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THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Commerce Marketing Takes the Lead

14 Jun 2023

A monthly Amazon Update from The Mars Agency’s Ecommerce practice

As competition in the retail media marketplace continues to intensify and the dominance of digital advertising’s triopoly (also including Google and Facebook) wanes, Amazon has been working overtime to give consumers all the tools they need to seamlessly shop and buy products across its various platforms. And those efforts are giving brand partners new and unique ways to drive shopper engagement and conversion.

The following report looks at some of the latest initiatives that Amazon is undertaking to maintain its commanding digital advertising market share by expanding and enhancing its commerce marketing opportunities.

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AMC Audiences Are Now Customizable

The Story: Advertisers have already been using Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) to gain marketing insights through custom analytics, but a platform upgrade now in beta test will let them create custom audiences via SQL queries that can be used to create targeted Amazon DSP (demand side platform) campaigns.

Relevance: Advertisers will be able to create targeted audiences that can better support their business and advertising objectives based on any Amazon signal. As one example, campaigns will be targetable to shoppers who’ve simply been exposed to a specific ad or ad set; previously, shoppers needed to at least engage with the ad or the brand’s product page to be incorporated into the audience.

Opportunity: This new customization capability should let advertisers significantly improve their campaign performance by creating audiences that are better targeted to meet their business objectives.

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Pinterest Partnership Brings Offsite Opps

The Story: Through a new multi-year collaboration, Amazon has become Pinterest’s very first third-party advertising partner. Pinterest users who encounter Amazon ads on the platform will be linked directly to the retailer’s website to make a purchase. The integration will roll out over the next few quarters, according to the partners, who haven’t released additional details about the program.

Relevance: Amazon’s reputation as a best-in-class retail media partner has been hindered only by its lack of opportunities on offsite platforms like Pinterest. Partnerships like this one address the call from advertisers for full-funnel options while giving social media users a seamless shopping experience. (Since most Amazon shoppers already have their payment information stored, purchases will be quick and easy.)

Opportunity: Connecting Pinterest’s 450 million+ active monthly users with Amazon’s robust marketing capabilities has the potential to deliver high conversion rates as well as improved ROAS for advertisers.

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Selling Products ‘Anywhere’

The Story: “Amazon Anywhere” is an immersive shopping experience that lets consumers purchase physical products within any web, mobile, gaming or augmented reality application by giving them access to Item details, images, real-time pricing and availability.

The first activation launched last month within Peridot, a new real-world augmented reality game from Niantic (the company behind Pokémon Go). The animal care-themed game features a virtual store where players can buy real-world branded merchandise through their Amazon account.

Relevance: Most current virtual-world shopping experiences are limited to digital products and in-game items, with no easy pathway to the purchase of related physical products. Amazon is looking to change that by creating a new landscape for shoppable entertainment and digital experiences that will meet would-be shoppers wherever they are.

Opportunity: Welcome to a future retail channel: real-life purchases made through virtual environments.

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Amazon Inspire Launches Everywhere

The Story: Amazon Inspire is the retailer’s new TikTok-style feed of short-form videos and photos that lets users browse products and shop from content created by brands, influencers, and other users. The feature rolled out to select U.S. users of Amazon’s mobile app last December but recently became available nationally on both iOS and Android platforms. (Inspire is not accessible via desktop.)

Shoppers view tagged products within the media content by clicking on small icons at the bottom of the screen. From there, they can obtain product info, submit reviews and add the item to a shopping cart without ever leaving the Inspire interface.

Relevance: The move toward “anywhere” shopping has become relentless — and literal, as discussed earlier. Amazon’s emulation of TikTok’s shopper-friendly feeds also illustrates the influence that social commerce is having on more traditional ecommerce platforms.

Opportunity: Since any user can create content in Inspire by submitting product reviews, it’s critical for brands to reassess and optimize their own PDP (product detail page) content to make sure it’s shopper-friendly and compelling.

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Alexa, Meet ChatGPT

The Story: No longer the leader in conversational commerce, Amazon is trying to keep pace with the new wave of chat-focused artificial intelligence tools that are poised to rapidly reshape consumer engagement by infusing the Alexa voice assistant with generative AI tools.

Amazon’s goal is to use AI “to create this great personal assistant,” Dave Limp, Senior VP of Devices and Services, said in a recent CNN interview. “We’ve been using all forms of AI for a long time, but now that we see this emergence of generative AI, we can accelerate that vision even faster.”

Relevance: Generative AI is a key focus for Amazon, which just unveiled several new related products, including the Echo Pop ($39.99) and the Echo Show 5 — a smart speaker and screen ($89.99). While these products contain incremental AI-related updates, Limp hinted that the current lineup only hints at what’s on the horizon.

Opportunity: When Alexa launched nearly a decade ago (along with Siri, Cortana, et al), voice assistants seemed ready to revolutionize the way consumers interacted with technology. The viral success of ChatGPT will arguably accomplish this faster and across a wider range of everyday products.

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 preceding article represents highlights from their latest report.

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].

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