Based on previous years, spotting big changes to the Amazon selling platform during slower Q2 and Q3 months is nothing out of the ordinary. However, in 2021, we’re seeing more shiny new tools than ever before all being released in rapid succession. It almost seems as though Amazon put betas on the back burner in 2020 and kept numerous new releases in their toolbox until operations began to return to “normal” this year.
Overall, we’re seeing a lot of opportunity in these exciting new launches and are pumped to put them to the test. Here are some of the top new tools, strategies, and beta programs that can help you get an edge during Q4.
Brand Referral Bonus
Amazon sellers can now earn bonus commissions from driving traffic from off Amazon. According to Amazon, the average commission is 10% of sales generated from external traffic! Eligible brands will receive their bonus for qualified sales beginning in September.
Some may rightfully ask, “Why would I drive traffic to Amazon rather than your own site?” The bottom line is that Amazon loves external traffic that converts and rewards you with organic ranking in exchange for that traffic.
Google to Amazon Ads
Aside from being able to recoup some of your cost from the new Brand Referral Bonus program, if you are strategic, you can capitalize on opportunities where customers are more likely to purchase on Amazon. One of the key opportunities we’ve identified is driving traffic from Google directly to Amazon on relevant search phrases that include “Amazon” or “Prime”. This indicates that those individuals are specifically looking to purchase the product with their Prime membership and are less likely to purchase from your site.
During initial flights, we’ve found that CPC is significantly lower for Google to Amazon ads when compared to Sponsored Product ads. Plus, it gives brands a competitive advantage by enabling them to run a dedicated ad for their product rather than being lumped in among multiple competitors on Amazon landing pages dedicated to Google ad efforts. Since Amazon is Google’s #1 source of ad spend, this is a great starting point for testing off-Amazon spend that actually converts.
Sponsored Brand Video Product Targeting Segment
Recently, Amazon released product targeting under the radar for Sponsored Brand Video ads. With CPC on the rise, we are super excited to see another segment available for video-based ads. Not only can you set up defensive ads on your own product display page to block out the competition, but you can also target top competitors in a space many sellers aren’t even aware of yet. We see a lot of opportunity to split test various creatives showcasing the benefits and unique selling points that make your product stand out among the competition.
Sponsored Display Top of Funnel Audience Segments
Sponsored Display has also implemented new Top of Funnel segments, similar to DSP, including targeting options like “In Market” and “Lifestyle”. These can be a great way to push ads higher in the funnel to fuel your retargeting efforts on products which may not be eligible for DSP.
Sponsored Display Bidding Strategies
Sponsored Display ads have been making great strides this year in terms of flexibility and functionality. Amazon recently implemented new bidding strategies which include the options to “Optimize for page visits” or “Optimize for Conversions” giving you more control over whether you want to push for awareness or a stronger return.
Customer Engagement Beta
For those of you who have capitalized on the free traffic Amazon Posts offers, in addition to those posts now showing in additional placements including your storefront, they also have a new major benefit.
Sellers who have accumulated at least 500 brand followers from Amazon Posts can now access the Customer Engagement beta which allows sellers to email customers and highlight products. This can be a great additional strategy to implement and test during your next product launch.
You can access this beta in Seller Central or Vendor Central under “Brands” - “Customer Engagement”. If you have the required number of followers but don’t have access, reach out to your Amazon rep to request access.
Amazon’s new “Budget” Beta in the advertising console lets you review your budgets against key performance indicators to provide more clarity as to which campaigns will benefit from higher budgets. It also provides some super helpful projections such as how much you are estimated to lose in sales, impressions and clicks by not lifting budget. Additionally, it provides further insight into how much of a budget increase is recommended.
In addition to advanced budget reporting, the new “Budget Rules” beta within campaigns allows you to apply more advanced budget rules to your campaigns. While it doesn’t quite offer advanced dayparting options as some sellers may hope to see, it can be helpful for managing budgets on larger accounts during peak selling dates.
Creative Assets Beta
Another cool new feature Amazon has added to the advertising console is the “Creative Assets” tool. It enables sellers to upload creative assets including images and videos so that they can be easily stored, organized and filtered when creating new ad campaigns. Creatives stored here go through a moderation process and are reviewed so that they can be pre-approved and ready to go whenever you submit a new ad using that creative.
The new “Targeting” beta that is slowly being rolled out across accounts is an excellent way to deep dive into your targeting segments. The dashboard offers an easy to navigate, high-level overview of targeting performance and pinpoints underserved areas that may have potential to scale through increased bids.
Mobile Storefront Customization
With Amazon leading the industry with the most popular shopping app in mobile stores and consequently a massive amount of mobile sales, optimization of listings for mobile has always been highly important. That’s why we’re very excited to see that Amazon has now taken steps to enable sellers to optimize their Amazon storefront for mobile experiences.
In addition to customization for mobile storefronts, Amazon has also introduced a helpful new “Engagement” dashboard on “Storefront Insights” to provide more detail as to how consumers interact with your Amazon storefront.
Brand Catalog Manager
Thanks to the Brand Catalog Manager introduced by Amazon early this year, brand owners don’t have to be as reliant on expensive 3p tools to monitor unauthorized sellers. It does a fair job of identifying areas of opportunity and assigning the potential value next to each missed opportunity.
Overall, in 2021, we’ve seen Amazon stepping up their game and elevating the platform on the seller side. With new betas and features rolling out every few weeks, now is the time to start exploring what these new tools have to offer. Start running small tests now to determine which of these new features will have the greatest impact for your brand and how to maximize your efforts this year!