020 is a great opportunity to think outside the box - now that advertisers have access to Amazon Attribution in Marin there is no excuse not to experiment with your search and social traffic on Prime Day.
In the past, Prime Day served to increase demand during an otherwise uneventful buying season, but in 2020 Prime Day is so much more. This year Prime Day is - Prime Day, Back to (in person) School Shopping, a prelude to Cyber 5, and the beginning of the retail holiday season.
That is a lot to pin on an event that has just been officially announced on October 13th and 14th.
With so much uncertainty in the world and around this event, let’s focus on a few things we know for sure:
Prime Day 2020 will see an increase of traffic on a wider range of products than in a normal year.
In previous years, 49% of Prime Day shoppers said they were planning to use the event to shop for the holidays. However as Prime Day is now nearly 3 months later than it was in 2019, retailers should expect that percentage to increase. An increase in gift focused shopping will lead to a shift in the type of product categories that traditionally fare well on Prime Day.
In a typical year Electronics are the biggest seller but in 2020 I would expect some of the lower categories like Toys and Games along with Beauty & Personal Care to move up the ranks as shoppers are buying less for themselves and more for others.
RankBrandPurchasesYoY Growth1Electronics4.43M–2Home & Kitchen3.72M+15%3Health & Household2.80M+28%4Amazon Devices2.789M+26%5Beauty & Personal Care2.05M+27%6Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry1.73M-8%7Sports & Outdoors1.56M-4%8Tools & Home Improvement1.52M+19%9Toys & Games1.16M+18%10Grocery & Gourmet Food897K+26%
Source: Hitwise, US. www.amazon.com. July 15-16 2019 vs. July 16-17 2018.
Tip - To ensure you are prepared for the traffic increase on a wider variety of products, use Marin’s Amazon Keyword Expansion feature to ensure complete coverage prior to Prime Day then be sure to use again after the event to bulk up your targeting for the rest of 2020 shopping or to add negative keywords to increase efficiency of your campaigns.
Prime Day Success is Not Measured in Same Day ROAS
Prime Day will obviously increase sales for many advertisers, however this year more marketers are moving away from measuring success in terms of ROAS. The unique timing of the event is resulting in many brands willing to target a lower ROAS in exchange for expanding top of funnel reach in preparation for Cyber 5.
Tip - Amazon suggests increasing bids significantly (they recommend up to 2x) in order to remain competitive during Prime Day. This can be a labor intensive process in the Amazon Console and requires you to manually execute the adjustments. In Marin you can easily achieve this result with a few clicks and reverting to the previous level is even easier.
Prime Day this year will not be the usual “Buy in July” but it will be seen as the official start of the 2020 Holiday Buying Season. Take advantage of this timing to look beyond Prime Day performance and instead use it as a building block for your future Cyber 5 and Holiday activities.
Who Are the Big Four?
The digital marketing landscape has become more and more consolidated into “The Big Four” publishers — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
These entities have a vested interest in keeping each other at arm’s length and they will continue to silo their data from each other. This means if you are relying on publisher-owned tools (Like Facebook Ad Manager, or SA 360) for your digital marketing management and bidding optimization, you will not be able to connect the dots for activities that jump from one silo to another and will be missing conversion data as a result.
Marin is able to work with, and across, all technologies in the space. This allows us to create cutting-edge features — like our Marin + Amazon Attribution feature, in order to provide advertisers a consolidated view of their Search, Social, and eCommerce activities alongside conversion data — regardless of where that conversion occurs.
If you have any tracking challenges or want to discuss how Marin can ensure you are effectively reporting and optimizing to a complete ROI for all your digital marketing initiatives — don’t hesitate to reach out today to speak with a Marin Expert.
What’s New with Marin + Amazon Attribution?
We’ve discussed Amazon Attribution in the past, and in the last few months, we have been working with some key clients to help them answer the question — how much of my paid (non-Amazon) traffic ends up converting on Amazon? Answering this question has allowed our customers to achieve a more complete view of their ROI and optimize bids accordingly.
The one downside to this feature was that it required the advertisers to manually create the tracking tags in the Amazon Attribution platform prior to the tracking being appended in Marin — but no longer!
Marin is proud to announce that we are one of the first companies that will have access to the Amazon Attribution API — this means we can now offer our customers an automated, scalable solution to programmatically implement Amazon Attribution across their paid initiatives no matter how many ads or keywords require unique tracking.
Who Can Benefit From Marin + Amazon Attribution?
- Amazon Vendors or Sellers who sell on Amazon.com or Amazon Vendors who sell on Amazon.co.uk
- Any Paid Search or Paid Social advertiser — you do not need to be using any Amazon Advertising to be eligible
- Any advertiser that would benefit from a more complete view of their paid digital media ROI, including the ability to optimize bids based on this information
The following Amazon conversion metrics will be available in Marin alongside the corresponding publisher metrics (Cost, Impressions, Clicks, ect). Marin Bidding is able to incorporate any of these metrics into your bidding algorithm.
- Detail Page View
- Add to Carts
- Units Sold
- Sale Revenue
Amazon Attribution is one of the many ways that advertisers are using Marin Software to better report, manage, and optimize their digital marketing — contact us today to discuss your specific needs and learn how Marin can help!
What is Amazon Attribution?
Amazon Attribution allows advertisers to measure the impact of non-Amazon search, social, display, email, and video media channels that drive searchers to buy your products on Amazon. Examples include third party search ads that lead directly to Amazon product pages, keywords with sitelinks, and social media advertising that directs users to purchase directly on Amazon.
Amazon Attribution reports contain publisher metrics such as impressions and clicks, as well as Amazon conversion metrics, such as detailed page views, add to carts, and purchases.
Why does Amazon Attribution matter?
If you are selling on Amazon, some of the customers you are reaching with other paid media may be converting on Amazon and this is almost certainly a blind spot when you are measuring the ROI of that media.
Amazon Attribution allows advertisers to better understand the impact of their paid search, social and eCommerce channels together. This reporting also provides a holistic view of how each marketing tactic contributes to a brand's shopping activity on Amazon.
How does Amazon Attribution work?
Amazon Attribution requires adding attribution tags to the click-through URL of your third party search ads (or other media to be tracked). Once you’ve implemented your attribution tags and your ads are being measured, Amazon Attribution is then able to report which campaigns, channels, ads, or keywords help to drive conversions for your brand on Amazon. Advertisers can decide where they place attribution tags to determine the level of their reporting output.
How should I use Amazon Attribution data?
Now that Amazon Attribution conversions are available for third party search and social ads, advertisers can use this reporting as part of their search and social workflow and optimization strategies.
In summary, Amazon Attribution provides an excellent tool for brands to understand how non-Amazon media is helping to drive sales for their brand on Amazon. It also allows advertisers to develop optimization and budgeting strategies across paid media channels that will ultimately increase efficacy and ROI. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo with one of our account representatives today!
Digital technology is available in its many forms to help you work faster. For marketing in particular, technology can improve the quality of your marketing output and ultimately help you generate more revenue and leads.
With that said, today’s unprecedented shift is creating the urgent need for brands and their partners to think outside the box and pivot quickly. Furthermore, it also surfaces a time to evaluate different tech stacks and see which tools can help increase their performance and efficiency.
Evaluating the right advertising technology for the job will come down to many factors, and reaching the best decision for your organization will take considerable time and effort that will likely involve you engaging in substantial research in order to get it right.
It’s important to ask yourself the right questions so you can narrow down your search. Think about questions such as:
- What level of visibility or reporting does the product provide for forecasting versus actual results? Is it able to integrate with any of the advanced data visualization tools that I use on a day-to-day?
- Does the vendor support multiple channels? Does the platform integrate with all major search engines and ad exchanges?
- What support does the vendor provide for audience activation, and for which channels?
- What level of integration does the solution have with our organization’s current technologies? How does it integrate with different data feeds or analytics solutions?
- Does the platform enable dynamic delivery of personalized ads for the end-customer?
- What level of support would they provide for any account escalations or questions?
Once you’ve answered these questions, and the answers are suitable to your company’s needs, it’s time to trial your options. Going back to the dawn of humankind, when it comes to problem solving, trial and error has always been one of the fundamental methods. Cavemen would test which weapon would kill Benny the mammoth most efficiently, while our old friend Julius Caesar would stage many different kinds of gladiator fights in order to see what the Roman people enjoyed most.
Full-service tools can get expensive quickly (even if you’re just trial-and-erroring), and most digital marketers are limited on budgets. Luckily, there are many instances in which you can get a free taste of what a product can offer (also known as the freemium model). There may be limited usage of the product, but you’ll likely get a solid understanding of its core value and if it addresses the needs of your business.
At Marin Software, we offer Marin Go, which helps you experience the power of MarinOne (our flagship product), without committing to a platform fee. You can then upgrade to MarinOne at any time.
With Marin Go you can:
- Aggregate data from multiple channels into a single comprehensive dashboard. Marin Go can link up to accounts from 10+ publishers, including Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple Search Ads, LinkedIn, & Amazon. You can schedule reports to be collected, curated, and sent straight to your inbox in CSV format (or linking back to the platform).
- Track budget pacing for the month and preview capabilities from our premium tool, MarinOne, including automated budget allocation and machine-learning bid optimization.
- Ask questions of your performance using powerful, interactive reporting with change columns, flexible date ranges, saved views, and more.
- Automate the preparation of polished executive-level and client-ready PDF reports.
- Improve campaign performance with actionable suggestions and insights from our Account Performance Audits.
- Automatically A/B test creatives.
If you are interested in trialing an enterprise-class reporting tool for free, and evaluating a tech stack that can incorporate data from all your different marketing channels, sign up now with Marin Go! We believe every advertiser should have the tools to break down publisher silos. Simply link in your accounts to start enjoying the benefits today.
Are you looking for better performance out of your Amazon Advertising campaigns? We recently added a few new features designed to deliver results. We’ve teamed up some of the world’s largest brands to solve their retail challenges -- if you’re interested in learning how we can help you out click here.
Automated Dayparting for Sponsored Products
Does your performance vary over the course of the week? Are you running out of budget too early in the day? Dayparting empowers our customers to apply bid modifiers by hour of day and day of week to automatically allocate budgets for Sponsored Product campaigns to the highest performing windows.
Some example uses include setting different bid schedules for weekdays compared to weekends, increasing bids in the afternoon when competitor budgets run out or bidding down lower-performing overnight hours. This unique Marin feature is a must-try for any Amazon Advertiser. .
Full Campaign Management for Sponsored Display
The Sponsored Display ad sets itself apart from Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Product Ads because its ads can be displayed both off and on Amazon.com. Advertisers can increase their product awareness and demand across the web by reaching the right audiences for their business.
Marin offers full reporting capabilities for Amazon Sponsored Display ads and also provides campaign management. We also support scheduled actions to pause or activate campaigns on specified dates/times.
Do you know how many of the customers you are reaching with Google and Facebook ads are converting on Amazon? With Amazon Attribution you can. Amazon Attribution is a powerful solution for tracking on-Amazon sales driven by off-Amazon sources (search or social ads)).
Marin connects the Amazon revenue with the publisher cost to present the full picture together. For example, where previously a Google sitelink pointed to Amazon would only show cost and no sales, Marin will link the revenue from Amazon Attribution and tie it back to the object, allowing for powerful reporting and optimization automation -- eliminating the guesswork and enabling optimization through revenue-targeted bidding.
Want to learn more? Drop us a line!
Introduction and Methodology
The 2020 holiday season is still a ways off, but an understanding of what happened last season will give you a solid foundation for making this year’s plans. This article highlights some of the key trends we noticed in eCommerce advertising including a shift in ad spend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, higher ROAS through mid-December, and highlight lower costs-per-click for advertisers through the 2019 season.
While reading, keep in mind the 2019 holiday shopping season was about a week shorter than 2018 due to a late Thanksgiving. In 2019, the window between Black Friday and Christmas day was 26 days compared to 32 days in the previous year.
eCommerce advertising data, led by Amazon Advertising, was indexed across Marin’s customer base for 2019 and 2018. Our methodology takes the October average for each metric and uses that as a baseline (100) for the rest of the data that year. Data in the graphs show whether any day was higher (100+) or lower (100-) versus the baseline of its respective year.
Black Friday Outspends Cyber Monday
In 2019, our customer base spent slightly more (+2%) on Black Friday compared to Cyber Monday. This marks a shift from 2018 where Cyber Monday outspent Black Friday by nearly 40%.
So why the change? Potentially with the increased confidence in mobile shopping, Black Friday can be seen as another “online holiday” as shoppers find similar deals shopping on their own as opposed to lining up at the stores.
Strong ROAS Gains Through December
Cyber Monday and Black Friday are by far the best days in the holiday season when it comes to overall sales, but increase competition drives CPCs higher and pushes down ROAS. The good news is that ROAS rebounds through the rest of December, peaking at the shipping cut-off dates. One theory could be that many of those December sales were influenced by strong Black Friday / Cyber Monday advertising which “primed the pump” and led to a later-date purchase.
This ROAS growth illustrates where advertisers find their wins throughout the entire holiday season, not just its biggest volume days.
Better eComm CPCs for Advertisers
eCommerce CPCs saw less upward pressure in 2019 compared to 2018 making it a more stable environment for advertisers. The trends follow a similar pattern in each year, ramping up and peaking during the “Cyber Five Day” then leveling out through December, but the indexed CPC numbers were closer to the October baseline for all of December 2019 as opposed to being closer to 1.5x the baseline in 2018.
This could be the result of gained experience in the space, better planning, and better bidding decisions throughout the 2019 holiday season.
Now is the time to revisit your results from last year while it is fresh. First off, make sure you have a means to store your Q4 2019 data for reference when 2020 holiday season rolls around. To solve for that, Marin now provides a free reporting solution to store and access your performance data for eCommerce, Search, and Social. Also, start thinking about how aggressive ad spend on one day might influence increased sales weeks later, and the general “flywheel effect” with eCommerce. Last, consider new ad types, run tests, and implement workflows that will save time and put you in a better place through 2020.
With 2019 in the rearview we’re excited to partner with brands to help them hit their 2020 targets and will share findings and opportunities as we analyze Marin customer data through the year.
Now that we’ve hit 2020, there will no doubt be many metaphor-infused mentions of vision, sight, and awareness.
In the world of advertising, foresight is just as important as hindsight. Being able to predict future innovations and consumer behaviors means keeping on top of not only late-breaking industry news and cutting-edge innovations, but also knowing what lies further ahead in the digital advertising space.
We’ve taken the pulse of the industry and identified five things that every retail advertiser should know this year.
Eye exam not required.
1. Gray Markets
A gray market is the legal sale of a product outside of the manufacturer’s preferred distribution channel—as just one example, a retailer selling to other retailers. This is in contrast to a black market, where a product’s very creation is outright illegal.
While the sale of gray market products isn’t prohibited, as a retailer, you’d probably like to ensure that your competition’s playing fair and according to industry customs and standards.
Furthermore, gray markets are simply bad for retailers, for a few main reasons:
- Lost revenue
- Lack of full oversight and control over who sells your products
- They can drive prices down in different regions (i.e., no pricing control)
- They can affect your brand image—if there’s a product issue you’re not aware of, you can’t fix it, which can lead to loss of consumer trust
Although completely eliminating global gray markets is an ongoing battle, you can take certain steps—outside of costly and timely litigation—to minimize the impact of gray market sellers.
Follow the rules
Determine the rules for your region. Also make sure you know the local, international laws so that you’re not breaching them.
Implement smart tracking practices
Assign different model numbers to the same item in different countries, even though the functions of the item are identical. This way, you can more easily pinpoint when something’s being sold on the gray market.
As an additional tracking measure, use supplier codes. (Note that in the U.S., you must use supplier codes; not using them is illegal.)
Understand publisher options
Google, eBay, and other platforms allow you to submit a request to remove ads for a gray market product that violate copyright or trademark laws. Act quickly to ensure the gray product is on the market for as short a time as possible.
Other things you can do to minimize gray versions of your products:
- Have a single cost policy for your product catalog.
- Increase distribution channels to make gray markets less attractive.
- Inform your sales teams and retail partners of gray market practices.
For more information, check out the work of The Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement (AGMA), a California-based non-profit group of IT companies on a mission to raise organizational and governmental awareness of gray markets.
2. Reviews and Ratings
Most businesses know that online reviews are important. What’s a bit more challenging is how to maximize the number of positive reviews and ratings, and to keep them once you have them.
How to increase positive reviews
Soliciting feedback isn’t just a way to boost your business—it’s an opportunity to create a human connection with someone who could eventually be a big fan of your brand. To encourage positive reviews, be sure to:
- Know where the reviews are. The big players include Yelp, eBay, Facebook, and Amazon, but burgeoning sites like G2 Crowd (for B2B companies) offer an important niche for greater visibility. Make sure you have a presence on all of the sites that are relevant to your business and monitor them regularly. Also be sure your profiles are continually up to date.
- Ask your existing customers. There’s a reason they bought what you’re selling. Be direct and create a campaign designed to generate positive feedback. Include a tracked link to the review page to make it easy for them to find you and so you know where the clicks are coming from.
- Incentivize it. Offer a gift card, a cup of coffee, or company swag. Use season-appropriate messaging to sway them with the possibility of extra funds for their holiday gift-giving.
- Share positive reviews to social media. Social proof is business cachet. Positive feedback is a great way of boosting brand awareness and presenting your company in a good light. If possible, tag the reviewer and encourage them to share, too.
- Quickly respond to negative reviews. You may be inclined to ignore the haters. But, getting back to them with a positive message shows them (and anyone looking at your response) that you take customer satisfaction seriously. Answering with understanding and compassion can often calm an irate customer, and they may even delete their negative post. According to Google, responding to reviews—whether positive or negative—also improves your local SEO.
- Test to see what works. As with all things in digital marketing, test, improve, and repeat. Whether you’re requesting reviews via email or social ads, A/B test subject lines, email copy, images, and any other variable that could lead to increased open rates, clicks, and responses.
How to maintain high review numbers
To ensure your reviews are timely, relevant, positive, and plentiful, be sure to maintain regular contact with your customers and continually provide top-notch service. This may seem like a no-brainer—but how often can you boast of nailing all of the below?
- You provide your customers with same-day assistance.
- You approach everything you do with a “customer first” attitude.
- You regularly reach out to your customers to ask for a review.
- You measure, test, and continually improve to maintain customers and attract new ones (and you have the data to prove it).
Given today’s many product choices and much more discerning consumers, your brand is a reflection of how focused you are on the customer.
3. Your Cross-Channel Strategy
Once you have a solid plan of attack against gray markets and your positive reviews are flowing in, it’s time to implement or rethink your cross-channel advertising strategy.
There are three basic components to stellar cross-channel ad campaigns:
- The when: Determine the best time to launch a product. You’ll definitely want to create ad campaigns around a product that’s new to market, but also be sure to consider seasonality, your competition, and any news about a similar product that may have been negative. Should you hold off or be more aggressive against your competitors?
- The what: Make sure your product listing is a good, strong one. Be explicit and concise about your product’s specifications and pricing, and include a clear set of images with a few different angles. Write a great product description, including attributes such as color, gender (or unisex), and how many are in left in stock. In short: Be clear, concise, complete, and captivating!
- The how: Create a strategy that has your ads appearing on all platforms where your existing and potential customers are searching and shopping—Google, Facebook, Amazon, and eCommerce websites. The easiest way to do this is with a solution like MarinOne, which automatically allocates budget to your best-performing ads and allows you to measure your performance holistically.
By setting up your ad campaigns to work in tandem and across channels, you’ll see a “multiplier effect” that will bring you significantly more consumers who are not only more likely to convert, but also likely to spend more.
4. Your Delivery Practices
When Veruca Salt said, “I want it now,” she was onto something.
With Amazon and Walmart under pressure to deliver products in one day, and the sharing economy expected to grow by an astronomical 2292% by 2025, “fast” for consumers is no longer an expectation but a given.
With 88% of consumers willing to pay for it, is your business set up to provide next-day or same-day shipping? Are you on board with BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store)?
To complement your delivery practices, be aware and constantly attuned to price wars. Do you know “how low can you go”? To ensure the price is right, consider freebies and VIP incentives such as loyalty programs, special promotions, and cost adjustments for new or “veteran” customers. Highlight your premier products, or add features to a lagging product to make it more enticing.
5. The Latest Innovations
As we start the New Year, retailers continue to question whether voice commerce will be the “next big thing.” Our take is that “next” is “now.” As eMarketer reports, the vast majority of voice assistant users are already speaking up and researching products. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to take this technology seriously.
We’re also having an “all wrists on deck” moment. Wearables are making some noise, and if Facebook’s recent acquisition of CTRL-Labs is any indication, this space will only get louder.
Retail—and especially eCommerce—is also rapidly growing, with more and more consumers flocking to sites like Amazon, Walmart, and others. Each Amazon Prime subscriber alone places 60 orders a year.
Automated solutions for dayparting, reporting, and other tools can improve your eCommerce advertising performance, and allow you to more easily adapt to the latest eCommerce innovations.
Stay aware of the latest technologies and breakthroughs, assess what works for your business, and flex accordingly.
If there’s a maxim retailers can live by, it’s, “With great innovation comes great responsibility.” Every year—or, every month—brings a new way of doing business or a novel way a competitor has to gain an edge. As a result, retailers and eCommerce advertisers must stay several steps ahead.
Use these tips to spruce up your product feed, crank up the volume on your products’ time to market, and bravely venture forth to discover and try out potentially lucrative opportunities.
May your vision be 2020 this year.
As you may know, the leading eCommerce publisher only retains performance data for the most previous 60 days on a rolling basis. This means that you will not be able to see 2019 Black Friday data after January 27th 2020. But how am I going to make year over year comparisons of peak seasonal periods, you ask. We’ve got the answer.
Introducing Marin Go
Marin Go is our free enterprise-class reporting tool that will automatically preserve your eCommerce, Search and Social data.
Marin Go is perfectly suited for eCommerce advertisers who need a robust, cross-channel solution to pick up where publisher reporting tools fall short. Marin Go allows advertisers to report on performance down to the keyword and creative level with flexible reporting, charting, and dashboard capabilities—at absolutely no cost.
Seize the Data
Although time’s running out for you to save your 2019 Black Friday/Cyber Monday data, you still have a chance to successfully forecast your 2020 initiatives and perform year-over-year comparisons. Simply act now to secure your data and head into the rest of the year with confidence..
Remember the date: January 27th. And, be sure to use Marin Go to make the process easier. In addition to data retention, Marin Go provides a variety of benefits for eCommerce advertisers at any time of the year:
- Flexible Reporting.
Go beyond publisher-specific metrics like ACOS, and easily create custom reporting columns that match your business needs across all publishers. These columns can include your own prescribed calculations making it easy to connect all ad spend and attribute revenue uniformly.
- Cross-channel dimension reporting.
Slice and dice your reporting any way you want. Easily roll up category performance to see valuable trends and insights outside of your normal campaign structure. Dimensions are completely flexible and can be configured to reflect how you need to see you data aggregated for optimal reporting and analysis.
- Budget forecasting.
Our budget tool takes into account known temporal effects such as day of week, day of month, month of year and day of year seasonality. This comes in handy when you’re looking to estimate your 2020 holiday spend.
- Advanced option for qualified candidates (Amazon attribution).
For advertisers using Google Search to drive traffic to your Amazon listing, Marin can integrate the Google Spend data with Amazon Sales data to provide a streamlined view of performance. If you’re interested in using this feature, please reach out and we can evaluate the request. Note that this feature is normally only available to full Marin customers.
To make sure you hit the January 27th deadline to retain your data and make your ad campaign reporting easier:
- Sign up for Marin Go
- Link your Amazon account before January 27th
- Link your Google and Bing Accounts for cross-channel visibility
- Enjoy full access to automated reporting, dashboards, and alerting for free
Good luck and happy/easy reporting!