Addressing Amazon’s SERP tactics (photo credit: Duncan Meyer on Unsplash)
How well do you know Amazon’s SERP tactics? The answer to that question can unlock results in your search marketing campaigns to optimize your ad spend and augment your strengths.
Fifty-nine percent of consumers start their shopping journey on Google, making it a must-have place for companies to advertise their products, and Amazon is no exception. Not surprisingly it had successfully established itself as a top player on Google, with its massive marketing budget and unparalleled visibility. Given its marketing muscle, Amazon is a formidable competitor in almost every product category on Google.
Despite this, retailers can effectively compete against Amazon on Google by adopting a three-pronged approach. If you are a marketer at the retailer or agency representing the retailer, you must understand Amazon’s tactics across search engine results page (SERP) features. By monitoring Amazon’s Share of Voice (SOV) trends, you can make informed decisions on allocating marketing budget by reducing ad spend in segments where Amazon’s presence is strong and reallocating to where they’re weak. And you can thoughtfully invest to appear in SERP components that are rising above the fold on Google. Latter is especially important now as Google is making a lot of changes to its SERP.
Find Opportunities Across SERP Features
To excel as a retail search marketer, it is imperative to understand Amazon’s SERP tactics.
How Amazon’s SOV is trending across Google Shopping Ads and Text ads provides valuable insights into its paid advertising strategies. Retailers must remain alert and constantly monitor Amazon, proactively making informed decisions to address potential threats to their advertising. As mentioned above, one effective strategy is to slow down campaigns in categories Amazon is pushing hard. Another is fine opportunities to be aggressive in sub-categories and new categories where Amazon is not aggressive.
While paid advertising is important, retailers must also focus on optimizing their organic SERP components, especially those visible above the fold. SEO is an effective alternate tactic to compete with Amazon’s strong paid advertising competition. The SEO team must monitor and analyze opportunities in various organic SERP features such as People Also Ask, Popular Products and Videos to win more organic share from Amazon here. Given People Also Ask and Popular Products are more prominent on SERP and rising above the fold, these continue be key opportunity areas to grow clicks.
Zoom Into Amazon’s Push Across Product Segments
Analyze categories/sub-categories that Amazon is focusing and understand their pricing strategy. If Amazon is increasingly visibility in the Tools category and appearing with a lower priced product vs the market leaders, it may indicate pent up demand in that category for cheaper priced tools. Analyzing patterns such as this from Google Shopping Ads will enable retailers to get a sense of consumer demand and shopping trends. Retailers can then leverage these demand insights to promote their items that cater to that.
Another proactive way to understand Amazon’s tendency is monitor SOV over time – yearly, by seasons, geography, categories and other segments. This in-depth study will showcase the strategy Amazon is using to allocate ad dollars and offer a clear picture of segments that are growing the most. With this knowledge, you will be on top of demand and offer products per market demand to lift sales.
This approach will help you focus your marketing spend to segments where Amazon has low visibility and weak organic presence. For example, when we analyzed share of voice in the apparel category during a certain time period, we found Amazon has a low organic SOV in the jeans category, and a weaker paid ad SOV in the sweaters segments. This represents an opportunity for an apparel retailer to focus its marketing on these categories, increase visibility and win market share.
Improve Your Ad Quality Score vs. Amazon
Competing with Amazon on shopping ads requires a deep understanding of your ad quality and product experience. If your ad quality is weak and product detail page (PDP) score is low, you’ll most likely have a low keyword quality score. In that case, your search team must make a high bid to win a good ad spot on Google. However, if you have a high-quality score in any keyword, you can win market share over others with lower ad spend.
All in all, retailers can effectively compete against Amazon’s aggressive threat in Google by understanding its tactics and weaknesses and allocating ad dollars accordingly. Moreover, retailers can optimize organic SERP presence and your ad quality and PDP scores to maximize ROI. Taken together, these tactics will lift a retailer’s visibility and market share on Google, despite much smaller marketing investment vs. Amazon’s SERP tactics.
Prasanna Dhungel is Managing Partner of GrowByData