The Ultimate Wishlist for Amazon Marketing Features
by Ron Dod
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Scores of merchants of all niches and sizes rely on the power of the Amazon marketplace to sell at least a portion of their products. There are potentially millions of third-party sellers the world over. Since these folks are at least partially dependent on Amazon, they are also reliant on Amazon’s advertising services to get their products in front of Amazon customers.
Because of Amazon’s unbridled popularity, the company’s advertising service has become the third largest ad platform in the U.S.—right behind Google and Facebook—raking in over $10 billion in revenue in 2018, which is more than three times what many experts predicted.
While becoming adept at Amazon SEOand mastering its ad platform are quickly evolving into vital skill sets for all Amazon sellers, the company’s advertising services are actually lacking in many areas. When compared to Google or Facebook Ads, Amazon’s counterpart just doesn’t stack up.
However, given that the company is anticipated to invest in the advertising portion of its business heavily over the next several years, we figured we would throw our hat in the ring and help point the eCommerce behemoth in the right direction for developing an ad platform that could outpace its current competition.
Here are the features we are hoping to see Amazon implement to make its advertising services more impactful for its sellers.
Increasingly, geo-targeting, or location targeting, is a vital component in the PPC landscape. As the adage goes, “location, location, location.”
Both Facebook and Google offer location-based parameters for their ad platforms, allowing retailers to target specific demographics based on their geography. This feature is an essential component as it enables marketers to reach a particular subset of users, while also excluding those who will find an ad irrelevant.
If Amazon were to provide an option for location-based targeting, marketers would thereby attain more significant control over campaigns, enabling them to leverage specific areas more effectively.
For instance, retailers who sell snow boots likely don’t want their ad budgets wasted on consumers in California and Florida who have little need for such an item. However, Amazon might still surface such an ad for consumers looking for “boots.”
By implementing this simple option, retailers could earn a variety of campaign-level opportunities that ensure ad budgets are better optimized.
Device-Based Targeting and Bidding
Marketing is all about understanding user behaviors and desires, and behaviors generally vary according to the type of device the user employs.
For instance, research has shown time and again that, while smartphone purchases are on the rise, most consumers make their purchases from a desktop device. Data from Statista reflects that 70 percent of consumers do more than half of their online shopping from a desktop or laptop computer.
Therefore, Amazon advertisers would love the opportunity to bid differently for specific upper-funnel terms on mobile while more aggressively targeting lower-funnel terms which may convert higher on desktop. At a campaign level, this feature would allow marketers to budget by device type and create device-specific campaigns, thereby yielding better results through a more refined approach.
“People that shop in the morning are buying less variety than at other times of day, particularly if they shop before 11:00 am. . . For marketers, depending on what you sell, you may want to advertise at different times of day. . . If I’m selling a vacation package, for example, the way I talk about that package can differ depending on the time of day.”
Therefore, if Amazon were to allow marketers to capitalize on these distinctions and to adjust campaigns with rules based on the hour of the day or day of the week, advertisers would be capable of generating a far higher ROI for their efforts.
With these additional layers of control to maximize their performance and leverage customer trends, businesses would be likely to increase their budgets and reinvest sizable portions of their profits back into Amazon’s ad platform.
Demographic targeting is a massively important component to all PPC efforts these days as this refinement system is what allows marketers to drill down and get their message to their target audiences. Without the ability to target ads based on audience age, gender, marital status, household income and other relevant factors, ads are basically blasted out to anyone and everyone.
Demographic targeting would effectively allow advertisers with products at the higher end of the competitive set to reach a more relevant audience and vice versa. The impact of this implementation would be tremendous as advertisers could better concentrate on more relevant buyers on the platform.
Enhanced Reporting and Segmentation
The capacity to segment data has revolutionized business advertising strategies as this ability enables brands to take a deep dive into the effectiveness of its campaigns. Plainly put, data is power, and the capability to easily segment data at a more granular level would provide more in-depth and more actionable insights, especially when combined with some of the additional targeting and ad delivery components listed above.
By implementing reporting segmentation features for time, day, hour of the day, device, gender, age and location, marketers could better understand how their efforts are performing and improve campaign outcomes by optimizing the areas that are lacking. This type of data could be used to create new, better-targeted campaigns, enhanced messaging for specific audiences or bid models that focus on a particular segment above or below predetermined KPIs.
Date Range Comparisons
Amazon’s UI, while recently improved, still pales in comparison to the offerings presented by competitors such as Facebook and Google. While the eCommerce titan did recently implement a customizable date range feature, it is far inferior to the ones utilized on competing PPC platforms.
When speaking to the date range feature, Amazon is missing a vital but straightforward functionality: The ability to compare performance metrics for various time segments such as week over week, month over month or year over year performance.
Adding full functionality and enabling the complete customization of date ranges for in-depth comparisons supplies marketers with another avenue for slicing valuable purchase data and obtaining actionable insights on how to better PPC performance.
Sales Data Longevity
For reasons unbeknownst to their users, Amazon limits the data in their UI to the last 90 days.
While there are a variety of third-party tools that provide a solution to this issue by storing the data external from Amazon’s system, the added effort and expense merely burdens Amazon’s advertisers, forcing them to spend more on addition tools instead of advertising on Amazon.
If Amazon merely followed the industry standard of storing many years’ worth of all historical performance metrics as well as sales and revenue data, the company could appease its advertisers and likely boost its ad revenue.
When it comes to digging through an Amazon ads account, Amazon sorely lacks in its ability to help marketers find the data insights they are after. Advanced filtering options is another crucial feature that Amazon’s competitors provide, yet that Amazon has predominantly failed to apply.
At the campaign, group, ad and keyword levels, utilizing filters such as “contains,” “does not contain,” “equals,” “status” and similar refinement options would quickly arm marketers with incredibly valuable data insights, allowing them to sort and filter through critical areas of their accounts to make optimizations with greater efficiency.
Display and Video Remarketing
It’s pretty exciting stuff that Amazon is pushing forward with programmatic display ads via the company’s demand-side platform (DSP) program. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Amazon sellers can’t access this offering as the retailer has placed a $35,000 minimum spend limit on its display, video or mobile advertising features.
While Amazon’s DSP offers an entirely different set of features, it seems that the company should focus more on integrating some of its DSP functionality into its core advertising services within Seller and Vendor Central.
The tactics for ad delivery used in Amazon DSP could have significantly higher adoption rates from advertisers if the online retailer had a more robust offering with no minimum ad spend requirements.
Just sayin. . .
More Robust Sponsored Brands Ads
Part of Amazon’s effectiveness is the minimalistic nature of “sponsored” products. Sponsored Brands, on the other hand, does allow for a degree of creativity; however, there are still strict limits that merchants must operate within, thereby minimizing imaginativeness.
Amazon could easily broaden the scope of uniqueness and creative expression within this ad set by allowing Sponsored Brands to tout an increased character count in the ad format or enabling an expandable component to supply consumers more detailed information on an item.
Amazon should take a few notes from the king of PPC.
This improvement request is simple, straightforward and necessary. As it stands, there is currently no method for tracking which users made specific changes within an Amazon account. Advertisers can track user changes internally but doing so is rather inefficient. Moreover, as has been noted several times, competing PPC platforms do supply this information, making manual, off-platform tracking unnecessary.
The bottom line is that Amazon should absolutely provide this basic and vital level of information for marketers and advertisers alike.
Sadly, this is a feature that Google used to provide its users but replaced with Automated Rules way back in 2012. The truth is that many marketers (yours truly included) miss custom alerts something fierce.
If Amazon were to revive this feature and provide a custom rule-based alert system for ads, performance and inventory conditions, doing so would add new dimensions of power and flexibility in the company’s ad platform.
For example, if advertisers were capable of setting a rule to notify account holders if a keyword ACOS reached over 30 percent in a 14-day window, or if marketers were informed when a promoted product hit a “low inventory” status, they would be more empowered to respond to the situation proactively instead of reactively.
A rules-based alert system would provide extensive benefits for anyone managing or monitoring the performance of an Amazon Advertising account.
One of the most useful features in Google ads is the ability to review competitive metrics. For advertisers to understand at a campaign or keyword level whom their real competitors are and enabling them to learn the similarities and distinctions of their rival from their own promotional tactics is invaluable in uncovering areas of opportunity and helping to determine the most efficient areas or keywords to invest in more heavily.
Moreover, access to competitive metrics like impression share becomes an excellent monitoring tool to identify if a competitor has increased their ad spend or is focusing on specific areas that overlap with another advertiser’s account.
True Keyword Volume Estimates
One of the more aggravating things about Amazon’ ad platform is that the company is notorious for hiding the total volume of keywords.
General keyword volume is critical information to possess as this data allows marketers to determine if they have effectively maximized the volume of a specific category or if they have barely tapped into its potential.
This addition is undoubtedly a no-brainer for Amazon to deploy as doing so would enable advertisers to drive increased growth, thereby earning more revenue for the company overall.
A Better Campaign Labeling System
In late 2018, Amazon introduced the “portfolios” feature, which is akin to labels. While this was a nice addition, the feature only works at the campaign level, thereby neglecting the group, ad and keyword levels.
The fact of the matter is that Amazon needs to implement a more robust system that allows advertisers to apply multiple labels at different levels as this would significantly improve the speed in which marketers could identify critical outliers.
The capacity for labeling keywords together based on text, theme, performance, volume or other attributes would provide yet another much-needed functional improvement to the Amazon Advertising UI.
Amazon’s advertising system has a long way to go until it is on par with competing services provided by Google and Facebook. These fifteen additions would bring the platform up to speed with its rivals, greatly enhance the satisfaction of its advertisers and drawing in more revenue for the company by bolstering the outcomes of campaign performance, leading to more sales and more ad revenue from merry marketers.
So, if you’re out there reading this Mr. Bezos, please have your teams institute these features into the Amazon ads interface. All of us will be a lot better off if you do.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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