Amazon is a primary driver of revenue for so many brands today. Accounting for almost half of all online sales in 2018 and with more than 3 billion products listed, it has become an indispensable e-commerce channel. In addition, Amazon ad revenue surpassed $10B in 2018 and has already become the 3rd largest digital advertising platform.
Given the importance of the platform, many vendors and sellers are searching for the key to success on Amazon, and the answer lies in the data.
Once a brand’s products are listed on the Amazon platform, the data starts flooding in. And when you start to put ad dollars behind them, it only increases in quantity and accelerates in pace. It’s a virtual treasure trove . . . if you have the expertise and capacity to make the most of it.
With intensifying competition on Amazon, the most successful brands recognize that leveraging this data to optimize their ads is no longer an option — it’s imperative.
Are you asking the right questions to optimize your Amazon ad spend?
There are a number of questions you can, and should, be asking of your data and of your data analysis process to help you optimize your ads. We’ve highlighted some of the most important ones on a variety of dimensions.
- Campaign Type → Do we have the right mix of campaign types?
- How does my mix compare with the industry norm?
- Are we maintaining parity of high performing keywords across campaign types?
- Search Intent → Are we going after the right search intent?
- What new positive and negative keywords should we add?
- Do we have the right structure in place to farm for new ideas?
- What should my brand versus non-brand spend mix be?
- Product Targeting → Are we targeting the right products?
- What competing products should we target?
- Should we be defending some of our own products?
- Placement & Bidding → What placement settings and bid strategies should we have in place?
- When do I use fixed versus dynamic bids?
- How often do I change placement settings
- Incrementality → Is our ad spend driving true incremental sales lift?
- How is your ad spend influencing organic ranking?
- Are some of your category sales more sensitive to ad spend?
This list is by no means exhaustive.
We like to think of each of these as levers = tools you can use to make small adjustments that can result in a big lift.
Pulling the right levers at the right time makes all the difference between fluctuating success and a better return on your Amazon ad spend.
But with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin.
For many brands, making sense of the data doesn’t feel manageable. Even advanced teams report feeling overwhelmed by all the different metrics and variables. Add to that the fact that the levers are constantly changing as Amazon updates its platform and ad interface, and it’s not surprising that ad teams have a hard time fine-tuning and updating their advertising strategies.
Instead, most brands end up tweaking their ads without being systematic about it, or they set them and forget them.
But there is good news.
You don’t have to drown in data to use it to make your Amazon ads more profitable.
The Three Ingredients for Sustained Success with Amazon Ads
The more you learn about the Amazon ad platform — and how your products and ads perform on it — the more you can put that knowledge to use to make strategic and tactical decisions about ad optimization.
Furthermore, advances in automation and machine learning have opened up a whole new methodology for managing your Amazon marketing, so you can work smarter, not harder.
New technologies allow you to:
- collect, analyze, and understand all the data you can;
- optimize your ads based on your results;
- automate routine campaign tasks based on a set of existing parameters; and
- deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence to help you prioritize and solve what were once intractable problems.
Harnessing the power of data analytics and machine learning empowers brands to streamline their efforts and take data-driven actions that will have the greatest impact on their cost of ad spend, giving them an advantage over their competition and setting them up for long-term success.
Combining your expertise with the right tools will give you a major competitive advantage.
These are the three key ingredients to success with Amazon ads.
Developing focused institutional knowledge about Amazon and your brand’s performance on the platform, setting up automation to save time, and exploiting the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to focus in on the decisions with the potential to have the greatest impact.
- Building In-House Expertise = Your Competitive Advantage
To gain an edge up on the competition, you need to really know and understand what you’re working with. Whether you’re employing an agency to manage your ads or handling them entirely in-house, there’s no replacement for cultivating deep insight into the platform and keeping up with its evolution. But that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch — find a reliable education and training source that can laser in on what you need to know and keep you updated when Amazon makes changes. Investing the time and/or resources to learn (and keep learning) what you need to know will yield a major payoff in the long run.
- Automation = Take Back Your Time
With today’s automation capabilities, you can free your team from routine campaign management tasks. All you need to do is set parameters and basic rules and let the machines make all the adjustments needed to keep your campaigns on track to meet your goals. All the rote work is done for you, while leaving you still in full control over the important stuff, like figuring out your next growth strategy.
- Machine Learning = Decisions at Scale Like Never Before
Advances in machine learning have made possible what could not previously be done even with an in-house data scientist (and it spares you the salary). This secret weapon does the analytics work for your team, detecting anomalies in ad performance and making data-driven recommendations for adjustments so you can make the most of your ads while increasing the ROI of your spend.
If Amazon is a key part of your revenue strategy, make sure your brand is doing all it can to succeed now and over the long term by putting in place the tools to optimize your ads and free your team to focus on the high-level strategy. You can be sure your competition is.
Read our post “Three Step Guide to Choosing an Amazon AMS Agency” for what to look out for in your Amazon advertising vendor.
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