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Amazon Keeps Tinkering with the Formula

1 Sep 2023

As the preeminent experts in connected commerce with a specialty practice dedicated to maximizing brand performance across the Amazon ecosystem, The Mars Agency is ideally suited to help brands optimize these opportunities. Each month, our Ecommerce team compiles a Marketplace Assessment to help clients identify the potential business opportunities arising from Amazon’s own initiatives. The following article represents highlights from their latest reports.

Expanding Audience Opportunities

The Story: Amazon recently expanded the audience-targeting opportunities available to advertisers in two key ways:

1. A new Brand Tailored Promotions tool will let Amazon Sellers offer promotional discounts ranging from 10% to 50% on any product to a variety of targeted audiences, including:

  • Brand Followers who’ve actively clicked to follow the brand in Amazon’s store.
  • Repeat Customers who’ve purchased the brand’s products more than once in the last 12 months.
  • Recent Customers (time frame not available).
  • High-Spend Customers, as determined by purchases in the last 12 months.
  • Potential New Customers who’ve recently clicked on the brand’s products or added items to their cart but haven’t purchased in 12 months.
  • Cart Abandoners who added the brand’s products to their cart but haven’t purchased in the last three months.

Previously, brands could only target discounts and other deals to Amazon’s existing member groups like Amazon Prime, Family, Health, and Student. Without any deeper understanding of these members’ shopping behavior and product preferences, this practice likely led to campaign inefficiency.

Amazon plans to provide more details about the program at its annual Accelerate conference for sellers in Seattle from Sept. 13-14 (which The Mars Agency’s Ecommerce team will attend).

2. Amazon has extended its Sponsored Products ad offerings to premium offsite apps and websites, including Pinterest, BuzzFeed, Hearst Newspapers, Raptive, and Ziff Davis websites Lifehacker and Mashable.

Campaign extensions to these third-party platforms will happen automatically without the need for advertisers to take additional action; the ads will be placed based on page/content context, campaign details, and cost-per-click parameters already set by the advertiser. All ads will link to a corresponding product page on Amazon and only appear when the promoted items are in-stock. (Sellers will be able to opt out of appearing on specific apps and websites.)

The Opportunity: Amazon is recognizing that tailoring audiences based on past shopping behavior enables brands to identify the customers most likely to engage and buy. Targeting relevant promotional offers to these specific shopper types should help brands boost conversion, repeat purchase and customer retention.

Meanwhile, the offsite expansion reflects Amazon’s ongoing efforts to connect customers and products through experiences that facilitate discovery and shopping beyond its own ecosystem. The lack of offsite advertising opportunities has been the most common criticism of Amazon’s otherwise highly regarded retail media offerings.


Revamping Ratings & Reviews

The Story: Amazon updates its product review functionality quite frequently — appropriate for the company that’s generally credited with making Ratings & Reviews a standard aspect of the ecommerce shopping experience.

This summer, Amazon made the following changes:

1. Search results in certain categories now present the product’s rating along with the percentage of 5-star reviews it has received rather than simply the total number of reviews it has amassed (see below).

2. A new AI-powered function delivers a short paragraphon the Product Detail Page that highlights the features and customer feedback frequently mentioned in reviews. The synopses also present key product insights and let viewers find reviews that mention specific product attributes more easily.

In addition, all reviews now sort by the number of helpfulness votes they receive rather than the date posted, and reviews from different global markets can all appear on the same PDP.

The Opportunity: According to PowerReviews, 98% of shoppers call reviews an essential resource for making purchase decisions, and 94% say they read them on Amazon (compared with other retail websites at 91%, search engines at 70%, and brand websites at 68%). Amazon is also the most common place for 50% of online shoppers to start their purchase journey.

The shift away from review volume places a much greater emphasis on quality over quantity, which means brands need to be even more diligent about gaining top-shelf accolades from their shoppers.


Two Remains the Prime Number

The Story: As expected, Amazon will host a “Prime Big Deal Days” sales event this fall, marking the second straight year in which the ecommerce giant will stage two of its blockbuster promotions.

It’s no surprise that Amazon will reprise the Prime Day formula again this year, given that shoppers spent a record $12.7 billion during the first event on July 11-12. The figure represents a 6.1% year-over-year increase.

The first “Prime Big Deal Days” event in October 2022 wasn’t quite as lucrative for Amazon as Prime Day — “only” generating an estimated $8 billion in gross sales (versus $10.7 billion). But it nonetheless gave the retailer an early start to the critical holiday shopping season.

The Opportunity: Similarly, brands should plan to use the event as a springboard into the holidays — not just at Amazon but through the other leading retailers who almost assuredly will likewise get a jump on the season by conducting their own counter-programming. Read The Mars Agency’s highly regarded retail media offerings on how to leverage the event.


To obtain a complete copy of our latest Marketplace Assessment or learn more about how The Mars Agency can help you win at Amazon, contact Melissa Wightman, VP-Ecommerce, at [email protected].

(This form doesn’t download reports)

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