The pandemic accelerated ecommerce growth to Mach-10 speeds. As we finally emerge from a year like no other, we find ourselves in a new world where ecommerce reigns supreme.
Congratulations to all of you out there with stock in Amazon!
But what does it all mean to us digital marketers? Can we loosen our seat belts a little bit now as we return to a new normal?
The short answer is, no. The pace at which ecommerce sped up has had a knock-on effect across the entire industry, especially Amazon, which has expanded its advertising offerings greatly to keep up with its growth.
Brands must now move even more quickly to keep up with all the dynamic changes while equipping themselves with an increasingly sophisticated Amazon strategy.
My performance marketing firm, Tinuiti, did a deep dive into the most powerful trends impacting Amazon advertising in 2021 with four non-negotiables we found to build your brand on Amazon in 2021 and beyond.
TL;DR Four Amazon Brand-Building Non-Negotiables
- Voice: Building your brand on Amazon has options like never before – leverage creative options here as a strategic differentiator both organic and paid.
- Advertising is table stakes: Growing your brand through advertising is key to accelerating sales and organic ranking (Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display, Amazon DSP – all contribute to brand growth).
- Connect off- and on-Amazon consumer behavior: Use the new tools to measure off-Amazon traffic effectiveness like Amazon Attribution.
- Operational excellence: Here to stay; don’t neglect the day-to-day and long-term business strategies that can lead to both cost savings and margin-boosting.
Welcome to the New Normal
It’s been reported the pandemic accelerated the shift to ecommerce by five years. While ecommerce growth is predicted to slow down in 2021, it’s still moving fast and now sits on top of a much larger base.
And as a whole, ecommerce accounts for a much larger share of the market since brick and mortar retail is contracting.
Simply put, the world has embraced shopping online like never before and will continue to do so moving forward. There’s been no bigger winner in all of this, of course, than Amazon, whose profit soared 220% last quarter compared to the same period last year.
Optimizing on Amazon
Advertisers who still think of Amazon as a purely direct response channel are living in the past. Branding on Amazon is crucial for building brand equity and establishing trust with Amazon customers.
Even before the pandemic, Amazon was building an environment where brands can create stickier connections to consumers.
The good news is that there are more tools than ever before to tell your brand story and build a unique brand identity on Amazon.
It continues to create and upgrade opportunities across the platform with content such as Sponsored Brands video, Sponsored Brands Custom Image, Brand Stories (A+ Content), Amazon Stores, Amazon Posts, and Amazon OTT.
Amazon has moved so quickly in advancing these offerings that many retailers find themselves struggling to keep up. Many brands don’t have the in-house capabilities to stay on top of these new tools in order to test, learn, and go.
If you find yourself in that boat, go out and look for a partner who knows what they’re doing (fast!).
Optimizing Off Amazon
Until now it has been a challenge for brands to figure out the effectiveness of outside traffic sources on Amazon and how their shopper journeys lead them to Amazon. New tools (finally) exist to measure off-Amazon traffic effectiveness for the first time.
With Amazon Attribution, brands can now quantify the impact of display, search, social, video channels, and email, based on how consumers discover, research, and buy their products on Amazon.
In plain English, how many times does someone Google it and then buy it on Amazon?
This knowledge informs ecommerce site investment and can help brands lift traffic to the site by using a blended revenue equation that lifts revenue volume on both direct purchases and ecommerce site-assisted conversions finalized on Amazon.
Video, Video, and More Video
Video streaming and OTT ads will continue their meteoric rise in 2021. Streaming video viewership now makes up 80% of all internet traffic.
And Amazon has gotten in on the game, launching Amazon OTT video advertising in 2019.
Amazon OTT has quickly gained attention for its unique ability to use Amazon’s first-party data to support both brand performance initiatives and broader reach objectives. More than just a brand play or a performance play, Amazon OTT is a complete performance channel that offers scale, measurability, and data-driven targeting.
Once again, brands should be armed with a go-to-market strategy or OTT both on and off Amazon.
Some brands are often more eager to throw money at the buffet of advertising options on Amazon than actually digging in on the overall efficacy and efficiency of their day-to-day business practices and operations on the platform.
That includes everything from contract terms, inventory allocation, case management, demand forecasting, competitive intel, chargebacks, purchase order management, catalog management, white space analysis, and profitability maximization.
Brands that have plateaued on Amazon may likely find huge gains can be made in these areas.
This type of end-to-end channel management is not a place where many marketers are comfortable but it needs to be.
Again, if this is not in your wheelhouse, find a company to partner with that can help guide you.
Beyond Amazon: Biggest Advertising Trends in 2021
While Amazon was one of the biggest winners of the surge in ecommerce from the pandemic, it became painfully clear to many brands that future success requires a nimble approach not just on Amazon, but on other channels as well.
In any endeavor, putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good look and the same holds true when operating on Amazon.
Having backup fulfillment, product sourcing, and additional sales channels will be key to weathering future unforeseen changes in the marketplace.
In other words, a nimble Amazon strategy means optimizing your presence both on and off Amazon.