A current challenge for advertisers is using customer information to serve purposeful, highly-personalized content without being invasive. Amazon Advertising has met that challenge and transformed the way customer targeting and personal sales are carried out in the 21st century. The service provides ad solutions to help brands find, attract, and engage millions of Amazon customers at every stage of their journey.
Amazon connects customer data through the whole conversion more seamlessly than other advertising platforms thanks to their multi-functionality as search engine, marketing services provider, and digital point-of-sale.
“Amazon knows what a customer intends to purchase by virtue of what they search; they know the specific brands and products the customer actually purchases, and they know much of the surrounding context for those behaviors, like where a customer lives, when they’ve moved, the ages and interests of members of the household, and an impressive range of other lifestyle and demographic attributes,” said Michael Lagoni, founder and CEO of Stackline.
The company has been putting that data to work for advertisers through increasingly sophisticated self-serve targeting tools and automated audience segmentation.
“They are building an incredibly powerful toolset for advertisers,” Lagoni said. “By bridging the historic data divide between consumers’ stated preferences or interests and their actual purchase behavior, Amazon provides more reliable insight to drive business decision-making around everything from ad creative and product innovation to catalog management and SEO.”
Across the retail industry, Amazon’s customer audience is unmatched in size, engagement, and loyalty. As such, they have a trove of data on customer shopping behaviors and preferences, enabling brands and retailers to create highly personalized advertising experiences through targeting tactics such as recommended items.
“Brands and retailers advertising on Amazon have a unique suite of tools, which provide insights to customer purchase data and behaviors,” Lagoni said. “This is a unique differentiator when it comes to the leading digital ad duopoly of Google and Facebook and makes advertising on Amazon a natural choice for brands that want exposure to motivated consumers throughout their purchase cycle.”
Amazon Advertising allows brands to easily identify and reach their target audience based on the platform’s sophisticated consumer behavior insights. Additionally, consumers can find the exact products they are looking for through simple keyword searches, as well as products they may like based on their shopping habits.
Destination for Ad Dollars
David Camp, co-founder and managing partner of Metaforce, spent three years leading Amazon’s marketing efforts, so he knows firsthand the power of its advertising efforts.
“At its heart, Amazon is a machine that is all about data, facts, and optimization, and most other ad businesses are not,” he said. “When you combine the cultural genesis of the company around data with the fact that it’s become a depository for the world’s purchasing behavior and take aim at the ad business, there’s a huge disruption coming.”
He added that the ad business in Amazon wasn’t part of the company’s original plan, but because it started collecting data and money from OEMs and vendors looking to market their products on the site, it realized it had advantages others in the market don’t have.
“Because of cultural tendencies towards not sharing data and staying private, only recently has it started to pick up steam in this way, and the Facebooks and Googles of the world are starting to pay attention,” Camp said. “There’s not a whole lot others can do from a competitive standpoint.”
Jean H. Paldan, founder and CEO of Rare Form New Media, said that when a customer shops for something on Amazon and leaves without purchasing, Amazon will stalk that consumer around the net for days. This is called remarketing, and the retail giant is winning big with it.
“When you keep the brand and the products that customers are interested in fresh in the customers’ mind, they are more likely to buy,” she said. “Amazon seems to push this more on social than on normal web pages. When it naturally shows up in your Facebook feed, it feels better than a blatant sponsored ad on the side of a random web page. People trust it more if it’s in the feed and then are more likely to click as they are slightly disarmed.”
This remarketing model has been adopted by just about everyone selling online, but not to the scale that Amazon has been rolling it out.
“The more you are shown something to buy, the more people are going to buy it,” Paldan said. “Repetition and reminding works when it comes to sales.”
Wave of the Future?
According to a recent analysis by Feedvisor, large retailers and brands are increasingly incorporating Amazon into their eCommerce strategies. This includes the advertising and marketing tools on the platform, as 97% of brands using Amazon say they find value in those services.
Lagoni said the way people judge the merits of advertising has shifted pretty dramatically over the last few decades. The cleverness and novelty that once pulled an audience towards a brand is now far less important than personalization and relevance that positions its value in the specific context of the customer.
“I don’t envision that changing in a world where data-capture technologies become increasingly embedded into our daily habits and advertisers continue to have greater insight into our behaviors and preferences,” he said.
Camp said that the future of the ad business will find more advertisers looking at Amazon as a must-partner – and its reach will only grow.