Optimization of product pages may possibly be one of the greatest challenges for vendors who are entirely new to Amazon. In fact, the only greater challenge may be justifying your ROI.
Here’s an unpleasant fact: Amazon simply isn’t for everyone. Your product line may be, but Amazon simply might not be. It’s competitive. It’s far from vendor-friendly. And it can be confusing. Even seasoned merchants who have familiarity with competitive eCommerce platforms can sometimes shy away from Amazon. Is it any wonder that out of the millions of sellers on Amazon, only roughly 20,000 were able to successfully build their business?
It should be. That’s largely because Amazon has been providing a host of marketing solutions for vendors for several years now. Solutions which have a demonstrable impact on maximizing traffic and driving sales. So why aren’t more vendors using them?
Because they don’t even know Amazon offers them.
Amazon Advertising, Predictive Searching and Your Visibility
What’s one of the chief benefits on Amazon for vendors which frequently gets overlooked? Here’s a hint: it’s not simply Amazon’s demonstrable market share. And it’s not just the potential to reach over 100 million customers per month in the U.S. alone.
It’s Amazon’s predictive search functionality. Predictive search is at the heart of the A9 algorithm. It should be at the heart of your keyword research. With an estimated 82 percent of companies viewing predictive searches as essential to their marketing platform, you can’t afford not to leverage it. With Amazon, the process is largely automated. But Amazon didn’t just pioneer it in eCommerce. They invented it. And they continue to set the standards for predictive searches, despite countless imitators providing results which are less than sufficient.
Search results help dictate whether or not a customer clicks on your product or decides to abandon their search term altogether. Keyword relevancy is critical to your results; a fact overlooked by vendors more concerned with frequency over conversions. That doesn’t mean a high search frequency rank won’t lead to conversions. But it does mean that Amazon customers by and large know exactly what they’re looking for. And they don’t exactly have a lot of time to waste sifting through irrelevant products.
As reliable as Amazon’s predictive search is (commanding 87 percent of US holiday shopping in 2015), its nature is suggestive. But suggestion is not the same as persuasion. All that predictive searching and keyword strategies can do is increase your visibility. They won’t necessarily compel a customer to click on your listing.
A+ Content And Advertising
Historically, one of the biggest challenges in digital advertising has been off-target impressions. There’s an assumption many larger companies have that advertising is a “one size fits all” solution, where traditional methodologies will translate to online marketing seamlessly. This is rarely the case. But it has little to do with a target demographic itself. It has to do with applying a two dimensional model to a target demographic.
Unlike traditional advertising, digital marketing methods are influenced by the factor of consumer choice. There’s never been a time in which consumers have been faced with such a wide array of choices than in the post-digital age. At one point, the decision seemed clearcut: Coke or Pepsi. But it’s not just products that digital customers are growing more discerning towards. Online retail platforms are rapidly growing more responsive to consumer habits. And subsequently, so are their delivery methods.
Distinguishing yourself from competitors on a two dimensional platform like Amazon can seem like an uphill challenge. Just view the product page of a small niche company compared to a household brand name and you’ll see the difference.
The power of persuasion in advertising depends on just how your product is displayed. But hyperbole and hard sales aren’t persuasive in digital marketing. In fact, persuasion rarely even enters the picture. Digital communication largely relies on transparency. It demands information, not exaggeration. Amazon’s aware of this and have already taken steps to limit the usage of exaggerated claims. That’s why solutions like A+ content make such a significant impact on customers. They’re designed to inform customers, not persuade them.
Digital customers can’t always relate to clever marketing storylines. And they certainly can’t relate to celebrity endorsements. What they can relate to is information they can actually use. That’s what A+ content provides. 360⁰ spin images aren’t there to look clever or impressive. They’re used to present customers with a realistic impression of your product. Product comparison charts don’t denigrate the competition. They highlight your product’s ultimate value. And streaming video shouldn’t be about your conversions. It should be about the applicability of your product to a customer’s life. Because that’s ultimately what Amazon subscribers want: utility and transparency, not smoke and mirrors.
Unfortunately, that’s what your competitors may have already realized.
PPC: The Key To The A+ Kingdom?
The most dynamic and impressive A+ content in the world won’t drive conversions if there’s no traffic to your listing. And you can’t necessarily rely on predictive searches to drive traffic. In fact, you can’t rely on predictive searches at all: Amazon does not currently index A+ content.
Despite naysayers, there’s a reason why PPC strategies still remain one of the most popular marketing optimizations solutions. They work. A recent study from Google AdWords indicated that brand awareness can increase by as much as 80 percent as a result of paid searches. But keyword searches are one thing. Your brand listing on Amazon overall is another.
PPC isn’t just applicable to keyword strings. It’s applicable to your entire ad campaign on Amazon, whether you’re using automated keyword targeting or Sponsored Product branding. That includes your A+ content. Content which is as much an influence on your brand narrative as your product itself.
Both PPC and A+ content can seem like a gamble; especially when there’s no way of gauging an accurate conversion rate. Despite Amazon’s claim that A+ content can increase conversions by anywhere from 3 to 10 percent, they’re also not forthcoming about product-specific performance. That’s largely because customer demand will vary dramatically every other week. The top selling product of 2020 is bound to be the excess inventory of 2022. But your need for traffic will remain the same, regardless of consumer trends. And so will best practices which showcase your brand.
Optimization strategies will continue to be refined on Amazon over the next few years. And while both A+ content and PPC should ideally remain two of your go-to solutions, they’re not the only ones. New solutions may not always offer the best ROI, but digital retail has never been anything less than a gamble. Just make certain you have your cards ready when it comes time to play.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.