2020 is coming to an end, and this year has seen no shortage of updates for Amazon sellers, vendors, and advertisers. In this post, we’ll run through some of the most important Amazon trends across advertising and operational updates that Amazon rolled out in 2020 — so you can stay ahead of the curve in 2021.
Here are 8 Amazon advertising updates to apply in 2021:
1. Next-level targeting for Sponsored Products
In 2020, Sponsored Products expanded to include several new keyword and product targeting capabilities including:
Product Targeting: The first big change is that advertisers can target customers by product (in a similar fashion as Sponsored Display). Advertisers can target either specific ASINs or categories and apply refinements by price, brands, or star rating.
Improvements for Auto-targeting: The second new feature is an improvement to Sponsored Products’ auto-targeting. Now, negative targeting allows advertisers to choose product auto-targeting or keyword auto-targeting.
Despite no Prime Day (in July 2020) many Amazon advertisers saw sales growth year over year attributed to Sponsored Products ads. Across a collection of long-standing Tinuiti advertisers that remained active throughout July 2019 and July 2020, sales attributed to Sponsored Products were up 12% for the month.
In 2020, we also took a look at the top-growing product categories in terms of Sponsored Products sales based on which category each advertiser is most active in. We found many relate to the current situation of more restricted movement, such as home and garden, grocery, and health and personal care products. (This growth happened despite the steady reopening of many regions).
2. Sponsored Brands rolls out creative features
In 2020, Amazon made the following updates to Sponsored Brands:
- A new ad format allowing retailers to tap into the power of video content
- Expanded Sponsored Brands placements to include product detail pages
- Custom Image Creative becomes available on Mobile
- Creative editing feature to allow advertisers to edit Sponsored Brands creative in the Campaign Manager
- New shopper language preferences allowing brands to create and manage multi-language content
Looking at anonymized Amazon ads data across an extensive collection of long-standing, same-store advertisers, we found that Amazon US Sponsored Brands spend grew 47% year over year (in 2020). This was driven by a 46% increase in clicks and just a 1% increase in cost per click. Perhaps more impressive is the corresponding sales growth, as advertisers attributed 57% more sales to the ad format compared to Q1 2019.
“I have pressed all the advertisers I work with to invest in Sponsored Brands video. Currently, there is only one video asset on each search results page, and with it being a quarter of the down from the page, it is prime real estate. Additionally, we have seen click-through-rates that of 5x of a traditional Sponsored Brands ad. I believe it will be even more important for Amazon to allow advertisers to drive video traffic to a Storefront page (not a feature currently) so brands can continue to build their brand on Amazon.”
– Tanya Zadoorian, Senior Specialist, Marketplaces at Tinuiti
3. New Sponsored Display (beta) gives brands an edge in targeting
As a participant in Amazon’s latest open beta, Tinuiti was granted access to the new Product Targeting feature within Seller Central in 2020. We use Sponsored Display targeting options to reach audiences based on interest segments as well as product page views, which can give brands an edge in competitor targeting.
“Sponsored Display presents an easier, faster way to access Amazon’s display inventory without the stringent requirements of Amazon DSP, although it has less control than DSP. We are already seeing brands pivot spend into Sponsored Display ads to engage mobile and desktop shoppers in new areas across Amazon and its network.”
— Andy Taylor, Director of Research at Tinuiti
“Amazon is continuing to create more ad types and advanced targeting strategies. I predict that they will continue expanding their Sponsored Display offerings to enable brands to more easily create awareness for their brands and products. As Amazon gets more saturated with brands every day, it’s important to be early adopters (or work with an agency that has access to new betas and targeting abilities) to own as much of the search results page as possible. The earlier you adopt, the better.”
– Courtney Macfarlane, Senior Specialist, Marketplaces at Tinuiti
4. Reach customers on and off Amazon with DSP Audience Builder
In 2020, Amazon introduced the DSP Audience Builder, a self-service to create custom and competitor audiences based on past customer interactions with different brands, searches, and your pages. At Tinuiti, we use the Audience Builder on Amazon DSP to create retargeting audiences based on shoppers’ interactions with different brands, products, and searches.
Coined by AdWeek as the “Death of the Cookie” in 2020, the fundamental change in how advertisers collect valuable information on users will send advertisers flocking to ad platforms with their rich data. As a result, we expect Amazon DSP will prosper.
We’ve already seen massive growth for Amazon DSP in 2019 and 2020, (the unique selling points of Amazon’s DSP offering have led to five straight quarters of quarter-over-quarter spend growth as advertisers lean into the platform). If you’re an advertiser leveraging Amazon’s demand-side platform, then you should be taking advantage of Amazon DSP targeting features to reach your audience on and off of the marketplace with Amazon’s DSP Audience Builder.
Using Amazon DSP, Tinuiti was able to boost Noble House Home Furnishings new to brand purchases by +84%.
“Running upper and lower funnel campaigns (via DSP) worked especially well for NHHF’s product line. As it relates to furniture, typically shoppers will take their time when making a purchase. Amazon DSP upper-funnel campaigns (In-market) helped to fuel our lower funnel pool (retargeting). Because the shopping experience isn’t always linear, Amazon DSP not only provided us the opportunity to reach new audiences and bring them into our funnel but also retarget shoppers once they had shown interest in our catalog.”
– Evan Walsh, Sr. Programmatic Analyst, Amazon and Marketplaces at Tinuiti
5. More Creative Tools to Build Your Brand Identity
Amazon branding is crucial for building your brand equity, creating connections with shoppers, and establishing trust. The good news is that there are more tools than ever before available to build a unique brand identity on Amazon in 2021.
“Amazon continues to emphasize and release opportunities for brands to tell their story and build brand equity across their platform with content (Video in Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Brands Custom Image, Brand Stories (A+ Content), Amazon Posts, Amazon OTT, etc). With this comes the introduction and adoption of New-to-Brand metrics and the beginning of tracking the impact of these efforts. I believe tracking metrics will inevitably need to continue to expand as brands become increasingly interested in understanding the impact their advertising and creative strategies have on attracting new consumers to purchase.”
– Zak Semitka, Specialist, Marketplaces at Tinuiti
6. New Tools emerge to measure Off-Amazon traffic effectiveness
For the first time, using platforms such as Amazon Attribution, brands can measure the impact of display, search, social, video channels, and email based on how consumers discover, research, and buy their products on Amazon. Amazon has long been the retail destination of choice for most U.S. consumers, but until now it has been very challenging for brands to analyze the effectiveness of outside traffic sources on Amazon.
“As advertisers, that’s something we’ve always known happens throughout the shopper’s journey but thanks to Amazon Attribution, this is the first time we’ve been able to quantify it. Having this knowledge informs our ecommerce site investment, and in some cases, this has enabled us to spend more on traffic to the site by using a blended revenue number which then lifts revenue volume on both direct purchases and ecommerce site-assisted conversions which finalize on Amazon.”
– Josh Brisco, Senior Director of Growth Media, Tinuiti
7. Video Streaming and OTT Ads on the rise
One of the biggest trends shaping advertising right now is the rapid rise of streaming video viewership, which now makes up 80% of all internet traffic. With an estimated 147 million U.S. adults now accessing streaming video with services like Hulu, CBS All Access, Sling, and devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV — a new medium known as OTT (over-the-top) advertising has emerged, allowing brands to reach their audiences directly within their living rooms.
Amazon over-the-top (OTT) video advertising was first launched in 2019 and has quickly gained attention for its unique capabilities with Amazon’s first-party data to support both brand performance initiatives and broader reach objectives.
“OTT advertising and Amazon OTT, in particular, is a viable component of a brand’s performance media mix. Much more than just a branding and awareness play, it is a complete performance channel that offers scale, measurability, and data-driven targeting. We see the OTT space as being ripe for two kinds of brands: TV advertisers that are looking to recapture some of the impressions and reach that are no longer available through traditional channels, and challenger brands that don’t have direct broadcast budgets but can play in the TV space for the first time through OTT.”
— Jesse Math, VP of Planning and Platforms at Tinuiti
8. Introducing Technology that closes the loop on marketing performance
For many advertisers, as your campaigns scale, the level of granularity needed will increase (which will only increase the time spent managing). Our technology (rebranded in 2020 under the name “Mobius”) unlocks that scalability and the ability to harvest new keyword targets and optimize bids at a level that really would not be possible if done manually.
“Tinuiti’s proprietary MobiusX technology is one of the longest-standing and most sophisticated Amazon platforms on the market today. Built in 2014 for Amazon’s unique closed-loop environment, we’ve continually grown and evolved this ecommerce platform to sell more of your product, faster, across all the industry’s top networks.”
– David Weichel, VP of Product Development at Tinuiti
So how do we do it?
- MobiusX uses AI-enabled technology to identify incremental budget expansion opportunities across marketplaces, by analyzing historical bids, budget and keyword trends, and making recommendations around areas for growth at the product line level.
- MobiusX also processes 150 million products daily across Google, Facebook, and other feed driven channels, allowing us to optimize your product feeds strategically at scale by maximizing relevance through performance-based search term bidding, merchandising, and targeting.
- This technology allows our team to drive ad performance and effectively manage ad campaigns at scale across Amazon Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Search, and DSP Advertising products. This includes everything from AI-driven keyword discovery and harvesting to algorithmic bid automation, to ASIN-level insights and segmentation capabilities for even the most complex catalogs.
Evenflo—an industry leader and manufacturer in baby safety products—wanted to scale visibility and sales through Amazon advertising. Evenflo partnered with Tinuiti in 2018 to use our MobiusX proprietary technology to develop a robust and holistic Marketplace presence. As a result, Evenflo grew their Amazon presence and increased ROAS ~2X through utilizing MobiusX bid strategies—which informed its profitable advertising strategy.
What Amazon trends and features shaped your business in 2020? Comment below!