How Brands can (and should) use Amazon Posts in 2020

How Brands can (and should) use Amazon Posts in 2020

Unfortunately, Amazon Posts did not reach a full release in time for the holidays in 2019, but the eCommerce giant's latest social media-inspired product will likely play a role in the state of Amazon advertising in 2020.  

Amazon Posts is the latest in a line of Amazon experiments that attempt to translate principles from social media platforms into a form compatible with an eCommerce marketplace. Described by Amazon as a "browse and discovery experience", Amazon Posts allows brands to use curated photos and visual content to engage shoppers and promote products. The posts are placed automatically in numerous locations across Amazon and link directly to your product detail page.  

Though not technically an advertising product, since it doesn't appear in the Amazon Advertising console and instead has its own separate interface at posts.amazon.com, Amazon Posts has the potential to generate new 'ad' placements at no extra cost, if used wisely. Let's find out how you can use Posts to expand the reach of both your Amazon ad campaigns and your social media campaigns and unlock a new stream of consumer behavioral data.  

Background

If this all sounds familiar, it's because Amazon has been toying with this idea for a few years. In 2017, Amazon launched Spark, which spun off into Interesting Finds and #FoundItOnAmazon, all of which were meant to primarily attract user-generated content. Then came Scout, a Pinterest-like machine learning-powered visual shopping tool which curated suggestions based on what products you've 'liked' and 'disliked' in the past (which, confusingly, shares its name with Amazon's adorable six-wheeled delivery robot).

Now we've come to Amazon Posts, which on the surface seems modelled on the Facebook-owned photo sharing platform Instagram. But unlike Instagram – and, importantly, unlike Amazon's previous social experiments – Amazon Posts doesn't occupy its own page or platform separate from the existing Amazon.com marketplace. Instead, it has been carefully integrated into multiple parts of the customer journey, similar to the way Amazon integrates ads into the shopping experience. For this reason, we encourage brands to think of Posts like ad placements.  

Get Free 'Ad' Placements

At this time, Amazon Posts appear in four locations: on product detail pages (PDPs), on the PDPs of related items that you’ve viewed or purchased, and in two Posts feeds: ‘Related Posts’ and ‘Category Feeds’.    

PDP placements appear in carousels. On the PDP, customers can swipe through the carousel to see previous Posts. Tapping on a post takes shoppers to a feed which includes related posts, or gives them the option to click 'Show product' and be taken directly to the relevant PDP. Posts can also appear in carousels on related, competitive product pages. Each post is tagged with product categories, and shoppers can click on tags to browse category feeds.  

All these placements are automatic – you simply upload an image within the Posts app and create a caption, then Amazon auto-tags categories and places the posts into relevant feeds and on related PDPs, with each post linking directly back to the featured product. Keep in mind that this is still in beta, so Amazon may update the functionality and create additional placements.

You may think this sounds a lot like an ad placement, but unlike Amazon Advertising, Posts is absolutely free of charge. Therefore, brands can approach Posts as an additional category of display ads without having to increase their advertising budgets.

Grow Your Reach

It seems that Amazon has consciously developed Amazon Posts as a kind of hybrid between advertising and social media, and we believe that the way in which it bridges the gap between the two is one of its most valuable qualities.

Amazon Posts can be leveraged with relatively low time and resources. Since its closest analogue is Instagram, we recommend that brands simply cross-post any Instagram content to the Posts app as well (you can see the similarities in 'Anatomy of a Post' below). This will increase the reach of content that you're already creating anyway.

Additionally, brands can use Amazon Posts to enhance paid placements on Amazon. By syncing your posts to your ad campaigns (i.e. cross-promoting the same products across multiple display opportunities), you can increase the reach and visibility of your promoted products at no extra cost and potentially increase your ROI.  

Gather Data

Posts also offers brands and advertisers more of that all-important resource: data. You can review numerous metrics, including viewable impressions, clicks, and click-through rates (CTR) for each post via the self-service posts.amazon.com interface.  

While impressions will likely be dwarfed by those of conventional social media channels, Amazon Posts focuses on quality over quantity. Your Amazon posts will tend to be seen by consumers with the intention of spending money, which is not the case for the majority of social media impressions, and therefore should have a much higher potential CTR, driving more traffic and buyer intent for your Amazon listing. These impressions also come from a highly engaged group of customers who have shown proven interest in your products’ categories in the past (given Amazon Posts’ targeting functionality), which should further improve your levels of customer engagement.  

Get Started

Amazon has been increasing promotion and visibility of Amazon Posts for a while and will continue to do so, but we believe it has reached a point at which it can bring real value to your brand. In the past, Amazon's social experiments have been a transparent attempt to replicate the successes of Facebook and their ilk, akin to Google+ (and we all know how that ended…). Posts, on the other hand, is not really all that social. Amazon has shed the interactive elements – shoppers can't create, share, or comment on posts – in favor of streamlining the shopping experience. The only way shoppers interact with Amazon Posts is to click through and learn more about your products.  

Still on the fence? Consider these advantages of using Amazon Posts today:

  • Amazon Posts are automatically placed among relevant products, giving brands the opportunity to earn more share of voice away from competitors.
  • Amazon Posts are currently free. Right now, you can expand your reach and visibility without increasing your budget – but Amazon's word choice implies that it might not be free forever, so don't wait too long to take advantage of this program.
  • Amazon Posts is available only to vendors and sellers enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry in the US. Therefore, it's an opportunity for you to protect and legitimize your brand and keep resellers and knock-offs from encroaching on your Amazon market share.
  • Amazon is still experimenting. The retailer is transparent about the exploratory nature of Posts, stating "Posts are a new format on Amazon… we encourage brands to experiment with various types of content to learn what engages customers." Proactive brands can work with Amazon to help shape the eCommerce marketplace.  

Here are a few ways to build a cohesive strategy across Amazon, Walmart, and Instacart.
by 
Adam Hutchinson

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