5 Tips to Grow Sales & Brand Loyalty During This Shopping Season

2021-11-25 12:04
5 tips cover
As another shopping season approaches, the surge in traffic and influx of online consumers are opportunities for brands to increase sales exponentially. According to data compiled by Amazon Advertising, the shift in online consumer behavior driven by the epidemic shows a flywheel effect, especially among younger audiences that rely heavily on online channels. As the global economy picks up, the economic growth rate in the United States and Europe has increased significantly, where declining unemployment trends show hopeful signs of economic recovery and consumption rebound.

Amazon's official in-depth study into consumers reveal that the consumption forecast for Q4 2021 is likely to be positive. Current consumers have a higher purchase intention and sellers need to take advantage of the incoming traffic during peak shopping seasons to obtain consumer insights, formulate the most appropriate advertising strategies and convert traffic into incremental sales.

To help sellers better prepare for this upcoming shopping season, Amazon took more than 3,000 Chinese advertisers' global competing brands and conducted detailed research on the key indicators that affect advertising impact. These were divided into five groups based on advertising performance: Connecting with consumers, uninterrupted ad delivery, multi-ad combination strategy, optimal budget allocation and brand building.

Connecting With Consumers
Establishing in-depth connections with consumers is more conducive to long-term development than the sole action of completing an orders or purchase. During promotion periods, organic traffic surges, where advertisers can implement consumer insights and target groups to generate interactive behavior to drive brand loyalty.

Surveys uncovered that throughout the shopping process, consumers lack guidance. Brands need to focus on providing great products as well as shopping solutions, where the key to proactively reaching consumers is to make use of the exposure achieved through Amazon OTT/Twitch/DSP and other display ads to continuously capture traffic outside of Amazon or in upper levels of the purchase funnel.

For audiences with a clearer direction and purchase path, DSP+SD advertising can be implemented to influence purchase intention and promote conversions. For users who seek to be inspired through search, advertisers can adopt an SD+SP advertising combination strategy to optimize keywords, carry out product placements and make use of DSP advertising to perform remarketing tactics and retrieve lost users, closing the loop on marketing and traffic acquisition.

During Black Friday sales, shoppers are more perceptive to advertising and product promotions. This presents an opportunity for brands to maximize on customized creatives and DSP advertising to proactively reach those who have viewed or purchased brand products as well as competitor products, and use SD advertising within high-quality homepage placements to promote sales offers and attract additional customers. To target users who kickstarted their purchases a month prior to the sales season, DSP advertisements can help to establish links with consumers at various touchpoints throughout the entire shopping process while using SP ads to continuously influence users at the consideration stage. 

To further optimize advertising efficiency, combining big data analysis and marketing sciences to accurately portray target users will result in a more effective and precise marketing strategies.  

Uninterrupted Ad Delivery
In the past, sellers would abruptly stop their advertising campaigns, generally reducing budgets to kick start again during peak shopping seasons. Amazon's proprietary research reveals that the average cost of uninterrupted advertising is lower than that of periodic advertising practices, where growth of new to brand customers is higher. To aid advertisers, we have summarized three optimization solutions to make the best out of uninterrupted ad deliveries:

1. Optimize bidding strategies and ensure sufficient advertising budget to avoid advertising suspension.

It is recommended that brands increase their bids to obtain more exposure. Bidding strategies should be formulated based on comprehensive considerations regarding exposure, conversion and advertising costs. If budget is limited, strategically pinpointing high-quality advertising spaces and increasing bids ensure quality brand exposure through DSP video advertising, dynamic eCommerce and premium ad placement on homepages through DSP+SD, SD and SP advertising. Any remaining budget can be allocated in advertising placements with less incoming traffic. While these advertising spots usually have lower bids, peak shopping seasons see higher traffic flow and can result to be cost-effective solutions.

2. Manage advertisement frequency, avoid invalid traffic and maximize conversion rates.

Higher advertising frequency does not necessarily ensure better results. Consumers need time to convert after initial exposure to ads. After continuous contact with the brand, no purchases can be judged as invalid exposures. SparkX Marketing implements Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) to analyze the relationship between advertising frequency and conversion rates. The following figure shows that in normal circumstances, ad exposures should be kept within 6 times for the best exposure rate. However, during peak shopping seasons, ad exposure can be readjusted for 8-10 times.

3. Set key exposure ad periods and targeted allocation budgets

According to consumer browsing habits, if mobile advertising budgets increase during peak office hours, these are redirected to PC and desktop accordingly. Based on the analysis of a store's centralized order time, effective ad exposure settings can be divided into time periods.

Multi-ad Combination Strategies
Amazon DSP advertising is most suited for brand exposure, SD advertising covers a wider reach and SP advertising promotes conversions in a short period of time. The effective use of multi ad combinations in and out of Amazon together with precise automated delivery and optimized marketing SaaS systems, Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) and audience modelling functions analyze the synergy between multiple ad combinations across different channels and can achieve incremental growth within different markets.

Let’s take a home furnishing brand as an example. As shown in the figure above, 34.8% of audiences were reached by DSP and SP ads. Results showed that the conversion rate increased by nearly 20% compared to using SP advertising only.

Based on the marketing funnel model, we divide our advertising efforts into awareness, consideration and conversion stages. Taking the same home and furniture category brand as an example, data revealed that through a top to down full-funnel marketing mix, conversion rates were at their highest, being 1.47-2.34 times higher than that of only using Conversion stage ads.

This indicates that full-funnel marketing ad combination strategies drive higher conversions. Although awareness and consideration stage ads don’t have a direct impact on the final purchase, they do reflect upon long term conversions. In DSP/OTT/Twitch advertising, a wider range of on-site and off-site ad spaces and traffic resources are covered with unique targeting functions and diversified display formats helping with reach and influencing targets audiences across devices. For higher conversions, making use of Amazon AMC or other data analytics tools to uncover in-depth insights into different audience groups can greatly improve the accuracy and conversion efficiency of advertising campaigns.

Optimal Budget Allocation
Full-funnel marketing strategies can help brands cover more ad formats where strategic budget allocation can maximize optimization direction through reasonable adjustments throughout different stages of the funnel, reducing costs and achieve advertising goals.

Taking the previous home furnishing brand example, we make use of AMC’s data modeling functions to introduce broader dimensional analytics models. Most traditional data reports cover advertising impact based on last touch attribution models, leaving aside the effects of multiple advertising combinations. This makes it difficult to track complex conversion paths, focusing on conversions only rather than the full consumer journey that led to the conversion.

As shown in the figure above, by introducing a three-dimensional Markov Chain Model, we restored the full consumer conversion path, analyzed the impact of each advertising touchpoint on user behavior and calculated the ratio of each advertising format to the conversion rate, allowing us to make the most appropriate budget allocation. Through the analysis of AMC's advanced machine modeling algorithms, the original budget allocation of the brand was reset, marketing reach was propelled and the final conversion rate was significantly improved.

This said, budget allocation should be determined according to every brand’s marketing goals. Different brands have different budget needs where customized product promotion strategies and tactics are bound to help sellers achieve growth and boost brand awareness.

Brand Building
Brand building does not happen overnight, it requires longer periods of brand communication, activity and relationship building with customers and target audiences. With the surge in organic traffic during peak shopping seasons, this presents an ideal time to expand and grow brand awareness.

For mature brands, this period might reap benefits such as building user trust and emotional links with target audiences. Data analytics show that branding has a positive impact on the consumer shopping journey and makes a difference at every marketing touchpoint.

In the above figure, we have a rough view of the advertising opportunities within the consumer purchase path. To activate lower-level traffic, one of the most important elements is to ensure the continuous influx of traffic from upper-levels. From an advertising and marketing perspective, branding is a must, particularly during the awareness stage. During the shopping season, consumers are more sensitive to advertising, where implementing OTT, Twitch, DSP and other forms of advertisements as well as Youtube, Tiktok and other videos streaming platforms to capture traffic can considerably boost brand awareness and exposure.

Changes in the shopping and internet habits of global users have made consumers more inclined to learn about brands through story-telling and intuitive videos. SparkX Studio counts with in depth understanding of overseas local cultures and lifestyles as well as years of video production experience to help sellers customize videos that meet the brand's tonality and strengthen brand memorability within markets across the world. Additionally, brand stories and product details are fully reflected through design optimization of a brand’s flagship store and rich module settings which are also details sellers need to keep in mind to best prepare and benefit from the shopping season.

We hope that these tips provide insight and new marketing ideas for all eCommerce sellers. We sincerely hope everyone hits record sales for this 2021 Black Friday sales as well as this holiday season!