Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand these last few years, you’ve no doubt noticed Amazon Advertising rocketing onto the world stage and threatening the Google and Facebook duopoly. Long though both tech giants may have reigned (and continue to reign, if we’re being honest), Amazon Advertising’s ever-expanding suite of products is attracting more clients each quarter. At its current rate of growth, Amazon is likely to snatch significant market share from Google and (to a lesser extent) Facebook by 2020. Translation: this is a critical point for marketers to sit up and learn to navigate Amazon Advertising’s platform and offerings.
As NJ’s leading Amazon Advertising agency, Premiere Creative is your one-stop-shop for all things Amazon. Below are our tried-and-true client tested methods for maximizing ROAS and minimizing ACoS across Amazon Advertising incredibly robust suite of ad products. But before we move into best practices, a bit more about Amazon Advertising and how it threatens the powers that be.
Exclusive Sales Data & Uniquely Effective Targeting with Amazon
Consider the pivotal changes in consumer behavior directly attributable to Amazon’s rise to prominence. Think about how 40% of Americans order something from Amazon’s ingeniously disruptive market place every month. Amazon is the world’s central hub for online shopping. Given the Amazon has access to every pair of eyeballs belonging to every American consumer; it should hardly come as a surprise that Amazon Advertising is enjoying explosive growth. 44% of Americans begin their online shopping journey on Amazon. By contrast, only 33% of shoppers begin their journeys on Google. That discrepancy will only grow steeper as Amazon improves its consumer-facing platform.
Amazon’s growing dominance over global eCommerce provides it with outrageously large qualities of granular consumer data. If you’re an advertiser, access to these consumer data – including affinities, brand preferences, the stages in a purchase cycle, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, etc. – have you frothing at the mouth. Amazon’s data is breathtaking in terms of granularity and accuracy. For the first time in the history of human commerce, people that are looking to sell things know precisely who their customers are.
The granularity of Amazon’s data is incredible. Amazon knows the preferences, credit card numbers, mailing addresses, and consumer behavior of more than 40% of Americans. This information is critical for any advertiser looking to drive incremental revenue and sales online. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out with Amazon Advertising and running your first sponsored product ad. It doesn’t matter if you’re a more experienced Amazon Advertising pro using a robust Amazon Advertising data report to inform UX decisions. Competing online from 2019 forward will require you to comprehensively understand Amazon’s robust marketing products. Amazon’s well of consumer data can help advertisers across all verticals to optimize for ROI, ROAS, and ACoS. Read on for Premiere Creative’s guide for navigating two of Amazon’s most important ad products.
Amazon Sponsored Products
Premiere Creative is always trying to maximize ROI (return on investment) and minimize ACoS (average cost of sale) online. Amazon Advertising is a critical part of this process. In our experience, an effective Amazon Advertising strategy always begins with Amazon Sponsored Product ads. This ad unit is extremely powerful when it comes to driving incremental sales and discoverability. But what exactly do Amazon Sponsored Product ads look like? And how do they work?
Keyword Targeting & Bidding For Sponsored Product Ads
Amazon Sponsored Product ads are triggered to appear in response to certain searches. Like Google Search ads, the advertisers will bid on search terms to prompt their sponsored product ads to appear. Sellers that use this critical Amazon ad unit target customers based on what they’re searching for on Amazon. Let’s say I’m the marketing manager for Dove. If I’m trying to get a new body wash for men in front of my target customers, I would bid against the terms “body wash,” “Men’s grooming,” and other related terms.
There are two types of bidding to consider when running an Amazon Sponsored Product Ad: Manually Targeting Keywords & Automatically Targeting Keywords.
Manual Bidding (manual keyword targeting) provides the advertiser with an increased level of control over precisely which keywords they are biding, and the CPC’s they are paying. The process is relatively straightforward. Advertisers conduct keyword research to zero-in on the market in which they’re competing for consumer eyeballs. Once identifying keywords against which they’d like to bid, advertisers designate the highest CPC (cost per click) they’re willing to pay for each keyword or group of keywords and set their budget constraints.
Automatic Bidding (i.e. automatic keyword targeting) is very different and requires advertisers to carefully build out their Amazon product detail pages for the products they’d like to promote. Once selecting a product to promote, Amazon’s automatic bidding function will scan the corresponding product detail page and identify keywords and CPC’s. The only way in which the marketing manager will intervene is by setting the budget. Both manual and automatic keyword targeting have pros and cons. But at Premiere Creative, we find the most effective Amazon Sponsored Product ads use manual and automatic keywords simultaneously. Manual bidding allows marketing managers to completely control the bidding process, while automatic bidding helps leave no stone unturned in the process.
Amazon Sponsored Product Ad Keyword Types
When it comes to ROI and ACoS optimized Amazon Sponsored Product ad campaigns, keyword types are another important consideration. The three-keyword types are broad match keywords, phrase match, and exact match.
Broad Match Keywords
Broad match keywords help advertisers account for misspellings and synonyms. Say I’m running Colgate’s Sponsored Product campaign for toothpaste. Using a broad match type on the keyword “toothpaste” will allow my ad to populate when someone searches “tothpaste” or “tootpaste.”
Phrase match keywords will trigger your sponsored product ad whenever someone includes a designated phrase within a long-tail search phrase. If I use a phrase match type on the keyword “Whitening Toothpaste” my ad will populate when someone searches “whitening toothpaste” or “Colgate whitening toothpaste,” “colgate whitening,” “arm and hammer whitening toothpaste,” “whitening toothpaste for sale” and the like.
Exact match is the most restrictive match type. It only allows your sponsored product ad to populate in response to the exact phrase on which you’ve bid. If I apply an exact match to the term “Colgate toothpaste,” my ad will literally only populate when someone searches “Colgate Toothpaste” verbatim. This match type does not account for misspellings or synonyms.
Amazon Sponsored Product Campaign Planning
With the match and bid types under our belts, the next question is simple: where do you start with planning? You can go to 10 different digital marketing agencies and get 10 different answers. Premiere Creative’s team likes to start with automatic keyword targeting. Once you’ve built out an optimal Amazon product detail page with all relevant information, Amazon’s automatic bidding technology will algorithmically scan it, identify your products competitors, and generate a list of best keywords, match types, and CPC’s to use in bidding.
Automatic targeting does the heavy lifting when it comes to keyword research. Once Amazon’s smart bidding technology has laid the groundwork for your keyword bidding strategy, you can do your own analysis to see what works, what doesn’t and adjust accordingly in when you employ some additional manual targeting.
Amazon Sponsored Brand Campaigns
Amazon Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Product ads have several things in common. First, they’ve only been labeled “Sponsored Brand” ads since September 2018. Before that, these units were referred to as “Amazon Headline Search ads” and lived beneath the “AMS” (Amazon Marketing Services) umbrella. Before September of 2018 – when Amazon placed all of its marketing offerings beneath “Amazon Advertising, the entire suite of marketing services were lived under three confusingly labeled umbrellas: AMS (Amazon Marketing Services), AMG (Amazon Media Group) and AAP (Amazon Advertising Platform).
Sponsored Brand Units
These banner ads populate in response to searches on Amazon search results pages. They are keyword-driven like Sponsored Product ads. Advertisers running sponsored brand ads bid on keywords, and the ad creative they choose populate when users search for those keywords.
Sponsored Brand Ads
These ads populate in rows along the top of Amazon search results pages. Though they are structurally similar to Sponsored Product ads in some ways, the differences between these two units are robust. Sponsored Brand ads are the first things with which consumers interact when they search for something on Amazon. Unlike Amazon Sponsored Products ads, Amazon Sponsored Brand ads grant advertisers the ability to display photos and product information for multiple products (up to 3 unique ASINS, or Amazon Standard Identification Number) at the same time.
Additional differences between these two crucial Amazon ad units involve the keyword match types against which advertisers can bid. Sponsored Brand keywords work slightly differently than keywords for Sponsored Product ads.
Sponsored Brand Ad Keyword Match Types
- Branded Product Keywords: These terms combine the product you sell and the name of your brand. Let’s say you’re the campaign manager for a company like Elmer’s. Your marketing goal is to drive traffic from an Amazon search results page to the product detail pages for Elmer’s Gluesticks and School Glue. Your creative would include links to each product page, photos, and descriptions for each product. The keywords you would bid against would be “Elmer’s”+ “Glue,” “Elmer’s”+ “Gluesticks,” and “Elmer’s” + “Non-Toxic Adhesive.”
- Complimentary Product Keywords: These describe keywords around multiple products that impact each other’s demand. If I’m the world’s only Bedouin salt merchant who sells on Amazon, using complementary keywords would ensure that my salt products populate whenever someone searches “pepper” on Amazon.
- Sponsored Products Automatic Targeting Keywords: These terms only apply if the products you’re currently promoting on your Sponsored Brand campaign have been previously promoted via Sponsored Product campaigns. The A9 algorithm uses keywords that drove success during your Sponsored Product campaign and bids against them for your Sponsored Brand campaign.
Brands can promote three unique products simultaneously, customize product images and headlines, optimize landing pages, and conduct thorough analysis around all of these elements by using Amazon Advertising’s robust suite of data analytics products. Sponsored Brand ads are incredibly effective tools for driving incremental sales and brand awareness.
Additional Considerations for Sponsored Brand Ads
- Amazon Sponsored Brand Campaign Creative Elements: You should only feature your top-selling products. By first running individual sponsored product campaigns for all products you’re interested in marketing on Amazon, you’ll get a feel for which products enjoy the highest level of demand. Combining your best three into one sponsored brand campaign will increase campaign visibility and consequent sales.
- List a Product’s Top Benefit in Ad Headline: A vast majority of Amazon traffic is mobile, so offering as much relevant information as early in your ad’s copy as possible is crucial for driving conversions.
- Avoid Embellished Claims: Amazon will not approve your ad with aggrandizing claims in your copy such as “Best-Seller” or “#1 Product.”
- Testing Landing Pages: Amazon product detail pages are another critical component for driving success with Amazon Sponsored Brand campaigns. Landing pages for sponsored ads can either link out your Amazon Store or to a dedicated product details page. Consider testing different landing pages and seeing what works best.
Take Your Amazon Advertising to New Horizons
Premiere Creative is a full-service digital agency with a mission: to use technology and Amazon Analytics to deliver creative and powerful results with Amazon Advertising products. To learn more our Amazon services, dial (973) 346-8100 or contact Premiere Creative today! Make sure to subscribe to our blog for more help Amazon Advertising tips, like creating Amazon Posts or choosing the best PDP images.