Advertising decisions are made on the basis of predictability. But how to manage your advertising efforts when you have no idea what’s going to happen next?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has turned upside down. The massive shifts in the supply channels and the paradigm shift in customer behavior have left brands thinking as to what their next move should be. One of their biggest concerns is what they should do with their advertising campaigns not only for the coming few weeks but for the remainder of 2020. Sadly, there is no blanket strategy for this, but that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your advertising efforts. It won’t be right to abandon Amazon Advertising, but at the same time, brands should rethink their strategies. Campaigns you crafted before the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be any more appropriate anymore. It’s time to take a close look at the situation and devise a new action plan. I have put together 10 useful tips that can help manage your advertising efforts in these tumultuous times. But first, it is essential that you stay updated on what’s new.
Catching Up On The Coronavirus Updates:
1) Amazon Is Affected Too:
Coronavirus pandemic hasn’t just affected the sellers but the retail giant as well. Longer delivery times and restricted shipments had taken a toll on customer retention rates. In the worst weeks of April, Amazon received 800,000 negative reviews, which were double the amount in the last April. Because of the poor shopping experience, many of the customers switched to Walmart and Target for fulfilling their demands. But one thing remains true for sure – Amazon is an integral part of every shopper’s lives. Maybe the times are challenging and customers are wavering, but Amazon is a GIANT. So the sellers selling on Amazon are in a better position than others.
2) Prime Day Submission Window Is Extended
I had previously said that Amazon Prime Day had been delayed. The latest updates state that the deadline for accepting Prime Day Deals has been extended from 8th May to 5th June. This is a big relief to the sellers as they will now have more time to predict inventory and plan for the event.
3) Deals Have Disappeared:
Amazon has also suspended all the deals until any further notice. So, the deals that are already approved will run, but no new deals can be made and will be accepted. Sellers had planned many deals for upcoming holidays like Mother’s Day, but all the deals were rejected by Amazon. Amazon had also once removed Today’s Deal page and changed the look of its Homepage to feature Kindle eBooks and other Prime Video shows.
10 Tips To Help You Manage Your Advertising Campaigns In The Times Of Coronavirus
#1: Stop Fretting, Start Acting
Our first and most important piece of advice in these unpredictable times would be: Don’t freak out. It’s not just you; everyone is seeing an uptick in ACOS and spend. Always remember the base rule of PPC campaigns: longevity matters. Yes, if your campaigns are costing you more than you can afford, go ahead and pause them. But if you are in a better situation, optimize your campaigns and not just once a week or month. Micromanagement is a must. Change bid and budgets daily and add keywords from your search term report regularly. If your ACOS is spiking, don’t fret but pause any keywords that are not performing well. Review your campaigns at the product level; if a particular ad or product has low conversion rates, high spend, or high ACOS, pause those ads until things calm down. Maintain a list of ads/keywords you have paused and rethink about them later.
#2: Determine Your Demand
Are you hardly surviving, or are you thriving? The answer to this question will majorly help you determine your advertising strategy. Because of the pandemic, Amazon sellers are basically divided into two categories. First, the fortunate ones. This includes the sellers who have seen no surge or dip in their sales and the sellers who have seen a surge in sales because of the changing customer behavior. Second, the ones who are getting hammered. These are the ones who are worst affected by the pandemic. This includes the sellers selling beauty products (no one’s going out, right?) or luxury items. All your advertising strategies should be centered around your demand. If your business is thriving, go ahead as you normally would while also adapting to the new buying pattern. If you are struggling, go easy and focus your marketing efforts on the products in your catalog that fall under the thrive niche.
#3: Stay In Stock:
The reshuffling of fulfillment patterns has brought about unprecedented challenges for Amazon sellers selling through FBA. The initial weeks of March proved to be quite rough as Amazon imposed a ban on shipment and fulfillment of non-essential items and prioritized the shipment of six essential categories. This created two new worries for sellers: First, they were worried about the FBA fees they will have to pay because now the inventory will be just sitting in the warehouses and second, they were concerned about the lost sales. After all, even if the customer was willing to order, they were not able to ship the product. Although now, Amazon has recovered from “essentials only” there are still limits as to how much inventory sellers can ship into the warehouses.
Not so surprisingly, there is a chunk of sellers who were highly benefited from this situation. For instance, the sellers selling essential items like groceries, toilet paper, or sanitizers. However, it turns out that those sellers were unprepared for the unexpected spike in sales because of which they faced inventory stockouts, despite the surge in demand. No matter in which situation you are, at this point in time, until everything is back to normal, it would be best to find a reliable fulfillment option and Amazon is definitely not on the list. For a few months, convert your products to FBM and try to handle the fulfillment yourself.
#4: Monitor Your Advertising Efforts As Per Your Inventory Levels
Scale your bids depending on your inventory levels and the capacity to restock in the future. If you are going to go out of stock or are already not in stock, immediately pause your advertising efforts because you don’t want to take your customers to the out-of-stock product pages; this can dramatically decrease conversions. On the other hand, you should be increasing your ad spend and budget while making sure you have sufficient inventory and a reliable fulfillment channel. Your Sponsored Product, Display Ads and Sponsored Brand Ad campaigns will automatically pause and resume once you have stock.
Pro Tip: If you want to utilize this time to build brand awareness and don’t think it’s right to pause Amazon Sponsored Ads, link your Sponsored Brand Ad campaigns to your storefront. This way, you can make sure your campaigns will run regardless of the inventory levels.
#5: Fine Tune Your Content Strategy
In a survey conducted by eMarketer, 77% of respondents said they wanted advertising to “talk about how the brand is helpful in the new everyday life,” 75% said it should “inform about the brand’s efforts to face the situation,” and 86% of US ad viewers were open to brands mentioning COVID-19 in their ads. The mention of the current situation, how your product can help them cope with the situation or what the brand has contributed will appeal to the shoppers more than anything else. Try to incorporate such sentences or keywords in your content. Just make sure that it’s all as per Amazon’s requirements. The key here is to stay relevant, original, creative and mindful of Amazon’s rules.
#6: Now Is The Time To Build Brand Awareness
Yes, the customer may be shopping less for now, but they are still there, browsing on the site, randomly adding items into the cart to buy in the future. Invest in brand-awareness campaigns and leverage the browsing traffic to reach new customers and to keep your products in the top-of-mind of the customers. Analyze the new-to-brand metrics use this data for retargeting the shoppers. Brand-awareness-centric ad types like Sponsored Brand Ads and Amazon DSP can be particularly beneficial for brands who want to increase brand awareness. Apart from advertising, there are several other options that can help you build brand awareness in the times of coronavirus:
- Amazon Storefront: This can be your dedicated destination to help your shoppers get familiar with your complete line of products. As mentioned above, it can be used as an alternative landing page for Sponsored Brand Ads.
- Amazon Posts: Just launched, Posts is the Instagram of Amazon. Brands can create social media-esque looking posts of their products on Amazon. Like a social media feed, shoppers can browse through different products, but Posts stand out because they are linked directly to the listing!
- A+ Pages (Enhanced Brand Content): The last thing you want at this time is that the shopper arrives at your product detail page and goes away because your product detail page couldn’t woo him. Investing in A+ Pages can help you skyrocket your conversion rates and, in the end, sales. A+ Pages also work to increase brand awareness.
#7: Divert Your Advertising Efforts On Products That Help Them Stay-at-home
Stay at home and work from home is the new normal. Apart from the “essential” products, now the demand for “new essentials” has erupted. While people are buying toilet paper and sanitizers in a panic mode, they are also looking for products that can help them work from home, play at home, and products that can help them stay entertained when isolated because of the apparent reason that brick and mortar stores are closed for an uncertain period of time and even if they are open people are too scared to go in and buy. This includes products such as fitness equipment, cosmetics, office essentials, kitchenware, home improvement, toys and other hobby related products. If any products in your catalog have an at-home use, divert some of your advertising expenses to those products.
#8: Boost Conversion By Converting To FBM:
It is essential that you keep a close watch on your conversion rates at the moment. You may already have seen a drop because of the out of stock label or delayed delivery time. To come out of this situation, you can make a switch to FBA. This will not only give you a reliable fulfillment option but also increase the probability of winning the Buy Box. Amazon has shown to favor the FBM listings by increasing its organic ranking and even by helping them win the Buy Box.
#9: High CPC Is Normal
CPC rates are touching the sky at the moment, but they will undoubtedly lower because the competition will most likely decrease because of the supply chain challenges. This means that new opportunities will open up for brands who are in stock or are selling through FBM. If you increase the ad spend now, you will be in a favorable position once everything normalizes. Download the bulk campaign file and review keywords with high conversion rates, low CPC and those within your targeted ACOS. If you have the budget, set a competitive bid on them and try to include such related keywords in your campaign.
#10: Hire Amazon PPC Experts For Better Profitability
You will need them now, more than ever. This is not the time for trying out DIY techniques on your PPC campaigns; trial and errors can increase your costs. The best decision you can make right now is to find a reliable Amazon Consultants Agency like eStore Factory. Our Amazon Consultants are already successfully managing the PPC campaigns of our clients at present and our strategic approach has given them great results. You too can hire us and worry less for one thing, because we know you already have a lot to worry about.☺