Amazon has been rolling out new features for vendors and sellers at a rapid clip. Three of the latest updates – the Amazon Marketing Cloud, Manage Your Experiments (MYE), and Product Bundles – are among Amazon's most requested features. Currently these are in beta, but based on the early response from users, it's a good idea for you to start considering how to leverage these features in your Amazon strategy and the impact they might have on your marketing and advertising campaigns as we enter the new decade.
1. The Amazon Marketing Cloud – Closed Beta
The Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) takes a step toward solving one of advertisers' biggest frustrations with Amazon: gaps and limitations in the campaign data provided. As the biggest online retailer, Amazon has access to an incredible amount of consumer behavioral data and statistics spanning the entire consumer journey, but only a small sample of this data makes it to you.
That is starting to change. We have predicted that Amazon would inevitably expose more of their data to advertisers over time, just as other paid search platforms have done. AMC is an example of this and a smart move if Amazon plans to keep capturing a larger share of digital ad spend away from Google and Facebook.
The Amazon Marketing Cloud is a product that integrates advertisers' own data with Amazon advertising and retail data, with the purpose of improving the accuracy and granularity of campaign performance analytics. With this resource, you can understand more about your customer's path to purchase, improve and refine targeting, track cross-channel attribution and audit campaign performance.
There is not much public information available yet but based on what we've learned so far, AMC could significantly broaden the access to detailed and accurate data for agencies and brands. There may still be gaps – for example, the granularity doesn't appear to extend all the way down to the user level – but once AMC reaches the open beta stage, it will have the potential to improve your ability to refine and focus your advertising campaigns with a new level of confidence and a better understanding of your audience.
2. Manage Your Experiments (MYE) – In Beta for First-Party Vendors
High quality PDP content is a key factor in improving search rank and a necessary prerequisite to executing effective ad campaigns and earning a high return on investment. But one of the biggest challenges for Amazon vendors is how to properly measure the efficacy of their content. Perhaps the best technique is the A/B test, which involves changing a single variable on your PDP in order to gather hard data about its impact on performance.
Isolating variables has been challenging, but Amazon is making it easier. The new Manage Your Experiments feature (MYE) allows you to create two distinct versions of A+ enhanced content for the same product and then present one or the other at random to each shopper that visits the PDP. This controls for any other factors, allowing you to isolate specific variables and start measuring results within weeks. At the end of the test period (which can be scheduled to last up to 10 weeks), Amazon will provide specific insights about how each version performed.
In the past, third parties like Splitly have designed software to meet the demand for robust A/B testing, but by building this feature into Vendor Central, Amazon is simplifying the process and illustrating their commitment to providing more robust, self-service, go to market tools for their vendors and sellers. By leveraging the new Manage Your Experiences feature (currently in beta and only available to first-party vendors), you can benefit from a much improved ability to collect hard experimental results and statistical data. In this testing environment, vendors can quickly and effectively improve content to optimize PDPs, maximize the performance of your ad campaigns and drive more sales.
3. Product Bundles – In Beta for Third-Party Sellers
Amazon recognizes that its warehousing and fulfillment network is going to be a key component of its ability to compete with Walmart and other brick-and-mortar incumbents. To this end, the eCommerce giant is investing in the capacity of its Fulfillment by Amazon program (FBA), including rolling out a feature much-requested by third-party sellers: virtual product bundles.
The Product Bundles pilot program allows FBA sellers to virtually bundle products together, with or without a bundle discount. Bundles can include up to five products from a single catalog and Amazon will automatically update quantities based on the availability of the lowest-stock item within the bundle. When you create a Product Bundle, Amazon assigns it a unique SKU and you can independently edit the product title, description, bullets, images and price.
This feature is available now to third-party sellers, but it is still in beta, meaning Amazon is still refining it. Whether or not this will be rolled out to all products stocked in Amazon's fulfillment centers is yet to be determined, so first-party vendors should keep an eye on this feature as well.
Bundles allow you to offer more variations within your assortment, increase digital share of shelf (by having more ASINs without more labor) and cross-promote your catalog. This opens up new strategic possibilities in your ad campaigns; for example, running ads for a product bundle could allow you to promote multiple products with a focused campaign, rather than diluting your ad budget across each of those ASINs separately. In theory, this could offer new ways to improve ROI, so keep an eye out for these potential new opportunities.
As Amazon tests more features in beta, they will be looking for new ways to improve the experience for not only for shoppers, but for brands and advertisers as well. It's a good idea to watch these developments closely and consider how they might influence your marketing tactics and what new strategic possibilities they might open up. When optimizing your advertising campaigns, it's important to account for any new features and how they might influence what customers are seeing, what actions your competitors are taking, and what new advantages you can leverage.
Amazon has good reasons to invest in improving the experience for advertisers. Still, the frequency with which new features are unveiled is impressive. To make sure you don't miss any potentially game-changing new products, follow the Pacvue Blog. We'll keep you informed about the latest Amazon Advertising updates and what they mean for agencies and brands.