Walmart Introduces Variant-Level Bidding to Get More Eyes on Your Products

By Tinuiti Team

In 2022, Walmart’s eCommerce sales came in at an impressive 47.8 billion U.S. dollars. That’s up nearly 11% in comparison to 2021. Consumers are embracing Walmart’s eCommerce platform at an incredible rate. But are your products being seen when and where shoppers are searching? Walmart kicked off 2023 in a big way by introducing variant-level bidding so you can bring even more products to the top of search results.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about variant-level bidding including what this new update entails as well as best practices to follow so you can maximize brand exposure in 2023. 


Let’s dive into it.


What is a Variant?


According to Walmart, a primary variant, previously known as a “base item,” is the item to which all the other items within the variant group are mapped. With the launch of variant bidding, all variants – including the primary variant – can be promoted and displayed within sponsored product campaigns.

Let’s break down Walmart’s variant-level bidding a bit further. 


What is Variant-Level Bidding?


The new launch of variant-level bidding gives marketers the opportunity to advertise any product (that abides by Walmart’s ad eligibility) in their catalog to increase product discoverability and conversion. This gives advertisers on Walmart the chance to go beyond the primary variant, including size and color variations.

Keep in mind that variant bidding is currently for sponsored products only (automatic and manual campaigns). This new feature is not available for Sponsored Brands.

When it comes to ad placements, variant bidding will be available for:


Variant-Level Bidding Benefits


With this new feature set in place, Walmart notes that advertisers will see many benefits including:


Increased Awareness


Variant-level bidding helps increase product awareness and discoverability by allowing advertisers to expand their catalog of promoted items to reach more consumers within search results. 


Maximized Profitability


With variant-level bidding, advertisers can now choose to promote top-converting variants, high-performing products, or new/seasonal items to help strategically drive conversions. 


Supporting Strategic Advertising Initiatives


With the opportunity to advertise any variant in your catalog, it’s easier to align strategic goals with your advertising goals on Walmart’s site. Consider your current goals and see how variant-level bidding can work in your favor. Looking to promote a specific product? Drive seasonal sales? With variant-level bidding, you can. 


“Not only does Variant Bidding unlock additional advertising inventory, but it also gives you greater control of your advertising strategy by enabling more granular optimizations in accordance to performance and advertising intent. In short, this allows you to get more products in front of the right consumers to fuel your lower-funnel search performance.”

— Stuart Clay, Associate Director, Marketplace Strategic Services at Tinuiti


Variant-Level Bidding Best Practices


As with any new feature, there are best practices to consider. Let’s break down a few variant-level bidding tips and tricks so you can ensure success on your next campaign.


Hone in on Your Key Objectives


As we covered earlier, it’s important to hone in on your key objectives and goals to make sure they align with your overall strategy. Once you identify your objectives, you can then make a well-informed decision on which variants to promote. 

“If you are trying to maximize profitability, consider focusing on specific variant items, or if you want to maximize visibility then promote your most popular and high-converting items.”

— Humza Tayyab, Senior Product Marketing Manager


Consider Structure and Keywords


There’s no one size fits all with it comes to structuring campaigns, but when it comes to keywords, Walmart recommends: 


Dive Deep into Your Catalog 


It might be tempting, but avoid putting all of your variants into one campaign. It’s critical to shift your focus to the top variants that are driving the most conversions/sales. Consider your top-sellers, seasonal items, and high-priority products first. You’ll also want to consider relevancy when it comes to a shopper’s search query. According to Walmart, your items’ relevancy to the customer’s search query is the key factor that determines the position of your ads and the cost-per-click price you’ll pay. 


Test, Test, Test


Testing is a crucial component of any campaign, and variant-level bidding should be no different. In a recent blog post, Walmart stated, “As you start thinking about additional variants, be intentional with your bidding strategy as different campaigns have different needs. Create new campaigns and use unique identifiers for your keyword list.”


How to Get Started With Variant-Level Bidding


You can now advertise variants on all Walmart Sponsored Product campaigns. When you create your campaign and once a primary variant is located, Walmart’s platform specifies if there are other variants available for promotion. From there, you can designate which variants you’d like to promote.

For more information about variant-level bidding, or if you have any questions about advertising on Walmart, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today to get started. 

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