Over the last 2 years, BrightEdge covered Amazon organic optimization as part of its vertical search optimization (VSO) series; since then Amazon Advertising has also emerged as the third-largest advertising platform. Here is more information on what that means for your brand strategy.
An estimated 70% of Americans with a minimum of $150,000 or more in income and shop online also have an Amazon Prime membership. The ecommerce giant shipped more than 5 billion items in 2017 through their Prime program around the world. In 2017 they also posted an incredible net sale revenue of $177.97 billion, a 31% growth over 2016.
This impressive growth has been driven by the 310 million active customers that use the Amazon platform, and the more than 353 million products currently listed on the site, including their marketplace sellers. Not only does the platform offer an incredible number of products and customers, but advantages such as the two-day shipping on many products for Prime customers and the trust that it has built with consumers has fueled its incredible growth.
Now it has a new statistic to add to its repertoire. Not only has it come to dominate almost half of the US ecommerce market, but its role as an advertiser has also begun to to attract attention. According to eMarketer, the Amazon ad platform will now be the third largest, behind only the powerhouses of Facebook and Google. This means that it will overtake Verizon’s Oath and Microsoft by the end of this year.
As a marketer, here is what this new designation means for you and how you can take advantage of this opportunity in your own marketing strategy.
Amazon’s ad growth
Advertisers in the US will spend an estimated $4.61 billion on the Amazon Advertising platform this year, which will come to an estimated 4.1% of all the digital spend in the country. Of course, this does comprise a relatively small percentage of the more than $230 billion in revenue the site will likely post this year, but it does represent an intriguing level of growth. This growth clearly indicates that how brands and customers perceive the platform has continue to mature.
This expansion will also continue rapidly over the next few years, as eMarketer projects that the platform will continue to grow by more than 50% per year through about 2020.
Why brands have taken such an interest in Amazon Advertising
The large number of users and subscribers have led to a solid audience for those in the ecommerce and retail sectors. Nearly half of all product searchers–49 percent–will start on directly on Amazon when they begin to look for a new product to purchase. This is significantly higher than the 36% that will start on the search engines or the 15 percent that start on brand websites. Brands, therefore, understand that Amazon will offer them a strong, consistent platform for finding potential customers.
This evolution remains strongly indicative of the popularity of vertical search. Vertical search allows users to find more precisely what they seek. Rather than using the horizontal search of the average search engine, people have begun turning to platforms, such as Amazon for ecommerce, Kayak for flights or hotels, or Yelp for finding local businesses.
Additionally, 40% of shoppers report never scrolling past the first page on their Amazon results. To gain the attention of these customers, therefore, an ad provides brands the opportunity to get in front of their prospective customers and ensure that they have visibility.
Amazon’s growth and stability also provides brand with a high level of trust, they feel confident that their listings and ads will be seen and that customers will continue to return.
How to succeed with Amazon Advertising
Success with Amazon Advertising requires consideration for the entire brand presence on the platform. The ads can be a good way to drive customers to the listing, but with the high number of products and choices for customers, competition is fierce. You not only want people to click on the listing, you want them to make a purchase. Succeeding with Amazon Advertising, therefore, requires careful thought regarding your listings and other organic Amazon efforts.
The content on the listing should be optimized for the users. This includes listing all the possible relevant information such as the:
- Product titles
- Detailed, well-written descriptions
- Answers to questions that have been asked
- Bullets describing key features and important information
- Number of reviews
- Average rating score
- Number of images
- Characters and keywords in title
Look at the sheer amount of information that AmazonBasics includes for this listing and imagine the security it gives customers:
This information helps customers determine if this product fits their needs. Remember that Amazon customers cannot hold, feel, or try products the way they may have been able to in a brick and mortar store. Therefore, they look for reassurances, such as quality images, reviews from other customers, and answers to the questions that they send when determining whether or not this product will help them.
Not only does this information help the customer, it also helps Amazon with indexing. When people type queries into the search functions, the Amazon algorithm will match people with the products that fit the need most closely. For example, if someone specifies a color or size of a product, then they will focus on the products that match those specifications. If you do not list the color or size of your product, then your listing will likely be overlooked.
Therefore, as you continue to build your listing content, you also want to pay attention to the vocabulary that your prospective customers use. Align the content on the page with the search terms people likely use, which will help increase the number of queries your ad and listing can appear for.
To really engage people after they have clicked on your ad, you also need to pay attention to your branding and pricing. Research to see what other competitors offer on the same or similar products, such as pricing and shipping cost information.
You also want to brand and message your page. Make it clear when someone clicks on your page what differentiates you from your competitors. The messaging should accentuate your value and what sets you apart from the crowd. It should be clear that buying your product means doing business with your authentic organization, not just a third-party seller, and that you place a heavy value on the experience of your customers.
According to eMarketer, the Amazon Advertising platform has taken its place as the third largest advertising platform. Although the gulf between Amazon and Google and Facebook remains large, this position represents the power and growing influence of the ecommerce giant on consumers. Brands know that customers trust and appreciate Amazon, and thus they have been investing in advertising budget here with increasing regularity. As brands decide to move forward, they should pay close attention to whether or not this platform will also benefit their own strategy and how to build an ad campaign.