As advertising investment on Amazon grows, there is a clear need for tools to help advertisers automate campaign management. That’s according to our inaugural Amazon Advertising Forecast 2019, released Wednesday.
44% of Amazon advertisers plan to add campaign automation tools in 2019. In an online survey conducted by Third Door Media, publisher of MarTech Today, Marketing Land and Search Engine Land, nearly 23 percent of respondents who are currently advertising on Amazon said they employ tools to help automate their Amazon ad campaigns. Another 44 percent said they plan to start using automation tools or platforms do so within the next twelve months.
In other words, according to the survey, by this time next year two-thirds of Amazon advertisers could be employing tools to help run their ad campaigns.
But, as it turns out, the use of automation tools is not uniform across companies of varying sizes. For instance, among larger companies with annual revenue greater than $25 million, more than a third (35 percent) are currently using Amazon ad automation tools. But only 18 percent of smaller companies, those with revenue under $10 million, employ them.
The opportunity for tool vendors. However, both categories are nearly equal in their future intentions: 45 percent of the larger firms and 41 percent of the smaller firms have plans to get automation tools over the next year.
Tools mentioned by survey respondents include ones from Kenshoo, Splitly, Sellics, Seller Labs, Prestozon, Pacvue, PPC Scope, Helium 10, Adlucent, Jungle Scout and Ignite, as well as proprietary tools.
A marketer’s perspective. David Halperin is principal of Criterion Global, a media planning and buying agency based in Miami. He said that, as a marketer for clients, his company primarily uses two tools: Amazon’s own interface for display banners, which he described as “a little clunky,” and the Amazon DSP, to run ads on other sites programmatically with data from Amazon as well as from the advertising client.
In the future, he said, he expects to employ Kenshoo for Sponsored Product ads, which at the moment is a relatively small portion of Criterion’s Amazon ad business. But Criterion already uses Kenshoo for other platforms, such as Facebook, so it will likely start employing its Amazon capabilities.
Halperin noted that the key strategy for advertising on Amazon is to recognize most purchases are “bottom of funnel,” meaning that shoppers often go there with a clear idea of what they want to buy. Additional sales are possible through such mechanisms as “similar products,” the kind of Amazon ads that Kenshoo supports.
Tools uniquely built for Amazon. Another avenue for tool providers is that of Boston-based Teikametrics, which focuses on large brands. While it offers tools to optimize Amazon search term bids, product keywords and other search parameters, and also supports the deployment of Sponsored Brand ads, it characterizes itself as a Retail Optimization platform. Its key strategy: take advantage of the fact that Amazon is not only the advertising inventory, but often sellers’ product fulfillment center.
Teikamatics founder and CEO Alastair McLean-Foreman said his company’s tools consider platform-specific elements — such as Amazon-based inventory management and product pricing — when dynamically optimizing Amazon ads.
This approach, he said, provides the data and optimization tools so that a seller can, for instance, determine how many ads to run if inventory is low, or whether it is better to increase advertising or lower prices.
Why it matters. As Amazon continues to invest in its advertising offerings, marketers are looking to employ the kinds of tools they use to help scale and automate aspects of campaign management in other digital channels. Our survey signals there is a substantial opportunity for vendors and that we’ll likely see ongoing innovation in this area as vendors work to meet marketer demand.