The following is a guest post by Marta Salas of FordeBaker.
Amazon advertising is a relatively young tool compared with its most direct counterparts. Amazon launched the first ad functionality in 2012, Google AdWords was launched in 2000 and Facebook’s in 2007. For an ad-tech tool, 12 and 5 years is a lot of time. Think how much Amazon Ads has changed in 5 years.
Amazon advertising still lacks many of the functionality available in the other tools, however, it is catching up. We are starting to see some basic functionality, impression share for example, but also new unique features.
The list of new Amazon ad features launched during 2021 is long. In this article, I will highlight three within the ad console that I consider are the most useful ones for the holiday season.
As mentioned, the list of missing functionalities is equally long. I still miss crucial elements to run effective campaigns for the entire customer journey. At the end of this article, I will highlight which are my most desired missing features.
Amazon Attribution is an analytics tool used to measure the impact of off-amazon traffic. This tool acts as your campaign manager for all off-Amazon traffic sent to your product pages or Amazon storefront. With this tool, you can create tracking URLs to be used as your destination URLs. Each URL will report units and sales generated from the traffic coming through them.
Amazon Attribution was available in the USA and since this year also in the EU. Furthermore, Amazon is migrating the entire tool from the DSP UI to the Ad Console. If you are still not activating off-Amazon tactics, now you don’t have an excuse not to do so. The benefits will blow your mind.
How to use the Amazon Attribution during this holiday season
Send qualitative traffic to your best-selling product pages to increase their sales velocity. This will give a push to their organic rankings and earn more visibility during BFCM and the entire holiday season.
Extra tip: When setting up the campaigns in Amazon Attribution, make sure to employ a granular structure that provides enough detail into performance. In this way, you will be able to detect which actions are performing best and prioritize them.
Budget Rules and Budget Page
Managing budgets plays a significant part in the effectiveness of your paid strategy. Allocating spend wisely across large portfolios or campaign types can make a big difference in your performance.
Amazon has launched two functionalities that will be very practical to those who don’t have access to third-party tooling. One provides insights into the potential of increasing budgets and the other automates changes on crucial occasions.
Budget Rules is a new Amazon ad feature available for all countries. It aims to automate budget changes based on a set of rules that you define. There are two options to define the rules:
- Schedule-based: you can select a specific period when to increase the campaign daily spend.
- Performance-based: you can define specific parameters based on ACoS, CTR or CVR to increase your budgets and avoid running out of budget.
Budget Page (beta) is a new tab within the ad console, currently only available in North America. Within this tab, you can find new metrics that provide a further understanding of the potential of higher budgets. You can see how much time your campaign is active across the day and how much you are missing when you run OOB. The new performance metrics are:
- Estimated missed impressions.
- Estimated missed clicks.
- Estimated missed sales.
- Average time in budget.
- Recommended budget.
How to activate Budget Rules for this holiday season
Budget Rules will come in very handy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now it will be possible to automate budget increases during these days and set them back to normal afterwards.
As an extra, Amazon provides a recommendation of which % increase to apply for the specific period.
Extra tip: Set up two rules for your best performing campaigns. One schedule-based rule to increase budgets during BFCM and another performance-based rule to increase them in case they run out of budget but ACoS is below your targets. This combo will help you maximize good performance.
Amazon has been releasing many new features for Sponsored Display campaigns. It feels like something big is cooking backstage and we will see bigger news coming soon.
At the beginning of the year, options were limited for this campaign type but now it is possible to define a qualitative full-funnel strategy without having to step up into the Amazon DSP.
Display campaigns are a no-go for many marketers, mostly because their effects are doubtful. They are right and wrong at the same time. The problem of this channel is the access to qualitative metrics. By only looking at clicks or CTR we cannot know if those users truly engaged with our product page. It is necessary to have additional metrics to be able to gather data-driven insights.
There were many updates, amongst them I will highlight three: Twitch audiences, bid optimizations and custom creatives.
- Twitch audiences and placements are now available within Sponsored Display. Twitch is a live streaming platform with an extremely active community. This is a massive opportunity for anyone selling electronics, gadgets or products targeting Gen Z audiences.
- There are new bid optimization options to select from for your Sponsored Display campaign. Now you can optimize bids for vCPM, increase page views or increase conversions. These new options open the possibility to utilize the Amazon data regarding customer behavior to create specific campaigns for awareness, consideration, purchase, or retention objectives.
- The Custom Creatives new feature allows advertisers to replace the usual product main image with another image. This provides brands with a good opportunity to tell their brand story and stand out from the competition. I think having a good creative is key for achieving a good performance in this ad type.
How to activate the new Sponsored Display features during this holiday season
Activate campaigns for the full funnel for your best-selling products: launch up- and mid-funnel campaigns 30 - 14 days before Black Friday to increase product awareness and increase the product page viewers pool. Following that, activate remarketing campaigns with your promotions 7 days before the biggest sales event of the year.
Extra tip: create different campaigns depending on your targeting and customize your creatives in line with your target audience. If you have two target audiences, one fashionista and another sporty, separate them into two campaigns and adapt the creatives to each of them.
My most desired feature is focused on analysis: I would love to see different attribution models beyond last-click. Before switching my career to a 100% Amazon focus, I was pitching the benefits of data-driven attribution to clients worldwide and in any field. Without a view beyond last-click, budgets for up- and mid-funnel campaigns will always be limited.
My second wish is a big shot: access to the Amazon Marketing Cloud. Amazon launched it at the beginning of this year but only for selected advertisers. Having worked with the Google Marketing Cloud in the past, it is just a different level of marketing management. More efficient, more focused, less cumbersome for execution but also the user experience. In two words: better marketing.
Case studies within FordeBaker
In Forde Baker, we like to be early adopters and implement new features once they are available. There is no reason to wait.
These are some examples of the results we obtained after implementing them:
Case study 1 - Amazon Attribution:
We launched a new product in Amazon without advertising investment but with a strong Amazon strategy. We used Amazon Attribution to track performance per channel, source and medium. After seven days, we analyzed the performance and left only active the converting mediums. After ten days, we acquired 20+ reviews and a 4.8 rating. We were ready to launch advertising to continue the product growth. Compared with other product launches, we were able to see the typical performance of month three already in the third week after the kickoff.
Case study 2 - Sponsored Display full-funnel strategy:
We had a client that reached a sales plateau in Amazon. We were bidding at top-tail generic keywords and even so converting traffic at 30-35%. We needed a full-funnel scope to activate product awareness and to do so we decided to build a robust storyline using Sponsored Display campaigns:
- Up-funnel - awareness. We selected a combo of vCPM + lifestyle audience + custom creatives showing a person that mirrored that lifestyle.
- Mid-funnel - consideration. We opted for bid optimization for page views + in-market + custom creatives showing the product in action.
- Low-funnel - purchase. We used the bid optimization for conversions + remarketing + custom creatives highlighting our USP.
Do you wonder about the results? 17% increase in total sales with a 13% decrease in ad spend. Brand traffic went to the roof!
About the Author
Marta Salas Colera is a Marketing Manager at FordeBaker, a full-service Amazon consultancy created to provide brands with the depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise that is required to become an Amazon best seller. FordeBaker provides a full range of expertise in strategy, fulfilment, operations, advertising, SEO, conversion rate optimization, pricing, promotions, and customer analytics for consumer and B2B clients in Europe, North America and Australia.