Every year, Amazon brings together thousands of advertising professionals for their flagship event, unBoxed. Industry leaders share insights on how to up-level Amazon knowledge through insightful keynote sessions, engaging breakouts, and various networking events. From groundbreaking product announcements to game-changing new features, this event is a window into the future of retail, advertising, and ecommerce.
We were on the ground (and on the stage) at this year’s event taking in the latest and greatest announcements from the ecommerce giant as well as sharing a few expert tips and tricks of our own.
Join us as we unpack this year’s unBoxed where we’ll bring you up to speed on Amazon’s latest and greatest news, key takeaways from our experts, and insights you can incorporate into your Amazon strategy in 2024.
Let’s jump right in.
Innovating for You: TOMS and Tinuiti Join Forces in Keynote Session
At this year’s unBoxed, Tinuiti was thrilled to be on the ground at the event, not only as a platinum sponsor, but also as an industry thought leader. During the second day keynote session, Tinuiti’s Senior Director of Strategic Marketplaces, Joe O’Connor, was joined on stage by Jenny Fung, Director of Channel Marketing at TOMS and Teresa Uthurralt, Director of Partner Development and Marketing at Amazon Ads to discuss the important world of brand and partner collaborations.
To start the session, the team took a deeper look at how TOMS and Tinuiti worked together to inspire customers to take action for a good cause.
Fung started the keynote by describing how TOMS faced a new challenge when they recently shifted their philanthropic approach from the One for One model to their ‘Wear Good’ model, donating a third of their profits to help support a wider variety of organizations through cash grants. She described how one of the biggest challenges they faced with evolving their impact strategy was that the previous One for One approach was well-known and easy to understand. TOMS found that spreading awareness of their new ‘Wear Good’ impact model was difficult for a couple of reasons including budget constraints and character limits on traditional Search ads.
O’Connor went on to describe how the Tinuiti team solved this challenge for TOMS. To enhance TOMS’ “Wear Good” messaging while managing budget constraints, Tinuiti seized an opportunity from Amazon. The Amazon team offered funding for the creation of Streaming TV (STV) creative if a QR code was included in the content.
This approach had multiple benefits: it allowed for the use of motion and sound to convey TOMS’ brand story, alleviated budget constraints by eliminating the need for video creative expenses, and facilitated direct user engagement with the brand creative.
Although TOMS had not previously run an Amazon STV campaign, they agreed to participate in this beta test due to its alignment with their brand objectives. The STV ad was designed with non-skippable video and audio, directing users to the TOMS Amazon Store, where they could learn more about the brand’s story and explore its products. The ad also prominently featured the “Wear Good” call to action in both audio and video formats. To maximize the value of the video media, Tinuiti created remarketing segments for users exposed to the STV campaign, re-engaging those who did not convert with Amazon DSP ads to guide them through the funnel towards conversion.
– With the reallocation of 50% of the DSP budget to STV, we anticipated a 53% decrease in impressions but were pleased to see a month-over-month increase in new-to-brand units sold (+58% MoM), branded searches (+25% MoM), and product sales (+32% MoM)
– The higher MoM searches and sales with lower overall MoM reach implies Amazon shoppers who saw the brand’s video message engaged more with the brand than when only seeing a conventional DSP banner and ad
When asked about the team’s collaboration throughout this partnership, Fung and O’Connor both highlighted the importance of communication, transparency, and alignment…
“Not only does this alignment of goals and priorities better enable Tinuiti to bring the right opportunities to TOMS but it also empowers us, Tinuiti, Amazon and the TOMS team, collectively, to move fast. With all the new features and capabilities that Amazon brings to market and how quickly overall market dynamics can change, and have changed particularly over the past 2-3 years, being able to align on strategy with speed has become increasingly important to delivering success.”
– Joe O’Connor, Senior Director of Strategic Marketplaces at Tinuiti
“We’ve built a strong foundation based on trust, collaboration, and communication, but what we also have is transparency in our partnership. Tinuiti knows our business and is really an extension of our brand. We act as one team trying to reach the same goals and objectives and ultimately, this is how we are all successful together.”
– Jenny Fung, Director, Channel Marketing at TOMS
To wrap up the session, O’Connor highlighted two tips for brands that want to work with partners to freshen their approach.
First being that businesses don’t need huge budgets to build their brand with STV. This strategy can be applied just as successfully whether you are re-branding or just aiming to build your existing brand.
Second, building trust and communication is key. He covered how it’s crucial to be passionate about the brand and the importance of having a testing mindset that’s grounded in the use of data.
Attendees left this session with three important takeaways to keep in mind as they build their strategy for 2024…
- Streaming TV can be accessible to brands even with modest budgets. It can drive great results and complements Sponsored Ads.
- Great partners know their brands’ businesses like their own and have earned their trust. Having both parties be in lock-step helps deliver the best possible results.
- The importance of partner collaboration cannot be overstated. Brands can accomplish amazing things when they prioritize customers and innovate on their behalf.
The Power of Amazon Marketing Cloud: Delivering the Right Message at the Right Time (Featuring Tinuiti and The Honest Company)
As performance marketers, we all understand the increasing importance of connecting with shoppers through personalized ad experiences. But as we quickly move toward a cookieless future, determining how we’ll build and execute those relevant marketing messages is a topic in near-constant discussion.
Nancy-lee McLaughlin, VP of Commerce Media at Tinuiti, dove into the topic during her session at Amazon unBoxed 2023 —The Power of Amazon Marketing Cloud: Delivering the Right Message at the Right Time.
McLaughlin explored the incredible brand-building opportunities available on Amazon today thanks to the platform’s ongoing advances in all facets of advertising, including audience segmentation and omnichannel measurement.
Released in 2012, the Amazon Ads Platform (AAP) helped advertisers reach relevant audiences from the beginning. However, when first launched, the only pre-set audience options available were bucketed into In-Market and Lifestyle behaviors.
When AAP evolved into Amazon DSP, it brought with it more than a name change, including advanced audience capabilities that enabled marketers to build segments based on Amazon 1P events of their own within the ADSP self-service console. However, there were still some limitations regarding the behaviors you could build segments around—particularly connecting behaviors across media channels, such as reaching users who were exposed to an STV ad with a DSP-Display ad. We know that 75% of shoppers are omnichannel, and so more than ever, it is vital to ensure we have a connected commerce strategy and know how to communicate with specific audiences.
In 2023, fully custom audience creation is possible thanks to the release of AMC Audiences in Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC).
“Amazon’s flywheel of price, selection, and convenience not only revolutionized e-commerce, it forever changed how brands engage with their customers. While that flywheel is just as important today as it was on day one, Amazon’s ever evolving AdTech suite ushers in the next generation flywheel, built on AWS and powered by Amazon Marketing Cloud’s interoperability.”
– Nancy-lee McLaughlin, VP, Commerce Media at Tinuiti
Tinuiti’s team of Amazon advertising experts understood that AMC Audiences would give them the power to marry their creative message with specific consumer behaviors at a more granular level, and massive scale.
With AMC seemingly limitless in its applications and capabilities, McLaughlin noted that Tinuiti took a page from Amazon’s own Leadership Principles, Customer Obsession, and started with a client challenge—improving a 25% cart abandonment rate.
The Future of Delivering the Right Message, featuring The Honest Company
As long time partners, Tinuiti had worked with Honest to establish a sophisticated full-funnel approach with their Amazon media, with active campaigns across all Sponsored Ads formats, as well as cross-channel ADSP (display, mobile, and video).
To tackle Honest’s specific challenge—better maximizing the value of their bottom-funnel shoppers—our teams turned to AMC to identify potential gaps in our customer acquisition strategy.
Tinuiti closely reviewed the Honest campaign’s previous 3 months of activity and found that almost 25% of customers who added an Honest product to their cart did not follow through with a purchase. Closing the loop with these cart abandoners represented a potential 30% incremental sales opportunity over that time period.
This is especially important when considering the customer lifetime value of certain products, like diapers. We need products in the home—not in the cart.
Using AMC’s audience creation capabilities, Tinuiti built audience segments of customers who left an Honest product in their cart over the past 30 days without completing a purchase. To ensure the most relevant creative messaging, they built three separate segments of cart abandoners for each of Honest’s primary product lines—Diapers, Wipes and Personal Care—launching these audiences as an experiment on 8.1.23.
The creative is also extremely important; in these campaigns, they were looking to create habitual buying, and offered a Subscribe-and-Save to support this behavior.
The performance against all three segments has been highly encouraging:
- AMC audiences have delivered a ROAS 172% higher than the overall DSP campaign average
- NTB CPA (new-to-brand cost-per-acquisition) within those segments is 65% lower than the campaign average
- Honest is acquiring new Subscribe-and-Save customers 55% more efficiently than the legacy campaign strategy
Tinuiti’s Amazon team is expanding this audience strategy throughout The Honest Company’s customers’ journey, starting by building a segment of users exposed to our Online Video campaigns to more directly move those customers down the funnel. They’ve also built a segment of customers who have clicked on Honest’s Sponsored Product ads to introduce them to a point of purchase, and are building a segment of customers who searched relevant category keywords to help educate customers on the amazing options Honest has relevant to their search.
McLaughlin closed her informative session with three key takeaways important for all marketers to keep in mind, on and off Amazon:
- Full-Funnel Approach: It’s crucial that audience-level optimizations are implemented across your entire media strategy for optimal success, not only your performance-oriented campaigns
- Always Be Optimizing: AMC allows marketers to pull granular insights to better understand shopper behavior. But this treasure only has value if you regularly tap into it!
- Stay Relevant: Your creative message should always be curated to the customers you’re aiming to reach, educate and connect with
Amazon unBoxed Sessions: More Key Event Highlights From the Experts
While Amazon unBoxed featured over 60 sessions, here’s a select glimpse of some of our most significant expert insights.
Build Comprehensive Funnel Measurement Strategies Leveraging Collaboration, Evergreen Solutions, and AI
Building a comprehensive funnel measurement strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor; it requires collaboration between various sources and a commitment to evergreen solutions.
During a discussion featuring Lily Fong from Amazon Ads brand measurement and Deepak Jose from MARS, Fong emphasized the need to adopt solutions that are not only effective now but also sustainable for the long term.
She illustrated this with Amazon Ad tags designed to adapt to a cookieless future. Deepak and Lily also unveiled the AWS clean room, offering brands using AWS access to a data repository akin to an “AMC-like” cloud room, enabling them to query data from their AWS-supported applications.
Regarding AI-driven measurement strategies, Deepak advised a three-fold approach:
- “Do things,” focusing on automating manual tasks and setting up API pipelines;
- “Do things better,” optimizing data ingestion and AI-driven data summarization; and
- “Do better things,” deploying improved solutions to enhance data measurement strategies
“It is one thing to be able to measure strategies as clients activate across the funnel, but it’s an even greater responsibility to help brands make those insights actionable. AI-based suites like Amazon Cross channel Planner & Template Analytics beta are the next wave that will help us as an agency be able to synthesize the largest of data sets into actionable insight that actually will drive performance.”
– Aaron Gooden, Director Commerce Media
Unlocking the Power of Video Creativity and Compelling Content for Impactful Brand Storytelling
Another topic that stood out to our experts was how important it is to use high-quality images and videos in various Amazon channels, like Amazon Shopping, Alexa, Fire TV, and more. Amazon shared some impressive numbers, showing that investing in top-notch content can lead to a 12-fold increase in advertising profits. Amazon stressed that it’s crucial to provide the right information that customers are looking for. For example, if you’re selling beauty products, not sharing details about the formula and ingredients can mean missed sales opportunities since 61% of customers consider these factors when making a choice.
Amazon also emphasized the power of video. Many customers want to see videos when they shop, and 89% said that videos influenced their purchase decisions. Additionally, 92% of marketers found that video content provided a great return on investment.
Finally, they showcased how leading brands use voice-activated devices like Alexa to connect with customers. For instance, Coca-Cola used Alexa to create connections between game nights and enjoying a Coke without needing to use a phone.
“Overall keep investing in high-quality assets and make sure your brand is top-notch on Amazon as the data shows the brands that do this best convert better than those that don’t.”
– Phil Stolt, Senior Vice President , Retail Operations at Tinuiti
Demystifying Clean Rooms and Accelerating Business Outcomes With Amazon Marketing Cloud
In a panel discussion led by Miranda Chen, Amazon’s Director of AMC Growth & Monetization, joined by Louis Goldberg, VP of Consumer Analytics and Business Data Strategy at Cox Communications, and Megan Pukala, P&G brand lead for Amazon media, the focus was on clean rooms and their benefits for brands.
Clean rooms are specialized data spaces designed to store user-level information while removing personally identifiable data (PII), ensuring user privacy. They allow brands to create tailored data views and reports. What’s critical, as emphasized by the panel, is the collaboration between a brand’s media and data science/analytics teams, which is essential to unlock the full potential of clean rooms.
The discussion also stressed the rising importance of respecting user privacy online, especially with the ongoing deprecation of cookies, which has posed a challenge to the industry. Clean rooms, by scrubbing data of PII upon entry and allowing only aggregated data extraction, provide robust privacy protection and enable brands to enhance the addressability of their media in a privacy-compliant manner.
A few key trends emerged from the discussion. Firstly, it’s clear that respecting user privacy is a top priority for brands. Simultaneously, brands aim to deliver relevant advertisements to consumers. Clean rooms stand out as a solution that can help achieve both of these objectives effectively.
“Clean rooms, like Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC), are powerful tools that empower brands to simultaneously respect user online privacy while also mining anonymized data to increase the relevance of their ads. Through AMC, Tinuiti clients have discovered new relevant audiences to reach and have a better understanding of a customer’s path to purchase and how each impression delivers value along that journey. It is a powerful tool that is increasingly becoming table stakes to unlocking the full potential of your digital marketing strategy.”
– Joe O’Connor, Senior Director of Strategic Marketplaces at Tinuiti
And just like that, another unBoxed has ‘wrapped up’ just in time for the holiday season! We’ll be applying what we learned from Tinuiti’s own experts—and the incredible full lineup of presenters—to continue helping our clients achieve success on-and-off Amazon. For more information on the latest, be sure to visit our blog.