The State of Amazon: Key Takeaways from Digiday’s Virtual Forum
On July 20-22, Digiday hosted the Amazon Advertising Strategies Virtual Forum. It was not only a big reminder that professional development opportunities are still happening virtually, but also that Amazon marketers have had to get very innovative in the last few months to cut through the competition, reach their audience on the marketplace, and drive sales to accelerate through a pandemic. Cheers to all of you who attended the event and those that couldn’t; we’re moving forward in smart ways.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the event’s leading presenters:
Every brand now has two websites.
- What channel comes first, your e-commerce site or Amazon? BOTH! Strategically they’re equal within your DTC ecosystem, so they need the same amount of effort and integration.
- Know all your customer’s touch points - inside and outside Amazon - don’t just take Amazon for granted. In fact, how your customers use Amazon should inform your other DTC efforts, not the other way around. Make sure your CMO knows that Amazon is the first point of contact.
- So, if they’re equal, is Amazon friend or foe? See them as a friend. And remember that Amazon will always win on Amazon, so track the company’s products for their trends; they’re a great barometer.
Use all ad formats.
- Be sure you understand all Amazon ad formats and all Amazon features, especially Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display, and Amazon DSP. Stay ahead of these by keeping a close eye on how Amazon is evolving.
- See innovation on a spectrum. There will always be new ad formats and features. You can adopt none or all. Find the middle ground where your brand is stable but driving real results, then push your innovation forward from there.
Customer experience matters.
- Amazon is no longer just your marketplace; it IS your Customer Experience. It used to be where your customers shopped, now it’s where they spend their time. Respect that. Lean into that. Leverage that.
- Regardless of whether a customer is new to your brand or a loyalist, they’ll judge you for the imperfections of the experience, not Amazon. For example, when you’re building out a page, treat it like a landing page ensuring its customer centric. Consider linking out as an option.
- When it comes to their experience of your brand, messaging matters, great A+ content, descriptions and PDPs are table stakes and image quality is critical. Beyond content, actively build end user engagement, not just a shopping experience. Reviews and Community Management active management not just best practices. It’s your customer's world, just as much as yours.
- End user engagement can even inform your Amazon roadmap. It can fuel your R&D, product development, and DTC customer care. Especially during COVID when consumers have become open to new products. For example: For the first-time beauty shoppers can compare luxury products with new market entrants and start up brands. Parents are reading reviews to seek support and advice just as much as a product purchase. Families can be influenced about home products like technology gadgets or patio furniture just like other channels.
Amazon IS your upper funnel.
- It’s no longer just a place to transact, it IS your awareness play. Amazon’s ubiquity, propelled by COVID’s hyperscale shift to e-commerce, makes it a top-tier performance channel for increasing brand preference and acquiring new customers. Be sure to have just as many upper funnel tactics – for awareness, consideration and preference – as lower funnel conversion tactics. This especially means utilizing Amazon DSP as more than product placements; it’s an opportunity to retarget new customers to retain market share.
- Leverage that Amazon can be so much more than just having a technically great storefront. Tell a story, stand for something, generate real brand demand. It’s now on par with any other channels for creating lifetime customer value.
Defend your brand, aggressively.
- Amazon has unlimited shelf space. It’s a level playing field with the biggest brands up against the smallest resellers. And with each new ad format or feature all brands (or resellers) can now do so much more than they could in a retail store. It’s become THE place for challenger brands to succeed, especially if they get it right.
- Your PDPs are critical. Defend them against your competitors just as much as you would with Paid Search. Look at Sponsored Display PT so your PDPs are above the fold. Necessitate winning at every aspect of Keyword targeting, bidding and ongoing management. Combine Sponsored Products with Sponsored Brands for even stronger performance. Use multiple tactics to dominate Sponsored Ads.
- Competition on Amazon is fierce. If they don’t find you, they’ll find your competitors, if your competitors don’t find them first.
Amazon Advertising is complex.
Have strategies, not just tactics. Find a data-driven Amazon agency that can help you with BOTH. There’s a lot to learn, a lot of moving parts, and Amazon is constantly changing. Plan for that with a strong agency that can help. Contact Rise to hear more about how we drive growth for Amazon clients.