4-Step Roadmap to Walmart Advertising Success

It can be a little daunting to start with Walmart’s self-service advertising platform because it is so new. To help you along, Matt McGrory from Pacvue was joined by Atal Patel from SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder to discuss best practices for succeeding on Walmart’s platform in one of our recent webinars.

In case you missed it, here are the biggest takeaways from that event:

Biggest Difference Between Amazon and Walmart

There are some critical differences between the two platforms in terms of their algorithms and their bidding and auction models. This will have a huge impact on your strategies for the two retail platforms.

First of all, Amazon offers both Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brand campaigns, while Walmart currently only has Sponsored Products. Secondly, their attribution models differ a lot, which ultimately will affect how you compare your performance on Walmart to other platforms.

Amazon has a 14-day attribution window as a default, and it is a click-only attribution. This means that sales count towards this impression only if a customer clicked on your ad and purchased within 14 days.

Walmart offers a 30-day window as default with both views and clicks. In practice, this means a customer can view your ad without clicking, then purchase from your brand within 29 days and it will still count as part of the attribution model.  

The last and most important differentiator between the two paid search platforms is the auction model.

Amazon has a second-price auction model while Walmart has a first-price auction model. At Amazon, you generally only pay $0.01 more than the next highest bid for the same keyword. This means that if your bid is $5 while the next most competitive bid is $4, you end up paying $4.01.

At Walmart, the logic is different. If you bid $5 and the next most competitive bid is $0.25, you will end up paying the full $5 cost per click bid.

One aspect that is specific only to Walmart is advertisement eligibility. For an item to be eligible to appear in results for a certain search term, that item has to also appear in the top 128 organic search results (the first 5 pages on Walmart) for that same exact search term. The item also has to be in stock and has to have at least a 3-star rating.

4-step Roadmap to Walmart Advertising Success

Step 1: Discoverability

Make sure your content quality score for all of your product pages is above 95%. This includes everything from images and videos to titles, descriptions, etc.

The content score determines if you show up at the top of search, both organic and paid. A low content quality score is one of the main reasons behind low conversion rates.

Step 2: Relevant Keywords

Identify top keywords based on relevance, product types, and what your competitors are targeting. You should also drill down into specific insights, such as whether it is more beneficial for you to bid on exact match keywords or broad match keywords, which brings us to Step 3.

Step 3: Competitive Analysis

Keep track of your Share of Search, both organic and paid, as well as how it changes over time. This helps build a strategy around winnable keywords and can uncover untapped opportunities, where it might make sense to bid on broad match terms.

Step 4: Scale Spend Efficiently

Page type and device placement performance vary across brands and products. The best way to understand what works for your brand is through testing. Here are some performance trends from Q1 and Q2 over multiple brands and multiple product categories that we’ve worked with that might help you along the way.

For page type placement, we are seeing a very low ACoS on search pages of about 4.61%. This is much lower than other retail platforms.

Search in-grid placements get heavy investments, about 43% of total spend, with item page placement as a close second. CPC is a bit higher for item page placement than search placement, but the conversation rate is about the same for both.

When it comes to device type placement, app has the lowest ACoS and CPC, and the most spend.

Key Takeaways from Our Q&A

After breaking down this 4-step roadmap, Matt and Atal fielded questions from webinar attendees. This Q&A uncovered some great insights that can help you better understand Walmart advertising and can give you an idea of what other advertisers are dealing with. Here are the key takeaways from this Q&A:

  • Place bid modifiers on device and page placements with the highest conversion rate
  • Use dayparting to show ads after your competitors’ budgets have run out
  • Focus heavily on keyword-based manual campaigns for the top of your catalog. For the lower-volume items, focus on auto campaigns, especially because automated campaigns have lower CPC and generally better efficiency. This is good for building awareness, driving sales, and ultimately increasing organic ranking for your lower-volume items.
  • Use bid scaling: start slow and scale bids up by 15-20% every few days until you hit your target Share of Voice. Don't drive your ROAS into the ground and pay more than you need to.
  • Competition is very low on Walmart compared to other platforms. Early adopters have a competitive advantage.

For a deeper dive into this roadmap and in-depth explanations of the takeaways mentioned here, be sure to listen to the full webinar, 4-Step Roadmap to Walmart Advertising Success.

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