The massive shift from brick and mortar to digital in the last 18 has significantly changed the competitive breakdown of companies vying for market share across the digital landscape. In the US especially, it is no more apparent than on Amazon. In already hyper competitive product categories, like Beauty, Health & Personal Care, it has become paramount for brands to optimize their advertising strategy in order to get their products in front of the right consumers.
BWG Connect & Blue Wheel Media invite you to participate in an interactive discussion with your peers.
As always, there will be no sales pitches and there is no cost to join.
Director of Client Services at Blue Wheel
Melissa Ardavany is also a member of the Blue Wheel Media staff, serving as their Director of Client Services. She has worked at other leading businesses such as Nordstrom, Ideoclick, Inc., and drugstore.com, and has 20 years of experience in inventory, account directing, and client services.
Vice President of Owned & Operated at Blue Wheel
He has over 10 years of digital marketing experience. In a past life, Jon previously owned and operated a social media agency and was successfully acquired by a traditional marketing firm. He specializes in crafting and executing digital brand storytelling to enhance brand awareness and revenue for clients in any vertical. Driven by his own day-to-day consumer experiences and wealth of knowledge, Jon is constantly seeking to find the perfect cross-channel marketing strategies for Blue Wheel's clients as an operation lead.
Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect
BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
How can you make your brand stand out in the competitive market that is Amazon? Why should you allocate a budget for ads and paid media? What steps can brands take to increase their growth and customer interaction on Amazon? Jon McGraw and Melissa Ardavany are here to tell you.
Jon McGraw and Melissa Ardavany are some of the top names from Blue Wheel, a paid media agency targeted towards advancing brands on and off Amazon — all with the power of digital marketing. With years of expertise in e-commerce, they know the ins and outs of making a brand pop in a competitive market. If you’re struggling with customer interaction, low growth, or lost sales, you won’t want to miss this conversation.
Aaron Conant hosts Jon McGraw, VP of Owned and Operated at Blue Wheel, and Melissa Ardavany, Director of Client Services at Blue Wheel, in a virtual event focused around strategies to help brands succeed on Amazon. They discuss why Amazon should be a key part of any DTC brand’s strategy, how Amazon is evolving to be more customizable, targeting paid media and ads, and much more.
Aaron Conant 0:00
Hey everybody, happy Tuesday here, hope everybody's having a fantastic week so far set a bunch of people joining. So kicking it off a little later than than normal. But let's go ahead and get started. My name is Aaron Conant, I'm Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands, who do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends and strategies, all those things, they're shaping the digital space as a whole. So I'll talk with 30 to 40 brands a week to stay on top of what those trends are. And when the same topics come up over and over again, we host an event like this. And so super, super excited for it. Just a quick reminder as we get started here. Number one, if you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to to drop them into the chat, drop them into the Questions tab. You can always email me questions anytime. Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. And that's, you know, middle, like feel them right now. After the call tomorrow next week. Anytime you have a question in digital space, never hesitate to shoot me a note talking with 30 or 40 brands a week. And you know, so I have a ton of knowledge to share there and more than happy to do it. That being said, like I noted like the same topics come up over and over again. That's how we get the ideas for events and so this one just coming up over and over again, as people are trying to I don't think anybody surprised better understand Amazon as a whole. This one in particular, we've gotten really focused around beauty and skincare and haircare. And we've got some like great friends, great partners, supporters of the network over at Blue Wheel Media. It's really unique. And they come highly recommended from a ton of brands that are in the network as a whole. Because they have this really cool perspective. Not only the able to do Amazon and paid media on Amazon, but also for known and operated direct consumer site and all the paid media that goes along with that too. So they have a really holistic view of everything from performance to budgets to what's working, what's not. And they are, they have a ton a ton of experience specifically in fashion, beauty, skincare, healthcare as a whole. So I'm gonna go ahead and kick it off, you know, I'll kick it over to Jon, Jon, you want to do a brief intro on yourself and Blue Wheel, that'd be awesome that we can kick it over to Melissa and then we kind of jump into the deck here. And just a quick reminder, you have questions along the way, drop into the question section, email or email them to me Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. So Jonathan, get over to you if you wanna jump in.
Jon McGraw 3:00
Thanks, Aaron. Really appreciate it. Good morning. Good afternoon, everybody. We're excited to be here with you today. My name is Jon McGraw. I'm the VP of Blue Wheel's Owned and Operated department. In layman's terms, anything that is not marketplace related that is under my purview. Blue Wheel is an e-com focused digital marketing and advertising agency with a really heavy beauty portfolio as Aaron mentioned. So we're excited to discuss and share some insights about our strategy and our overall philosophy and approach to helping scale beauty brands within Amazon. I'm also really excited to have Melissa Ardavany, who is our Director of Amazon Client Services. She comes with a really amazing wealth of experience. Melissa, you want to just give yourself a quick intro?
Melissa Ardavany 3:45
Sure. Thank you. So I'm Melissa Ardavany, Director of Client Services. I have over 15 years of e-commerce experience prior to being in the agency space supporting brand growth on Amazon. I was at Nordstrom as an e-commerce buyer working with brands like Estee Lauder, Clinique and Lancome. I also have experience at other retailers like beauty.com and Blue Nile wearing all sorts of e-commerce hats from merchandising, replenishment office management and marketing so really looking forward to digging in here today.
Aaron Conant 4:17
Awesome so just had a few more people join as we go we want to we want this to be as educational informational as possible. So any point time you have a question we want to get those answered real time just drop into the question section or email them to me Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. But yeah, Jon, if you got yeah, I'd love to jump into the the deck as a whole.
Jon McGraw 4:38
Beautiful. So today we're going to be touching on four major topics. So first, the omni channel path to purchase for your beauty shoppers. How Amazon advertising supports the entire customer journey and ultimately why needs to be part of your holistic e-commerce advertising strategy, seven tactics beauty brands need to be leveraging now on Amazon, and three key learnings from our beauty brands on Amazon. So we're going to be sharing as much information and strategies as we possibly can. And to keep it conversational, as Aaron said, if there's questions coming in real time, we love to talk about beauty and Amazon, so feel free to interrupt us. So to kick this off, the first thing that we want to cover is talking about the overall path to purchase. And so what we know for sure is that it's multi channel and not always linear. And so I think in the beauty realm, you've got two very specific kinds of shoppers you've got in store, and you've got online. And those two customer segments have extremely different behavior paths, overall ways they get to a purchase discovery. But at the end of the day, what we know to be true is that Amazon sits in the center of all of it. And so there is a stat essentially that 34 to 40% of the shoppers, regardless if they are purchasing in store retail, or online retail, online.com, online, Amazon, they've already using Amazon as a product discovery vehicle. And I think that's been a bit of a departure than what it used to be a long time ago. So it's just really interesting to understand how the channel is evolving as a whole.
Aaron Conant 6:24
That's super interesting, because I know a lot of brands that I'm talking to in this sector are thinking, you know, I've do I avoid Amazon? Do I not want to upset an Ulta, Sephora, whoever it might be. And is that is that idea is that sunsetting. And it's kind of the realization that, like Amazon, in a lot of cases, just table stakes. Now I know there's certain companies that will never jump on Amazon, and there's just third party, you know, resellers out there for them. But does Amazon have to be part of the strategy now in your, in your opinion?
Jon McGraw 6:59
In my opinion, yes. And so I also think it's really important to understand what each channel is meant to do. Each one is very different, the touch points are different, the way that it looks, the way that it feels, its ultimate purpose is different. And so the way that a lot of our beauty brands and the way that we look at it is you are owned and operated your DTC is very important. And that is a place for you to build one on one personal relationships with your customer. So whether that's your social, whether that's your email, whether it's curating the personalized experience on your website, those are things that you may not be able to do at the highest level in retail on Amazon. When you're looking at retail, we're talking about mass penetration into a customer segment that you are looking to drive in general. And so we know that retails are really important element and facet of all of our brand strategy. But what you do lose is the ability to have that customer data understand every nook and cranny of what they're doing from a behavior perspective. And Amazon now is very much in line with your DTC your owned and operated and that there are similar behaviors, but there's a very, very engaged customer base, Amazon Prime, you essentially have the thumbprint of the entire United States that is such a wide engage and bottom funnel audience. If you deploy a full funnel strategy, which we'll talk about what that looks like, I think that you'll find that it is advantageous and that these these days critical to growing your brand.
Aaron Conant 8:30
Awesome. Love it.
Jon McGraw 8:33
Perfect. And so let's talk about what an omni channel beauty brand strategy looks like. And so really, this is another way of looking at your standard funnel. But right now, Amazon truly does sit in the center of it, especially on Discovery part. So whether we're talking about search, which at its core, Amazon started and is still holistically, very much a powerful search channel in juggernaut. So whether brand consumers are looking for your product, specifically on Amazon, whether they are looking for a product category, adjacent products or competitors, there's ways for your brand to show up in that same search query and overall in the mix. And now when someone's in store using the Amazon app, they can take a picture of your product or a competitor's product, any product, and they're there to understand and say, what does this product do for me, you know, taking a guided selling approach is really important, especially within your Amazon ecosystem, because somebody could take that picture and they could get your product and they understand what kind of reviews you have. What ingredients do you have? What are the benefits, show me the actual results. And so not only is it about understanding the discovery, but Melissa is going to cover this in pretty great detail but optimizing for visits showing the information that you need to show which is very much a tried and true practice on a brand's website, but transferring that over into Amazon world is really important. And then this is really what Amazon is known for. And that is purchasing, that is getting people to convert. It has the highest conversion rates realistically of any online channel. And so making sure that you have a strategy that can support discovery, optimization for visits, and ultimately purchase and replenishment is really important. And it's going to find and drive that brand growth that we're talking about Amazon in general.
Aaron Conant 10:29
Did you, so a question that comes in is around content as a whole. Do you find, are you update? I just I know you and i think it's it's applicable because you deal with a lot of beauty brands, but also you have brands outside of beauty is that the content and the customer journey through that you're the story you're telling through content? Different for these beauty brands? Are you crafting? Is that a different strategy? Cuz you I mean, you were just talking about and I love it, because you're just talking about Hey, like, what, what do what do people are shopping for? What do they want to know? It seems distinctly different than, hey, I'm a fashion brand, or I'm traditional CPG? So are you building content specific for that?
Jon McGraw 11:07
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's imperative that you do not take a cookie cutter approach, because every brand has different brand tenets, something that separates you from your competition. So I think that we approach is like any brand, any marketing strategy to understand what is going to make you stand out from your competition? What are the things that have driven your growth to date, from an audience perspective and a sales perspective? And how do you hammer home, but I think it's about really anticipating what people want to know, if you can self contain them in the conversion environment, and not have them have to go to a third party YouTube channel, or to etail way where you might have lower margins. I think it's really important. And so no, we don't take a one size fits all approach, we really do a full diagnosis of what makes this brand special. Why do people care about it? And why do they want to buy it and ultimately convert that into content on these pdps?
Aaron Conant 12:06
Yeah, awesome. I mean, you know, I love it. Because if it's in for those who don't know, Blue Wheel also has one of the top like content generation arms out there, too. So they have keen insights on what works and what doesn't. Because, you know, a huge part of if you're doing paid media is the content that they land on. So awesome. Thanks.
Jon McGraw 12:25
Absolutely. And so we're talking about a funnel, we're talking about the journey here. The next slide is going to talk a little bit about the interaction on Amazon and the different customer stages and some of the ad types and tactics that we can take. And then we're going to dive even deeper beyond that.
Melissa Ardavany 12:43
Sure. So if you think about, think back three or four years ago, the thought was that Amazon was a conversion only platform, Jon alluded to that. But over time, Amazon's marketing programs have matured, and it's creating a full funnel that reaches shoppers at any stage. So it's important to have a strategy that incorporates all of the different ad types, since customers can enter through every phase of that shopping journey. So I'll be diving into discuss several of those ad types, and some examples of successes that brands have had.
Jon McGraw 13:16
And before we do that, I think it's really important, we talk about measurement, and just looking at the holistic impact on the customer journey. If you think back to this slide that I just touched on talking about how the customer journey now is multi channel, oftentimes not linear, it's really important to understand how to measure this. And realistically, I think that's the next frontier 2020 and beyond 2021 and beyond, of how to successfully understand what you're doing and the overall impact in different places. So does that mean that we are booting channel specific metrics to the curb? Absolutely not. If anything, we're laser focusing on those. But it is important to understand the halo effect across different mechanisms as well. So whether it is a retail, whether it is your car, whether it's just your social, like looking at awareness, metrics, brand, reach brand lift, offline sales lab, and then understanding down the road, what the proper media mix model is of how do you assign your budgets? How do you assess what's working, what's not working, is really important. And so today, we're going to be focusing more on Amazon. But I do think it's really important that at times, you zoom out, you look at how your brand is growing as a whole and try to find different trajectories and trend lines based off of those activities on channels to say, Is there more to this story? Am I actually driving more from Amazon than I think by looking outside of Amazon?
Aaron Conant 14:51
Awesome, quick question that comes in. Are we able to share the deck after the call?
Jon McGraw 14:56
Absolutely. Awesome. Already greatly. Yep, yeah. Everybody, I think we're to say that we're talking about some pretty macro subjects here and Melissa and I love nerding out about Amazon and beauty. And so if there are conversations that need to be had, Aaron, I'm sure you can tee us up. But we'd love to talk to any of you for an hour or two hours, whatever you guys want to know, because we just love talking about the subject as a whole.
Aaron Conant 15:23
Melissa Ardavany 15:24
So true. So we'll be tackling search term isolation, sponsored product and sponsored brand, sponsored brand video, sponsored display, DSP, which is super hot topic right now, optimizing pdps and best practices for brand stores. So let's get started. So as the Amazon ecosystem has broadened for marketing, the reality is that it's pay to play 20 out of the first 24 placements on a search result page page are paid search that's over 80% of the page. So it's critical to win and search. We do it through search term isolation. Quick explanation, search term isolation at a macro level is search term harvesting utilizing machine learning. So we're only bidding on search terms that convert by moving them into performance campaigns. A layer deeper here, and specific to a beauty customer is that if you're targeting shampoo in a broad match type on Amazon, you're actually targeting longer tail terms as well, like shampoo for curly hair or shampoo for men. But what if you don't have those products in your catalog, that means your bid is being distributed across a bigger bucket of terms. Some are relevant terms that convert profitably, some convert are not profitable, while other terms are effective and don't lead to sales. And ultimately, you'll be paying to target terms that are not relevant to your own product, which dings your efficiency and is wasted spend. With search, excuse me, with search term isolation, when you leverage research to identify your highest converting terms and then migrate that converting search term to exact it gives you the ability to manipulate spend, we can pay more to capture more impressions, because we know this specific keyword performs well. That way we can allocate more budget to drive sales. So a great example of that is, is this case study leveraging this strategy with a well known spa brand. Ultimately, by separating out the highly efficient branded terms, we had left over a budget to allocate towards testing additional category terms to bring in those new customers, which is super important. And given the confidence in the results, the brand decided to increase overall investment by 68% year over year. So that just shows that by by gaining efficiency, you can then use those dollars into some awareness tactics.
Aaron Conant 17:57
So a great question that comes in here is what tactics do you remember, do you recommend for lesser known brands that need to build awareness?
Melissa Ardavany 18:06
Sure. So I would, I would lean on a lot of category or non branded campaign types. And this way, you know, since then people don't know your name, or may not be as familiar with your name, that's a way to to really get out there. And, and, you know, really do the research, whether that's through helium 10, or some of the other data that Amazon provides to see what the search volume is for some of those category terms that are relevant to your product. Great. So search term isolation is an important tactic that can be used in any ad type. Typically, we look at sponsored product and sponsored brands individually. However, given that the goal is to own as many placements on the search result page, whether that's branded or non branded as as possible, you want to dominate that Share of Voice, sponsored products and sponsored brand ad types work better together, especially since as I mentioned earlier, customers enter Amazon through all levels of the shopping journey. Some cool stats Amazon has provided are over 30% average increase in impression share as well as over 16% average uplift in ROAS after three months of running these together. So at the end of the day increase in placements result in an opportunity for more impressions per customer. So next we have a bliss example of a search result page. Everything at the top of the fold is sponsored. So they're dominating the space and using these ad types together. The as you can see, it's impactful to have a wall of product that speaks to your own items in front of a customer. So staying on the topic of search result page, I think a great way for beauty brands to reach a new customer is through video and search, or sponsored brand video, so there isn't a higher barrier to entry, meaning that you have to have a video and assets, the CPCs are lower and drive better ACOS and other placements. Also, this can really showcase the product, and include things like benefits, tutorials, and can be a cool branding opportunity and a great place to tell your story.
Jon McGraw 20:25
Yeah, and I think that what's really interesting about this ad unit or ad category, in general is that Amazon when Melissa's speaking of search, and we're talking about sponsored products, it's very much feed based, there is not a lot of control over the creative. And this is really exciting because in the sponsor brand video, I think that you take a lot of the tactics that has been learned and ultimately implemented on traditional channels like paid social for Facebook and Instagram, that you need to tell a compelling story through your visuals, you can really tell who the story of who your brand is, what your products are about the benefits. And it's really conversion creative, a lot of the lessons that you've learned on Facebook and Instagram about how to hook somebody in the first two seconds and how to keep them there. For the next five seconds, you can parlay those learnings and add it to a channel that's been a little bit more static traditionally. And so we're really excited that the convergence of these two channels is really taking place right before our eyes. And so especially in the beauty world, working so heavily with beauty brands, we know that the way that your brand looks, speaks and feels is so important. And that's ultimately a huge chunk of what you've been able to do from an equity perspective to build your brand. So it's very cool, very exciting to be able to bring that element onto Amazon.
Aaron Conant 21:54
Awesome. And another question that comes in, but it's around budget, and I want to kind of tackle at the end because I know like listen, like you were saying DSP. Amazon's pushing it a ton right now. Seems like every you know, every turn, they're asking for ad dollars, you must have a huge incentive for the salespeople on that side. So there's a lot of brands that I'm talking to they're saying, hey, how do I factor this in? How much should it be? But then, you know, also, we could pick apart the sponsor brand video, because then there's additional cost for actually doing the video. So I'll hold that one to the end, but just you know, quick reminder to those who have joined you know, we're about halfway through here. Just having an awesome conversation with Jon and Melissa over at Blue Wheel Media, you know, top recommended paid media agency, they handle both direct consumer side you know, your owned and operated site as well as Amazon. They develop you know, they have a whole content arm as well. So just come highly recommended. And he just jumped on to kind of share the insights and thoughts around, you know, Amazon and how it fits into a holistic strategy as a whole. So, drop questions in the question section. Keep emailing them to me, Aaron A-A-R-O-N@BWGConnect.com. Awesome. All right, I'll kick it back over to you.
Melissa Ardavany 23:06
Great, thanks. So to you know, highlight sponsored brand video, we have an haircare example, to demonstrate the increase in engagement and added placements by Amazon. The orange line represents sales and the blue bars are impressions. So starting December of 2019. This brand had one video on one specific product. And over time, Amazon has increased the number of placements. This brand reacted with continuing to produce new content and video for each of their top items in order to always have a video ad that would potentially be served up in a branded or non branded campaign. The results were nearly 250% growth in impressions as well as ad sales increase by 384%, which is pretty compelling. So it just shows that the investment in this type of ad type can can really pay off. Awesome. And then there we have a few other examples of beauty brand sponsored brand videos so you can see the quality bar continues to be raised in this space, and can be worth the investment. Transitioning more to some awareness tactics with sponsored display. This ad type has recently added a feature for audiences. Amazon has broken it up into four segments for you to refine: lifestyle, interests, life events, and in market. It's a great way to see the reach potential that includes the volume of shoppers in that refined segment. Many people have been thinking about this ad type as DSP light, but some differences that DSP differences are that DSP is CPM and sponsored display is PPC. Additionally, there are some differences in optimizations and campaign features. Such as DSP has a look has looked back options up to 90 days for purchasers and sponsored display can to only be remarketed to views and searches. Additionally, you can own, you can only auto optimize. And there's no ability to manually optimize sponsored display campaigns at this time. Another big difference is the creative with DSP, you have the ability to custom create, to tell the product or brand story and abbreviated way versus sponsored display is dynamic, which just has the product shot like based on plus a logo and brief headline. So speaking of DSP, it's been a hot topic lately. As OTT, or over the top ads and video ads, fear grows, I've seen some successes by including DSP as a part of the overall Amazon strategy. I'm sure many of you have tried DSP in the past or an Amazon e with probably mixed or poor results and it's not cheap, right like Amazon takes 25% send fee and they try to guarantee number of impressions and it's it's been a little bit all over the place. But now in the Do It Yourself DSP console has many more customer search groups to choose from and tactics you can leverage. This can be helpful for new product launches, or new market brand new to market brand launches. For a beauty customer, you may want to target either an untraditional consumer demographic or emerging customer search group into into a product category. So like, not only are you able to target in market customer looking for anti aging treatments, there is the ability to also market those same products as preventative for a 20 something year old shopper.
Aaron Conant 26:44
You know, I see a quick thing that I've run across a lot of brands the when in working directly with Amazon, unless you're like a gigantic brand that that that they're going to over index and providing new people on the DSP side is the way Amazon the lower returns when Amazon's gonna spread those you know impressions because they want to get you a guaranteed one across the entire funnel. Or right now in DSP, it's so new, there's so many people that are bottom of the funnel. When you either do it yourself or use an agency that can help you do it. You get it's much more effective, you get a much better return on adspend. And that's just because you can get very very targeted because there's so much food on the table there right now so much low hanging fruit. But you know a lot of times the person that that Amazon is going to be selling that to you and helping you run it they're going to want to go full flat funnel because they're they're gauged on impressions. So anyway, it's just an interesting thing. And I don't know if you guys are seeing the same thing but Jon, you were gonna jump in as well.
Jon McGraw 27:49
Yeah, I was just gonna ask most of the question in terms of the way that you ultimately bid in terms of DSP being CPM sponsored display being CPC, what are your thoughts on opportunity and when you use these different ad types for certain circumstances.
Melissa Ardavany 28:11
Sure. So sponsored display is, is much more awareness only. There are less refinement, it is more of that educated wide net because you get to see the volume of people that are in that that target group. For DSP, there are so many great ways that you can cast a wide net for your your retargeting, especially when you have products that could be you know, it's a one month supply or a two month supply, you could then test out different lines in order to figure out what kind of return what's the best return in my lookback window. And so that's just one of the ways that it really differs from display or sponsored display. So there's a greater, there's a greater ROAS upside in DSP than sponsored display, in my opinion.
Aaron Conant 29:14
Melissa Ardavany 29:16
Great. So equally as important to marketing is that you need to optimize your content, both written and visual. So if I'm launching a new brand, or I have a new product I've invested in sending ads to my Detail page better be dialed in. And so some things that I keep in mind for optimizing those pages. We have somebody on the team who likes to think about this as if I was a person that couldn't read, could I buy this? Could I understand this product and buy it or if I'm a five year old Could I would I convert on this page? So some things to think about are are what I would consider best in class are Do I have titled bullets that are full of search relevant keywords. This is important to do the research and evaluate search volume as a part of the decision of what to include in the copy. I've come across great pdps that have compelling visual content. But then the title and bullets have not have non relevant keywords, like a beautiful coal eyeliner, well, I'm sure it's beautiful. But using that term is not helpful in your organic rank. Also, that's not usually how people shop. So just be mindful of that when optimizing. So beauty specifically Keep in mind, those key ingredients that may be trending, as shoppers are becoming more savvy with what goes on their face in their body. Other best practices are Do I have a plus detail? This is really a checkbox yes or no, Amazon doesn't crawl the A plus detail that for the algorithm, it only crawls it for Do you have one. And then as well as video, do I have enough reviews, to have six images that include infographics that speak to the benefits of my product? This is incredibly important. As you know, we're all shopping on our phones, we're all on the mobile app. And so all that text gets pushed to the very bottom. And now telling that product story through the image carousel can greatly enhance conversion, all of those components get crawled by the Amazon search algorithm and over time can contribute to your organic ranking. You can have the most robust advertising strategy. But if your PDP is not optimized, you won't get the results you want. And this is your opportunity to feature your product details and your value prop. And as was mentioned earlier, it's the number one conversion driver.
Jon McGraw 31:49
I think that's where we see a lot of brands make mistakes, too, is that they immediately skip over their PDP and they say, I don't have a good enough advertising strategy. You know, at the end of the day, it's truly a numbers game, if you do have a good advertising strategy, you're ultimately driving traffic to your PDP, if you can find a way to find incremental growth of your conversion rate, that equals more dollars and equals lower cost per acquisition and ultimately better, you know, just k costs in general in the Amazon world. And so I think that we see that quite a bit where, you know, I think my PDP is fine, but my ad strategies are on we're like, regardless if your ad strategy is wrong, your PDP is busted. And that's what we need to focus on first.
Aaron Conant 32:33
Yeah, I mean, I think people forget the fact that conversion rate is, you know, a huge factor in search algorithm as a whole. And so if it is broken, you're gonna be sending tons of traffic there and still converting at a higher rate. But are you still converting at a higher volume, but if it's a lower conversion rate, then its overall net net, you're getting sales, but it's hurting your overall organic search ranking, which then might mean, you have to pay more. So those things are so cohesive, that I like, Yeah, I agree. I think a lot of people have broken them apart and saying that they're there, you know, I have addressed this one later, and then this one now, but you have to be addressed at the same time. And in any order content first.
Jon McGraw 33:20
And airing to your point, I think that, especially because, oh, Amazon is a newer frontier for a lot of brands, especially in beauty. Understanding what a good conversion rate is, and can be is a little bit different. Because when I'm thinking of the owned and operated world, you know, we're talking about 2 to 6% conversion rates. 6% you're in business at that point, you're definitely converting your customers at a high clip 6% and Amazon, no bueno. And so at the end of the day, I think that just that switching over the mentality of what's a good conversion rate, am I owned and operated site versus the Amazon, that there's completely different strata spheres. And so, you know, it's my it might be hard to believe that you can squeeze from 15 to 20%. But it's very possible.
Aaron Conant 34:09
Right. Yeah, I mean, you guys just have such that you have a unique perspective, because you're you're doing paid media for brands on both sides and can see that. So I think, you know, if anybody if you wanted to follow up conversation, like Jon said with him and Melissa, I would take that opportunity just to pick their brains for 30 minutes or so 100% worth it. They're doing some really great things in this space. You know, the next they have a question that comes in or what are the requirements and regulations for infographics? Are they explicitly permitted by Amazon?
Melissa Ardavany 34:45
There are some that you have to get a permissions for things like non GMO, and some of those types of features or benefits, I think but it's really great to call out five. And, and some other features that people don't always think about. And even even when I think about in fashion apparel, just like how it relates to the body as well, it's something to really consider. But as far as regulations, I usually when you have to, when you set up your item, you have to input all of that criteria upfront. So you should be good to go. Obviously, Amazon is notorious for being inconsistent. So you may run into suppression issues as you load those, those infographics. But as long as you don't load that infographic as your main header image, you should be good.
Aaron Conant 35:44
Awesome. Yeah, I think around those certifications and requirements, it gets a little bit trickier. And Amazon is kind of on a rampage right now in some categories. For simple checkboxes that you wouldn't think you had to check. Like on the pesticide side, if you're a clothing brand, and you're getting shut off, because you didn't say you don't have pesticides, where you'd say why would I ever check that box? So crazy things that are going on. Just a slight side note there. But anyways, awesome questions. Yeah, I'll kick it back over here, back over to you.
Melissa Ardavany 36:14
Aaron Conant 36:18
Great question comes in, what are your recommendations for product title optimization in terms of character limits?
Melissa Ardavany 36:25
Sure. So right now the best practice is 80 characters. And that has to do with on your mobile device in order to not have an ellipses. That's that dot, dot dot 80 characters is the general rule. It varies between categories. I know that for apparel, it can be longer. And for beauty, I know that there it's gone back and forth between what the exact limitation is, but I would use 80 as a guide.
Aaron Conant 36:58
Awesome. It's cool, because I think like, what you're saying is that people don't realize they think Amazon is holistic and uniform on the back end. But they started in books. And then they started building out these different sectors. And each one has different requirements behind it. So, awesome. So hey, cool. Thank you.
Melissa Ardavany 37:17
Great. So moving on to brand stores, you know, think of this as a space. That's equivalent to your web page, which includes opportunities to customize.
Jon McGraw 37:29
Yeah, and it's like, That's such a new and unique opportunity in the Amazon space. Because again, I've always viewed it as a little bit of a sterile and static environment. And again, this is another opportunity and touchpoint for a brand to show and focus on what you want to focus on. So whether it's brand foundational elements of who you are, what you do what you sell, showing your best sellers, understanding what gets a customer convert, and bringing that front and center on your brand store is just a really unique opportunity. And I think that it brings the creative side out, and allows you to have more of a brand experience as opposed to just a listing of products.
Melissa Ardavany 38:16
Right. So we have a couple of brand stores that our team has worked on. And I just wanted to call out some key components here. The ability to tell the story through more lifestyle, images, video, as well as seasonality that's really important to keep fresh. And what I would recommend that if you can't keep on top of the seasonality, then don't do it. You know, there's nothing more like you know, like tacky, then you go to a web page, and it still has Christmas the first week of January. So just keep that in mind that if you're going to commit to seasonality, really commit to the timing of those updates.
Aaron Conant 38:58
Like this last down here average link to a sponsored brand campaign to an Amazon brand store has a 64% better return. So holistically looking at advertising, I mean, brand store is table stakes at this point in time. There's no reason that somebody shouldn't have one.
Melissa Ardavany 39:13
Absolutely. And it all kind of relates back to you know, using sponsored brand sponsored product, video, and it all you you need to incorporate all of those into your strategy. Since that shopper is coming in and so many different places you really have to make sure that you have enough coverage and this is your opportunity to tell that story.
Aaron Conant 39:37
No, I was curious, there's not a question that came in what are the best practices in terms of wording and titles? Is it brand or product name, bus ingredients, both benefits or size?
Melissa Ardavany 39:50
Yeah, it's brand name, title of the product, thighs, and then color and then any other ingredient or benefits. And, and something else to note is that Amazon's algorithm like the latest discussion or or rumor is that it crawls the first 1000 characters, regardless of title or bullets that there's there isn't, it's not weighted to the title anymore. It's now just as long as you you keep everything within that first 1000 characters, then you're going to be, it's going to show up for that organic ranking.
Aaron Conant 40:27
Wow. So it's changing. I love it, you were saying.
Melissa Ardavany 40:34
Another feature is that on brand stores is that across the top, there's the opportunity to split products out by category to assist in the shopper navigation. So for beauty brands with larger catalogs, this is a great way to land customers from a DSP ad or a sponsored brand ad. And this way, you get to control the click through through the journey, and allow for discoverability into more than just one item. And so this is great with new item launches to isn't so tough to get that relevancy and that flywheel going that the more opportunity to to have eyeballs on that product, the better. There's also a cool new features that are newer feature, the Follow button that's in the upper right, customers can now follow your brand. By selecting that button in your store or post, your followers can see more of your content on Amazon giving you an opportunity to help increase engagement. So as Jon mentioned, you know, Amazon was, you know, more sterile environment or more basic checkout experience. And so this is the opportunity to connect with folks through your brand vision.
Jon McGraw 41:40
That feature is still in its infancy, I don't even think we know what the potential of that feature is. Because we do know is that it is the place where people go to discover and with e-commerce in its boom, right now, I think that Amazon is just so traffic that Amazon understands that this is going to be in some capacity, a place where people hang out, they've rolled out their Amazon influencer program. So whether that's the ability for a creator influencer to build curated shops with their favorite products, or they're really going heavy in the Amazon live, they're trying to bring the content element, the lifestyle element to the platform, which again, is only going to feel more of that discovery based behavior on Amazon itself.
Melissa Ardavany 42:29
Right? There's always new beta programs, I know that, you know, posts is also something that's been around for a little bit, but it's still in that that testing phase, and Amazon isn't releasing a ton of data yet. It's only engagement. But it's a free program. So there's, there's a lot of things that are on the horizon for us to continue to learn. Awesome. Great. So we talked about marketing and content, specific levers and strategies here today. But that's just part of what drives success on Amazon, we wanted to zoom out and also highlight three key learnings from one of our top beauty brands on Amazon. And those three things that you need to succeed are inventory have a solid inventory and distribution strategy, it's critical to the business to have a strong demand planner sitting in that seat. Because if you if you can't keep in stock, not only do you lose out on sales, but you could lose relevancy over time, that in and out in and out, just disrupts that flywheel and you really need to have a consistent and stock plan. Number two, Amazon expertise, it's important to have someone in your corner that speaks Amazonian, whether that's through an agency or someone on your team internally, there's so many complexities with policies on his fees, you know, not to mention annual vendor negotiations. And as we mentioned, there's always something new on the horizon. So having someone that not only is on top of it, but speaks that language is important. And lastly, ad budget, allocating specific budget to Amazon is crucial for brand growth. As I mentioned, it's competitive and over 80% of that first search result page is sponsored ads, if there's any takeaways from today, winning in search is what drives success. So with that, Aaron are there any other questions?
Aaron Conant 44:29
Yeah, I want to get to the ad budget question. A couple other comments. I think he nailed it on inventory. One of the hottest things that you know kind of request that comes in is like a digital age 3PL that can pick pack ship kit bundle, because when Amazon shut people off, I mean, you could have been in stock in Amazon but they weren't shipping your product and then they did that to a lot of brands in q4 when their warehouses got full. And so you know, one of those key strategies is find a digital age 3PL that can still fulfill orders. If you're on the vendor side, or on the seller side as well, you can't rely necessarily on FBA. So I mean, it's funny, because I've got a bunch of calls on that upcoming. So, you know if anybody wants to be on it, let me know. We'd love to have you join. Yeah, obviously, Amazon expertise. I mean, that's why so many people love you guys. So I encourage anybody, again, have a follow up conversation with them, because that's dead, that's dead on. Amazon is changing so fast, it's hard to understand it all if you don't have a broad breadth of people that you're working with. But now the ad budget piece, like, no question comes up to me all the time is already come in, like, how are you looking at number one ad budget for Amazon versus, you know, owned and operated? But what does that look like? And then let's do because it's an Amazon call, let's do a deep dive on what is you know, the, you know, sponsor products versus brands versus DSP, as well. So if we can do the owned and operated versus Amazon first, and then let's crack open Amazon and get into it?
Jon McGraw 46:06
Yeah, I think one thing to call out is we find the most success with our Brand Partners, were the Amazon team and the owned and operated team function as a single unit, I think where things get a little bit broken is when they're completely siloed. And the understandings of what the goals are what the forecast ultimately look like when they're completely siloed. It's very difficult to do that accurately. But when we look at splitting out the owned and operated Amazon, obviously, there's things we need to look at current trajectory and where they want to go overall priority for the channel. And then what are our guide, our guardrails that we operate within. So one thing I will say that's a little bit different from a budget perspective is that because we own the customer experience and the data 100% the way through on own on operated, we often have a little bit higher thresholds from a CPA perspective, because we can factor CLV. And those additional brand touch points that come with a single purchase and getting them into the website. I will say that every brand that was a little bit different in terms of how we budget, whether it's 2x owned and operated Amazon, it really comes down to what the opportunity is and where they see the most growth coming from. But one thing I do know is that owned and operated is not going away, I would say Traditionally, the budgets for owned and operated and Amazon are very equivalent to each other, especially because they want to grow into Amazon more. But there's no magic bullet. There's no one size fits all approach. But I will say one of the key differences that because you own that customer journey brands are generally willing to invest a little bit more at least on the CPA side than on Amazon.
Aaron Conant 47:51
Awesome. Now we can break open the Amazon piece, how are you seeing, you know, DSP become a bigger portion of it? How are you? How are you breaking that open?
Melissa Ardavany 48:01
Sure, you know, I think that the thought was that you need to, you know, see search all the way through and really max out the potential there before layering on DSP. That's not necessarily the mindset Now, given that there are so many different tactics and search groups that you can leverage. And I would say that, you know, I think that it's a great tactic to include it as a part of your new launch strategy. Because you really need that top of a funnel awareness strategy as a part of new product launches, especially if it's a different category that you haven't played in before. I think that it's just as important to have that as as a search strategy. And that search search strategy, you know, as I mentioned, you have to have something for all ad types. Number one, though, is a sponsored product and sponsored brand that is, like where your most impressions are going to come from. And you really need to be dialed in and constantly monitoring, constantly looking at refining it, because trends change and and category terms get updated all the time because of some sort of social media post. It's really interesting. I you know, for those of you in the beauty space, we were talking about hyaluronic acid a decade ago and now it's on you know every single ad and so you know really being ahead of including ingredient terms as a part of your strategy is important as well.
Aaron Conant 49:34
Yeah, I mean I I've seen just in conversations exactly what you said if you look back a year and a half ago, it was Hey maximum out, max out AMS and you know, I'm old school so and that's right. But, and then once you max that out, then play with DSP, then all of a sudden DSP, with a well defined strategy. So I think there's a lot of time early on the Amazon team was writing it for brands and it was kind of mediocre not worth it. Now when you have agencies available to run it for you, they can be very targeted in the in their outperforming in some cases, the the traditional PPC, the sponsor that. And you know, you think about it, you've isolated somebody in a target demographic that's perfect, you know fit for you, you've gotten them out of the ads everywhere on a product detail page or a search result. And you've isolated them on a separate Amazon owned and operated really impactful. And I know we're getting like right to time here at a couple questions we can't get to, but we'll follow up 100% with those. But I do want to say a quick thank you, Melissa, Jon, for for joining us today. And thanks to everybody who dialed in. And thanks for all the great questions. Once again, you know, the Blue Wheel team are great friends and partners encourage you know, everybody, if you get a chance, have a follow up conversation with them pick their brain on what's going on the space, the leaders in it, especially in this beauty space as a whole. But across the board and other categories as well, both on Amazon owned and operated. And the last thing is we're gonna have a ton of upcoming events, if anybody like a list of those, or if you need to any type of connections to any kind of partners across the board. We've got a short list from Amazon to direct consumer to shipping and fulfillment international expansion payments by now pay later whatever it might be in the Amazon advertising, direct consumer and even in the content space, the team of Blue Wheel all around fantastic as a whole. with that. I think we're going to wrap it up once again. Thanks, Melissa. Thanks, Jon. Thanks, everybody who dialed in hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday everybody take care stay safe before and having you in a future event.
Jon McGraw 51:38