Way back in 1995, Amazon made its first-ever customer sale. Within two short months, Amazon was selling US$20,000 per week in the U.S. and countries around the world.
Today, Amazon has become the go-to marketplace for more than 310 million customers, and more than 54 percent of all product searches occur on Amazon.
In other words, Amazon has replaced Google as the No. 1 search engine for products.
So, how can your brand leverage this fast-growing, ultra-competitive marketplace while still remaining profitable? Let’s take a look at four Amazon advertising strategies you can start using today to improve your effectiveness and sell more products.
1. Optimized Product Listings
Before even considering advertising on Amazon, you need to start with effective product listings that are optimized properly for both your audience and Amazon’s algorithm. Many brands advertising on Amazon still neglect this fundamental step, which leads to lower engagement, lower audience intent, and fewer sales.
You need to err on the side of excellence, especially the more complicated or technical your product is. There are five common shortcomings that brands make in regards to product listings:
- Poor brand representation or low quality images: Make sure that all of the text supporting your product — from title and description to details and bulleted copy — are optimized with the keywords that resonate with your audience. Look to Amazon’s own product listings to get a sense of how it positions information.
- Misleading product claims: Be accurate and truthful in the claims you are making about your products. The fastest way to destroy consumer trust is to exaggerate or inaccurately portray your products. Don’t be a snake oil salesman!
- Unanswered questions: If someone asks you a question about your product, answer it! A huge part of building consumer trust is being highly responsive in your customer service. Unanswered questions are warning signs of a brand that doesn’t care.
- Negative reviews: Although you can’t entirely control negative reviews, you can leverage them to your advantage. Use them as an opportunity to get valuable feedback on your products, provide customer service if something went wrong, or even determine if your customers are receiving counterfeit products from a third-party seller.
- Duplicate listings: If the same product has multiple listings, you not only are diluting your traffic, but also might be sending shoppers to an unoptimized product page. Make sure that your products don’t have multiple listings. If they do, work with Amazon Seller Support to get them removed.
2. The Right Goals
This might sound like common sense, but you’d be amazed at the number of brands that don’t have clearly defined goals, or have goals focused far too granularly to see the bigger picture. Success means different things to different companies, so understanding the specific needs of your brand is the first step to setting the right goals.
There are three common objectives for Amazon advertisers:
- Brand awareness
- Rapid growth
- Sales at a target ROI
Before even considering building out or expanding your Amazon advertising, you need to set clear expectations for the channel.
For instance, if brand awareness is your main goal, you’ll probably want to invest more heavily in your Amazon Store and Amazon Sponsored Brand ads, which are a great way to showcase your products and get more people viewing what you offer.
If sales at a target ROI is the goal, you’ll need a much more comprehensive advertising strategy and campaign optimizations in place to reach your goal.
3. Competitive Research and Analysis
Understanding your competitors and your position in the marketplace is another essential step toward optimizing your Amazon advertising.
One of the best ways to make this determination is to perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of your brand. This will help you better define your competition, and it also can help you flesh out the specific strengths of your brand.
The big takeaway here is that you can make more profit quickly and easily by focusing on your strengths and capitalizing on the strengths of your products. You can spend a lifetime trying to eliminate your weaknesses and never achieve the same impact as optimizing for your strengths.
Here are six questions to ask yourself as you look to understand your unique strengths:
- How competitive is your category on Amazon?
- What is your fulfillment strategy, and what is the strategy of your competitors?
- What do your product reviews look like?
- What is the quality of your product listings?
- How are you priced compared to your competitors?
- Are your products bundled similarly to your competitors’ or do you have a unique selling angle?
4. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
Last but not least, understanding the keywords that are resonating with your audience is essential to optimizing your Amazon advertising campaigns.
There are three main keyword match types on Amazon:
- Exact match captures traffic that matches the keyword exactly or is a plural. If the search is “sock,” either “sock” or “socks” would be an exact match, but “red sock” would not.
- Phrase match captures traffic with any variation of a keyword or keyword phrase, assuming the words appear in the correct order. If the search phrase is “red socks,” phrases like “long red socks” and “red socks for sports” would track, but “red long socks” would not.
- Broad match captures traffic when an individual word within the keyword or keyword phrase is used. The order does not matter as long as one of the words for the search is present. A search for “red long socks” would track for any combination of terms using “red,” “long,” “socks,” or any combination of these words.
There are a number of free tools available to help you in your keyword research.
Also, the Amazon search bar itself is an incredible resource for keyword research. When you start typing a query into the search field, Amazon attempts to auto fill the keyword or phrase based on the tremendous audience data acquired from its 310 million customers.
This offers a great opportunity to see the common keywords that are associated with your products, and the terms that real consumers are using.
Tying It All Together
Once you have gathered a solid collection of keywords, completed your competitive research and SWOT analysis, set smart goals, and fine-tuned your listings, you’re well on your way to mounting an efficient, optimized Amazon advertising campaign.
Obviously, the setup is only half the battle. Fine-tuning the ads themselves and continuously analyzing, testing and optimizing are key to long-term success.