Amazon recently announced that it is discontinuing Amazon Text Ads. The Amazon Text Ad unit was very similar to Google AdWords and was starting to replace real estate on Amazon.com that was populated with ads via AdWords through the Google Search Partner Network.
This announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, given Amazon suggested that Text Ads was a logical replacement for Amazon Product Ads, which are to be retired on October 30, 2015.
The Text Ad unit, while not expected to be a powerhouse in driving revenue, was delivering a solid ROI. In fact, CommerceHub had worked with a large American manufacturer and retailer of consumer products to roll out an initial investment in Text Ads over a two month period and saw a solid return of almost 6:1 in revenue, partially utilizing the keyword list that was also being used in Google AdWords.
Like Product Ads, Amazon Text Ads will also be retired on October 30 and no longer shown on amazon.com as of October 31. For more information, check out the “Amazon Discontinuation of Text Ads FAQ’ in Seller Central which also notes that promotional Text Ad credits will be applied to a sellers account.
While we can’t predict Amazon’s ad strategy, it seems safe to say that Amazon is definitely looking for ways to keep a shopper on their site and engaged with the Amazon brand.
For those merchants who are currently enrolled in the Text Ad beta or were considering testing it, here are some quick thoughts on how to adjust your advertising strategies.
Consider Amazon Sponsored Products in place of Amazon Text Ads
Amazon Sponsored Products is a CPC ad unit that allows merchants to promote products they are selling through the marketplace. These ads appear in the right rail or under the search results. Instead of sending a customer to the advertiser’s site, a sponsored ad takes a customer to an Amazon marketplace product page.
About 10% of CommerceHub clients currently use Amazon Sponsored Products. We have found that this ad unit helps increase the exposure of products already listed on Amazon and is a great fit for a spectrum of products sold through the marketplace including those that already have a high Buy Box win percentage or new and unique products that have low visibility but high sales goals. At CommerceHub we have seen Amazon Sponsored Products improve product visibility and drive product listings from Page 10 to Page 1 in natural search results.
Shift budget to alternative PPC platforms to access the rest of the search market not covered by Google
There are additional PPC traffic sources you can use to drive visitors to your website. While Google AdWords dominates, the Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini networks give advertisers access to the rest of the search market that isn’t using Google. There are pluses to investing in these platform including lower CPCs (compared to Google Shopping) but conversely you also have lower search traffic available overall. But for the cost and value, these two networks combined may be a good fit for your ad strategy, target customer and category strategy.
And, then there is Facebook. The largest social network on the planet allows you to promote your products to over 1 billion users. Facebook offers several targeting options specific to demographics, geography and user interests. Facebook has enabled multiple advertising strategies including retargeting, re-engagement, prospecting and persona targeting. The recent addition of Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) has made the channel even more attractive, enabling SKU level targeting. One thing to keep in mind with Dynamic Product Ads, is that you have to think about product grouping as well as audience segmentation in order to be successful with bidding and ensure the campaign bring high ROAS. You also have to make sure you are invested in switching up your advertising fairly regularly with new offers and images.
Evaluate Next Generation Comparison Shopping Engines as a fit for your advertising strategy
New generation CSEs like Polyvore, Pinterest, and Houzz offer brands and retailers the opportunity to expand their merchandising efforts and capitalize on these potential sources of new customers and revenue. With Polyvore joining the Yahoo portfolio of digital marketplaces, we expect to see some potential new native advertising units rolled out soon. In the interim, Polyvore has 9M users a month who are primed to purchase products shown on the site. And of course with the launch of buyable pins on Pinterest, brands and retailers should leverage organic search to make their products discoverable on Pinterest. Good product listings will be critical to success across any CSE. For more detail on Pinterest Buyable Pins check out this previous CommerceHub blog post.
As a current CommerceHub client, we encourage you to reach out to your Marketing Manager to discuss merchandising options in light of the eventual discontinuation of Amazon Product Ads and Amazon Text Ads. Or, if you would like more information on how you can start working with CommerceHub to maximize your product merchandising and marketing capabilities, please drop us a line here and we’ll be in touch right away.