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How to get the most out of your purchase of ads on Amazon

Forty percent of Amazon shoppers never scroll past the first page, according to a 2018 Feedvisor study.

That’s why, with millions upon millions of products on Amazon, brands are increasingly turning to Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) like Headline Search Ads and Sponsored Products as a way to jump-start performance on the retail site.

As a kind of “Google AdWords for Amazon,” it’s the fastest way to get a product discovered. But deciding to invest in AMS campaigns is a tactic, and one that on its own won’t necessarily roll up to impacting larger strategic objectives like growing sales, margins or market share on Amazon.

It needs to be combined with strong campaign management, smart keyword selection to take advantage of short- and long-tail queries and a great, branded product page experience that will amplify the effectiveness of this increased traffic, rather than detract from it.

1. First, think about AMS as part of the formula for success on Amazon

You can pick top keywords and place winning bids, but driving sustained success on Amazon requires that the product pages you are promoting are optimized to convert customers via a great, branded experience and are found organically with high-performing keywords. The diagram below, from a recent webinar by content26 and my employer (Salsify) illustrates this concept.

As AMS and organic traffic all relate back to the product page, it’s absolutely worth tackling that aspect of your Amazon presence first before moving on.

2. Take great care of the essential content

Before undertaking more advanced tactics on Amazon, like premium A+ Content, the above-the-fold content needs to be in great shape. That includes the product title, bullets, descriptions and images, and they are incredibly important for a number of reasons.

For the consumer, those are the first things they see when visiting a product page without scrolling. They need to know what your product does, how it does it and why they need it. Secondly, these are the elements Amazon’s A9 algorithm is indexing off of to make decisions on the search results page.

While the titles are some of the most valuable real estate for this reason, resist the temptation to keyword-stuff your title. It hurts your product when it comes to voice search via Alexa; when conversing with a virtual assistant, they’d rather have a conversation than hear a robot voice reciting a list of keywords. In fact, it’s a bad customer experience overall: Looking at a very long product title with a lot of keywords and adjectives makes it difficult for people to get an idea of what they are buying.

Find a balance between discoverability and a good experience.

3. Build brand equity/differentiation on the product page

In general, the above-the-fold basic content is what the vast majority of your customers are going to read. But those customers who do decide to scroll down the page are likely your most engaged. They are looking for specific aspects of a product, doing their research, and this is where A+ Content comes in.

Conversion rates for these customers rise significantly when there is A+ Content on a given page, helping them get a deeper level of information and feel of the product, its unique benefits and so on. If you’re drawing users to your page via AMS, those extra conversions by these types of discerning customers are critical to your overall ROI.

Additionally, A9 bases ranking decisions on engagement metrics (time on the page, conversions, behavior on the page itself and so on), all of which A+ content helps support. Finally, A+ Content is repurposed for mobile, helping you translate that branded experience to mobile users even within Amazon’s truncated format. Just be sure that for older products, the A+ Content is in the newer modular format, as seen below.

It’s worth noting the differences between premium A+ and basic A+ Content. At a high level, basic A+ Content relies much more on text. You can have things like lifestyle images, un-packaging images, as seen above, but there is a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to text, which, on top of better illustrating the product for the consumer, may impact things like voice search and A9 indexing.

Premium A+ Content is also mobile-optimized, but it’s much more immersive and better replicates a kind of “brand.com” experience. Videos and interactive content, including Q&As you control, can be embedded and manipulated by consumers.

If your product isn’t something that’s feature-centric, where consumers will be looking for text to inform their decision, this is an option worth considering. However, note that while costs to access the Premium module are negotiated with Amazon, they often land in the six figures.

It’s worth remembering that consumers are increasingly using sites like Amazon for research purposes. This broadens the potential impact of AMS to other sales channels. Market Mix Modeling that a marketer shared with our company showed that AMS spend drove in-store sales in non-Amazon locations like CVS, representing 85 percent of the benefit of the campaign.

But these benefits start with compelling product pages that accelerate the impact of AMS generally. Brands that execute well stand to experience better ROI and longer-term success on Amazon.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Andrew Waber is the Manager of Data Insights and Media Relations at product experience management (PXM) platform provider Salsify. In his current role, Andrew manages the analysis, editorial direction, and strategy for Salsify’s public facing reporting on the online retail marketplace. Prior to his time at Salsify, Andrew served as the Manager of Market Insights and Media Relations for advertising automation software provider Nanigans, and as the Market Analyst and lead author of reports for Chitika Insights, the research arm of the Chitika online ad network. Andrew’s commentary on online trends has been quoted by the New York Times, Re/Code, and The Guardian, among other outlets.

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