A lot has changed in the retail media space throughout 2023, and this Q4 will be the first gifting period since the proliferation of Retail Media Networks, where more retailers have monetized their digital real-estate and first-party data through advertising.
However, with 77% share of retail media spend last year, Amazon’s moat is secure and continues to outstrip the rest. This means that brands should continue to drive maximum visibility on Amazon to ensure a strong Q4.
As the holiday shopping destination of choice for many global consumers, Amazon is synonymous with gifting and has caused a surge in new brands to compete for space on the platform. It's therefore essential for sellers to differentiate, maximise and project their brand visibility this holiday season to cut through the noise and win new customers. Here are some ways to prepare your Amazon strategy to maximise your revenue this holiday.
An Amazon Store is a mini website within the Amazon ecosystem and is a critical way to project your brand, engage with consumers, and provide an impressive and easy shopping experience for your customer. Stores are tailored and have multiple templates available, so you can change the look and feel of the page to capture the essence of your brand while taking advantage of the space to expand your brand stories.
Features such as slideshows, product collection and videos enhance products and allow customers to interact more closely with them so they can easily make purchases. With self-service builders now available this year, you can also experiment with designs with no coding required.
For existing Amazon Store owners, we recommend updating your imagery and video assets to reflect big holiday events such as Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday to remain relevant and promote the idea of time-limited urgency to your browsers. We also strongly recommend including a special offers page to remind your customer of the dedicated deals and encourage them to convert.
You can incorporate a full-funnel approach to your Amazon Store by driving customers to a selection of landing pages depending on your goals. For example, you can link your store home page for brand education, link your category or deal-specific pages for browsing, and single product pages for detailed product knowledge, in order to drive increased conversions. Further, use the Insights tab to understand and improve your Amazon Store’s performance by analysing key metrics such as impressions, traffic and revenue attribution. Plus, it will be helpful to analyse 2022 Q4 performance to see what did and didn’t work.
Amazon search engine optimization (SEO) is an often neglected but integral part of maximising front-end visibility by developing all written content to both improve both user engagement and conversion rate. This improves unpaid organic rank overtime, providing first page visibility for free. It’s best practice to ensure listings are SEO optimised all year round but it’s definitely worth reviewing as we lead into Q4, to ensure listings and keywords remain highly searched and relevant. This review will also allow you to optimise any new and specific listings that will be a focus for the holiday season.
Front-end SEO focus points include titles, bullet points, and descriptions. Also, ensure that you’re indexing via key hidden 'back-end' keywords to further boost organic rank. These important basics will help you remain visible during peak competition.
Leveraging influencers and Amazon Live
Amazon is continuing to blur the boundaries between e-commerce and social media which can allow you to reach new audiences, grow your new-to-brand customer ratio, and cement your current brand base through unique content.
Amazon influencers are a growing but underutilised asset for brands looking to speak to their market beyond Amazon, and are perfect for categories ranging from beauty, health, household and clothing. Accessible via the main in-app navigation bar, Amazon’s shoppable short videos and photos are available to US users and takes advantage of their influencer program and customer review content
Amazon Live Video also allows you to livestream on Amazon itself, so that you can highlight your products and promotions, and also provide a customer chat service to engage your customers instantly. From full-scale production to a self-shoot style via the Amazon Live Creator app, you can connect with your customers regardless of budget. These updates, in addition to traditional Amazon Posts, mean you have more ways than ever to directly connect with your audience and drive revenue through first mover advantage this holiday.
Amazon’s AI product review update
In 2022, 125 million customers provided nearly 1.5 billion reviews and ratings to Amazon sellers, and is increasingly generating strong customer communities which brands need to satisfy. Recently, Amazon launched an AI-powered review system which “provides a short paragraph right on the product detail page that highlights product features and customer sentiment frequently mentioned”. This update communicates and empowers the collective customer voice in a single, clear snapshot within key placement. First impressions are no longer enough, and brands need to ensure product quality and long-term customer experience is positive to trade into Q4.
The best brands, like the best relationships, have a good level of trust with their customers, gained by delivering what they say they will, even down to the small details - and reviews, as a representation of that trust, are crucial to a brand’s success.
To prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping period, you can grow your reviews through the Amazon Vine Program which allows a select group of trusted Amazon customers to objectively review your products.
As of the 19th October, Amazon has provided a more dynamic three-tiered price structure meaning you only pay for the quantity of products enrolled. Before, you could send 100 or two products and Amazon would charge the same flat fee. The new fees are:
- £0: Enrol up to 2 units per parent ASIN and get up to 2 quality Vine reviews for free.
- £60: Enrol up to 10 units per parent ASIN and get up to 10 Vine reviews.
- £140: Enrol up to 30 units per parent ASIN and get up to 30 Vine reviews.
The Amazon advertising tool kit has expanded this year and brands should be the first to experiment with visibility-driving resources this Q4. Advertising is key to ensuring you get good visibility and it also improves your sales rank. This, in turn, boosts the organic performance of your products, creating a flywheel effect we call sales velocity. Make sure you can carry this momentum through the lead-in and lead-out periods for Black Friday.
Sponsored Display Video: Sponsored Display Video launched in late 2022, so this will be the first Q4 with a year of insights. Use your year-to-date learnings to showcase your brand to unique audiences to build awareness and consideration, both on and off Amazon.
Sponsored Brands On-Amazon VCPM: Amazon launched a new impression-centred bidding structure called Viewable Cost-Per-Mille (VCPM) in 2022. Rather than traditional PPC, this was an awareness driving, scatter-gun advertising tool available on upper funnel display campaigns. This maximised visibility, yet achieved limited return.
Amazon has since expanded this to mid funnel Sponsored Brand campaigns on Amazon, allowing brands the same reach with an increased conversion opportunity.
Streaming TV: Off-Amazon VCPM: Recently launched, you can now use the same VCPM tactics when promoting rich video creatives off Amazon via Sponsored Brands, to tap into new audiences beyond Amazon. This is on a cost per 1,000 impressions basis which will maximise reach. Your ads will appear on Amazon affiliate sites such as IMDB, Twitch and Fire TV.
Sponsored Brand Slideshow: Also recently launched, Amazon has expanded Sponsored Brand creative images from one to five, which will now automatically loop via slideshow to further showcase your brand, values and product proposition. Add more unique images and ensure they follow best practice to effectively showcase your brand.
The Amazon experience is now littered with sponsored placements and this is especially true at the top of the search results pages. Make sure you can carry this momentum through the lead-in and lead-out periods for Black Friday. Plan ahead and use search, display and video tactics to reach shoppers on and off Amazon at the right moments aligned to the promotions you’ve got running. If you’d like to learn more about how to maximise your Amazon marketing activity ahead of the peak holiday shopping season, please get in touch with our team.