Amazon Marketing Services: Making the Most Out of What You Have
When it comes to researching and purchasing products online, a 2016 Bloomreach study discovered that over 55% of consumers first turn to Amazon when looking for products online – making the e-commerce giant an essential part of any digital media strategy. To tap into the #1 retail site for millennial consumers, Amazon Marketing Services is a tool within Amazon that helps brands advertise on the Amazon site. And as we mentioned in our previous Amazon post, AMS can help brands drive sales and awareness with keyword, product or interest targeted ads. While utilizing AMS is a great start for any brand, be sure to keep these best practices in mind to truly maximize the opportunities awaiting your brand on Amazon’s site.
Campaign success begins with a great ad setup because it’s the perfect opportunity for brands the create custom headlines and unique imagery to truly stand out among competitors. To boost brand awareness and provide the type of brand amplification Amazon is known for, AMS offers three different types of ads that can appear on the Amazon search results page: Sponsored Products, Headline Search, and Product Display Ads. Our biggest piece of advice: A great campaign setup is critical to success on Amazon, but even more so is your brand and products’ reputation. Because of this, consider choosing products with high star ratings and plenty of high-quality reviews.
From Left to Right: Sponsored Product Ads, Headline Search Ads, Product Display Ads
Sponsored Products: Since Sponsored Products are keyword-targeted ads that use a cost-per-click auction-based pricing model, you can choose between manual and automatic targeting during ad setup. By initially setting your campaigns up with automatic targeting, you can harvest top performing keywords and transition your campaigns to manual targeting after a few weeks of automatic targeting. Another tip is to consider removing low performing keywords then increasing bids and adding more items.
Because these ads display on the search results and product detail pages, shoppers who click on these ads will be taken directly to the product detail page – putting your product one step closer to their shopping cart.
Bid+ is a feature in AMS that can increase your default bid by up to 50% in order for you to stay competitive on top performing campaigns without having to adjust bids manually. Thus, improving your brand’s ability to outrank competitors and show up at the top of the search results page.
Headline Search Ads: Headline Search ads are keyword-targeted ads displayed above search results that can be customized by displaying multiple ASINs (Amazon’s equivalent to an SKU). This ad type is especially effective because of its placement on the search page above all other results (including sponsored product ads) and how native it looks to the page. To track if a certain product ad is performing better than others, you can group specific products into one campaign with one variant (i.e., color). By tracking which product color is performing better than others, you can optimize your other campaigns.
Product Display: Product Display Ads can extend your reach by appearing in relevant categories or interest groups. By customizing ad images and headlines to capture the attention of Amazon shoppers, you can choose specific ASINs you wish to advertise then target the ad by product or interest.
Interest targeting is a form of behavioral targeting that drives brand awareness to a broader audience based on an Amazon shopper’s interest. If you choose to target by products, you can advertise on your own ASINs to protect your digital space from competitors. You can also bid on competitor space to keep your product top of mind through the consumer purchase process. If you want to extend your reach further, select “expand targeting” during the campaign setup and Product Display ads will upsell and cross-sell your products with highly relevant ads on detail pages of similar products. This ad types visually impacts the consumer is who already on site.
Ideally, your brand has an unlimited budget to use on Amazon, but if that’s not the case, it’s important to make the most out of your budget. We recommend that advertisers should begin by distributing their budget with a 60%, 30%, 10% breakout across sponsored products, headline search, and product display ads. By running this breakdown, you can ensure full brand coverage with complete visibility on the search and product display pages. This breakout also serves as a testing opportunity and based on the optimizations you make; you can craft your own ratio later on. Another tip we’d like to share is that maintaining an always-on approach keeps your brand top of mind as consumers contemplate purchasing various products and brands on Amazon during all hours of the day and night.
To give shoppers a richer brand experience, we recommend building an Amazon Store through the AMS Platform (for free!). This is a custom URL that you can link to your display campaigns. A brand store includes video and rich media that are linked by your Headline Search Ads and serves as an easy opportunity to help your brand stand out from competitors and create a custom landing page linked to your own Amazon campaigns.
In order to ensure full coverage for your brand, it’s crucial to align your Amazon Advertising Accounts through Amazon Marketing Services and Amazon Media Group. So, if you’re expecting a promotion or heavy traffic during the Holiday season, aligning your Amazon listings can maximize your potential reach.
Before the busy Holiday season, you should take the time to test your campaign performance and even consider conducting a two-week test before finalizing optimizations for Holiday campaigns. Which ad copy had a higher CTR? Is a specific ASIN or color performing better than another? Which keywords are driving the most traffic? Which keywords are driving your costs up? Asking these types of questions will help you optimize your campaigns for optimal results.
Reporting is essential for identifying trends to confirm what is and isn’t working across your campaigns. To get better insights, AMS shows an aggregate view of all your data in the campaign view tab, so if you want to pull data from a specific date range, you have to go into each individual campaign and quickly pull the report. This can be a pretty manual process, but once you know your report cadence, we recommend pulling the raw data on a daily basis so you can find accurate metrics in a specific time frame for all campaigns. While clicks and impressions are helpful, we think the most useful metrics for reporting are in the ACoS tab (the Advertising Cost of Sales shows your spend to sales ratio). Remember, the lower the percentage, the greater efficiency, and better campaign performance.
Whether we like it or not, consumers are spending more time searching and purchasing products on Amazon. In order to remain relevant across the Amazon experience, make sure your brand adheres to these AMS best practices. Since Amazon sits at the intersection of brand moments and conversion, a successful campaign begins with account set up and ends with reporting, Through audience targeting, a detailed approach to consumer behavior, custom creative and unique e-commerce solutions, brands can maximize their potential with Amazon.
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Good luck out there this Holiday season, fellow advertisers!
Posted by Lauren Resnick
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