This article from the Harvard Business Review details a years-long research project from the University of Washington studying the holistic specifics of how to create an effective, well-designed product web page that will yield best conversion results for customers shopping on Amazon.
We’re excited to see that the field experiment and research results support the current best practices that have already been put in place by the Ideoclick content team.
The whole article is worth a read but here are some of the main takeaways:
Carefully orchestrating the content on your product’s Amazon page is the key to boosting sales
The type of page design that will most resonate with your customers depends on two primary criteria: (1) the trustworthiness of your brand and (2) the degree to which customers can evaluate the product by reading about it rather than experiencing it.
The study found that found that a single design element (such as bullets, images, etc.) on an Amazon page, when used effectively, can increase purchase intentions up to 10% — a substantial amount in today’s competitive online retail environment!
The overall strategic recommendations offered by the results of this article affirm what we on the content team are already doing for our clients:
Using multiple research sources to create written content that is not just SEO-rich but also reflects the brand voice and prioritizes customer education
Rather than taking a straight up cookie-cutter approach to all content, our strategy is dynamic and reflects the varying needs and priorities of different product categories
Both visual and written content strive to elevate the brand voice to convert shoppers. Our Visual Strategists also often include lifestyle images that resonate with consumers and design elements that provide customer education, which is key to conversion.
We look forward to continuing to be ahead of the curve in delivering high-quality, responsive content to our clients!
Consistent with everything 2020, Amazon Prime Day experienced its own unprecedented “first.” The sixth annual event was moved from July to October, but the pivot represented much more than a calendar shuffle. Many brands were forced to rework their strategies due to Prime Day’s close proximity to the holiday season.
Their efforts were well rewarded. Despite the three-month delay and subsequent challenges of being T5-adjacent (Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday span of days, or “Turkey 5”), 2020 Prime Day was once again one of the biggest events in Amazon’s history.
Savvy brands know Prime Day isn’t just about an influx of revenue. Just as valuable are the quantifiable trends post-Prime Day data reveals—which informs future marketing efforts. Looking at consumer behavior, the biggest takeaway is a consciousness around cost. This is particularly enlightening as brands look ahead to T5 and beyond.
For example, over one-third of consumers (36%) stated they will be more price sensitive this holiday season in comparison to 2019. This attitude was reflected in the average Prime Day order size, which suffered a 25% reduction from 2019’s numbers ($44.21 compared to $59.02).
The good news is that 35% of consumers stated they plan to do most or all of their holiday shopping online this year, a 10% spike over last year. And, Amazon loyalty is encouraging for the upcoming holiday season—evidenced by a few key data points:
72% of shoppers did not compare prices to other retailers’ promoted events (Target, Walmart) before making a Prime Day purchase
56% of U.S. consumers stated they intended to make a Prime Day purchase
51% of consumers view Prime Day as the kickoff to the holiday season
The Pandemic’s Unique Influence
One of the most significant insights gleaned from 2020 Prime Day was buying behavior specific to the pandemic. Unlike previous years, this year’s shopping behavior heavily aligned with increased time at home. Items for e-learning, remote working, clothing, and at-home entertainment won the day(s). Specifically, the Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry category sales saw the largest YoY growth (27%), closely followed by the Grocery & Gourmet Food category at 23%.
Top keywords also substantiated this phenomenon, with items like mask bracket, thermometer, and AirPods, each coming in at number two among search words. Headphones, earbuds, and laptop rounded out the electronics search words—a clear indicator people are investing in their work-from-home situation. Top-selling products in the U.S. like iRobot® Roomba vacuums and LifeStraw® water filters further support consumers’ at-home existence.
With the significant influence 2020 Prime Day had on holiday shopping, it begs a key question: Could this be a turning point in Amazon’s future Prime Day strategies? Larger brands have continued to run deals to drive sustained growth throughout Q4, and consumers are welcoming them. Data reports that 81% of consumers plan to shop on Amazon for holiday purchases compared to Walmart (51%) and Target (29%).
Amazon is leveraging these trends with the launch of its Holiday Dash event, featuring “Black Friday Worthy Deals” that change daily.
Another key consideration as brands ramp up for the holiday season is the impact of Prime Day advertising. Increased discoverability and market share during the two-day event was critical to a strong start to holiday shopping. This was reflected in the amplified advertising spend across categories, which drove greater competition among brands than in previous years.
Brands who were proactive with their budgets—expanding them to focus on Prime Day traffic—witnessed varying return on ad spend (RoAS), based on category. For example, Home & Kitchen RoAS declined by 47% YoY while Electronics increased by 58%. Beauty & Personal Care also grew (26%). Grocery & Gourmet Food remained consistent from 2019.
Specific to mobile advertising, the “Recommended Deals for You” widget on the shopping app further benefited brands that ran ads prior to Prime Day. The ads triggered inclusion in shoppers’ dynamic widgets based on their previous engagement with ASINs.
These numbers speak volumes, but it’s really the insights gained from the data that brands need to keep top of mind. A consistent thread throughout is that consumers were and are concerned about three primary components: price sensitivity, availability of deals, and delivery costs. That buying behavior should serve as a foundation for marketing strategies in the remainder of Q4—and even into 2021.
Jamaal Hackett-Cook is a Sr. eCommerce Strategist at Ideoclick, where he drives the creation of innovative strategies for brands to own more of the digital shelf. A 5 year former employee of Amazon, he worked on the launch of Amazon Home Services, innovations to the Vendor Contact Support Process, and has partnered with dozens of brands to improve their marketing and supply chain strategies.
Advanced digital platforms have increasingly heightened the shopping experience. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are both technological trends that enhance the buyer’s path to purchase, but they’re not yet ubiquitous among sellers.
Video is… or at least it can be. And, it’s becoming a highly effective tool for optimizing online shopping—from the very beginnings of product research all the way through checkout.
However, there are some “dos and don’ts” to consider when creating content specifically for Amazon’s Sponsored Brands video ads. In fact, Amazon is very inflexible about the technical and creative specifications required and can reject ads if they don’t adhere to those specs.
Here are some best practices sellers should follow, as well as the strict guidelines surrounding file size, video length, video/audio format, and more.
Allow for a Soundless Display
The most important best practice, according to Jeff Bundy, Client Success Director – Enterprise at Ideoclick, is that 70-90% of online videos are viewed with the sound off, so a video ad “should always be understandable on mute.” The videos are inherently designed to auto-play on mute, which solidifies a need to communicate the message via on-screen text.
Mobile presents a bit of a challenge in this regard, with its small display. Amazon’s guidelines recommend using Helvetica or a similar san-serif font at a minimum size of 80 pixels. Amazon also suggests displaying the text in white on top of a black bounding box set to 80% opacity.
Focus on Quality, Creativity (but also Simplicity)
Retailers with massive budgets can easily allocate funds for a highly-produced, “slick” video ad—but doing so doesn’t necessarily garner better performance. Per Bundy, “Anything in motion draws attention to otherwise static sites like Amazon.” Yet, companies should not forget about creativity and quality content. Even simplistic videos need these key components to be successful.
And, don’t forget to actually show your product and keep it prominent throughout. Fading in and out or using other “cinematic” techniques only take away from the short amount of time you have: a maximum 45 seconds, but recommended 30 seconds or less.
Know Your Audience(s)
Who is perusing your products? Consider tailoring the style of your video ad to meet your audience’s needs. While mobile use is up across the board, the younger generations (Millennials, Zoomers) are trending toward almost exclusively mobile over desktop. It’s important to ensure all videos are optimized for mobile, but certain products—ones that appeal to a younger audience—might dictate the video ad’s creative direction.
No matter the target audience, or the product, the end result should be a video that is educational, demonstrative, and product focused.
Adhere to Amazon’s Technical Specifications
While the above best practices are guidelines, Amazon does have some “non-negotiable” specifications. Not adhering to the following will get your video ad rejected.
16:9 aspect ratio1280 x 720px, 1920 x 1080px or 3840 x 2160px23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 29.98, or 30 fps1 mbps or higher bit rateH.264 or H.265 codec6-45 seconds long500 MB or smallerMP4 or MOV fileMain or baseline profileProgressive scan typeOne video stream only
44.1 kHz or higher sample ratePCM, AAC, or MP3 codec96 kbps or higher bit rateStereo or mono formatNo more than one audio stream
Advance Past the Static
Product videos are not only in more demand among Amazon shoppers, they’re on their way to becoming the norm. If you want to keep up with competitors, it’s time to advance from a static presence to a more engaging, more memorable visual experience.
Learn More about how to drive effective Amazon Advertising campaigns.
About the Author: Brandon Titmus, Director of Marketing, is an ex-Amazonian, Amazon digital marketer, and eCommerce expert helping Ideoclick’s clients develop and implement effective advertising strategies.
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