Whether one defines Amazon as a technology company, a retailer or both, what marketers should really be paying attention to is the company’s growing position as a media company and how they can better play ball with the platform, insiders say.
“Who can get a better CPM rate lower in the funnel than Google?” said Scott Galloway, founder of digital research think tank L2 and clinical professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business during L2’s “Amazon Clinic” Thursday. “When you click on an ad on Yahoo or AOL, maybe it takes you to the site or further down the funnel to a product page, but on Amazon, one click on an ad takes you straight to delivery if you’re a Prime member.”
He also praised Amazon’s “very robust, aggressive affiliate strategy.”
Emily Culp, former director of social strategy and emerging platforms at Unilever, seconded that motion. She said many marketers still only optimize for product search against Google.
But as Amazon grabs search share (Forrester estimated 30% of online product searches begin on Amazon versus Google’s 13%) and maintains its grip on audience purchase and demand data, Culp said it’s worthwhile to become Amazon’s media partner. “One out of every five ecommerce transactions happens through Amazon,” she said. “You will probably be partnering with [Amazon Media Group] in the future somehow. The question is when.”
“A critical component is looking at your strategy as interlinked and cross-functional across marketing, merchandising, operations and media,” Culp added. “You need all of these groups working together in your organization when working with Amazon” because its capabilities cross the board.
But marketers still question the delineation between the traffic and conversions Amazon supplies and those the retailer drives itself. Amazon Retail Analytics Premium (ARA) claims to provide marketers with insights around competitive benchmarking, customer behavior tracking, geographic sales data and pre-order “intent” signal data.
But Spencer Millerberg, founder and CEO of consultancy One Click Retail and an alumnus of both Walmart and Amazon, described ARA as an indexed measure that provides longitudinal measurement as opposed to “one-time” instances, at present. The tool is limited, he said, because it doesn’t surface key information such as where traffic came from and what activities catalyzed that traffic. “Was it the A test or the B test that drove it in?” he said.
He acknowledged that marketing on the retail giant’s platform can feel like “people vs. machine with Amazon.” Yet, it’s also worth learning how to leverage Amazon’s tools and optimizing for stronger placement on the platform and ultimately, a better sales rank. “When you know how to push the right buttons, that’s how you end up being successful,” he said.