Leveraging Amazon search ads in a time of rapid change
Amazon's advertising offerings are getting more sophisticated, presenting marketers with new opportunities and complexities.
Amazon is making big advancements in its search advertising interface and products. With more inventory, evolving formats and technology updates, advertising on Amazon is quickly becoming more powerful — and more complex.
To help advertisers navigate this rapidly changing platform, Todd Bowman, senior director of Amazon and eRetail at performance agency Merkle, and Bryant Garvin, senior director of e-commerce and brand advertising at Pattern (formerly iServe), will share their Amazon expertise in a session at SMX West in San Jose later this month. They’ll discuss tactics and best practices for leveraging Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Product Display Ads as well as Amazon’s other advertising offerings.
In advance of his presentation, I asked Bowman about what Amazon’s advertising updates mean for small and large advertisers and, importantly, the key differences between Amazon and traditional search engines like Google and Bing that search marketers need to understand.
Amazon is a different animal than Google and Bing. What are some key differences marketers should understand about advertising on Amazon versus advertising on Google and Bing?
There are a few differences that marketers should understand as they expand to Amazon. Two of the differences are the intent of the customer and managing the Flywheel effect.
Close to 50 percent of product-related searches start on Amazon because, for the most part, those customers know what they want, are looking for a good deal and go to Amazon to do specific product research. Sellers need to be aware of this and pay close attention to the product assortment they sell on Amazon and how they can differentiate their products through content optimizations.
The Flywheel effect is unique to Amazon because the owned media (i.e. product content), paid media and earned media (i.e. reviews, detail page views, orders) all work together to support the success of the products and brand. For example, the traffic paid ads can drive to a product page will help that product show up higher in organic results and can help make that product “Amazon’s Choice.”
What impact do you think Amazon’s product updates for search advertising will have on the ecosystem generally, and on smaller sellers specifically?
I am excited about the advancements that Amazon has made. Amazon made some tremendous strides over the past year and a half to make it easier for advertisers to manage their programs. The capabilities that they have released provide the flexibility for advertisers to build custom solutions through the API for more robust campaign management and granular reporting capabilities. For smaller advertisers who cannot build out API capabilities, they can use tools such as the Bulk Editor, dynamic bidding or just build a simple program with Automatic Sponsored Products Campaigns.
As Amazon Advertising becomes more competitive, it will be crucial for advertisers to build or use existing tools to stay competitive. For now, the platform is still new enough that the tools are not as necessary to scale.
What do you hope people will take away from your presentation?
I hope that excitement is a take away from my presentation. These are exciting times on Amazon as it is a fast-growing space and is evolving quickly. Also, my hope is attendees take away an understanding that Amazon is no longer a “set it and forget it” channel and that there are tools to effectively manage a program.