Amazon DSP: What Is It, Who Is It For, and How Ideoclick Can Help

Amazon DSP: What Is It, Who Is It For, and How Ideoclick Can Help

92% of online shoppers in the U.S. buy from Amazon. As buying patterns adjust to the dramatic impact of COVID-19, that number will only grow.

Now, it’s even more critical for brands selling on Amazon to leverage the best data available to reach the right audiences. What’s the best way to do that? Focusing on Amazon’s targeted Demand Side Platform (DSP) advertising capabilities.

On Amazon’s internal advertising platform, companies can create ads that will be displayed in Amazon’s search results when consumers use certain keywords. Buyers show up on Amazon with money to spend and specific products in mind.

With luck, they’re searching with keywords relevant to your business offerings.

Sponsored Ad campaigns only provide a birds-eye view of your target audience, though. It’s like using a cannon to hit a bullseye – shrapnel sprays in a general direction, but with no precision.

It’s easy to ‘hit’ a target with a cannon, but are you really hitting where you want?  If your business isn’t reaching goals with Sponsored Ads, keep climbing. DSP provides winning strategies with highly targeted ads that hit the right shoppers at the right time.

What Is It?

Amazon DSP allows advertisers to purchase audio, video, and display ads that are shown based on a custom algorithm. DSP targeting is based on gathering information necessary to create a buyer persona. For instance, DSP relies on shopping history, browsing patterns, demographics, and competitor ads, which enables precise retargeting.

One of the main highlights of DSP ads is the ability to make data-based decisions. Campaigns can rely on all the first-party shopping information that Amazon has collected for them.

DSP advertising is also a study in shopper behavior. To make ad display decisions, data collection services ask these questions.

  • Which shoppers are you trying to target?
  • Which competitor products have they viewed?
  • What’s the best way to retarget these consumers and get them to convert?

Plotting a campaign means prodding your audience’s psyche toward your products.

Who Is It For?

It’s easy to feel challenged by Amazon, and it’s even easier to plateau. You need an accessible, informative, hands-on approach to level up past traditional Sponsored Ad techniques.

You may be facing these problems:

  • You’ve maxed out the potential of Sponsored Ads and need to level up.
  • Your efforts to aggressively drive sales and own your space have fallen short.
  • Competitors are capturing the sale before you do.

Thanks to involved targeting, DSP is an excellent solution to these issues.

You’ll need to establish your target audience and set up test cells. This involves research, savvy data collection, and creating data categories. Demographics, clickstreams, geographic location, shopping behavior, and more are all factors.

What’s the end goal? Building a comprehensive strategy layered on top of your Sponsored Ad campaigns. The holistic approach you’ll need is a targeted, highly effective combination.

Being overwhelmed at this stage is common—because taming a corporate giant like Amazon is challenging! That’s why you need a complete managed services agency in your corner.

How Ideoclick Can Help

If you’re new to DSP, some additional steps are necessary to launch a campaign. You’ll want to maximize your dollars with winning strategies, so there are some additional considerations.

To start, DSP requires a minimum campaign spend of $10k. You’ll also need to strategize ahead of time, because approvals are necessary for creative assets and audience segments. Since a CPM pricing model is used, you’ll also need an insertion order in place.

There are lots of decisions to be made, and each one has impact.

  • What are the right targets, based on psychographic, demographic, and behavioral information?
  • What is the message being served to these audiences?
  • What KPIs have you identified?
  • What optimizations are being done to routinely course-correct and meet those KPIs?

With a knowledgeable expert running your campaign, your company won’t be an outsider any longer. Instead, you’ll understand exactly what’s going on with your campaign, and how it’s poised to meet your goals.

Are you still not sure if you’re ready to move onto DSP campaigns? It’s a big world out there, which is why we’re here to make the transition easy. If you’d like to explore DSP advertising, contact us! We’re happy to hear from you.

Ideoclick Launches Share of Search to Help Vendors & Sellers Capitalize on Amazon’s Infinite Aisle

Ideoclick Launches Share of Search to Help Vendors & Sellers Capitalize on Amazon’s Infinite Aisle

First-of-its-kind solution allows brands to assess category size, opportunities, and threats on Amazon

SEATTLE, December 2, 2020 — Ideoclick, Inc., the provider of the industry’s leading e-commerce optimization platform, today launched Share of SearchTM, a new solution that helps consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands target how a consumer actually shops on Amazon. Because assortment is unlimited in an online environment, brands must shift their strategies beyond a traditional category market share paradigm.  Ideoclick’s Share of SearchTM helps them achieve this through one-of-a-kind Amazon search share analytics and competitive benchmarking. This powerful tool and dynamic reporting enable advanced search-based strategies that allow manufacturers to win in today’s crowded and fast-growing e-commerce space.

Ideoclick’s Share of Searchis used to identify the search-based category on Amazon and benchmark the client’s competitive position. The tool provides insight into who is winning the top paid and organic ad placements and helps identify critical, must-win Amazon keywords as well as competitive gaps relative to pricing, assortment, reviews, and more. Tracking Share of Search data also helps brands understand how Amazon rankings change over time as well as their top Amazon competitors.

“Ideoclick Share of Search is an exciting methodology that enables brands to understand their customers on a much deeper level.  The way shoppers search, evaluate, and purchase products online is very different than a traditional shopping experience with defined aisles or physical sections,” said Justin Leigh, co-founder and CEO of Ideoclick.  “Every keyword generates thousands of search results, so brands are not competing for sales against traditional competitors.  They are competing to win all the search terms that are relevant to their business and that’s what our new solution measures.”

Share of Search starts with Customer Search GroupsTM

Customer Search Groups (CSGs) are a breakthrough way to identify and measure “categories” on Amazon. They are related, high-traffic keywords relevant to specific products. CSGs can be used to help brands understand the search term strategies needed to identify shopper profiles within their potential customers and dominate a product category. Ideoclick Share of Search reporting shows which brands are winning the top placements for their CSGs, in other words their “share” of the digital shelf. This allows them to:

  • Understand customer needs and search behavior while building shopper profiles
  • Bring a familiar language to marketing on Amazon that can be used in other channels
  • Target winnable keywords, develop relevance, and measure progress

“We are in the highly dynamic category of zero and low calorie sweetener and baking sugar alternatives. Historically we had emphasized branded terms for our Amazon advertising campaigns. While they were effective, we felt like we were missing opportunities to capture category shoppers and new to brand purchasers. Ideoclick proposed that we test their new Share of Search solution to drive visibility for one of our key products. Click Share data, a metric directly from Amazon reporting, tracks the top three positions for a search term or phrase. Before Share of Search, we owned only two search terms in the top three positions. Within three months we owned 11 top three search terms, a five-fold increase. Not only did Ideoclick achieve the goal of increasing brand visibility, the success of the program contributed to a doubling of sales. Ideoclick’s robust technology infrastructure and advanced reporting capabilities coupled with the best in class marketers have been the cornerstone of our success in e-commerce!”     – Abby Abbott, director of e-commerce, North America, Whole Earth Brands.

For more information on how Ideoclick Share of Searchcan help brands capitalize on the infinite aisle on Amazon, visit our website.

About Ideoclick
Founded in 2009 by former Amazon executives and harnessing over 200 years of Amazon experience, Ideoclick provides the industry’s leading e-Commerce Optimization Platform, delivering a unique combination of cloud-based software, subject matter expertise and insight to businesses that sell on Amazon. Today, Ideoclick helps hundreds of brands achieve transformative results, representing more than $4 billion in annual e-Commerce product sales. For more information, please visit:


Andrew Petro

Matter on behalf of Ideoclick

(518) 569-2011

2020 Amazon Prime Day Eclipses Previous Years, Despite Its Pandemic Pivot | Ideoclick

2020 Amazon Prime Day Eclipses Previous Years, Despite Its Pandemic Pivot | Ideoclick

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.

Overall, Prime Day hit impressive benchmarks:

  • U.S. eCommerce sales grew 43% YoY to $6 billion
  • Third-party (3P) sellers outpaced first-party (1P) growth with a 60% YoY increase in sales to $3.5 billion
  • Sales for Ideoclick clients grew by 63%, compared to Prime Day 2019
  • Over one million deals were executed globally, providing $1.4 billion in savings to consumers

eCommerce Shopping Behavior Reveals Key Insights

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.

Strategies for Sustained Amazon Growth 

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.

Advertising’s Impact on Varying eCommerce Categories

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.

What’s Next for Amazon Shopping Behavior?

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.

If you’d like some guidance surrounding holiday season planning for Amazon optimization, we can help.

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.

Amazon Video Ads – Dos and Don’ts on Videos in Search

Amazon Video Ads – Dos and Don’ts on Videos in Search

By Brandon Titmus, Marketing Director

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 only44.1 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. 

The Dreaded Amazon CRaP List – What is It and Why You Should Care

The Dreaded Amazon CRaP List – What is It and Why You Should Care

Amazon CRaP (Can’t Realize a Profit) refers to items that are structurally unprofitable on the Amazon marketplace. Low per unit pricing combined with storage and shipping costs can create low to negative margins leading to CRaP status. When this happens Amazon will engage with vendors to renegotiate costs. Until the issue is resolved impacted ASINs will be removed from free Amazon advertising, prevented from the use of Amazon Marketing (AMS), removed from Subscribe & Save, and sometimes Amazon will even stop ordering your product or remove the listing from their marketplace.

What causes CRaP?

There are multiple reasons you may find your ASINs have suddenly been flagged by Amazon as CRaP. By the way, Amazon doesn’t tell you that an item is CRaP, you just see the impact in your sell-through.  While most retailers review profitability at the brand level, Amazon reviews it at the SKU or ASIN level.  This means that while overall your brand is profitable on Amazon you may find one or more of the below issues with some of your top sellers.

  • Lack of consistent pricing across eCommerce retailers: If a product has a lower price on another retailer, Amazon will match it. Often this happens due to promotional activity or a lower cost for product fulfillment with other retailers which translates to lower prices on their websites.
  • Too many weeks of cover: Sudden increases in demand can trigger a larger than normal order from Amazon. If this inventory is not reduced in a timely fashion Amazon will decrease the price to encourage sales. Another cause of high inventory position can be a high minimum order quantity that doesn’t align to sales volume.
  • Case pack sizes: Traditional case pack sizes, especially for CPG, are usually not optimized for an eCommerce environment. These low quantity case packs are a key driver of CRaP status due to a disproportionately low price relative to shipping costs.
  • Short expiration period: When demand drops and weeks of cover becomes too high for perishable items Amazon will dispose of these excess units rather than sell them to consumers. If brands do not factor in transportation time and provide increased diligence for weeks of cover they may find themselves in challenging inventory positions due to high disposal rates and the resulting low weeks of cover for the remaining inventory.
  • High customer returns: Amazon builds return costs into allowances.  If returns are high, Amazon may need more funding from the vendor to avoid CRaP status. Returns can be driven by not only poor packaging, but also confusing or misleading information on Detail Pages.
  • Heavy, bulky items: Heavy, large, or odd shaped items may cost more to ship than margins allow.

Proactive actions to avoid CRaP status

  • Enforce your minimum advertised price (MAP): MAP allows brands to ensure none of their products are reduced below an unprofitable price. Brands should not only monitor all retail channels, but also 3P Sellers on Amazon.
  • Manage your margin: When offering costs to Amazon find a balance that is fair to both parties, but keep some margin in your back pocket for future adjustments. This will help with annual vendor negotiations, running promotions, and CRaP negotiations.
  • Create eCommerce optimized SKUs: Retail profitability does not always directly translate to eCommerce profitability. Additional fulfillment costs should be considered and case pack sizes should be adjusted accordingly.
  • Evaluate Prime Pantry (CPG): Spreads shipping costs across many lower priced items by allowing Prime members to order a large box of groceries.
  • Bundles: Create multipacks of the same product or variety packs to spread the shipping costs across more units.
  • Consider a hybrid strategy: Should you need to remove items from Amazon due to CRaP status consider selling them as a 3P with FBA or direct fulfillment.

When your ASINs are impacted by CRaP status it’s important to quickly take action to mitigate the impact to your business. Once you’ve identified the root cause and the scope of the problem you should focus on resolution at scale and proactively implementing guardrails to prevent other ASINs in your catalog from being placed on Amazon’s CRaP list.

If your brand needs help optimizing sales on Amazon or specifically with Amazon CRaP, we’re here to help.  

The Importance of Amazon Brand Registry

The Importance of Amazon Brand Registry

One of the many challenges brands face in selling on Amazon, whether a 1P vendor or 3P seller, is the complexity of Amazon Brand Registry. But avoiding Brand Registry or misusing the Brand Registry process could hinder your product sales. Brand Registry is required for the creation of an Amazon Brand Store – enabling a brand to showcase its product portfolio as well as drive Sponsored Brand Ad placements to a consolidated listing. As Brand Registry subject matter experts, we are here to help our clients navigate the process and submit requests on their behalf.  

What is Amazon Brand Registry?   

Brand Registry is a global platform where manufacturers can enter and monitor their brands sold in all Amazon markets. It identifies brand owners to Amazon and provides access to a dedicated Brand Registry support team at Amazon who helps protect intellectual property (IP) as well as resolve listing errors and technical problems. Brand Registry is a brand’s main protection from unauthorized parties selling your products. 

Why is Brand Registry Important?    

  • Brand Registry ensures trademarked brands are properly represented on Amazon. Brand Registry Support can fix inaccurate content, images, or item data incorrectly contributed by sellers onto ASINs sold by the manufacturer or registered agents.  
  • Incorrect data can lead to poor customer experience and item suppression  
  • Brand Registry provides access to ‘Report a Violation’ tool where IP infringement complaints can be filed and submission status can be monitored and escalated if needed. 
  • Text and/or image search can be performed to help identify and monitor branded items offered in all Amazon markets from every seller. 
  • Brand Registered selling accounts have access to Brand Analytics, Brand Dashboard, Vine, and enhanced content including  A+, videos, and Brand Stores. 
  • If requested, Brand Registry can enforce Amazon policies and issue the violating sellers with policy warnings. These can result in suspension or account closure of those unauthorized sellers. 

Is Brand Registry Effective? 

Yes, Brand Registry is an essential and effective aspect of producing an optimized Product Detail Page (PDP) with enhanced brand content. It also unlocks the best reporting via Brand Dashboard and Brand Analytics. Additionally, Brand Registry Support will effectively action ASINs listed in the brand owner/registered Agent’s selling account. Proactive and effective brand protection starts with this page on Amazon’s website

Can we utilize Brand Registry as an authorized seller, even if we’re not the manufacturer?  

Both Vendors and Sellers can register for Brand Registry. The manufacturer will register their trademarks and become the brand Owner/Administrator. They will then grant brand roles – Rights Owner or Registered Agent – to authorized sellers.  After brand roles are added, sellers will ‘see’ the brands in their Brand Registry account and can act on behalf of the brand. 

What are the Challenges with Brand Registry?  

There are known difficulties for brands and sellers in setting up Brand Registry. The specific processes involved, as well as connecting the Brand Registry account to Seller Central, can be particularly challenging.  

There are potential technical hiccups with Amazon, which can cause significant delays in setting up and applying Brand Registry to selling accounts. This is where an expert Amazon managed services agency like Ideoclick can offer value in helping brand manufacturers and sellers navigate the process. 

A specific complication arises for brands and manufacturers who sell in both Vendor Central and Seller Central as they can only link the Brand Registry to ONE of the accounts. 

Amazon Brand Registry Capabilities List 

  • Amazon Brand Registry support WILL NOT action content/image updates for ASINs not sold by the brand owner. For these, a brand owner can file IP violations, but the success rate is low. 
  • Amazon Brand Registry WILL NOT action against 3P sellers for any reason 
  • Amazon WILL ONLY action against 3P sellers when the seller lists under an incorrect brand name. If the seller’s ASIN is listed with the trademarked brand name, then Amazon will deny action against it. 
  • Amazon WILL NOT take action against an ASIN sold by the manufacturer, even if the only offer is 3P and the seller has added incorrect content 
  • Amazon WILL NOT police sellers for pricing at any time 
  • Amazon WILL remove 3P ASINs incorrectly added to variations and issue sellers policy warnings 
  • Amazon WILL issue policy warnings to sellers which can jeopardize ability the seller’s ability to sell 
  • Amazon WILL help with counterfeit products through its Project Zero offering 
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Making Brand Registry Successful – Tips to Use and Mistakes to Avoid 

#1 tip:  Regarding support cases for content/image updates, first file in the selling account (either VC or SC, depending on how it’s set up). Then if still unresolved, escalate to Brand Registry. 

#2 tip:  Know the Amazon policies before submitting cases. Provide Amazon with a link to the policy in question and provide evidence of policy abuse. When logged into Seller Central, you can access this link to the Amazon policies.  

#3 tip:  Do not request that Amazon ‘fix’ an unauthorized seller page with correct images or content. However, if you find a policy the seller violates, you can report them for it.  

#1 mistake:  Manufacturer creating a Brand Registry account with the wrong login. The Brand Registry account login must be the same as the Selling Account login in order to have the two accounts link and to unlock the brand features. 

#2 mistake:  Brand Owners granting rights to too many sellers – this renders Brand Registry useless, as contributions from all rights owners hold equal weight. Best Practice = One Brand Owner and One Registered Agent. 

#3 mistake:  Misuse of Report a Violation Tool. This is used for IP violation and only for items listed under an incorrect brand. If an ASIN is listed with the trademarked brand name, do not file IP complaints for images, content, or pricing. Amazon will deny these complaints and potentially restrict the BR account. Again, find a policy violation applicable to the seller and report them for it. 

#4 mistake: Filing too many support requests can result in removed access to the Brand Registry Support channels.  

Photo: Lulu Dharma Amazon Brand Store

If your brand needs help optimizing sales on Amazon or specifically with Amazon Brand Registry, we’re here to help.  

Valoree Pittsley is a Lead Merchandiser at Ideoclick, making our clients’ detail pages shine. She has been with the company for 2.5 years. Previously, Valoree worked for 10 years in Vendor Management and Merchandising at Amazon.

Donna Hart is a Merchandising Manager with Ideoclick for the last two years. Prior to that, she was a Home Depot site merchandiser for four years. Donna’s happy place is in her home workshop where she loves building with power tools.

Insights from Ideoclick’s Prime Day Client Webinar

Insights from Ideoclick’s Prime Day Client Webinar

2020 has been a year of firsts, and a lot of learning. Few, if any, knew the full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact back in April or May. While many best practices of selling on Amazon have remained constant throughout, other areas have required significant adjustments. These adjustments are true as it relates to preparing for Prime Day and subsequent Amazon shopping events.

We recently held a panel discussion specific to Amazon Prime Day to discuss how our brand manufacturer clients can optimize the event’s non-traditional occurrence in mid-October as opposed to July. Ideoclick’s Andrea Leigh, Clarke Heyerdahl, Devon Minsk, and Juan Botero all weighed in on the challenges sellers are facing this year, as well as opportunities to best leverage Prime Day 2020, while considering opportunities for the additional upcoming Amazon holiday shopping events.

The Good News

A recent study by McKinsey showed that 75% of U.S. consumers have changed brands during the pandemic—a potential opportunity for upcoming brands to take a larger share within a space predominantly controlled by bigger brands.

An additional benefit this year is that ecommerce has accelerated so rapidly; some say a five-year growth in a matter of months. As a result, this year’s Prime Day is expected to see an increase in both first-time Amazon customers and new-to-brand shoppers.

Prime Day’s proximity to the Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday span of days, or “Turkey 5” (T5), presents favorable circumstances but also a few detriments. It’s important for brands to value the exposure they’re getting on Prime Day and continue targeting consumers, and building brand awareness, all the way through to T5 and beyond. “It’s a really good time to capitalize on the traffic that’s visiting the site and use it not only to promote your items but also to take advantage of that halo effect,” notes Botero.

However, being so close to T5 also requires a creative and thoughtful approach to deals and promotions. Ideally, the discounts given during T5 compared to Prime Day should be noticeable. Another consideration is inventory: Botero advises paying close attention to warehouse inventory (Amazon inventory + off-site company inventory) as well as inbound inventory from manufacturers.

6 Key Areas of Prime Day Focus

Strategies the Ideoclick team set forth surrounded the overarching process of “plan, execute, and analyze,” with the extra factor of adjusting for T5. Specifically, Amazon sellers need to look at:

1) Product Selection. Focus on high-velocity items. Make sure products have a healthy status (financial/retail ready) and that they are relevant to the promotion’s timing. You may also want to consider newer items that missed out on traction with a March or April launch as well as “giftable” products that might be more desirable this close to the holidays.

2) Competitive Analysis. How competitive is the landscape? How often is the competition running promos/deals? Track competitors’ ASINs and their performance during promos. (If you don’t have software to accomplish this, reach out to us.)

3) Budgeting. Set a budget and then review after promotions end. Ensure you allocate enough budget for both Prime Day and T5, and don’t neglect allocating for increased keyword bids. Remember, Prime Day is only 48 hours… Plan your spend on the scale of “I want to play” to “I want to win.”

4) Inventory. Check inventory position 3-4 weeks prior (which now applies to T5 and holiday). Work with VM/ISM to increase inventory position on key items. If you’re positioned to drop ship should Amazon warehouse inventory run low, make sure your warehouse is prepared.

5) Layer AMS & DSP. Increase traffic, awareness, and consideration with ads on and off Amazon, re-targeting consumers that have seen but not purchased your products and/or competitors’ products.

6) Off-channel Support. Amplify the audience using your own managed media, such as emails, social media, influencers, text, etc.

New Promotional Tools Available (for FREE)

Amazon is also testing a few new promotional support tools like Amazon Posts and Amazon Live. While Amazon Live is currently only available in iOS, it likely won’t be long before the service extends to other operating systems.

These programs are currently offered at no cost—a great opportunity for brands to start experimenting with them risk-free. Both platforms allow for more of an “emotional” feel versus the traditionally transactional experience shoppers encounter when browsing. Brands can even duplicate content they’re already posting in other social media channels (like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest).

Ready, Set, Go

Prime Day is less than two weeks away, but there’s still much companies can do to optimize their efforts. The growing pains of the last six months have been, at times, a necessary wake-up call to certain shortcomings. We can all take what we’ve learned to further improve (and monetize) next year’s Prime Day, and the years after that.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the panel opened up the virtual floor for additional questions about strategy. We’ve recapped an “in short” version of the answers, but for more extensive explanations, you can view the panel presentation HERE, with the Q&A portion beginning at minute 31.

Q&A topics included:

  • Q: When should I launch my DSP campaign and how much budget should I put against it?
  • A: Companies that are new to DSP or that are already running campaigns should start this ASAP. Budget really depends on goals and potential audience size.
  • Q: I’ve missed a deadline for a promotion, what can I still do to drive traffic?
  • A: Discounts should still be available. Even if they’re not as visible, you’re leveraging the volume of traffic generated from Prime Day. Ramp up social media exposure. Another tactic for brands that sell via other retailers is to offer discounts in those stores and Amazon will match the price.
  • Q: What would be an appropriate split across paid search versus DSP?
  • A: Monitor the performance of each. If you’re running highly efficient campaigns that don’t run the whole day and they’re not out of budget, ramp up AMS before pivoting dollars to DSP. But, if you’re seeing diminishing returns on AMS, start leaning into DSP where you can do more advanced targeting and also capitalize with remarketing.
  • Q: What kind of CPC increases should clients or advertisers expect to see on Amazon on Prime Day?
  • A: This depends on category (e.g. electronics vs. grocery), as well as what the competition is doing. If companies are tightening budgets and not using Prime Day as a driver, that may lower CPCs; a is a great time to capture market share. It really rests on how aggressive companies decide to be.
  • Q: Should I (and how much) increase my AMS bids before Prime Day starts?
  • A: If you’re looking to build out relevance, capture market share, you’ll want to increase your bids more (e.g. 4x). Alternatively, if you’re just looking to defend your space, you won’t need as much of an increase (maybe double). In this case, competitors aren’t going to be increasing their budgets and bids against your branded terms as they would against category terms.
  • Q: How should I prioritize Prime Day versus [T5]?
  • A: The million dollar question! Brands that are able to test the waters on Prime Day and double down on T5 create an opportunity to see what the T5 volume can be. Of course, it also depends on inventory position.
  • Q: What do I do if I can’t get my inventory to Amazon in time?
  • A: Receiving channels are jammed and all inbound shipments are heavily delayed; it’s just the sign of the times. Consider backup offers as dropship, direct fulfillment—if you are able.

“If there’s anything COVID has taught us, it’s that we need contingency plans for getting our products to customers. Diversification in manufacturer fulfillment models is vital.”

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Advanced Strategies for a Successful 2020 Amazon Prime Day

Advanced Strategies for a Successful 2020 Amazon Prime Day

Why should brands participate in Amazon Prime Day?

Since its inception in 2015, Amazon Prime Day has grown to become one of the biggest eCommerce shopping days of the year; in 2019 nearly 20% of Americans shopping Amazon Prime Day planned to spend over $300. Not only has there been an increase in Amazon shoppers, but also the potential to increase new-to-brand customers by as much as 57%. This creates an opportunity to drive brand awareness and adoption during the annual shopping event, which will be held this year on October 13th and 14th.

Furthermore, while Prime Day deals may create a spike in sales during their promotional period, that spike can extend beyond the deal timeframe through a “halo effect” with some vendors experiencing sales growth the month after running a deal for both the featured product and the rest of their brand catalog.

What’s different about Prime Day This Year?

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven shoppers from traditional brick and mortar buying experiences to eCommerce. As a result, Prime Day 2020 will likely see more first time Amazon customers than in previous years. It’s important that brands make it easy for these new customers to find their products through optimized Detail Pages that drive search relevance on high volume keywords. Conversion to sales can be achieved through concise and informative titles, imagery, bullet points, A+ content, and descriptions.

The transition of customers to eCommerce has brought a willingness to try new brands out of necessity and the sudden availability of alternate options. This has led to 61 % of US consumers having changed brands during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many brands moving to Amazon to replace brick and mortar losses, competition for share of the digital shelf has become fiercer than ever. It’s important for all brands to implement a robust Amazon marketing strategy that focuses on both protecting their own brand keywords and gaining market share through targeting competitive brand keywords.

Throughout Q2 many brands found their products were deemed non-essential by Amazon. This transitioned 2-day Prime delivery promises to up to 30 days. As a result, inventory turnover slowed leading to low capacity in Amazon Fulfillment Centers as we approach Prime Day. In response, Amazon has introduced Q4 inventory restrictions based upon inventory performance. This will limit many brands from sending new inventory to Amazon in preparation of Prime Day deals. Brands facing this challenge should turn to their items currently in Amazon Fulfillment Centers with high volumes of inventory as top candidates for Prime Day Deals. Alternatively, if the infrastructure is in place for Direct Fulfillment brands should consider dual listing in which Amazon will pay shipping costs to fulfill orders directly from the vendor’s warehouse or 3PL.

Prime Day’s proximity to Black Friday and Cyber Monday creates several key considerations for brands. Some may decide not to participate in Prime Day in order to focus more budget and bandwidth on holiday shopping campaigns and promotions. This creates an opportunity for competition to run compelling Prime Day deals and gain market share. However, it is unknown if brands will be allowed to run the same deals for Prime Day and Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It’s important for brands to proactively create backup plans for the holiday shopping season in case they are not able to repeat the same deal or ship inventory to Amazon in time.

Retail has faced many challenges throughout 2020 that make a strong eCommerce presence more important than ever. However, a strong Q4 strategy and flawless execution present the opportunity to recover from Q1-Q3 declines in sales. Consumer conversion will be driven by brands’ focus on value, availability, and convenience.

Tune in here to watch a panel of Ideoclick experts discuss key strategies to win Prime Day and prepare for the fast approaching holiday season.

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.

Three Input Metrics That Are Better Than Market Share In Measuring eCommerce Success

Three Input Metrics That Are Better Than Market Share In Measuring eCommerce Success

Brands manufacturers’ traditional approach to measuring market share needs to change when considering ecommerce channels like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. In this recent article for Forbes, I explain how previous methods for measuring success is flawed, and exactly how it can be adjusted to reflect ecommerce success accurately. Shopper journeys are changing and success metrics need to change accordingly. Read the complete Forbes article here.