Amazon might have the lion’s share of the online retail marketplace, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only major player on the block. Despite initial challenges, Walmart is catching up thanks to its significant physical footprint and the massive corporate effort behind building up its digital presence. What could a retail brand do to take advantage of Walmart.com’s growing ecommerce presence?
We discussed this very topic in a recent webinar with Elizabeth Marsten, Tinuiti’s Sr. Director for Strategic Marketplace Services, Ian Leslie, Sales Consultant for SellerActive, and Michael Sene, Director of Sales for Deliverr.
Why should you advertise on Walmart.com?
Amazon is still the undisputed ecommerce leader, but Walmart.com has several things going for it that make it a good investment for retailers with some extra budget.
Shopper overlap. According to consumer research gathered by Tinuiti, there is a large overlap between Amazon.com and Walmart.com shoppers. Over 57% of Amazon buyers also shop on Walmart.com, and 91% of Walmart.com buyers shop on Amazon.com. Thus, a presence on both sites will give you a greater chance of capturing the same buyer.
Build historical performance for future growth. According to Marsten, there is a negative return on most ad types currently on offer on Walmart.com. However, sellers need to invest, test and build historical performance in order to benchmark future growth.
Support organic presence. Paid advertising on Walmart.com can assist your organic presence and increase discoverability and visibility
Boosts new seller performance. New sellers and products can leverage digital advertising to boost their early sales performance.
Aid struggling SKUs. Low-performing SKUs on Walmart.com can get a much-needed increase in visibility through effective, targeted ads.
Take advantage of seasonal spikes. Seasonal products will be able to take advantage of seasonality spikes and respond faster to changes
What Ad Types Are Available on Walmart.com?
Example of a Walmart Sponsored ProductWhile Walmart.com doesn’t have as many ad types available for retailers as Amazon.com, there are still some good options available for you to experiment with, including (but not limited to):
1. Walmart Sponsored Products – In Grid Search Results
These are CPC ads that drive traffic to Walmart product detail pages. The advertiser controls how much they spend by setting budgets and bids, and only pay when a user clicks on the ads.
The minimum campaign spend for these ads is $1,000 within a specific start and end date, with a daily minimum of $100. Bear in mind that this isn’t how much you will actually spend, but what Walmart has set as the minimum that will be entered into the platform.
2. Walmart Sponsored Products – Sponsored Product Carousel
This carousel is located on the search results, category and product pages. Unlike the regular carousel, items listed here don’t need to be in the top 128 organic listings (about 3 pages) in order to appear. Instead, you pay to have the products featured here.
3. Walmart Buy Box Banner
This is a coveted spot that is only granted when you are the top seller in a particular category, and is determined by the Walmart internal media team. However, it’s still possible to win the buy box banner through an automatic campaign depending on relevance and bid.
4. Walmart Search Brand Amplifier
SBA (Search Brand Amplifier) is a branded group of products that appears at the top of a search resut listing for specific keywords. This advertising placement is also determined by the Walmart internal media team and, like the buy box banner, can be won through automatic campaigns.
How different is advertising on Walmart.com?
Advertising on Walmart.com is different from advertising on Amazon or Google. There are differences in the way Walmart handles algorithms and treats brands.
Here are some differences that Elizabeth noted:
- On Walmart.com, organic listings are impacted by advertising performance. You can “push” a product to higher organic listings if you have ads for the same product that get clicks and views
- Most brands on Walmart.com aren’t given their own exclusive page like they are on other ecommerce platforms. If you’re on a product detail page and you click a brand, the site will do a google search for that term and send you to the results page–as opposed to Amazon, which sends you to the brand page.
- Search functionality isn’t as robust on Walmart.com as it is on other online marketplaces, and it is more difficult to be discovered organically if you don’t have boosters like the 2-day shipping badge.
What are some Walmart.com advertising best practices?
In order to get the most value from your Walmart.com advertisements, Marsten recommends making careful use of the automated campaigns:
“Automated campaigns tend to perform better over time than manual campaigns, but you need to have at least 10 SKUs in the product group and start by controlling it with minimum bid and ad budgets.”
Also, automated campaigns have the potential to take off very quickly, due to them being eligible for more placements, so don’t set and forget. Check on your campaigns after running it for at least 3 days.
If you’re running manual campaigns, start with keywords from the Suggested Keywords tab. They’re listed in descending order, so starting with the top of the list will give you better results than the ones below–and probably better than any long-tail keywords you add yourself.
If you’re patient, you can set aside an advertising budget and consider it a test of a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of ads. It probably won’t perform as well as Amazon or Google, but it will serve as a good benchmark for future performance. Be realistic with your expectations and don’t simply copy over content from different channels. Create ad content unique for Walmart.com.
Walmart.com is not yet at the level of Amazon and Google, however, there are still benefits to exploring this market to gain both immediate value and future rewards. If you set realistic expectations as to what Walmart.com can deliver and be more open to experimentation, it’s possible to have reasonably large returns on your ad spend on this platform.