When Amazon Attacks – Protecting Your Brand On Google
It’s no surprise that since front rooms became offices and payday became furlough day, Amazon has seen a record increase in both the number of new advertisers and advertising spend. With millions turning to the web for everyday essentials and millions more taking up bargain-browsing as a full-time hobby, it’s safe to say it’s been a strong year for the e-comm behemoth and for many of the brands selling on it too.
And accordingly, Amazon has begun to develop itself as a more user-friendly advertising platform. From intuitive copy suggestions to new reporting options and Amazon-specific audiences, it’s released a steady stream of updates to make the running of campaigns simpler, more targeted and more effective. With great power comes great responsibility, after all.
Yet if you’ve started to do well on Amazon as well as Google, you may already be seeing – or will soon start to notice – the effects of the giant’s increased profit; namely, its increasing Google activity.
Why should I care what Amazon does on Google?
Amazon funnels spend into its Google Search ads for vendors and sellers, competing on the individual brand and product keywords of successful brands and driving traffic that might otherwise convert directly on your own website to a search results page on Amazon itself.
The benefits to Amazon are clear: the margin on products sold through Vendor Central, the Seller Central fees and, as Amazon’s Google ads land on a search results page rather than your Amazon brand store, any fees generated when a consumer clicks on an ad you’re paying to run on that search results page too. (Your Sponsored Brand ad being a good example.)
World (wide web) domination isn’t a new concept…
Inevitably, once a third party is big enough to dominate, it does so, and it’s perfectly legal, as long as the ads aren’t misleading. E-commerce isn’t the only industry to face this sort of challenge. Those in the hospitality industry will already be nodding and sighing, after years of battling Booking.com. But there is good news: it doesn’t appear to be a static state of affairs across the board, as several of our clients have seen Amazon encroach around key dates such as the easing of lockdown, then at least partially back off in its wake.
So what can I do about it?
If your Google ads auction insight report are chockful of Amazon, the most obvious answer is pay to play. Before upping your bids, however, determine whether it’s just brand terms, or also particular products Amazon are bidding on, to work out where best to invest. (Note: this will increase your cost/click.)
If you’ve already raised your budget and you’re still really struggling with Search Impression Share, you can go as far as changing your bid strategy to optimise for the #1 position. This is liable to send cost/click through the roof and may end up eating into the very margins you were looking to protect.
There are a few other things you can think about, however, if increasing brand spend exponentially isn’t an option.
Make buying direct more appealing
Simply, give your customers a reason to come to you direct. If your ad doesn’t mention next-day delivery and you offer it, don’t let Prime be a driving factor in a customer’s decision to purchase from Amazon. If you can offer something Amazon can’t, that’s even better. Highlight any new ranges, exclusive products, promotions, or USPs prominently in your ads and make it clear they’re only available through the official site.
Personalisation is a great example – can you offer a service such as monogramming or a choice of fancy packaging or gift wrapping? Examine the USPs you already offer and see whether you can’t work them into an ad. Do you offset your carbon emissions, or use recyclable packaging? Do you donate to a charity for every item sold? Once you start looking at your offering, the chances are you’ll find something you can position as an advantage of buying direct. And then make sure to shout this in your ads.
Make the most of your extensions
If you’re not using all the extensions relevant to your business, you’re undoubtedly missing out. Extensions are a great way to simultaneously take up more space on the page and shout about your USPs, and given Amazon’s ads are mostly generic and won’t relate to your product in particular, this is the place to give your customer another reason to visit your page – your brand story, your blog, additional services you offer, awards you’ve won – don’t be afraid to humblebrag.
And finally – make sure your ads and customer journey are optimised
When all is said and done, it’s not just your bid that will determine your position – your ad rank will play a part. Ensure your ad strength is excellent, your landing page relevancy as high as possible and even on-page factors such as your site load speed are optimised, to help you secure that top spot. Whilst Amazon may have the superior budget, Google still gives the original brand some credit when determining position, just as they do on organic – after all, it’s by offering the best experience of all that a simple search engine transcended all others and became a verb in its own right.