Harnessing Amazon’s Social Power

by Joel Davis, Co-Founder of advertising technology firm Mighty Social   

If you’re looking for information, you will most likely click on Google.

The brand name is inextricably linked with internet searching and has dominated the scene for long enough that a generation of young people is left wondering how we managed to find anything out ‘back in the day’.

Now however a new giant is entering the arena. Amazon is starting to give the search giant a run for its ad revenue – something that astute marketers will have seen coming for some time. According to ClickZ 55% of product searches in the US now emanate from Amazon, and advertising has been a key contributor to its strong growth - 60% year-on-year.

While Amazon started life as an innovative retail model it can also be credited with putting social media into popular consciousness.

The site started garnering buyer reviews but this rapidly evolved into genuine consumer engagement with the platform and, as a consequence its highly-active customer reviews columns, Amazon could be described as a consumer-driven social network in its own right.

Mesh this with the emergence of new generation AI capacity and we have a compelling reason as to why tapping into Amazon’s social media ecosystem could be a logical next step for marketers to explore.

And it is about time: as you read this, an overwhelming 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being collected every day turning it from marketers’ gold dust to their nemesis as they struggle to extract any value from such a volume of information.

But, thanks to developments in AI, data can be ethically refined to deliver more relevant and rewarding advertising as it accurately segments audiences according to their preferences. From the consumers’ perspective this means they will finally be served ads that are engaging and  totally relevant to them.

This dovetails well with the way Amazon ranks its products using an algorithm that is influenced mainly by conversion rate (i.e., how often it sells).

Up until recently all the hype around AI’s usage in advertising has been confined to very niche areas, from re-organising data more efficiently to tagging and organising inventory. As a consequence, AI’s massive potential has only slowly built momentum.

But we have finally reached a tipping point where AI is starting to come into its own.

The trigger occurred as merely reaching a target audience lost its pole position as the ultimate metric, being sidestepped by a need for higher and more accurate engagement.

New generation AI can now deliver this in real time as it segments audiences to tailor bespoke creative campaigns and unlocks the elusive customer decision-making processes.

It can be fine-tuned to serve the right creative to the right segment of this audience, leading to a much more relevant audiences being built at scale.

And it doesn’t stop there. Marketers now have the capacity to maximise response rates and tease out valuable audience insights based on users who respond to a specific ad creative that they find compelling. This is something that will take marketers much further along the customer journey than they had ever been before.

Let’s take a closer look at how to achieve this.

Hyper segment audience
As all marketers will know, the key to defining a social marketing strategy is to evaluate the product and brand in order to inform the audience as well as the creative approach.

For example, a product aimed at babies going through a particular developmental stage – such as a toy that helps develop communication skills, or walking – will be the driving factor for the entire strategy.

This information clearly spells out the life stage of the person buying the product, in this case most likely early parents.

Gaining detailed insights into marketers’ target audiences ensures the people most likely to convert are targeted, which increases the product rank within the Amazon store.

However, it should not stop there. These insights can be further sweated by referencing them with Facebook demographic information, such as age and location.

With the popularity of Amazon Prime, Facebook interests relating to Amazon can ensure that, beyond the general audience, the specific audience members being targeted are more likely to respond to an ad pushing them to Amazon.

This can be taken a step further. An audience can be sub-segmented outside of the key target group (young parents) to include secondary, but also relevant people who are likely to purchase, such as grandparents and gift givers.

Audience data to guide the proposition development
Once you have clear audience information – those likely to use or trust Amazon as a brand, relevant to your brand and audience, and therefore most likely to convert – you can use it to inform the advertising creative.

By highlighting key features of the product that are likely to resonate with this particular audience in the creative, you are more likely to drive clicks through to your Amazon page.

Depending on the elements you decide to track and that are relevant to your business or product you can tailor the creative elements to the user: product colour, product price, product size, shipping fee, availability, discount offers and so on.

Tailoring the creative can drastically improve your conversion rate, just by making your message relevant to each user.

Another key aspect of the Amazon user experience is the reliance on positive reviews to inform the purchasing decision. This can be used to further promote the product within the creative. By including a starred rating on the ad creative, the audience is already assured in advance of the quality, value and/or utility of your product before they have even reached the Amazon page itself.

Finally, by using the Amazon logo in the ad creative, the audience is more likely to trust and respond to your ad given that the brand is well recognised and seen as a sign of authentication.

Integrate Amazon into a holistic strategy
The key is to take a holistic approach and embrace the wider picture, particularly where ads driving to Amazon fit in the user journey. Within the marketing funnel, marketers need to ensure that at the point where the target audience is being driven to the e-retailer, there is already brand awareness.
 
In conclusion
There is currently a trend in brands aiming to ‘Amazon-proof’ themselves, when in fact it is worth considering ways of jumping into their slipstream, rather than resisting it.

Strengthening a brand’s social voice requires taking a strong holistic view that shifts Amazon from being ‘the enemy’ to an ally. This involves integrating Amazon conversion ads into a wider social marketing approach with a strategic plan.

As social media advertising shifts away from assumptions, we are likely to see an actual reduction in the amount of advertising that people are served, and this advertising will finally be much more impactful, relevant and engaging.

Of course, within the next six months things may have evolved once again and a new shift will be required in marketers’ strategy - but for now we could do worse than re-think the value of Amazon within a social marketing campaign.


 

Driven by the desire to cull media wastage and put an end to irritating, irrelevant ads, Joel Davis, co-founder of ad tech gurus, Mighty Social - https://mightysocial.tech - spent three years researching how to harness AI’s potential to intelligently segment what consumers’ are truly interested in based on their purchasing intent.   It has taken nearly three years of research and endless iterations, and now the team at Mighty Social have a unique AI-powered tool that is capable of ethically refining data to reach very accurate audiences. This means consumers will finally be served ads that will be totally relevant to them.

About Mighty Social - https://mightysocial.tech

Mighty Social is one of the winners of Deloitte Tech Fast 50 for two years running and ranked in the top 20% of the Inc. 5000 List of Europe’s Fastest-Growing Companies. They are also the 2018 Red Herring 100 Europe winners for their use of AI with a patent-pending super-tool - The Atom - that is poised to build smarter custom audiences at scale. And, they have just won Best Paid Media campaign at the Performance Marketing Awards 2018.