Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) offers targeted pay-per-click advertising solutions to help Amazon vendors reach new customers and drive sales. It’s an ideal opportunity for retailers to take advantage of Amazon’s scale, and ensure they are at the forefront of someone’s mind when they start researching their next purchase.
As an agency, we are built on the solid foundations of paid search and Amazon is no different. By applying our scientific approach, we optimise our clients’ advertising on Amazon, and our in-house team of mother-tongue linguists can localise adverts to deliver top results in multiple regions.
Our Head of Programmatic, Ed Blakeway, provides his top ten areas to consider when investing in AMS, guided by many of the challenges his team has discovered when auditing new accounts.
Ten elements to consider to stop your AMS becoming A MESS
Knowledge is key and finding those who understand the mystical world of Amazon can be hard to come by. There are a lot of things that aren’t obvious to a new user, from varying ‘delays’, to reporting on exactly how their bidding algorithm works. Getting to grips with the basics is an important first step; don’t run before you can walk.
What are you trying to achieve? Setting out a clear strategy from the start will help you understand what you need to do to get there, and how to measure success.
With multiple formats and match types available, there is a lot of room for error. It is often best to stick to a set KPI and work to drive it down. The most common KPI to work on is your ACOS (Advertising Cost Of Sale).
A word of caution – a carbon copy of your AdWords campaigns will not guarantee you the same success.
Structure is often overlooked in AMS accounts. A poorly structured account is about as useful as a ball of nothing (yes, this is a thing.) Structure needs to reflect your strategy and without either your campaigns will perform poorly.
It is no secret that Amazon’s reporting is a far cry from the likes of Google and Facebook, but it’s showing signs of improving. They now offer an API, which allows us to create custom solutions. This still comes with its limitations, which affects how and when to report on your activity.
If you’re reporting too soon or pulling data incorrectly, all actions that follow will be built on false foundations. Data in the UI currently runs on a whopping 72-hour delay, so weekly reports on a Monday are not the right way to report.
We have developed a tool which allows us to report more effectively and more efficiently than the Amazon interface itself. This saves lots of time for us, lots of money for our clients, and allows us to spend more time doing what we do best: optimising campaigns.
Before you start advertising on Amazon, have a clear idea of which products are a priority for you as well as your customers. Simply adding all products to every keyword covered will deliver inefficient results and deliver a poor experience to your potential customers.
If you only have one product, that makes it easier. But you can still experiment with the variety of ad type/targeting combinations.
Be ambitious, and don’t be afraid to compete head-to-head with your largest competitors. The bid price is not the only factor that is taken into account – if you believe you offer a better alternative, then it is a legitimate strategy for you to leverage their brand awareness to grow yours, by bidding against the brand/product names of your competitors.
Before you go live, do some research to find out what the high, medium, and low search terms are in your market, and identify cross-selling opportunities. Know what your customers want, and choose the right keywords, phrases and interests that will drive demand and raise awareness of your brand.
Following on from research, understand to what extent you are appearing in search results, and be equipped to facilitate demand. Amazon provides you with some great guidance on how to increase the win-rate of your keyword bids, but understanding the relationship between bid prices and ACOS is key to driving profitability.
Have patience; wait for your data to drip through, and for the dust to settle. As mentioned above, there are long delays on a lot of the data Amazon provides. So wait and understand the bigger picture before flicking switches.
10. Call the experts
If you are struggling to grow your account, improve your reporting or increase the efficiency of your activity, bringing in external expertise can be a good idea. For many companies, AMS is a channel they haven’t explored before and using an agency can help save time and increase campaign efficiency.
Utilising Amazon Marketing Services is a valuable opportunity for many companies to reach new customers, increase visibility and drive sales. However, it can also be a minefield for those who haven’t used it before or haven’t set out a clear strategy, reporting structure or even prioritised products. Our tips above will help you to focus your strategy to get the best out of your advertising campaigns.
If you have any questions regarding AMS, please contact us.