With An Eye On Google, Amazon Wades Deeper Into Paid Search And Ecommerce Marketing

seth-dallaireWith half of all product searches starting on its platform, Amazon is giving Google a run for its money.

“There’s an expectation from people who visit Amazon [that] they’re going to find anything they want,” Seth Dallaire, VP of global ad sales at Amazon Media Group, said Wednesday at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview conference in New York City. “If you have the confidence that we’re going to meet that expectation, you might just come to Amazon to start that search.”

Amazon is launching a paid search product to monetize that traffic and get cozier with brands and agencies.

Marketers generally think of search as a lower-funnel conversion tactic, but Amazon also has plans to monetize branded queries – even for products it doesn’t sell on its platform.

For example, auto marketers can create detailed product pages on Amazon that offer consumers information on make, model, trim and other details. Amazon doesn’t sell cars, but can pass consumer leads and reviews to OEMs so they can help consumers set up test drives.

“We don’t sell cars, but we know customers have an expectation that they’ll be able to consider a car or read about customer experiences on Amazon,” Dallaire said.

For auto-related products that Amazon does sell, the platform allows consumers to enter very specific make and model details relevant to their purchase.

“There’s a lot of confusion because you have to map it to a very specific model number,” Dallaire said. “We [can] say, ‘If you want this particular windshield wiper for your 2014 Nissan Altima, this is the product,’ so they don’t have to buy five and send one back.”

If a consumer drives a Nissan but is searching for a new vehicle from a different brand, Amazon can send aggregate audience data to Nissan to help it retain its customer.

“That might be a way for Nissan to look at a customer in a way they haven’t particularly thought of with Amazon,” Dallaire said.

On the flip side, Amazon can share with CPG companies consumer reviews of low-consideration products like toilet paper to help them better market on the platform. Angel Soft toilet paper, for example, has more than 5,000 customer reviews on Amazon that can be valuable to parent company Georgia Pacific.

“There’s a lot of marketing lessons we can take from that that Georgia-Pacific can use to market and introduce new products,” Dallaire said.

And since most searches on Amazon aren’t brand-specific, there’s an opportunity for brands to pay their way to the top of the query list.

Dallaire calls this strategy ecommerce marketing, a capability that many agencies are trying to build. Boutique shops are popping up solely for the purpose of helping clients better market on Amazon.

With Amazon’s Echo, search extends beyond the toolbar and into voice activation, opening more opportunities for Amazon to serve as a branding platform for advertisers.

Amazon worked with Campbell’s Soup, for example, to create a “branded skill” (on Echo, Amazon refers to apps as “skills”) with a recipe search and discovery function through Alexa.

“Not many agencies have developers that specialize in that work,” Dallaire said. “I anticipate we’ll be working with them [more] on skill development.”

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