As Amazon turns 21 this year, it has solidified its position as the leader in ecommerce with astounding growth since its humble beginnings in 1997. Since then, Amazon’s online sales have increased by 18,233% and is one of the world’s most trusted ecommerce websites.
According to a Walker Sands Future of Retail study, a total of 84% of U.S. consumers made purchases from Amazon in 2017 – half of which are Amazon Prime subscribers. For perspective, the country’s population is nearly 327 million people.
Due to this exponential growth in sales and widespread Amazon Prime adoption, Amazon is the ultimate virtual marketplace for reaching consumers. At this point, if your goods are not available through Amazon, you are missing out on more than 1.5 billion consumers. Beyond offering your products on Amazon, investing in Amazon marketing in 2019 is also a must.
What is Amazon marketing?
Amazon marketing includes a variety of advertisement types that are familiar to those who already utilize other channels for promotions such as Google and Facebook. Through Amazon, you can create compelling advertisements that will appear in searches or on individual product pages and be charged on a per click basis. Think of Google AdWords, but for Amazon.
Like how might you advertise on other platforms, Amazon marketing requires you to use keywords to appear in searches and bid for ad placement. There are several ad types for Amazon marketing including sponsored products, sponsored brands (formerly headline search ads) and product display ads.
Sponsored product ads are a popular choice for companies. They appear like a search result when consumers are looking for a product and link directly to a product details page. This is a common Amazon marketing strategy because it reaches consumers based on goods they are actively searching for and behaves like an organic search result (aside from subtle marking that the search result is sponsored).
Sponsored brand ads, or headline search ads, appear above the search results listing and can link to any specific page on Amazon. This is helpful for promoting your overall brand to consumers versus selling an individual product. Additionally, sponsored brand ads can help drive consumers to browse all of your offerings and potentially purchase multiple products rather than just the one they were looking for.
Although these ad types drive fewer direct sales, they increase brand awareness. If a sponsored brand ad doesn’t generate a sale during a consumer’s first search, it can put your brand in their consideration set for future purchases.
Display advertisements on Amazon behave similarly to Google display ads. While they don’t appear in the search results on Amazon, they are viewable in the side bar of the page. Again, this increases brand exposure and means consumers are more likely to remember your product when deciding to make a purchase.
The Importance of Amazon Marketing
No matter which way you look at it, investing in marketing efforts on Amazon is an absolute must for companies in order to be successful in the ecommerce space.
Aside from being the most popular ecommerce website among consumers, Amazon collects valuable data about what and how individuals are buying products. Utilizing Amazon’s expertly crafted algorithm, you can reach an entirely new scope of prospects who might be interested in your products.
Even if your brand is well-known and your own online store receives a lot of traffic, advertising on Amazon offers many benefits. The consumer-led website prioritizes the needs of the consumer. The logistics of costs, shipping speed, and product features weigh heavily on the prospect’s purchasing decision. Therefore, your world-class customer service or high-quality design means less on Amazon where consumers can browse through substitute offerings or cheaper, previously owned products.
Amazon ads are unique as they reach the consumer at a later stage of the buying process. Rather than trying to pique a consumer’s interest with advertisements on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, you are engaging with the consumer when they are already evaluating products and entering the decision-making stage. In short, Amazon advertisements are more targeted around what the consumer is currently looking for.
Amazon marketing is also a key way to be competitive in the online marketplace. As Amazon connects consumers to third-party businesses based on popularity and cost efficiency, consumers are more likely to be persuaded by comparable offerings. Therefore, Amazon marketing is an important way to ensure your product reaches consumers who are looking at competitors or who might be looking for your products and get advertised to by your competitors.
Tips and Tricks for Amazon Marketing
Going into 2019, now is the time to create and implement an impactful marketing strategy for Amazon. To optimize your company’s advertisements, it’s important to take the time to develop a well thought-out strategy with a purposeful campaign and distinct ad groups.
Here are a few tips and tricks you can use when building out your Amazon marketing plan to make the most impact and get the best results.
Organize Your Campaign
Just like your advertising via Google AdWords, your ads on Amazon should have a well-organized campaign structure. Without a structured campaign, you could risk wasting your budget on irrelevant keyword clicks or cannibalizing your ad reach by using the same keywords for multiple ad groups.
Begin with a campaign based on a broad theme that encompasses your offerings. For example, if you’re a health and beauty brand, focus on a general category such as skincare products. Be sure to not overcomplicate it.
Once you’ve determined what to focus on in your advertising, you’ll want to create 2 sets of campaigns under the same set of offerings. Create one that captures broad match keywords that include modified keyword matches or longer phrase match keywords and create a second campaign of solely exact match keywords. This way you can reach consumers who are doing a general search for products and those looking for a specific type of product.
After your initial structure is developed, you’ll want to create ad groups for each of the keywords you’re bidding on and embed the keyword in your ad copy. Similar to how Google will place your ads based on relevancy, Amazon also prioritizes this quality. Lastly, you should limit your ads to 2-3 ads per ad group so you can test different variations of your copy and measure which ones perform the best with your target audience.
Craft an Effective Message
Consumers turn to Amazon when they’re evaluating goods to make a purchase decision. To try to influence their thought process, you’ll want to grab their attention and create a sense of urgency with your messaging. Use your ad copy to highlight a sale or include a standout feature that differentiates your product from the competition.
In addition to creating a persuasive message, it’s important to also be as specific as possible on Amazon. Audiences are researching to get the best deals and want to know the details of the product – the more the better.
However, clarity is also key in your ad. You don’t want to confuse consumers with unnecessary information or overuse of descriptive words – save the marketing “fluff” for another time. Since consumers are presented with a high variety of similar offerings, they should be able to understand what you’re selling, the product’s features and its value in a concise, informative ad.
Once you’ve carefully chosen your ad’s messaging, make sure you’re not using any keywords that may be misleading. Avoid bidding on keywords that set false expectations about your offering for the sake of brand awareness or to trick consumers into reading more about your product. You’ll ultimately be wasting your ad budget on an irrelevant product search and hurt your bounce rates.
Compete with Competitors
Consumers may be more familiar with a particular brand and specifically, mention that brand in their searches on Amazon. For example, a consumer may be looking for running shoes from Nike and look up “Nike running shoes”. While typically brand loyal consumers are difficult to persuade, Amazon’s excellent return policy, detailed product descriptions, and rating system level the playing field.
You can use searches for your competitors in your keyword bidding strategy. Bid on keywords that directly mention your top competitors to increase your brand’s exposure to audiences that are seeking similar products. Using this method, even when a consumer isn’t looking for your product, your offerings can still reach them and influence their research.
Employ Different Ad Types
As with other search and shopping channels such as Google, you should experiment with your advertisement formats to test out your campaign’s effectiveness and see which yields the greatest ROI. Determine which ad format drives the most sales or gains the most exposure in comparison to what you are spending and your bounce rate.
While sponsored product ads may lead to the most direct sales, other ad formats such as headline ads or display ads can help your brand awareness. Amazon hosts a vast amount of popular and lesser-known brands and ensuring your brand stands out in consumers’ minds is key.