Season 1, Episode 36
Amazon Advertising with Destaney Wishon
[00:00:07] Chris: Hey everybody. Welcome back to Seller Performance Solutions. I’m Chris McCabe of EcommerceChris. I’m here with Liam McHugh also of EcommerceChris and we’re also joined today by Destaney Wishon. Destaney, how are you doing?
[00:00:25] Destaney: I am doing amazing. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:28] Chris: Thanks for being here.
There’s so much chatter about ads being more important than ever. So I thought I’d start with the fact that some previously used marketing paths have been closed recently, or have been clarified as not as useful by Amazon posts in the seller forums. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about that. And you’re already talking to brands. I’m sure about how important advertising is or was, so is it more important now or is that just a public perception?
[00:00:57] Destaney: Weighted question, for sure. But I think at the end of the day, we all know what has been a gray area and what Amazon has been wanting sellers to do. And where do they make the most money it’s off Amazon advertising.
So I don’t necessarily want to say it’s more important because I think Amazon still wants to value external traffic. I think that no one’s going to know where all of this exactly weighted, even if they do figure it out with a hack of some kind it’s gonna change. So Amazon advertising has always been one of the fundamental ways to drive white hat traffic with no risk.
So I think the biggest conversation we’ve been having with brands is how they need to view the advertising spin. How do they make that transition from viewing a search, find, buy with a set budget and a giveaway, to setting up your ads in a way to mimic that traffic and mimic that expense on their end.
So. Yes. I would say Amazon ads are more important than ever before, even if they are getting more and more costly, but at the end of the day, it’s how you want to view the business.
[00:02:03] Leah: Well it’s interesting because it is a white hat way of getting traffic, but it’s also, probably, even though it is an expense. , it’s probably not more expensive than giving people refunds on their orders because you were trying to give people free products without Amazon knowing. I mean, if you’re constantly giving rebates and refunds in order to get traffic, that can’t be cheap. And I imagine if you’re properly running your ads, it’s probably actually cheaper and more effective to go that route. Then the other way.
[00:02:31] Destaney: I couldn’t agree more. I think the two things that changed that perception is when you’re running a search find buyer or any type of external traffic, you usually set aside that budget. You’re like here’s $3,000 for this and this many units and they don’t expect to see a return on it. But when people view PPC, they’re still in this old school mindset that it’s a money machine.
You put in $1 and you get out $5 or $8. Right? So you’re having to reframe that. That no, that’s no longer the case. Now we’re creating these campaigns specifically for ranking, set aside a budget and don’t expect to have a return. Once brands understand that. I think it makes a big difference. We have seen top of search getting more and more expensive, but I think you’re spot on.
Another thing that reframes it is, we’re not saying hack or a quick fix to ranking. So when you can’t brand it as fun, I think it makes it less exciting for anyone to work with.
[00:03:26] Leah: Yeah, we’re very familiar with having less exciting terminology for what you do. What we do is not sexy at all.
[00:03:33] Chris: Are they viewing it as an arms race? Like we just have to increase our budget and they forget other components, or did they want to talk about creatively representing their brand in different ways and ads on top of a budget spend that increases?
[00:03:45] Destaney: I would say a little bit of both. I think on the ranking side, what really matters is just driving high velocity to your main keywords. And in order to do that, you have to have an appropriate campaign set up and you have to know what that budget distribution is. How many keywords are you focusing on? Are you focusing on the right keywords and all these types of things like having that conversation to strategically manage their ads in a way that again is not focused on profitability.
This is a ranking campaign. These are the keywords that we’re focused on. Now, I will say in the supplement space, I’ve seen CPCs that have gotten upwards of $30. Okay. So when we see those types of things that’s when we need to have the conversation of what is your cost per acquisition? Is this going to be way too expensive, even for a giveaway campaign?
Yes. Maybe let’s focus on an influencer campaign off platform. That’s not necessarily trying to manipulate the rank, but at the end of the day you’re trying to drive a lot of traffic to your main keywords.
[00:04:41] Leah: Yeah. Chris and I were actually talking about this when everybody was panicking about the clarification to terms. It’ll be interesting to see a lot of people who have been maybe relying on these hacks, actually having to look into like marketing strategies, making their products stand out from other products.
[00:05:03] Chris: Well, influencer marketing that isn’t solely based on an influencer. Dropping a discount code. It may be a little bit more creative than that, and I’m not a marketing expert, so I don’t have those ideas when people want them from us. But, we’re imagining that you talk about this quite a bit.
[00:05:21] Destaney: A hundred percent. I think Amazon’s shifting away from wanting a hundred different variations of one product on the Platform. Amazon’s built their audience. They have loyal customer base. So now they want to serve that customer base with the best product, the product that’s most aligned with their needs and interests.
So I think that’s kind of the direction we’re seeing. How do you build an audience? How do you build just amazing products? And then I think Amazon’s wanting to take advantage of the social aspect as well. They’ve rolled out a feed, posts, followers, lives, etc.. So when one avenue shuts, I think Amazon’s going to give us another one.
So for example, we now have customer engagement on the vendor side where we can email all of our followers when we launch a product. Metrics are terrible and it’s very, very early stages. But at the end of the day, Amazon’s not necessarily saying, Hey, we don’t want you to contact people or drive traffic for your main keywords, we just don’t want you to do it in a manipulative way. So I think that they’re going to open up more opportunities for launching and ranking. And I think the honeymoon period is probably going to change a little bit. So it’s not the end of the world. It’s just, you have to be flexible in our space.
[00:06:26] Leah: And I think that’s why people were freaking out it’s not that you can’t send off Amazon traffic to Amazon. I think that was where people were getting scared. I think that you can actually do quite a lot of interesting things in terms of sending off Amazon traffic to Amazon, in terms of having your own email list and having your own site. And you can still do that totally within terms using Amazon’s promotions, if you do want to run it as a coupon campaign. But it doesn’t mean that you’re now solely relying on Amazon search algorithms to bring traffic to your product.
[00:06:57] Chris: Well, this wasn’t brand new. I mean, we were seeing this on the suspension side for awhile because anything that wasn’t just product review related, anyone who has seemed to be manipulating sales rank or inflating it artificially was getting their whole account suspended. So we tend to see the enforcement side, we tend to see the dark side of some of these ideas first. And then if no one’s been suspended, they hear rumors. They don’t necessarily act. They just go back to a service provider and say, Hey, is this TOS compliant? But if you’re paying somebody for a service and they want to keep your business, they’re probably going to say, oh yeah, don’t worry about it. That’s why so many people got suspended because they were sort of outsourcing compliance exams to the people that were handling that part of their marketing strategy.
So, it’s not really new though. This has been around for awhile. I think it’s just dawning on people that, oh, now we really can’t rely on like a gimmick to get by.
[00:07:51] Destaney: Yep. A hundred percent. Like you said, I remember five years ago when I got started in this space, you would run a giveaway and a Facebook campaign and you’re on page one. But even then you had to extend the timeframe of your ads. So that way you didn’t drive too much traffic too soon. Cause everyone knew it was gray hat. So I, I completely agree. It’s just like what level of risk are you willing to walk? And that’s any form of business. Now Amazon started to crack down because they’ve had issues with compliance and now any brand who’s been on the platform for a long time, has a review advantage, which does make a difference. So I think they’re having to even the playing field a little bit where you can’t do these things.
[00:08:30] Leah: Yeah, absolutely. You see products pop up and like a week later they have a 1500 reviews and it’s like that doesn’t seem right?
[00:08:40] Chris: Some of them even had reviews deleted, and then they’d go back and reload. Yeah, pretty suspicious. But I assume you’re working with a lot of brands that have the agility and the flexibility to change and work through a couple of permutations and not just marry themselves to one strategy and just stick with it.
[00:08:57] Destaney: A hundred percent. I think Amazon’s gonna release more things. So it’s just being willing to hop on those and test in the beginning. Yeah, it sucks amazon wants to own all of that, but at the end of the day, Amazon wants to do what’s in the best interest of their consumer. So you gotta always keep that in mind, like the fundamentals are in order to rank you need to drive high velocity for your keywords, and you need to convert on those keywords because if you’re not converting, Amazon’s not going to want to show that product or that ad. So fundamentally that makes a lot of sense. And then I think Amazon wants to drive more social commerce and more audience building. So if you can combine those two things and find a strategy that works, that’s where you’re going to have a lot less risk and a lot of long-term opportunity because Amazon’s not going to move away from either of those two fundamental beliefs.
[00:09:40] Leah: Right. And it’s nice to see them moving more into the brand building side of things on their platform. It was very hard to actually represent your brand on there a few years ago.
[00:09:51] Destaney: I couldn’t agree more. Even on the ad side, we’re finally getting the ability to run creatives, different store insights, different audience targeting on the sponsored display side. And I think we’re going to get like 10 X in the next year..
[00:10:04] Leah: Yeah, that’ll be really interesting.
[00:10:05] Chris: Do you think this post thing is a fad or it’s going to stick around or do you think they’ll come up with some other stuff?
[00:10:11] Destaney: I am incredibly bullish on post. One reason being is I love their placements on the page. They’re getting great engagement. Again, it fits the philosophy of Amazon trying to tie in social. I love the follower button on it because then we get to email, those followers through their customer engagement tool again. So it gives us a direct way to connect with anyone who follows our page and launch products or cross sell products with.
So those are kind of the minuscule reasons, but at the end of the day, it’s free clicks, maybe not free time. Cause you still have to post them a comp of content. But if it’s showing up directly below your PDP and your competitors PDP, like I pay $2 a click for that on the ad side. That’s awesome.
[00:10:52] Leah: Yeah, absolutely. So you’re spending a lot of your time on the Amazon ads platform, which we actually spend none of our time on. So what is the one thing right now that you are most excited about?
[00:11:06] Destaney: Brand-building, I would say a hundred percent on the sponsor brand side. We have custom imagery that shows up as a really large lifestyle image at the top of the page for a headline search ad. That’s huge, click through rates have exponentially increased from that sponsored display. We also have lifestyle images and the ability to write copy. And then I think they’re going to push more video assets and more audience targeting. So. Just brands building in general. Finally, being able to tell our story beyond just keyword targeting and product targeting is what I’m most excited for.
[00:11:37] Leah: Yeah. Awesome. They’re finally moving away from just talk about the product. Don’t talk about your brand.
[00:11:41] Destaney: It’s not allowed no brand story whatsoever.
[00:11:44] Chris: Well a bit more creativity I think was long overdue and this entire process of how you represent on not just a storefront and not just a detailed page.
[00:11:53] Destaney: Couldn’t agree more.
[00:11:55] Chris: So Destaney, how do people get in touch with you so they can ask you all the wonderful questions they’re going to have after listening to us talk today?
[00:12:02] Destaney: Yeah. So probably the best ways to follow me or my team on LinkedIn. We’re always trying to post a ton of content, things like that.
Always feel free to shoot me a message there. And if you’re interested in BetterAMS, check us out at betterAMS.com.
[00:12:14] Chris: Awesome. Great. Thanks for joining us today. If you have questions for Destaney, please let her know and Destaney, hopefully we’ll see you at one of these hundreds of events coming up in the next three or four weeks.
[00:12:27] Destaney: Yes. At some point in time, we’ll get to meet in person.
[00:12:30] Chris: Excellent. Sounds good. Well, great. Have a good safe rest of your day and we’ll talk to you soon.
[00:12:36] Destaney: Thank you guys.
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