Advertising Strategies for the Big 3
Advertising on Amazon, Facebook and Google has never been so cutthroat. They are by far the biggest advertising sites in the US. And because they’re the biggest, they’re also the most crowded. With millions of marketers competing for consumers’ attention, advertising on just one of these platforms is extremely competitive. Yet as an e-commerce seller, you need to be successful on all three.
This means it’s no longer enough to just have campaigns set up. You need to launch the right campaigns — ones that get your products in front of more potential buyers while squeezing as much ROI as possible from your ad spend.
You need advanced advertising strategies. If you’re looking for new ways to increase visibility and build smarter campaigns across these highly competitive sites, this eBook is for you. We’ll introduce you to several proven, tested methods you can use to take your Big 3 campaigns to the next level.
Advanced Amazon Advertising
Amazon continues to experience tremendous growth, with its advertising business far outpacing Google and Facebook in terms of expected ad spend growth rates.
Amazon is growing its digital marketing platform at such a rapid rate for one reason: It works really well for brands and retailers.
Since Amazon is the platform where people tend to buy, rather than simply explore and discover, the return on ad spend can be tremendous. ChannelAdvisor sellers who advertise on the marketplace grow 63% faster than those that don’t. And in one recent study, Amazon scored even better than Facebook and Google on ROAS, reporting, campaign management and other metrics.
However, the secret is out. You have more Amazon Advertising competition than few years ago, manufacturing brands and retailers could get products in front of purchase-ready shoppers if content was strong, pricing was competitive and fulfillment was executed correctly. Now, the most desirable spots are going to advertisers.
There’s only one way to stay competitive. You need to start implementing advanced digital marketing strategies on Amazon. Let’s look at three ways you can do just that.
Search Term Mining
One of the best ways to increase visibility and ROI on Amazon is to find the right keywords. But compared with Google and Facebook, this process is trickier on Amazon. The typical account is filled with manual campaigns that include a mix of brand and non-brand keywords. And if your account is in the same shape as many others we see, there’s a very good chance it’s overpopulated with low-performing keywords.
Thankfully, there is a way to clean up campaigns and replace those low-value keywords with high-performing ones — without having to invest a lot of time and resources. How? Let Amazon’s A9 algorithm do the initial heavy lifting.
First, determine how you want to break out your campaign structure. This is an important initial step — one that far too many advertisers breeze past on Amazon. For example, you might opt to create segmented “shells” based on product brand or category, or you may choose something else that makes sense to your business. Whatever you decide, make sure you put a lot of thought into your initial structure and choose something you’ll be able to keep from beginning to end.
With the right structure in place, you can then take advantage of automatic campaigns. The idea here is to collect data automatically in your search term report, and then use that data to structure your manual campaigns.
For example, consider an automatic campaign focused on slippers. After separating ad groups by slipper type (such as slip-on or moccasin), you would then create two manual versions of the same campaign — one for high-performing keywords and one for high-performing product targets or ASINs. From here, you’d use Amazon’s advanced features to make manual bid adjustments at the targeting level:
- Use loose and close match to get your ad in the search results page for shoppers whose queries are either loosely or closely related to your products. You’ll see these specific search terms available in the search term report, and can use that information to identify high-performing keywords to move into your manual shell.
- Use substitutes and complements to show your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products that are either similar to yours or that complement your own listings. You can find the information you need in the scrollable section of the product detail page titled “sponsored products related to this item.” Look for high-performing ASINS here, which you can then add to your manual product shells.
One of the great advantages of advertising on Amazon is the ability to target by category and ASIN. In addition to mining your search term report for ASINs, you can further increase revenue by targeting:
Done right, this can be an extremely effective advanced advertising strategy. The idea is to identify a competitor and place your own ad or product on their page. For this to work well, you’ll need to find a competitor product with inferior attributes such as fewer stars, less reviews and a higher price. Then, when a customer lands on your competitor’s product detail page, they’ll be drawn instead to your higher star rating and better pricing.
In addition to targeting competitor pages, think about how your own products may lead to complementary sales. If someone’s viewing the product detail page for a running shoe, there’s a good chance the shopper will also be interested in a high-performance running sock to go with it. This is one area where it’s OK to target your own products, since the goal is to expand brand coverage. Target your own ASINs within certain product categories or subset brands to increase visibility and box out competitors.
If you use an e-commerce platform like ChannelAdvisor, you can gain an even bigger competitive advantage with dynamic bids. With this strategy, you can have Amazon raise or lower your bids based on what’s happening in real time. You can use this strategy to have bids adjusted down when ads are less likely to convert to a sale, and up when the likelihood of a sale is high.
PRO TIP FOR FIRST-PARTY SELLERS: Don’t forget about Amazon’s Brand Analytics! This helpful tool within Seller Central can be a great way to find complementary products that sell well together. Simply look for the top three ASINS sold for your keyword, and then use that data to cross-sell.
Advanced Facebook Advertising
As an e-commerce company, your best bet on Facebook is with dynamic ads. This fee-based program pulls images and details from your product catalog to create compelling ads that are automatically shown to shoppers who have already expressed interest in your website. Because they reflect a high intent to buy, dynamic ads tend to be far more effective for brands and retailers when compared with other forms of Facebook advertising.
Best of all, Facebook allows you to get highly granular when targeting your dynamic ads. You can use custom labels in your product data feed to create product sets — around seasonal items or top-selling products, for example — to ensure you’re targeting relevant products to the appropriate and interested audience.
For your dynamics to be effective, you need strategies based around a deep understanding of your audience. The more your ads are customized for your consumers, the more impactful your ads will be.
Lay the Foundation
First things first: Before you can begin to leverage advanced strategies with your Facebook dynamic ads, you’ll need to address the essentials. These are vital components that, believe it or not, get overlooked far too frequently by even the most competitive sellers:
- Ensure your Facebook pixel is working correctly. Otherwise, your ads will render incorrectly and you’ll never get a decent return on your ad spend.
- Verify you’re sending the correct product data. Few scenarios are more damaging than a Facebook ad that sends ready-to-buy consumers to products that are no longer in stock. Make sure you’re using an effective product feed management tool that sends optimized data to Facebook.
Customize Your Audiences
Once your pixel is working correctly and your product data feeds are optimized, the next step is to target consumers at varying stages of the buying process. To start, you’ll need a retargeting strategy that uses your remarketing pixel to drive existing customers further along their shopping journeys. You can do this by displaying ads to people who have:
- Viewed a product detail page without making a purchase. Select a seven- to 14- day time frame, since people tend to buy within two weeks.
- Added items to the shopping cart before ultimately abandoning. You’ll want to select a shorter time frame here — seven days max — to move the purchase along.
- Bought from you before and may be interested in other items. Here, you’ll use your dynamic ads to cross-sell products based on previous purchases — a tactic that can work as long as 60 to 80 days after an initial purchase.
In addition to existing shoppers, you should also use Facebook to expand your reach and acquire new customers. You can do this by targeting a broader audience of consumers who have expressed interest in the types of items you sell, even if they haven’t yet viewed your specific products.
Use Facebook machine learning to easily and automatically select targeting options, such as age, gender, demographics and interests, that most closely match your audience. The resulting dynamic ads will deliver relevant information from your product catalog that matches a buyer’s intent, even if they’re yet to visit your website.
Tell Your Story
What is your brand story? What do your consumers want to hear? How can you make your product ads more relevant? It’s important to answer these questions so you can customize your ads and entice potential buyers with the stories behind your products. Surveys show that two in three shoppers have greater trust in custom content than they do in standard advertising, and 90% like the idea of customizations as a way for brands and retailers to engage with them.
With Facebook dynamic ads, there are plenty of ways you can meet these expectations. For example, you can:
- Set your copy to be tailored to each audience you’re targeting in the ad set
- Use price and title information from your catalog to show product information
- Test out different creative ad types such as collections, videos and carousel ads to see which ones drive the most conversions for different products
- Use promotional copy or overlays in your creative, when possible, to drive additional buzz
DID YOU KNOW? Nearly half of social media users have made purchases directly from Facebook posts. Of those users,16% have done so in direct response to a Facebook ad. It’s no wonder so many businesses are advertising on this social behemoth.
Advanced Google Shopping
Ever feel like you don’t stand a chance of truly standing out in Google? Think again. Yes, virtually every advertiser is running some kind of program through Google. But out of that massive advertiser base, only a small percentage is using Google Shopping. And within that segment, an even smaller fraction is using effective practices. Once you get good at leveraging Google Shopping Ads, the payoff can be tremendous.
Because Google Shopping Ads rely solely on your product data instead of keywords, advanced advertising strategies are a must. We’ve seen sellers have great success with two methods in particular.
Query-Driven Shopping Campaigns
With Google Shopping, you’re bidding on product groups — not keywords. Compared with text ads, this means you have far less control over when your ads are being shown. So even when you know that certain vendor-specific search phrases will convert better than others, there’s no direct way to bid on the higher-value keywords.
With traditional search campaigns, it’s easy to target only qualified traffic. All you have to do is use better keywords. Not so withGoogle Shopping Ads. Google determines the relevancy of a product for a given query, making bidding our primary means of control. However, left to its own devices, Google will split your bidding evenly between non-vendor and vendor erms, even though ROAS is nearly double for the latter.
This is where Query-Driven Shopping (QDS) comes in. By filtering queries containing specific keywords into separate shopping campaigns, you can achieve better targeting and spend distribution. With QDS, you layer an additional keyword component to the standard product-based bidding. So instead of having one single shopping campaign for a product, you divide it into multiple campaigns. Within each sub-campaign, you can then set different bids for different types of queries: Higher bids for things like vendor names or product models, and lower bids for generic search terms that tend to bring in less qualified traffic.
Automated Bidding Strategies
Traditionally, Google ads have relied on fixed bids to determine how much you’re willing to pay for a click. This can be a real challenge in e-commerce, where frequent changes in buying behaviors and shopping seasons necessitate frequent bid adjustments.
Thankfully, the rise of machine learning has opened the door to new capabilities for advertisers. Google natively supports a number of such algorithms, including automated bidding. Automated bidding can be particularly helpful within the realm of e-commerce in two key areas:
- Enhanced CPC (eCPC): Traditional bids are still set, but Google will make real-time adjustments based on buying signals.
- Target ROAS (tROAS): Set a high-level return goal, and Google will bid as high or low as you desire in pursuit of that goal.
Importing Google Ads to Bing Ads
Like Google, Bing also features product ads prominently. Bing advertisements have less competition, but they don’t perform as well as those on Google. Fortunately, you can simply reuse most of the work you’ve already done for Google, including the feeds.
Bing ads can automatically import campaigns directly from Google using the Import Campaigns tab. You can even specify which attributes shouldn’t be duplicated (e.g., specific bidding). Using this feature will ensure that your campaigns are always aligned between the two sites.
Putting it All Together
If you’ve made it this far, you understand how important it is to take your Amazon, Facebook and Google advertising to the next level. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be discouraged: Many of the strategies outlined in this eBook are the result of years’ worth of campaign management, lessons learned and trial and error. They’re called “advanced strategies” for a reason. Just take it one channel at a time. Together, these strategies will help you overcome the biggest challenges of modern e-commerce advertising and take your business to the next level of growth.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at these sellers successes:
For a real-world example of why it’s so important to use advanced advertising strategies on Amazon, consider the case of Ames Walker. After uploading products, the branded manufacturer decided to kick its keyword research into high gear and see if it could boost product visibility. It didn’t take long to see results. After one month of testing new search terms through Amazon Advertising, the company’s sales were up more than 10%. Within 10 months, the paid search ads had produced over $100,000 in sales.
What kind of results should you expect with these advanced advertising strategies for Facebook dynamic ads? Pure Formulas offers a good barometer. After fine-tuning its ad. structures, the retailer’s average order value increased 36%. The seller also saw a 38% decrease in cost per click and a 125% increase in click-through rate.
Discover the Power of Managed Services for Digital Marketing
Go further, faster with the e-commerce advertising specialists. Eager to start putting advanced advertising strategies to work? Look no further than ChannelAdvisor Managed Services. Our digital marketing specialists work with clients every day to develop long-term growth plans, implement robust campaigns and keep up with each and every change across Amazon, Facebook, Google and others. They have years of experience to know what works — and what doesn’t.
DID YOU KNOW? According to an internal study in 2018, new ChannelAdvisor customers using Managed Services for Amazon Advertising saw an average revenue growth of:
- 15% after one month
- 39% after two months
- 67% after three months