Branding opportunities on Amazon: Not just for retailers anymore
When you think about Amazon marketing and advertising, naturally the retail sector comes to mind. But Danielle Waller, Amazon capability lead at Merkle, made the case at SMX Next last month that brands in travel, entertainment, financial services and even automotive should also educate themselves about the opportunities.
Waller, who has been working with Amazon on behalf of clients for the past six years, is optimistic about the moves the e-commerce behemoth is making to develop new advertising, marketing and content offerings that allow brands to leverage its platform and network.
“Understanding that Amazon has over 300 million worldwide user accounts, and knowing that they have a ton of first-party data, this is a really key platform for brands to start to understand and really start baking into their media plans,” she told the audience. “Even if you’re not a retailer, even if you don’t sell on Amazon.”
The first step is to consider your brand message and value proposition, and then think about the ways you can introduce shoppers to what your brand stands for through the various offerings on Amazon and its network.
Amazon Store Page
If you do sell products on Amazon, you should focus on building your Store page — a hub where you can feature all the products you sell and surround them with lifestyle imagery. This free URL is available to brand-registered sellers and vendors, Waller said.
As you set up this Store page, consider the following goals and tactics:
- Reflecting your brand values and the lifestyle you associate with your brand so that shoppers recognize it from your website, social media pages or other points of presence.
- Incorporate intentional navigation — make it easy for a shopper to fill their cart.
- Ensuring creative on your Store page is consistent with any paid media you’re using to send shoppers there.
“They may be there to understand what is different between your brand — and your brand value prop and your product value prop — and other competitors,” Waller noted.
Product detail pages
Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) and Premium A+ Content (PAPC) on Product Detail Pages (PDP) are also key elements for branding for brand-registered sellers and vendors, Waller said. The first is available at no extra cost while PAPC, which unlocks additional media-rich options, involves an extra investment.
“Brands can bring their product differentiation to life in a very brand-centric way [on these pages], because these can be custom images, and they can show the product in use,” Waller said. “A brand can say not only ‘what is my brand identity?’, but ‘how does this product fit into your life?’ And that is why… we suggest using lifestyle imagery to really bring that product to life and communicate the brand personality.”
“This is a relatively new format where brands can engage with shoppers on Amazon,” Waller explained. “And, right now, because it’s in beta it’s actually free. So if you’re on Amazon you have media currently running, please make sure that you are checking out [Amazon Posts].”
Waller praises Posts as a great opportunity for brands to echo their existing social media campaigns, because they use the same creative elements. “Because of where these ads, well, not ads, but where these placements show, they will create brand differentiators because they can land directly on your PDP or your competitors’,” Waller said.
Sponsored brand ads and videos
Sponsored brand ads, formerly called Headline Search Ads, and their video counterparts appear on Amazon search results pages (SERPs) and are available to purchase via the ads console. But Waller stresses that they don’t need to be product-centric.
“We’ve seen some really unique ways that brands are bringing this to life,” said Waller. “And this is an opportunity where you can have custom imagery and you are showing lifestyle products. So make sure that, as you have these assets, you’re really being a first mover in differentiating the SERP results.”
Amazon’s Demand-Side Platform is available to both endemic and non-endemic brand advertisers, giving them access to inventory on Amazon-owned sites as well as its network. The secret sauce here, says Waller, is the data that Amazon has about its shoppers that can be leveraged in DSP buys.
Consider, also, Amazon-owned sites like IMDB where these ads show. If you’re an entertainment brand, for example, you can tailor your creative to reach that audience on that entertainment-oriented site.
Offering a QVC or Home Shopping Network-like experience, Amazon Live is a fairly new offering that Waller says is a great opportunity to educate customers.
“You don’t just have that 30 seconds or 15 seconds or even a six-second video to try to get your brand message and your brand story out,” said Waller. “You have an opportunity to really set the stage with ‘what educational key components does our shopper need to understand about this product or our brand, and how can I bring that to life in a video?’”
Waller suggests brands take advantage of the opportunity to set their video in a location that reinforces their brand values — in a beautiful outdoor setting for an outdoor brand, for example. Additionally, she notes that a Q&A option is available that lets brands interact directly with customers. Plus, Waller says, Amazon is expected to begin notifying its customers when a brand they follow does a Live production, fostering loyalty to that brand.
Waller acknowledged that Amazon might not be the first brand that comes to mind for OTT video inventory, but she said that the e-commerce giant is rapidly growing its scale in this arena, recently surpassing Roku. An advertiser might consider delivering video inventory via the OTT offering, then re-targeting those customers in other channels to fortify the brand messaging, Waller suggested.
Amazon’s Treasure Truck — which puts on potentially viral-worthy events in cities, informing a list of subscribers — is one chance that may appeal to brands that don’t even sell on Amazon, typically. Another possibly-overlooked type of media is having your brand highlighted on Amazon’s ubiquitous delivery boxes.
“So when all of your neighbors go by, they’re not just seeing ‘Oh, you got something from Amazon,’ but ‘Oh, is that a Chevy truck on that Amazon box?’,” said Waller. “Brands start to see that this is an opportunity to really broaden their traditional media with a lot of fun out-of-home experiences.”
Especially for non-endemic brands
Waller also highlighted some brand-building opportunities available to those in certain verticals:
- Automotive: Leveraging data from “Amazon Garage” about the vehicles a shopper owns can help a brand offering them spare parts they might need, and an automotive manufacturer could advertise new cars to them when their vehicle is reaching the end of its life cycle.
- Entertainment: Brands can use Amazon’s first-party data as well as contextual info to advertise on IMDB, the ad-supported IMDB TV, and other OTT offerings.
- Travel: Shoppers that have recently purchased travel-related items like passport covers or eye masks, for example, could be open to hearing from airlines or hotel chains, Waller noted.
- Sports: Shoppers indicating their preferences for certain sports brands in Amazon Fan Shop could be targeted by those brands in other places across Amazon’s network.
- Financial services: Amazon has a program that lets credit card issuers offer extra rewards points to customers that designate their card as their primary form of payment, Waller said.
- CPG: These brands should consider programs involving Amazon Grocery or Amazon-owned Whole Foods.
“So there are some really really interesting ways that first-party data plus the reach of Amazon can really bring [brands] to life for several of the different verticals outside of just retail,” Waller said.
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