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Amazon’s invasion of the SEM territory has officially begun. Last year, Amazon’s search ad revenue surpassed that of Microsoft, taking the number two spot behind Google. Amazon will end this year strongly with a 12.9% search ad market share, while Microsoft will take a mere 6.5% of that same pie. According to eMarketer, this dark horse is expected to take additional market share from the top players and secure $11.7 billion of search ad revenue between now and the end of 2021.
Amazon has a compelling advantage over its eCommerce search engine counterparts thanks to its unique position at the bottom of the consumer buying funnel. Today’s consumers visit Amazon to discover new products, read reviews on and/or price check a product. But Amazon truly stands out because those who search on this site are already in the mindset to make a purchase. Unlike its competitors, Amazon does not need to persuade potential buyers down the conversion funnel.
Given the inevitably immense advertising influence of Amazon sponsored ads, and with the winter holiday season fast approaching, let’s explore some best practices around preparing for peak shopping periods on Amazon. You’ll be able to apply these methods for various shopping dates such as Prime Day, back-to-school season, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and many more.
Your first step is to understand your business goals for the upcoming peak shopping season. If you’re unsure, start by answering this question: Is my main objective to drive brand awareness or sales? Note that it’s entirely normal to have more than one goal. However, you should be able to prioritize given multiple goals.
Next, align your targets with your goals. If you’re looking to boost brand awareness, your success metric would be impressions. Therefore, make your brand and products visible to more shoppers by taking measures to increase traffic. If eligible, run both Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products campaigns in order to maximize your opportunity to reach as many potential customers in multiple ad placements (i.e. search results top of the page and product details page). Sponsored Brands campaigns are highly effective in reaching potential customers, still lingering at the top of the conversion funnel, with new brands and product offerings. However, if your campaigns are receiving less than expected impressions, make sure:
On the other hand, if you’re determined to drive more sales, then your key success metrics would be conversions and Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS). Once you have a significant amount (i.e. at least two weeks) of historical data, conduct a keyword-level performance analysis to identify the top-performing keywords that will help you reach your sales goals. Additional metrics you might find helpful in determining which keywords to raise your bids on during the peak shopping dates include total sales, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate. If your campaigns are resulting in low conversions, try adding negative targeting to prevent your ads from serving for the poor-performing keywords.
With your business goals and success metrics in mind, adapt your campaigns to account for the peak shopping period’s landscape.
Adapt your bids: With heightened traffic volume during peak shopping periods comes an increased competition on keyword targeting for Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products, as well as product attribute targeting for Sponsored Products. Match your bids to how much you’re willing to pay for a click in exchange for peak shopping period impressions.
Adapt your budget: Consider increasing your daily budgets by at least 200% in order to account for higher traffic (i.e. impression and click) volume. The chances are that your campaigns will deplete your daily budget much faster during major shopping dates and ads will be unintentionally paused until the following day. Adapting your budget will prevent you from missing out on conversion opportunities during the remaining prime hours of the day.
Adapt your campaign schedule: The days leading up to and trailing a holiday can be just as profitable as the special day itself. Turn your campaigns on earlier and keep them running a few days past the peak shopping dates in order to capture as much of the available traffic as possible.
Adapt your bidding tactics: If your ads are eligible to serve in placements such as top-of-the-page or product details pages, consider setting bid multipliers (up to 900%) to give them a better chance of securing those high-converting opportunities.
Lastly, remember to give yourself ample time to adapt your campaigns. Amazon recommends budgeting at least two to three weeks prior to the start of any major shopping dates.
Conduct your due diligence on whether Amazon Advertising is a good fit for your business. If the answer is yes, here is Everything You Need to Know About Amazon Ads in 2020 to get you started. However, if you’re not quite ready to take on this endeavor, for now check out our blog post on A Digital Marketers Guide to the Holidays for more general tips on facing the holiday season head-on!