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How to Kickstart Your Strategy

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How to Kickstart Your Strategy

The Amazon Marketplace is one of the most well-known and popular marketing channels for online retailers. This is due in part to the incredible brand-building potential selling on Amazon offers, but it’s also more simply because of all those prospective customers.

Maintaining an active presence on Amazon was once considered nice-to-have for many retailers, but today, many brands find it an absolute necessity. In order to make sales, your products have to be available where people are shopping, and people are most certainly shopping on Amazon…

  • “In 2021, Amazon’s total consolidated net sales revenue amounted to 469.82 billion U.S. dollars.” (Statista)
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  • “Amazon spent 10.4 billion U.S. dollars on advertising in the United States in 2021. The e-commerce company consolidated its position as the largest U.S. advertiser in terms of spending for the third consecutive year.” (Statista)
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  • There are 153 million Amazon Prime members in the US (200 million worldwide) (Statista)

Amazon is continuously maturing and evolving in all aspects of its business, from enhancements to Amazon Creative, to the launch of Amazon Marketing Cloud, Amazon Moments, Buy With Prime, and so much more.

Content, inventory, search advertising, display, video, targeting, measurement and reporting, and more—the world of Amazon can be overwhelming if you’re just starting out on the platform! But we’re here to break it all down, diving into all the ins and outs you need to understand to successfully sell on Amazon in 2023 and beyond.

Keep reading for a step-by-step list covering how to sell on Amazon.
 

Table of Contents

 

 

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/274255/market-share-of-the-leading-retailers-in-us-e-commerce/

Weighing the primary pros and cons of selling on Amazon can help you determine if it’s the right fit for your brand, and serve as an easy-to-reference checklist to revisit if you decide to move forward. While many of the pros and cons you’ll likely add to your list will be dependent on your unique situation and business goals, there are a few to consider that are relevant to most brands…

Benefits

  • Amazon is the leading online retailer in the US, with market share so large that it’s nearly incomprehensible. According to recent data shared by Statista: “As of June 2022, Amazon accounted for 37.8 percent of the U.S. e-commerce market…Second place was occupied by the e-commerce site of retail chain Walmart, with a 6.3 percent market share.”
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  • Building a presence on Amazon can introduce you to new-to-brand customers who might not have found your brand through other channels
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  • Having Prime-eligible products can help you secure increased sales from new and current customers, particularly if the free shipping threshold on your website isn’t easily reached with one item

Drawbacks & Considerations

  • Sellers are up against considerable competition on Amazon, including from established brands and sellers who have been actively selling and/or advertising for years
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  • Increased competition within the same space makes having the best price not only important, but absolutely essential to securing sales
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  • There are a number of associated fees to consider, which must be factored into the equation from the outset to help determine profitability

 

How Is Selling on Amazon Different from Selling on Your ecommerce Site?

As profitable and beneficial for brand-building as selling on Amazon can be, there are key differences from how you approach selling on your own site. Sellers on Amazon are essentially tenants, and have to abide by the landlord’s rules and policies.

Let’s explore a few primary differences to consider…

  • While Amazon Stores (covered below) help you showcase your brand, products, and value proposition on Amazon, you don’t have the same level of control over the look, feel, functionality, and overall customer experience as you do on your own website
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  • On Amazon, you’re not alone. Once you’ve attracted shoppers to your own website, the additional products they’ll find while browsing and comparing will be your own. On Amazon, browsing and comparing can easily lead shoppers to another seller
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  • All that competition comes with some problem sellers. On Amazon, you’ll have to watch out for scammers trying to benefit from your hard work and quality products by using your legitimate ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers) for their own counterfeit products. To help protect against this, consider enrolling in Amazon Brand Registry

 

Selling on Amazon as a Vendor (1P) vs. Third-Party (3P) Seller

Before we dive into important tips to help you sell on Amazon, it’s important to distinguish between first-party and third-party sellers.

Vendors, or first-party sellers, use a program called Amazon Vendor Central to manage their account. Vendors sell their inventory to Amazon for a wholesale rate, then Amazon sells the product directly to consumers.

Amazon vendors are part of an invite-only program for manufacturers and distributors, with Amazon reaching out to express interest in buying their product or products directly. This is typically done if a brand/product has historically solid selling performance on the platform, or is a well-established brand/product. These listings will display as being both sold by Amazon, and fulfilled by Amazon.

However, the majority of sellers on Amazon are Third-Party Sellers, who use an interface called Amazon Seller Central. This requires sellers to list, price, and market their own products, and also leaves sellers responsible for organizing and monitoring inventory, pricing, advertising, reports, and more. With that said, being a third-party seller has its perks:

  • Increase Exposure and Reach New Customers – With millions of unique monthly visitors, visibility on Amazon helps boost brand awareness, and get more people to your online store. The Amazon Marketplace is huge. You’ll gain exposure to new and varied shoppers through the Marketplace—many of whom might never encounter your online store otherwise
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  • Leverage Marketplace Benefits – Amazon’s Marketplace is a shopping destination that is known for reliability, ease of online shopping, speedy shipping, and an incredible selection. Listing on the Marketplace will allow you to capitalize on the hard branding and growth work Amazon has put in over the past 25+ years
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  • Increase Sales – Many shoppers come to Amazon with the explicit intent to purchase, or at the very least are looking to browse or compare. Online search, advertising, and other forms of online exposure do not guarantee that same bottom-funnel audience that is likely to quickly convert

Selling through Amazon Seller Central is generally more work than selling through Amazon Vendor Central, but it’s also open to a larger group of sellers, and comes with greater levels of control around shipping, prices, and fulfillment—not to mention the potential for higher margins.
 

 
Ready to dive in? Let’s take a top-down approach outlining how to sell on Amazon…
 

Conduct Market and Product Research

If you’ll be selling products on Amazon that you already sell on other online marketplaces, including your own retail website, you already have a healthy head start on the market and product research. That said, you aren’t done!

Whether you’re a new seller, or an established ecommerce retailer in other spaces, it’s important to conduct Amazon-specific market and product research. The factors and tactics that drive shoppers to your ecommerce site may differ quite a bit from what will lead to success on Amazon.

A few things to consider in your research:

  • What are the current top-sellers in your market, category, or niche, and what can you learn from those listings?
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  • Do the top listings in your category have a large number of images, detailed product information, and/or reviews?
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  • How important does offering Prime shipping appear to be in your space?
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  • What is the overall sentiment for the best-sellers and worst-sellers in your space?
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  • In reading the reviews for similar products, take note of what shoppers like, dislike, have trouble with, or wish they knew before buying
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  • Where possible, contact others in your industry to learn more about their experience selling on Amazon, and ways in which they approach the space similarly or differently than other platforms

 

Assess Your Business Plan

Your business plan on Amazon should start by identifying your primary goals—why do you want to sell on Amazon in the first place? What do you want, or need, to get out of selling on Amazon to consider it “a success?”

From there, it can be helpful to assign a hierarchy to your goals. Knowing which goals are most important will help everyone in your organization better understand what to do, and how to do it, in ways that ladder up to the desired outcomes. It will also help in resource allocation, as you’ll want to be sure your primary goal is supported in every business decision you make.

Some things you’ll want to consider in building your business plan include:

  • What does our space on Amazon look like? We all know there is a lot of competition on Amazon, but not all competition is created equal. Take time to research other primary players in your space already active on the platform to see if you’ll be going up against MVPs, or can more quickly make a name for yourself with some strategic moves
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  • How long do we plan to sell on Amazon? For most brands, there is no ‘end date’ in mind, as selling on Amazon is an integral part of their overall marketing strategy. However, others use Amazon for a needed temporary boost, or to increase brand awareness that they hope will translate to increased traffic on their own site. Because many marketing strategies are long-term, and different optimization methods and advertising initiatives see the most success on differing timelines, it’s important to determine if selling on Amazon will just be a fling, or you’re working toward an ongoing relationship
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  • How much time and money are we willing to invest in selling on Amazon? Before you spend time creating a robust marketing strategy packed with internal projects and full-funnel advertising options, make sure you have a solid understanding of what you, or your business, are willing to spend. Also consider if there are any situations you would consider make-or-break, and factor those in

 

Find Reliable Suppliers

If you’ll be selling entirely new products for which you don’t already have inventory, you’ll need to dedicate time to researching reliable suppliers. This can be done via the internet, or in person, such as connecting through trade shows. Top considerations when determining a good fit include:

  • The quality of the products they offer. Be sure to request a sample of every product you plan to purchase so you can personally assess the look and feel
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  • The price per product, and if there is a minimum (or maximum) order quantity
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  • How easy the supplier is to reach, including how quickly they return calls or emails, and how many avenues you’re provided with to contact them
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  • The order volume they can keep up with. Just like retailers, suppliers come in all sizes and capabilities, and some will be equipped for much higher output than others. This can vary not only by the size of the supplier, but the type of goods, among other factors. For example, a supplier might be able to quickly restock socks and candles, but will need more time—or have a smaller number of—hand-knit sweaters, which take longer to produce
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  • How quickly they can ship, and where their shipments come from. Knowing where shipments originate will give you a better idea of how long they will take to arrive from order date, as well as any current conditions / supply chain issues that may impact their delivery

 

Decide Between the Professional or Individual Seller Plan

When choosing an Amazon Seller Plan—Individual or Professional—the most important thing to consider is how many products you plan to list for sale on the site. The totality of the sales you anticipate on the platform should be your guiding light when deciding on a plan.

Both Individual and Professional Seller plans allow for listing products across a wide selection of common categories, with some additional categories available only to Professional Sellers who apply for permission and meet the necessary requirements. Categories exclusively available to Professional Seller accounts include fine art, fine jewelry, collectible coins, and more.

The major differences between the Professional Amazon Seller Plan vs. the Individual Seller Plan include:

Individual Plan: Best if you are an entry-level or niche seller that expects to sell fewer than 40 items per month. There’s no monthly subscription fee, but your selling fees are $0.99 per item in addition to referral fees and additional selling fees.

Professional Plan: Most established brands will start here – particularly if they plan to leverage Amazon advertising, which is only available for Professional plans. The monthly subscription fee is currently $39.99 (with no $.99 per item fee), in addition to referral fees and additional selling fees.

Other key features and benefits a Professional plan offers that an Individual plan doesn’t include: Buy Box eligibility; sales tax collection on items sold; API integration available; create listings in bulk; manage your inventory with feeds, spreadsheets and reports; ability to grant user permissions; on-site advertising tools.
 

Create Your Amazon Seller Account

To get started, visit the “Sell on Amazon” page and click the ‘Sign up’ bubble. Some things you’ll need on-hand to begin registration include: a credit card that can be charged internationally; banking information, including your routing and account numbers; tax identification information.

If you’re a regular Amazon shopper yourself, chances are good you already have hundreds of emails from them in your inbox. To help in keeping your personal and business-related Amazon emails separate, we recommend using a different email address for your business than the one already linked to your personal Amazon Prime account. If you don’t already have a separate account, consider creating one in Gmail before logging into Seller Central. Keep in mind every Seller Central account you open will require a unique email.

Once you’ve decided on a login, Amazon will prompt you to fill out several additional steps, including:

  • Seller Agreement / Information: You will need your business name & address, mobile or telephone number, chargeable credit card & valid bank account, and your tax information
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  • Billing / Deposit: This is where you will decide on your Professional Seller plan and fees
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  • Tax Information: Here you will select whether you’re a sole proprietor or a business. The major difference? Sole proprietors/individuals use their Social Security Number instead of an Employer Identification Number as their tax identification number
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  • Product Information: Amazon will ask you a variety of questions about your products, including: their UPC codes; if you manufacture your own products; how many products you would like to list on the marketplace. Note that Amazon is already cross-checking UPC codes assigned to different ASINs on their marketplace against the GS1 database. This means any seller without authentic GS1 UPC codes is at risk of getting their listings removed at Amazon’s discretion

Once you complete these steps you will be officially welcomed to your Seller Central dashboard, which includes a variety of tabs for managing inventory, pricing, orders, advertising, reports, and performance.

Don’t forget to list your products and fill out the “About Seller” to let the Marketplace know about your business. You can also include your company logo, FAQs, and your privacy policy.
 

Add Products to Your Store

If the identical product you’re adding already exists on Amazon, you’ll add your product using the existing listing. If this will be a brand new product for which you’re the only seller, you’ll start by creating a new listing.

Below—within Best Practices for Advertising Products Sold on Amazon—we explore how to fully optimize your product detail pages, including how to best structure your title, and use keyword-rich descriptions for optimal discoverability. Some basic listing details you’ll need to get started adding products include:

  • Product identifier (GTIN, UPC, ISBN or EAN)
  • Product brand, name, and category
  • Product description details and images
  • Item SKU (stock keeping unit)
  • Item price and quantity available
  • Shipping options
  • Product condition (ex. new or refurbished)

 

Establish Inventory Management Processes

You can be doing all the right things on Amazon to get shoppers to your listings, but if your products aren’t in stock, you’ll lose 100% of your potential sales. Effective inventory management is more important than ever, especially if you’re an Amazon seller. In recent years, Amazon introduced monthly long-term storage fees for slow-moving inventory, increased FBA fees, and launched the new Inventory Performance Index (IPI) metric.

There have also been improvements to the basic inventory management features available in Seller Central. What these changes have in common is a mission to help Amazon merchants manage their inventory more effectively. However, some sellers face special challenges when managing their Amazon inventory—particularly if they are self-fulfilling (not leveraging FBA). If that rings true for you, you may want to invest in an Amazon inventory management tool.
 

Choose a Fulfillment Method

Before you can actually start selling, you need to determine if you want Amazon to handle fulfillment of your products, or if it would make more sense to handle your own order fulfillment when purchases come through. Current Amazon fulfillment options include:

  1. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
  2. Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)
  3. Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
  4. FBA Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF)

 
Let’s break these down to better understand each option.
 

Option 1: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

Amazon statistic, reading “on average, sellers see a 20-25% increase in sales after adopting FBA”

Source: https://sell.amazon.com/

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a program where Amazon stores, packs, ships, and handles customer service for the products you sell on Amazon. FBA gives you the ability to sell products with free and/or fast shipping and delivery, which can help increase sales.

“Prime members love FREE Two-Day Shipping, and all Amazon.com customers can get free shipping on eligible orders. When you list products for FBA, they are eligible for free shipping, too. Qualified FBA listings are displayed with the Prime logo, so customers know that Amazon handles packing, delivery, customer service, and returns.”Amazon

FBA is a fulfillment option that sellers can choose for any or all of their products. Sellers vary on the number of products they choose to fulfill (if any) using FBA, with primary considerations including their sales volume, margins, product category, and related seller variables.

Fulfillment by Amazon is a great option for merchants who are looking to efficiently and reliably improve shipping times, while reducing time, money, and resources they must allot to fulfillment, including storage and distribution.
 

The Benefits of FBA

The launch of FBA was a game-changer for many brands and businesses that don’t have the time, desire, or necessary infrastructure, expertise, or workforce to handle fulfillment as well as Amazon is equipped to do. Some key benefits FBA offers include:

  • Streamlined Operations: FBA eliminates fulfillment shipping efforts for sellers. Instead of handling the logistics, work, and associated fees of warehouse management, including picking, packaging, and shipping, retailers can pass off those tasks to Amazon at a cost
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  • Products are Primed for Amazon Prime Sales: Amazon Prime customers purchase more products, and shop more frequently, than non-Prime Amazon shoppers on the site. Using FBA increases product discoverability as FBA products feature Prime shipping, and appear for Prime-filtered searches. Conversions are typically higher on product detail pages for items that are Prime-eligible, which can increase sales for products you sell using FBA
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  • Customer Service & Returns: Amazon handles customer service and returns for FBA orders—a major perk for sellers who aren’t customer service specialists. This frees you up to spend more time strategically growing your business
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  • Shipping Speed: For online shoppers, FBA provides quicker shipping rates, Amazon Prime-eligible shipping, and 24/7 Customer Service and delivery tracking through Amazon. FBA products are shipped from Amazon, so they typically are processed and shipped more quickly than products sent directly from the retailer. Amazon emphasizes customer service, so shoppers can rely on helpful assistance that can reduce the chances of a dissatisfied customer, or negative review
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  • Buy Box Share: FBA impacts key factors in Buy Box share variables, including shipping and seller rating. FBA is a good way to boost your chances of getting a share of the Buy Box for products where shipping or other Buy Box eligibility requirements might be hard to achieve
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  • Amazon Branding: FBA is fulfilled by Amazon, a company that has worked hard to curate a brand focused on customer service and ease of online shopping. FBA aligns your store with that branding and lends that reputation to your store

Now for the biggest con (for most sellers) to FBA: the cost.
 

Costs of FBA

Amazon seller fees result in a charge of a percent of total sale profits. In addition to those fees, FBA charges fees based on:

  • Shipping weight and size
  • Handling fees
  • Pick & pack
  • Storage costs (sq ft.)
  • Seasonality surges (costs tend to increase in relation to upcoming holidays and tentpole events)

 
For some sellers, FBA initially seems like an expensive option, but keep in mind that leveraging FBA makes Amazon your logistics partner. At Tinuiti, we use our FBA Profitability Analysis Tool to help our clients determine if their products will be profitable using FBA.

Amazon Fulfillment impacts your margin for individual products, which arguably limits profitability. However, with the increase of total sale volume and exposure, FBA is likely a good investment for your online store. For example, you may make less money on an individual product—such as a single water bottle—but you are likely to sell more water bottles overall for a larger holistic profit.

Like the idea of FBA for some of your products, but still want to handle fulfillment on your own for others? You can do that!

Sellers using FBA don’t have to use the FBA option for all of their products, allowing you to calculate which products are profitable to fulfill with FBA. FBA may not be a strong option for your store depending on the competition surrounding your products, what products you sell, where your business is located, your margins, and other related variables, but its advantages make it worth exploring for all sellers.
 

Option 2: Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) makes you responsible for picking, packing, and shipping the products you sell on the Amazon Marketplace. FBM does not give you the option to list products as “Prime.”

The biggest benefit of FBM is that you’ll avoid some of the fees that come with FBA. However, you’ll be required to abide by all of Amazon seller rules (i.e. replying to customer support issues within 24 hours, provide tracking info, and shipping within your stated time frame).

Self-fulfillment takes more work, but is doable if you already have the right infrastructure in place to handle all of the above.

Unfortunately, and importantly, with FBM you will not have access to selling via Amazon Prime (unless you’re selling with Seller Fulfilled Prime – see below), which in turn will lead to less sales than a comparable FBA offering.
 

Option 3: Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)

Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) is a hybrid Amazon fulfillment option that gives you the ability to store, pack, and ship products from your own warehouse, while allowing your products to be listed with the conversion-boosting Prime badge. Just remember—that badge comes with responsibility.

“Seller Fulfilled Prime is the Prime program that allows you to deliver directly to domestic Prime customers from your own warehouse. By displaying the Prime badge, you are committing to fulfill orders with Two-Day Delivery at no additional charge for Prime customers.”Amazon

Qualifying for SFP isn’t easy, requiring you to “complete a trial period to show that you are able to meet the requirements for Prime fulfillment excellence and customer satisfaction.” During the trial period, you’ll need to satisfy all of Amazon’s outlined requirements. These include (but are not limited to): Offering premium shipping options; shipping 99%+ of your orders on time, and meeting the 1-day or 2-day delivery promise; maintaining an OCR (order cancellation rate) below 0.5%; using Amazon Buy Shipping Services for at least 99% of your orders.

Seller Fulfilled Prime is the best of both worlds for businesses with a solid fulfillment strategy, but there is no room to slack. Amazon holds SFP orders to very high standards, with ambitious requirements.

If you’d like to explore SFP, check to see if Amazon is currently accepting new registrants. If not, there may be an available waitlist to join.
 

Option 4: FBA Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF)

Multi-channel fulfillment—an option within FBA—is designed to help sellers active across two or more sites or channels access the same inventory for all order fulfillment, no matter where the sale comes through. With Amazon MCF, you ship all of your inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. When orders come through, Amazon will pack and ship them on your behalf, including those that come through your own website.

By utilizing Amazon MCF, sellers who struggle to maintain efficient shipping and delivery speeds can leverage “the world’s largest fulfillment network to provide fast, reliable ecommerce fulfillment wherever orders are placed.” While FBA and MCF come at a cost, the improvement in customer satisfaction can help improve your reviews, and fuel your business growth on and off Amazon.
 

 
Once you have all your products listed on Amazon, optimization and advertising can help give them additional visibility, and a boost in sales. Let’s explore some of the most important things to consider when optimizing your listings, and advertising on Amazon.
 

1. Provide Search Optimized Product Listings

Almost anyone can list on Amazon, but not every seller is following the Amazon SEO best practices that are essential to securing visibility and sales. Detailed product listings can help your product rank above a competitor’s for relevant queries. Additionally, providing shoppers with all the needed information once they land on your page can play a huge role in increased conversions, so it’s truly a win-win to button everything up.

Here are a few tips to get you started…
 

Product Title Guidelines

Amazon product title lengths are determined at the category-level, and are the same for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP), and Merchant Fulfillment Network (MFN) listings. Review Amazon’s category-specific style guides to find the preferred style for products within your category.

Take time to create strong, detailed product titles that make the most of Amazon’s character count limit, including keywords that could help your product rank better for a variety of relevant searches. Don’t keyword stuff, but think beyond the product-focused keywords themselves to things you can naturally incorporate into the title, like ingredients, product attributes, and/or desired effects. If you are selling a shampoo, for example, in addition to including the brand and size in the product title, you might mention if it’s cruelty-free, volumizing, or includes a certain ingredient that shoppers might be searching for, like tea tree or argan oil.

To create product titles (product names) that help you appear in shoppers’ searches, and encourage strong click-through, we recommend following these best practices:

  • List words in their natural order, considering importance (ie. don’t bury the brand name at the end where it might not be seen)
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  • Capitalize the first letter of each word (excluding prepositions, articles, and conjunctions)
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  • Spell out measurement-related words, such as Ounce, Inch, and Pound
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  • All numbers should be numerals, not spelled out
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  • Ampersands should not be used in titles unless part of a brand name; spell out “and” (in lowercase)
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  • If the size is not a relevant detail, do not list it in the title
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  • If the product does not come in multiple colors, the color should not be noted in the title

 
While a detailed product title is immensely helpful for sellers and buyers alike, there are a few details you shouldn’t include.

  • Price and quantity (unless a multipack)
  • All caps
  • Seller information
  • Promotional messages such as “Sale”
  • Suggestive commentary such as “Best Seller”
  • Symbols, special characters, emojis, and ASCII characters ($, !, &, ?, etc.)

 

Use Detailed Bullet Points for Key Product Features

The Amazon product detail page bullet points—aka “Key Product Features” section—is located under the “Descriptions” tab. Product features are the second most important factor in surfacing your products, so you’ll want to maximize your character count here as well. Amazon shoppers rely heavily on bullet points to gather top takeaways at a glance. The more descriptive the bullet points for your product pages, the better your sales are likely to be.

Try to include the following in your listing’s bullet points:

  • Highlight the top five features that you want your customers to consider, such as dimensions, warranty information, or age appropriateness
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  • Begin each bullet point with a capital letter
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  • Write in fragments, and do not include ending punctuation
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  • Write all numbers as numerals
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  • Separate phrases in one bullet with semicolons
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  • Spell out measurements, such as quart, inch, or feet

As with product titles, there are a few things you shouldn’t do when writing bullet points for your key product features. For example:

  • Do not write vague statements; be as specific as possible with product features and attributes
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  • Do not enter company-specific information; this section is for product features only
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  • Do not include promotional and pricing information
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  • Do not include shipping or company information. Amazon’s policy prohibits including the seller, company, or shipping information

 

Write Effective Product Descriptions

Product descriptions are typically a few paragraphs long, and should explain the major product features, such as size, style, and what the product can be used for. Amazon encourages sellers to include accurate dimensions, care instructions, and warranty information, and use correct grammar, punctuation, and complete sentences.

Note that as of July 17, 2021, Amazon no longer allows the use of HTML tags in product detail page descriptions, with the exception of line breaks (<br>). The use of light HTML—such as adding bolding to text to help it stand out—was common practice, with Amazon citing security concerns and potential accessibility issues as the reasons for removing HTML tagging capabilities.

In addition to HTML tags, other things you shouldn’t list in your product description include:

  • Your seller name, phone number, email address, or physical address
  • Website URLs
  • Company-specific information
  • Product condition
  • Price or availability information
  • Quotes, reviews, or testimonials
  • Requests that customers leave a positive review
  • Details about another product that you sell
  • Promotional language such as “SALE” or “free shipping”
  • Anything that would be considered a ‘spoiler’—applies to books, music, video, and DVD (BMVD) listings
  • Time-sensitive information
  • Promotional material
  • Watermarks on images or videos

 
Additionally, if you’re selling products in a category that Amazon regulates, make sure to carefully read all requirements so you don’t risk your listing getting taken down for using the wrong terms.
 

Use High-Quality Product Images and Videos

All Amazon detail pages require at least one main product image be shown, but additional images and videos can help greatly in securing buyer confidence and increasing sales. Put your best self forward with clear, eye-catching, information-rich images that enhance product understanding and appeal.

Amazon’s image requirements and site standards include:

  • Images must accurately represent the product for sale, and match the product title
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  • Main product image (the image shown in search results) must have a white background
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  • Product should fill at least 85% of the image frame
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  • Must match the product title
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  • Must have clearly defined borders, and not be blurry or pixelated
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  • Must not contain nudity or be considered sexually suggestive
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  • No Amazon logos, trademarks, or badges used on the platform, or variations thereof, are permitted
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  • Supported file types include JPEG (preferred), TIFF, PNG and GIF (no animated GIFs)
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  • Must not exceed 10,000px on longest side
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  • For your images to be zoom-eligible, they must be at least 1,000px, with a minimum of 1,600px or larger on the longest side recommended for optimal experience

Note that there are additional site standards for Main product images, with the above criteria serving for all images.

By following these best practices, you’ll be able to stay in Amazon’s good graces while ensuring your product listing is compelling.
 

Win the Amazon Buy Box

Amazon’s Buy Box is a coveted section on the right side of an Amazon product detail page where customers can click to add a product to their cart, or make an instant purchase. The majority of Amazon customers shop using the Buy Box, with many not even being aware that for some listings, there are multiple sellers they can choose to shop from.

Amazon Buy Box infographic also showing where other sellers can be chosen by shoppers

If you sell on Amazon and want to increase your sales, winning the Buy Box is crucial. Obtaining and retaining Buy Box ownership requires that you have a Professional Seller Plan, are competitively priced, and maintain Amazon’s performance requirements. Remember—the Buy Box is designed to make it as easy as possible for customers to purchase from the seller offering the best overall value. If that’s you, you’re not only more likely to win the Buy Box, but also to have sustained customer satisfaction.
 

Get Legitimate Product Reviews

Customers rely on authentic product reviews on almost every site they shop from, but thanks to Amazon’s size, products sold there tend to have a high number of reviews. Positive, helpful reviews are the social proof brands need to earn continued consumer confidence.

In soliciting reviews, be sure to adhere to Amazon’s customer product reviews policy. Encourage shoppers to leave reviews whenever possible, but don’t offer compensation for doing so. Also be sure to follow-up on any negative reviews, or neutral reviews that cite a concern. This will show prospective customers reading the reviews that if they have an issue with their purchase, they can count on support.
 

Use A+ Content

Amazon A+ content is available for select sellers on Amazon—currently including 1P vendors, emerging brand owners, and Amazon Brand Registry sellers. A+ content better conveys the value of your products through the use of detailed product descriptions, rich images, comparison charts and infographics, and/or videos.

Below is an example of an A+ content detail page:

jack black A+ content amazon

Using A+ content on Amazon has proven to increase conversion rates and reduce returns for many sellers. Think of everything a potential shopper might want or need to know about your product to be secure in their purchase decision, and account for that in the content you produce. This will vary based on your product and category, but enhanced user experience and customer confidence is at the core of all A+ content.
 

Invest in Amazon’s Sponsored Ads

Years ago, having a solid organic strategy was enough for many sellers to find success on Amazon. Today, with increased competition and overall growth of the site in mind, Amazon is a bit of a pay-to-play space for the most visibility. For that reason, sellers should be prepared to invest in advertising for their Amazon listings.

There are 3 main, self-serve categories of ad space that brands and sellers can purchase directly from Amazon:

  • Sponsored Products
  • Sponsored Brands
  • Sponsored Display

 
A fourth advertising avenue to consider is Amazon DSP. Similar to Sponsored Products, Brands, and Display, sellers don’t have to work directly with Amazon to leverage DSP. However, it is required that you work with an agency partner like Tinuiti to run Amazon DSP ads, making it less fully ‘self-serve’ than Sponsored Products, Brands, or Display, which brands and sellers can choose to run themselves, or work with an agency to manage.

Amazon Sponsored Products are pay-per-click (PPC) ads based on relevant keywords (and product targeting) that drive traffic to a specific, individual product listing within the Amazon platform. Sponsored Products ads are shown within shopping results, and on product detail pages.

These search ads are Amazon’s flagship ad format and are a key investment for brands across all categories for driving awareness and conversions on Amazon’s marketplace.

Screenshot of Amazon Sponsored Products on marketplace search

Sponsored Brands ads (formerly Headline Search ads) allow advertisers to feature custom headlines, up to 3 products, and brand creative—including their brand logo—to engage potential customers at the beginning of their shopping journey. Sponsored Brands banner ads are served within, alongside, or at the top of relevant Amazon shopping results to increase visibility with the right shoppers. These ads direct shoppers to specific product listings on Amazon, or your Amazon Store home page.

amazon sponsored brands ads for wireless earbuds

Sponsored Brands video: The use of video is on the rise across digital advertising on the whole, and Amazon is no exception. Sponsored Brands video ads are designed to educate shoppers about your product, and commonly include demonstrations, use-case examples, and top takeaways about product features. These videos should be short, informative, and product-focused; ideally 15-30 seconds in length.

Sponsored Brands video ads best practices include:

  • Open with the product (no fade-ins or empty frames)
  • Customer reviews cannot be included
  • Amazon branding elements cannot be used
  • Because these videos are set to automatically play and loop upon completion, they should be polished and designed for a seamless user experience; Amazon may reject your ad if there are abrupt edits or crops

 
Once you’ve laid the foundation with Product collection and Video ads, consider exploring more advanced Sponsored Brands opportunities and formats, including Store spotlight ads for Amazon Store owners.

Sponsored Display is a self-service advertising solution that helps you “engage and re-engage shoppers, on and off Amazon” using shopping and contextual signals. In other words, Sponsored Display ads are effective for reaching entirely new audiences, and for retargeting.

These easy-to-setup-and-launch ads are available for 1P vendors and professional sellers enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry, and are offered with your choice of a CPC or vCPM pricing structure.

Sponsored Display ads can prove beneficial across the full funnel, with optimization strategies including: Optimize for viewable impressions; Optimize for page visits; Optimize for conversions. Because these ads can display deals and savings badges, they can prove especially valuable during Amazon sales events or brand-specific promotional periods.

Where your Sponsored Display ads will appear on and/or off Amazon is determined by your targeting strategy—available tactics include product targeting and audiences.

  • Potential product targeting placements, which are designed to reach shoppers actively considering and comparing their options, include: on product detail pages; within shopping results pages; beneath the featured offer; alongside customer reviews
  •  

  • For Sponsored Display audiences campaigns, which are designed to reach relevant shoppers based on their click and browse history, “your display creatives may appear off Amazon on apps and third-party websites such as Twitch, as well as on Amazon in placements on the homepage, product detail pages, and shopping results pages—helping you reengage with shoppers in their purchase journey.”

Example of Amazon sponsored display ad on news site

Sponsored Display ads are ideal for building mid-funnel awareness, helping inform, engage, and convert shoppers. As discussed in our post on Amazon’s blog—How to approach display advertising with Tinuiti—these ads help advertisers “access display inventory without the higher requirements of Amazon DSP.”

“Sponsored Display’s customization features help you tell your brand story and increase campaign performance. Sponsored Display allows you to refresh or edit specific campaign sections, rather than starting from scratch.You can use updated creative elements such as images, headlines or logos for increased seasonal relevance.”Amazon
 

Advertise Off-site with Amazon DSP (agency support required)

Amazon DSP — also known as the Amazon Demand-Side Platform — gives brands and sellers the ability to programmatically buy video, audio, and display ad placements. Programmatic ads use available data to determine which digital advertising spaces you’ll buy, and how much you’ll pay for them.

Amazon DSP allows brands to use Amazon targeting capabilities in showing ads to new and existing customers on Amazon owned-and-operated web properties, in addition to those it does not control. Even brands that aren’t selling products on Amazon can advertise using Amazon DSP.

Amazon DSP unlocks incredible opportunities for brands and sellers, and we expect the unique ad options and capabilities will only continue growing. Some current forward-thinking DSP advertising options include streaming TV ads on Fire Stick, and in-store screen ads in Whole Foods stores. If you want to reach customers in these spaces, DSP is the way to do it.

Example of Amazon video ad placement with Under Armour bag
 

Set-Up an Amazon Store

Amazon Stores are a free self-service product that allows brand owners to design and create multipage stores to showcase their brands, products, and value proposition on Amazon. If we think of Amazon.com as a shopping mall, Amazon Stores are the individual retail spaces within.

Example of R+Co Amazon Store

Setting up an Amazon Store is crucial for brand-building on Amazon, but the process can take some time and expertise to efficiently navigate. For that reason, many sellers choose to work with a reputable Amazon agency like Tinuiti to build, design, and optimize their Store.

Here are some of the benefits of working with an experienced Amazon agency to build your Amazon Store:

  • Understanding of how Amazon works and the types of content that resonate best with Marketplace shoppers
  •  

  • Knowledge about Store requirements and best practices. An agency’s solid understanding of Amazon’s restrictions and policies can save you substantial time on revisions. It’s also super beneficial to work with an agency that’s already familiar with Amazon’s available features and layouts
  •  

  • Avoid wasting time on re-submissions. An experienced agency will be up-to-date on the latest qualifications, which will allow you to move faster through the creation and submission process

 

Additional Best Practices When Selling on Amazon

 
Some final considerations to make include whether to sell internationally, how Amazon Attribution and Brand Registry can help you grow and protect your brand, and how those fees all stack up. Let’s dive into each…
 

Remember: There Are Fees to Sell on Amazon

The cost to sell on Amazon is largely determined by which selling plan you choose, and how you’re planning to handle fulfillment.

As we mentioned earlier, Amazon sellers can choose between a Professional or Individual selling plan. Individual sellers pay $0.99 for each item sold on Amazon, plus referral and additional selling fees. Professional sellers also pay referral and additional selling fees, with a $39.99 monthly charge that exempts them from the $0.99 per item sold fee.

chart showing differences between professional amazon selling plan vs individualVisit Amazon’s pricing page for a fuller breakdown of Amazon fees and additional cost considerations and incentives.
 

Measure Cross-Channel Impact with Amazon Attribution

Amazon Attribution is a measurement solution that provides advertisers with valuable insights into how their non-Amazon marketing channels are performing on Amazon; these reports include both orders and revenue for traffic originating off Amazon. It can measure traffic brought directly to Amazon, as well as traffic to a site that later converts on Amazon. This arms advertisers and brands with the necessary shopper journey information to optimize their media campaigns, and grow product sales.

Amazon Attribution can measure traffic from nearly any source, including search ads, display ads, social ads, video ads, and email marketing. Through the creation of orders and line items, brands can create unique tracking templates, and performance can be measured to their desired level of granularity.

There is currently no cost to participate in Amazon Attribution, but it is only available to eligible sellers and vendors, including: “professional sellers enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry, vendors, KDP authors, and agencies with clients who sell products on Amazon.”
 

Consider Enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry

Screenshot from the Amazon Brand Registry homepage

Source: https://brandservices.amazon.com/brandregistry

The Amazon Brand Registry gives brand owners access to proprietary text, image search, predictive automation, and reporting tools designed to protect their registered trademarks and create an accurate and trusted experience for customers.

The Amazon Brand Registry also allows brands to search for content using images, keywords, or a list of ASINs in bulk, and report suspected violations through a simple, guided workflow.

Let’s talk about why this is important for sellers.

While selling on Amazon, you may experience counterfeit issues or situations where your product content is changed by a third party seller.

The Amazon Brand Registry provides a necessary set of tools that may help sellers avoid these issues— including Transparency by Amazon, Project Zero, and Counterfeit Crimes Unit.

Here’s how Amazon’s Brand Registry works, how to enroll, and other brand protection programs that you can use to prevent third-party sellers from counterfeiting your products on the marketplace.

To become a member of the Amazon Brand Registry you must:

  • Step 1. Review eligibility requirements. ”Brands must have a pending or registered and active text-based or image-based trademark”
  •  

  • Step 2. Sign into Amazon Brand Registry. Brand Registry application must be submitted by the trademark owner. If you are an authorized agent, please have the trademark owner enroll the brand first, and add your account as an additional user. If you meet the eligibility requirements, sign in using your existing Seller or Vendor Central credentials. Or, if you don’t yet have an Amazon account, create one for free
  •  

  • Step 3. Enroll your brand. Once you sign in, you will need to enroll your brand(s). After Amazon has verified the information you submit during enrollment, you will be able to access Brand Registry’s features to help protect your brand

 

Explore Selling Products Internationally

In the beginning stages, it’s common for sellers to experience a combination of excitement and fear at the prospect of selling products internationally. Common concerns like credit card fraud and shipping delays may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right guidance, sellers can avoid common mistakes and simplify their global expansion process.

The decision to go global is often driven by a combination of factors—some financial, and others related to marketing, merchandising or operations. It can be a lucrative decision for some sellers, but not all. We recommend honing in on your primary goals in going global to determine if it’s the best move for your business.
 

 
For many sellers and brands, absolutely!

With the right products, sophisticated marketing tactics, helpful tools, and seller support, brands selling on Amazon can see great success. Although the competition for almost every category on the marketplace is fierce, there are still plenty of opportunities for brands to thrive.

To be a successful Amazon seller, you should:

  • Research potential niches before deciding on the products you want to sell
  •  

  • Understand pricing, costs, and fees. This can include manufacturing costs, shipping, packaging, selling fees, and more
  •  

  • Ensure your business operations are in good shape, including inventory management and forecasting
  •  

  • Acquire expert knowledge of marketing, branding, and advertising. We recommend partnering with an Amazon agency that specializes in Amazon advertising
  •  

  • Leverage cross-channel insights. Thanks to tools like Amazon Attribution, brands can measure the impact of their marketing efforts across multiple platforms and channels
  •  

  • Avoid complacency. Brands who rest on their laurels can be quickly outpaced by emerging competitors

And most importantly, be prepared for whatever Amazon throws your way. Changes can (and do) happen every single day. Looking for a partner to help you navigate these challenges? We’d love to hear from you!

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Tara Johnson and has been regularly updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Launched in 2005, YouTube now stands as the second largest search engine after Google.

Almost 2.7 billion people use YouTube worldwide every month and 87.7% of those users access it on their mobile phones.

Owing to the large number of video content available on the platform, you want to ensure that yours stands out.

To make it happen, you need to master effective content creation tips, use fantastic lighting, and invest in powerful video editing software.

There are tons of editing tools on the market that promise amazing results. 

To help you cut through the noise, I’ve curated a list of the 4 best YouTube video editing software.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something for you. Keep reading.

1. Movavi Video Editor

1708399564 369 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399564 369 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Top on the list is the Movavi Video Editor, one of the best YouTube video editing software for beginners.

It enables you to create compelling videos using advanced tools like audio correction, motion tracking, and chroma key without requiring any technical knowledge.

Additionally, you’ll find several ready-made YouTube intro videos and a large library of background music and audio clips.

Although the user interface is easy to navigate, Movavi still provides video tutorials to make you feel confident while editing.

Movavi runs on Windows (versions 7 to 11) and Mac OS X (10.15 or higher).

Key Features

  • AI background remover: Replaces backgrounds without a green screen
  • AI motion tracker: Sticks effects and images on moving objects
  • Precise frame cuts: Makes cuts with precision and attention-grabbing montages in one click
  • Color correction: Boosts colors so viewers can stay glued to your YouTube channel
  • Overlay effect: Offers 13 blending modes to create professional-looking videos
  • 4k resolution: Saves videos in ultra-high quality form
  • YouTube Integration: Saves you time by sharing videos directly to YouTube

Pricing

Movavi offers a generous free plan and three paid plans with different sets of features. Here are the prices for various plans it offers:

  • Free
  • Video Editor: $49.95/year
  • Video Editor + Effect Packs: $155.95/year
  • Video Suite + Effect Packs: $94.95/year
1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginner/Intermediate

2. Adobe Premiere Pro

1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

If you’re looking for the best YouTube video editing software that can transform a basic clip into a ready-to-upload video, Adobe Premiere Pro is your best bet. 

It integrates with all the apps in Adobe Creative Cloud to help you streamline your workflow.

Adobe Premiere Pro boasts an extensive range of features, from color correction tools and visual effects to collaboration tools for teams. 

Also, you can optimize the export settings to preserve the quality of your YouTube videos when you share them online. 

Although Premiere Pro is popular among professional video editors, follow the video steps for beginners provided on the platform to learn how to use it. All you need is a powerful computer and willingness to study the available tutorials.

The app is compatible with Windows (10 or later) and macOS Monterey (version 12 or later).

Key Features

  • Text-based editing: Removes pauses with ease
  • Project templates: Retains assets, colors, and branding across multiple projects
  • Speech-to-text conversion: Automatically creates captions and transcripts in over 18 languages
  • Auto reframe: Automatically detects and adjusts aspect ratios to easily upload videos to YouTube
  • Adobe stock library: Offers access to stock video footage, photos, and over 75,000 audio tracks and remix the length to fit your video

Pricing

Adobe Premier Pro offers two paid plans. Here are the details:

  • Premiere Pro: $29.99/month
  • Creative Cloud All Apps: $59.99/month
1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate/Advanced

3. Shotcut

1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Available on Linux, Windows, and macOS, Shotcut is a comprehensive YouTube video editing software solution. 

It supports various video and audio files, including AVI, WAV, and MP4.

The video editing software is great for complex projects as it allows you to combine several audio, image, and video files into one video. 

Also, editing on the platform doesn’t follow a chronological order; you can make changes at any point.

Shotcut may not be the best editing tool for new content creators because of the learning curve. 

However, the platform has a video editing guide, including a community of Shotcut users who are willing to assist you.

Key Features

  • Native timeline editing: Supports all video and audio formats, including 4k and 8k resolutions
  • Cross-platform editing: Gives you the option to start a project on macOS and switch to Windows without hassles
  • Video effects: Offers built-in effects like auto-rotate, white balancing, timeline fader, and 360° video filters, without installing any plugins
  • Display and monitoring: Ability to preview videos in low resolution to improve the speed of real-time effects
  • Keyframing: Option to define the start and finish points of effects along the video timeline such as transition, sound, and brightness or contrast

Pricing

 Shotcut is completely free to use as it’s an open-source software solution

Usability

It has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate

4. Lightworks

1708399565 259 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 259 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

If you’re looking to create the best videos in a short time, Lightworks is the way to go. 

It’s the best YouTube video editing software for beginners who are willing to learn video editing as they grow their YouTube channels.

Similar to Shotcut, the platform is loaded with all the tools you need to go from a beginner to a pro.

You can edit, color correct, add titles, and more using the drag-and-drop interface. 

Also, it’s compatible with YouTube video format and resolution for ease of uploading content.

All versions of Lightworks can work on Windows (8 and later), macOS (10.14 and later), and Linux.

Key Features

  • Universal timeline: Accommodates video footage of any quality, size, or frame rate
  • Flawless audio editing: Offers various audio effects and the option to sync with video for an immersive experience
  • Visual effects: Offers a simplified suite of over 700 customizable motion graphics and titles for easy to advanced editing
  • Easy export and share: Allows you to share videos on YouTube directly from the platform

Pricing

Here are the pricing plans offered by Lightworks.

  • Free
  • Create: $9.99/month
  • Pro: $23.99/month
1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced

Pro Tip: According to Attrock guide, the best video maker can offer training resources for non-technical users. This is particularly designed for video marketers who have no high skills in video creation and editing.

Choosing the Best YouTube Video Editing Software

Getting the best YouTube video editing software shouldn’t cost a fortune. 

Platforms like Shotcut and Lightworks offer free tools for both beginners and expert editors.

However, if your YouTube channel is already monetized and you’re willing to spend money on a super-advanced tool, Premiere Pro will be ideal.

Lastly, if you’re ready to level up your video editing game, try Movavi today. You’ll save money while accessing advanced editing features.


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How to Run Spotify Ads: Costs & Key Considerations

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How to Run Spotify Ads: Costs & Key Considerations

Spotify went public in 2008 in a market crowded with rival music services. The music streaming app has shattered expectations by reaching over 602 million users, including 236 million subscribers, across 180 markets. It is now the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service.  

Spotify Ads is also the largest digital audio advertising platform — giving marketers and brands a direct line into the ears of millions of ad-supported listeners.

The breakneck velocity of Spotify’s rise is incredibly impressive. The platform’s active users spend on average 148 minutes a day listening to their favorite music app — and most of these users are enjoying Spotify’s free, ad-supported version.

It’s clear Spotify is seeing vast success, but let’s dive a bit deeper into the world of advertising within the increasingly popular platform. Here’s a quick look at what digital audio advertising is, what Spotify Ads can offer brands and advertisers, and how you can get started. It’s easier than you might think.

The Advantages of Spotify Ads

With a valuation of over $72 billion, strong year-over-year growth in active users, with no signs of slowing down — Spotify has a bright future ahead.

Some marketers have been slow to leverage this new medium of advertising, but maybe now it’s time to pay attention as time spent in these ad units is increasing. Spotify offers marketers many unique advantages that can be leveraged to reach millions of tuned-in listeners across the globe. Let’s cover a few of the highlights:

Expansive and Diverse Audience Reach

Spotify is consistently expanding its reach and has an extremely diverse audience which is a huge benefit for potential advertisers. When advertising on the platform, you’ll have access to:

  • 300 million+ ad-supported listeners
  • Users who spend 2+ hours listening daily 
  • A 24% lift increase in ad recall for audio ads (according to Spotify)

As an added bonus, Spotify reports that “when compared to multi-format campaigns, audio-only campaigns tend to drive more foot traffic to stores at a more efficient cost per visit.”

In addition to effectively reaching an incredibly wide audience, Spotify also collects first-party data from its users that marketers can leverage to inform their targeting decisions.

Consumers Spend A lot of Time on the Platform

Consumers are increasingly investing significant time on the Spotify platform, drawn in by its vast array of content. With almost every song imaginable available for streaming and a steadily expanding library of podcasts, there’s no shortage of entertainment options. 

With their “Broadcast to Podcast” program, your favorite radio shows are finding a new home, seamlessly transitioning from airwaves to headphones. The numbers speak for themselves: 32% of Americans now listen to podcasts regularly, and that number is only growing.

A Ripe Opportunity for Engagement and Revenue Generation

With a commanding presence in the audio advertising arena, Spotify boasts a substantial market share, leveraging its vast user base comprising predominantly Millennials and Gen Z, but also attracting a significant number of older users. Currently, over 317 million users are engaged with the ad-supported tier of the platform, presenting a big opportunity for advertisers. Spotify’s approach to engaging users is multifaceted, employing a combination of audio, video, and display ads to effectively reach and resonate with audiences. 

By utilizing audio when users are most receptive, complemented by engaging video content to enhance messaging, and reinforced through strategic display ad placements, Spotify maximizes ad impact. The platform’s commitment to innovation is evident through its continual enhancement of ad offerings, introducing new functionalities to ensure advertisers can optimize their campaigns and connect with audiences in meaningful ways.

Spotify Provides a First-party Data Advantage

Whenever a user listens to a song, queues a playlist, or creates their own playlist — they are telegraphing something about themselves:

  • How they feel
  • Where they are
  • What they’re doing

This is the power of first-party data, and it’s a golden commodity for marketers and brands when it comes to reaching a targeted audience at the right time.

Consider Spotify’s running playlists for example. Spotify collects data that pinpoints when and how often users listen to running playlists. Brands like Nike put ad dollars to insert themselves into the headphones of users who are fired up and exercising. To put it simply – the ad resonates on an even deeper level.

Brands can use Spotify’s first-party data to reach listeners during very specific moods or activities — all based on the music that they’re engaging with.

Josh Brisco believes that Spotify’s advertising platform will only become more powerful in the future.

“With millions of ad-supported listeners world-wide and robust targeting capabilities, it is a fantastic way to get in front of a desired audience. Its continued user growth and investment in its ad units, capabilities, and overall product make it one to watch.”

How Spotify’s Ad Types Work

Spotify is based on a freemium model — where all users can have unlimited, free access supported by 15 and 30-second ad breaks. However, users can opt to pay for a premium account for an ad-free listening experience (besides certain ad units like homepage takeovers, sponsored playlists, and podcast ads). The great majority of Spotify’s listeners opt for the ad-supported version.

These ad units can play pre-roll and post-roll when users are listening to their favorite songs. Spotify also gives advertisers the option to incorporate video and display options into their strategy. 

Spotify Ads has expanded into a variety of different ad units:

Audio Ads 

Spotify’s audio ads are concise yet impactful, strategically placed between songs with clickable display content to engage listeners. With a maximum length of 30 seconds, these ads efficiently deliver messages to the target audience, spanning both mobile and desktop devices. Beyond direct targeting, these ads have the potential to reach additional demographics as they may play in various public spaces like stores and restaurants where Spotify is used.

With this ad type, you can combine audio messaging with customizable images (i.e: brand names, slogans, and calls-to-action) to drive traffic to designated websites. These ads offer highly targeted options, including geographic targeting, to ensure relevance and maximize impact.

These ads are extremely successful for brands. In fact, a study by Nielsen found that Spotify audio ads led to a 24% increase in ad recall and a 17% increase in purchase intent among listeners. 

 

example of a Spotify audio ad with a companion image, advertiser name, logo, tagline, and CTA

Source: Spotify

Video Ad Takeover (Mobile) 

Designed exclusively for mobile and tablet viewing, Spotify’s Video Ad Takeover offers advertisers a dynamic platform to showcase their brand message. With a strict limit of 30 seconds and a maximum file size of 500 MB, these videos are optimized for seamless integration into the user experience. Displayed in either portrait or landscape orientation with a 16:9 ratio, the ads are strategically placed between songs or during commercial breaks, ensuring maximum visibility when the screen is in view. 

Each video ad is accompanied by a companion banner featuring a customizable CTAs, enhancing user engagement. Advertisers also have the option to include a Branded End Card at the end of the video, providing an active link to their website for further interaction.

example of a Spotify video takeover ad on mobile device

Source: Spotify

Overlay Ads

Spotify’s Overlay Ads (compatible with both desktop and mobile devices), are a straightforward yet effective advertising solution. These simple, clickable display ads are strategically served to users upon their return to the Spotify app, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement. Occupying the full screen, these ads provide a prominent presence, capturing the user’s attention from the moment they re-enter the app. 

Users have the option to close the overlay either by clicking on the designated ‘X’ or allowing it to automatically close after 30 seconds. With a clickthrough URL included, these ads provide a seamless pathway for users to explore further content or interact with the advertised brand. As the first thing users see upon returning to the app, Overlay Ads offer advertisers a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression and drive desired actions.

example of a Spotify overlay ad for Kia Sportage shown on a desktop and mobile device

Source: Spotify

Homepage Takeover (Desktop)

With Spotify’s Homepage Takeover (desktop), advertisers can prominently feature their brand message on the front page of Spotify’s Desktop Homepage for a full 24 hours. This prime real estate allows for maximum exposure and engagement with users. While the ad links directly to the advertiser’s site, it’s important to note that audio is not supported in this format, although videos can be included to enhance the visual impact. 

Spotify offers resources and guidance to assist advertisers in crafting the perfect homepage ad, ensuring it aligns with platform guidelines while reflecting the advertiser’s vision. Additionally, third-party integration enables support for rich media, allowing for even more interactive and engaging advertising experiences. 

example of a Spotify homepage takeover ad for Fate of the Furious on a desktop

Source: Spotify

Leaderboard 

Leaderboard ads on Spotify are clickable ads that appear for 30 seconds, exclusively during a listening session when Spotify is in view. These ads are accessible via desktop player or web app, offering advertisers a direct channel to engage with users during their music or podcast streaming experience. With support for images or short animations lasting up to 15 seconds, advertisers have the flexibility to convey their message effectively within the specified timeframe. 

These ads are clickable, allowing users to interact with the ad content and be redirected to the advertiser’s desired destination. Leaderboard ads support rich media, enabling the incorporation of interactive elements to further enhance user engagement, whether implemented by Spotify or a third-party provider. 

example of a Spotify Leaderboard ad for Kia Sportage under a Discover Weekly playlist

Source: Spotify

Sponsored Playlist 

Distinguish your brand on Spotify with a tailored playlist sponsorship, featuring a clickable display ad and in-playlist media placements. With this feature, you can collaborate with Spotify to select the most relevant playlist for your target audience, leveraging the platform’s extensive user data and insights. For example, Kia recently sponsored Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, a weekly favorite among millions of listeners worldwide. 

This ad type ensures visibility across both mobile and desktop platforms, reaching audiences wherever they engage with Spotify. Your brand’s logo or ad assets will be prominently featured within the playlist interface, guaranteeing consistent exposure in the playlist queue. 

While anyone can create a playlist for free, opting for the sponsored option provides a strategic shortcut to reaching a large audience without the need to organically build a playlist from scratch. 

example of a Spotify Sponsored Playlist ad on desktop and mobile device

Source: Spotify

Sponsored Session Video

Tailored for mobile listeners, Sponsored Session Video ads on Spotify offer an opportunity to engage users with a brief interruption that presents an offer: 30 minutes of ad-free listening in exchange for watching a video ad on their phone. Similar to typical audio ads, these video interruptions prompt users to opt into an uninterrupted listening experience by engaging with the full video ad. The video ad must adhere to a duration of 30 seconds or less and can include a URL directing users to the advertiser’s webpage for further interaction. 

While specific pricing details for Sponsored Session Video ads may vary based on factors such as targeting options and campaign duration, they are generally considered to be more expensive than audio ads due to their enhanced engagement potential and the value of providing ad-free listening time to users. Engagement rates with Sponsored Session Video ads can vary depending on factors such as the relevance of the ad content and the appeal of the offer presented. Engagement rates for Sponsored Session Video ads tend to be relatively high, with a significant portion of users opting to engage with the ad in exchange for ad-free listening time. 

example of a Spotify Sponsored Session video ad on mobile devices

Source: Spotify

Banner Display Ads

Featured at the top of a Spotify user’s homepage, Banner Display Ads provide immediate visibility upon opening the app. As users navigate within the app, the banner seamlessly transitions to the bottom of the screen, ensuring continued exposure while minimizing disruption to the user experience. 

This strategic placement enables advertisers to capture the attention of users as they engage with Spotify’s platform, maximizing the impact of their advertising campaigns. With Banner Display Ads, advertisers can effectively reach and engage their target audience, driving brand awareness and fostering meaningful interactions within the Spotify community.

Podcast

Spotify offers a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach specific and well-defined audiences through podcast advertising. Pre-recorded ads, typically short audio clips ranging from 15 to 60 seconds, are strategically inserted within episodes. Host-read ads offer a more personalized touch, as hosts deliver the message in their own voice and style, which can enhance trust and authenticity. Another option is branded podcasts, where sponsors have the opportunity to immerse listeners in their brand story by sponsoring entire episodes or series. When it comes to reaching the right audience, platforms like Spotify Ad Studio allow for targeting specific podcasts, demographics, interests, and behaviors. Dynamic Ad Insertion enables ads to be automatically placed in relevant podcasts based on specified criteria. Additionally, direct deals offer the chance to negotiate exclusive placements with high-impact podcasts or networks, further enhancing the reach and impact of the advertising campaign.

example of a Spotify Podcast ad on a mobile device

Source: Spotify

The Cost of Advertising on Spotify

When considering advertising on Spotify, pricing varies depending on several factors, including the chosen ad type, target audience, location, and campaign duration. The minimum investment required for a campaign is $250, with a daily rate of $15. Additionally, ad impressions typically cost between 1 to 3 cents per impression. 

Both audio and video ads utilize a basic auction system familiar to digital advertisers, offering bid caps and the flexibility to adjust bids during the campaign. Targeting options include Cost per Impression or maximum CPM bid, with higher costs expected for targeting popular audience segments. 

To better estimate ad costs, Spotify Ad Studio provides a cost estimator tool. There are three main methods to purchase Spotify ads… 

  • Self-serve through Ad Studio – Which allows advertisers to create and submit ads independently
  • Automated – Where agencies or DSPs manage media buys using dynamic bidding
  • Direct – Involving collaboration with the Spotify team to customize ad experiences or secure guaranteed inventory, although this option may not be suitable for all advertisers due to associated costs.

 

How You Can Advertise on Spotify

These days, almost anyone with any budget can advertise on Spotify. Here’s how to get started.

1. Set Up an Account

First things first, you’ll need to set up your Spotify Ad Studio account to get started. Within this platform, you’ll be able to:

  • Build out audio campaigns
  • Create audio ads using your script and a selection of background tracks and voice profiles
  • Gauge impressions based on your targeting and spend
  • Measure campaign performance within the dashboard

2. Add Basic Campaign Details

When you start creating an ad, the first question that Spotify Ad Studio will ask is if you are promoting something music-related, or representing a brand. Music-related ads are for artists or those in periphery of the music business, like sellers of concert tickets and merchandise. Non-music ads are for every other type of brand that advertises on Spotify.

Once you’ve made that selection, give your ad a name. Since this name will be for internal use only, choose a name that’s both descriptive and easily recognizable to streamline your internal discussions and analytics.

Next, select your ad category. Spotify simplifies this process by offering categories that span across various interests and behaviors. This categorization helps ensure your ad reaches listeners most likely to be interested in what you’re offering, whether it’s lifestyle, technology, entertainment, or any other sector relevant to your brand.

3. Define and Target Your Audience

Targeting is one of the most important steps when creating an ad. If you’re targeting the wrong people, your brand’s message is unlikely to resonate. Ad Studio allows you to target audiences based on:

  • Who they are (age & demographics)
  • Where they are (city and geography)
  • How they listen (devices & connectivity)
  • What they listen to (genre, playlists, podcasts)
  • Predicted interests (lookalike targeting)
  • Off-platform behaviors (custom audience match & 3rd party interest targeting)
  • Past interactions (brand exposure, sequential messaging, real-time retargeting)

As mentioned above, one of Spotify’s key targeting features is the ability to target by listener behavior – we highly encourage you to check out this feature. When targeting through Spotify, you can also use first party data like your own customer lists and demographic information to create custom audiences (country, location(s), age group, gender, platform, language). Keep in mind that these are seen as the building blocks to creating a custom audience. You can also target by interests and behaviors but this is optional. For example, target based on podcast or playlists they listen to, favored genres, or for certain contexts (like a workout playlist).

If your objectives change at all throughout your campaign – no worries – you can make changes to your target audience at any time.

4. Set Your Budget, Objectives, and Schedules

Now we’re ready to start building out the finer details of the campaign. Start by selecting your ad format—be it audio, horizontal video, or vertical video. Then, choose if you want to place these ads across music and podcasts or limit them to music only. As we previously covered, there are a variety of ad formats to explore within Spotify’s Ad Studio.

You also have the option to exclude your ads from appearing during podcasts labeled as “sensitive.” This is an important consideration if you’re concerned with brand safety, or just wouldn’t want to appear during an ad break for a gritty true crime episode. On the complete other side of the coin, you can choose to target your ads to appear during episodes focusing on specific topics that resonate with your target audience, such as business, fashion, or technology.

Next, you’ll be able to schedule your campaign and set a budget. Spotify gives marketers precise control over the start and end dates for the campaign, right down to the minute. 

Then it’s time to set your budgets. Spotify lets you approach this in two ways: Daily budgets and lifetime budgets. It’s worth noting that daily budgets are not strict caps but guidelines, as Spotify may adjust spending based on demand to maximize your ad’s impact. However, setting a bid cap is still crucial for controlling expenditure, preventing overbidding, and ensuring your campaign remains cost-effective.

While you’re building the ad, take note of Spotify’s deliverability gauge on the right side of the page. This helps you estimate how much you’ll need to budget to reach your intended audience and the likelihood of fully utilizing your budget each day. 

Finally, you’ll be able to set your objective – this is how Spotify determines appropriate placements for your ad. You can choose between three options:

  • Impressions – Spotify will show your ad more often. Unlike reach, this is based on how many times the ad is served, rather than how many people it reaches. Note that 
  • Reach – Spotify will show your ad to more people. For example, you could show your ad to 1,000 people one time using this objective.
  • Clicks – With this objective, you’ll only pay if someone clicks on your ad. Clicks are almost always the most expensive option, but it’s perfect for brands seeking to increase conversions.

Spotify also allows for setting frequency caps to manage how often your ad is served to individual users, ensuring your message remains fresh without overwhelming your audience. You can set frequency caps on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This is especially important for advertisers who want to use the Impressions objective.

The last item on this page allows you to set bid caps. Unlike your budget, this is a hard cap on how much you’ll spend to place a single ad. Strategically setting bid caps is crucial for controlling expenditure, preventing overbidding, and ensuring your campaign remains cost-effective. If you’re not sure what a good bid cap is, Spotify provides a recommendation to get you started – you can always run the campaign and fine-tune the bid cap later.

5. Create Your Ad and Upload Your Audio

At this point, it’s time to put the final touches on your campaign. Add a unique name to the ad – this is for internal purposes only, so choose something that will help your team stay organized. Then, enter your brand’s name complemented by a compelling tagline and indicate the language that your ad is in.

After that, you’ll upload your ad’s image, ensuring it meets the minimum resolution requirement. Under the image upload field, you’ll be able to include a direct click-through URL, which is where you’ll send listeners if they choose to engage with your ad. To help them engage, you’ll also be able to select a Call-to-Action from a dropdown list of options, such as “Listen Now.”

If your campaign leverages audio, you’re presented with two paths: upload a pre-existing audio file or use Spotify’s in house creative team to produce your ad, including background tunes and even script writing. Simply provide a creative brief, and their team will try to produce your ad to the best of their ability.

For those using video ad formats, uploading your content is as simple as drag-and-drop, with additional capabilities for viewability tracking via third-party vendors. This ensures your ad not only reaches but resonates with your target audience.

Once all those steps are done, you’re ready to launch!

6. Measure & Monitor Performance

Measuring and monitoring the performance of your ads is crucial for optimizing your advertising strategy and maximizing your return on investment. With Spotify’s Ad Studio, you can easily track and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns. Ad Studio provides initial results within 24 hours of your ad going live, allowing you to quickly assess its performance. You’ll have access to a range of key metrics, including people reached, frequency, impressions, completion rate, CPM, CTR, and insights into how long people listen to the ad and the genres they’re tuning into. 

You can utilize third-party measurement tools for more advanced analysis and deeper insights into your campaign’s performance. By regularly monitoring these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into audience behavior and preferences, enabling you to refine your targeting, messaging, and creative assets for improved results. With Ad Studio’s real-time reporting capabilities, you’ll have the actionable data you need to make informed decisions and optimize your advertising efforts effectively.

Spotify Ads Best Practices

We’ve covered everything from Spotify’s overall advantages to various ad types, but how can you make sure you’re following general best practices when it comes to advertising on the platform? Let’s dive in.

Build Strong Messaging

In a recent study, Spotify has found that listeners are less concerned by the length of a creative, and more about the message itself. This means it’s critical to have strong messaging from the start. Be clear, concise, conversational during your ads so listeners grasp the point(s) you’re trying to make quickly. Don’t forget to communicate any additional benefits you are giving your audience like promo codes or sale offerings.

Include a Clear Call-to-action (CTA)

What action are you trying to get listeners to take? Ads on Spotify are on the shorter side so by including a strong CTA (ie: “Buy Now”), you’re allowing users to easily and quickly complete the intended action. Including a clear CTA within your ad is crucial – don’t forget it!

Test and Learn

No matter the campaign you’re running, it’s incredibly important to test and learn from the performance of your ads. You’ll want to take a deeper look into your ad metrics to ensure you’re meeting or exceeding your KPIs to see if tweaks need to be made. As we’ve previously covered, Spotify has a wide range of ad types for advertisers to utilize. If one ad type isn’t meeting your intended goals, be open to testing and trying out new methods.

Conclusion

Not looking to manage your Spotify Ads all by yourself? No problem. 

Creating, managing, and tracking ad performance takes time – we get it. So, if you’re looking to streamline your Spotify advertising process, Tinuiti can help. By working with our team of experts, you can take your Spotify ads to the next level by utilizing a more customized approach to further target your ideal customers. By working with a dedicated streaming audio agency, your Spotify advertising has the ability to stand out among the competition – elevating your brand to new heights in this emerging space.

“By working with Tinuiti, your brand’s Spotify ads are in the hands of specialists who are familiar with audio campaign set up, optimization, and success. Our programmatic team is in the platform daily, making real-time bidding adjustments to campaigns that boost performance while maintaining efficiency. This performance visibility allows us to understand how audio stacks up against your other tactics in a user’s path to conversion. Our programmatic experience and hands-on approach is what sets us apart.”

– Carly Fipps, Programmatic Senior Specialist at Tinuiti

If you’re interested in learning more about Spotify advertising, streaming audio, or how Tinuiti can help your business, contact us today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in May 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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How DocuSign’s Teams Tie Customer Value to Every Single Change

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How DocuSign’s Teams Tie Customer Value to Every Single Change

How do you deliver value at every stage of the customer journey? 
 
It’s the single most important goal held by almost everyone from marketing to sales to engineering to data teams. 
 
Even with a solid customer journey map, delivering that value — much less connecting it directly to the everyday work that happens on the ground — is easier said than done. Unless you’re the team at DocuSign.

DocuSign’s teams (with hundreds of individual contributors) tie customer value to every single change they make across their marketing and product strategies and deliverables. By doing so, they also happen to constantly find ways to deliver the best possible experience to every single one of their customers.

How has the team accomplished what for many feels like a distant dream? They’ve developed a strong culture of experimentation that their teams deploy for every proposed change, and their Marketing, Product, Design, and Engineering teams (to name a few) use Optimizely to bring those experiments to life.

In this post, Anjali Mehra, Senior Director, Analytics & Experimentation, at DocuSign, breaks down how DocuSign built their experimentation program from the ground up.  

Get the inside scoop: How DocuSign structures their experimentation program 

The DocuSign difference isn’t just that DocuSign uses an experiment like A/B testing to endorse every customer-facing change. Here at Optimizely, our team loves experimentation, but we know that, practically speaking, running experiments simply isn’t enough. 

The reason DocuSign has been so successful is their rigorous, holistic approach to experimentation across the company. Here’s the good news: Anjali from DocuSign has told us how they’ve achieved it.

Here are the program highlights: 

  • DocuSign’s experimentation program is a whole-company effort: more than 20 customer-impact teams amounting to hundreds of users are on the Optimizely platform. 
  • DocuSign Marketing, Product, and Design teams use Optimizely to test both web and product features. Plus, the DocuSign Engineering team uses Optimizely’s feature flag functionality to ship most features they deliver. Everyone can work from the same platform, which meant they can scale their programs and share their learnings easily. 
  • Because the whole DocuSign team uses Optimizely to run experiments, they’re generating data from across the customer lifecycle. All this data allows them to truly understand not only their current customers but prospective and lost customers.  

 

All of this happens because DocuSign has built not just a culture of experimentation but a strong experiment planning culture. All of the teams’ testing is backed by a clear strategy that includes: 

  • Planning the test and parameters 
  • Developing a clearly refined hypothesis  
  • Choosing a North Star KPI 
  • Achieving cross-functional stakeholder alignment 
  • Running an impact analysis 
  • Selecting a decision framework to take action   

 

Why DocuSign partners with Optimizely for their experimentation program 

Running a program like DocuSign’s starts with a business commitment, but they needed the right partners to bring it to life.

DocuSign began their journey towards their current culture of experimentation over ten years ago. At the time, they were heavily focused on building a website with a ground-breaking conversion rate. They chose Optimizely even back then to test and iterate on their web and commerce flows.

As their company evolved, they decided to grow with Optimizely to onboard more teams for feature optimization and experimentation and even feature flagging. Even better, they’ve reduced the resources otherwise needed for this program because they don’t need in-house engineering resources for experimentation.

 

The results transform day-to-day work for their teams 

As a B2B SaaS organization, DocuSign is most concerned with three KPIs: conversion, expansion, and retention rates.

But to create velocity and stay at the forefront of their category, they’re just as focused on tying every decision they make to powerful data, which allows all their teams to directly tie their work to business value.

The results across the business speak for themselves and are transformative for work flows.

As individual teams, DocuSign are: 

  • Not only hitting KPIs but understanding how they got there & tying it back to individual contributor and team work 
  • Creating real velocity to launch and ship faster through a data-driven, experimentation culture 
  • Building product and marketing roadmaps & making business decisions based on clear results 

Replicate DocuSign’s experimentation program in 5 steps 

Remember how DocuSign carefully plans every experiment and their underlying experimentation strategy serves as a foundation for every test they run?

Take another step back and there’s another framework they used to get where they are. And it’s the same framework that can help you set up a long-lasting program of your own.

According to Anjali, here’s the framework she used to build their experimentation program: 

  1. Get executive sponsorship. 
  2. Align with all your cross-functional partners. 
  3. Establish program-level goals and OKRs (like velocity, win rate, impact) 
  4. Create a test planning strategy and program 
  5. Build a test and learn culture 

Will 2024 be the Year you change everything (with data)? 

Check out our new report, The Evolution of Experimentation, to learn more about how Optimizely customers have run over 127k experiments and turned practitioners into champions. 

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