Google, Facebook or Amazon…Where Should I Advertise?

By — 06.21.18

You’ve probably seen Amazon’s rapid growth in the advertising space, directly challenging the duopoly of Google and Facebook. While Facebook (Instagram included) and Google continue to grow, they will capture just 48% of new digital ad dollars in 2018.  This represents a noticeable decrease from the 73% of new dollars that the two companies claimed in 2016. With Amazon entering the game as an emerging advertising channel to consider, it becomes more important for you to reach your consumer in the highest-converting channel—but which channel is best?  To help you decide, here are seven questions to ask yourself, along with helpful answers from yours truly.

1. How do consumers purchase your products?
Think about your sales strategy across channels and examine the shopping behavior of your current customers. If you’re selling products on Amazon, either through first party or third party, we recommend you have a paid search strategy in place on Amazon to promote your products, defend your brand terms, and drive traffic to your product detail pages. If you are selling direct to consumer through your ecommerce site, we recommend using Facebook/Instagram to engage new audiences and build awareness of your products, while also running search campaigns on Google to capture intent and drive traffic to your site.

2. What is your goal?
Brand awareness: If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, we recommend push marketing tactics on Facebook and Instagram, leveraging creative assets like videos to tell a story about your brand to target audiences. You can collect your customer data to score your shoppers and create lookalike audiences for Facebook targeting based on behavior and lifetime value, helping you acquire new customers and increase interest in your brand.

Amazon’s advertising platform (AAP) is also an effective way to increase brand awareness, and allows you to tap into new audiences that may not be shopping on other channels. You can create custom audiences using your data, as well as leverage Amazon’s proprietary data to identify in-market audiences and promote your brand.

Customer loyalty: If your goal is building customer loyalty, we recommend tactics on Facebook and Amazon display (AAP).  While many brands and retailers have the goal of acquiring new customers, which is important, we encourage you not to neglect your existing, loyal customers. The people leaving reviews on your products, making repeat purchases, and advocating for your brand are your biggest influencers and should be appreciated. We recommend segmenting your CRM data to create audience lists of your most loyal shoppers, and use push tactics on Facebook and Amazon display (AAP) to engage these consumers with exclusive first peek access, feedback requests, and appreciation for their business.

Driving sales: Lastly, if you’re looking to drive sales, we have a few suggestions.  When it comes to bottom-of-the-funnel, direct response tactics, we recommend you strategically place ads across all three channels;  Google, Facebook and Amazon—and compare the return on ad spend and margins across each.

On Google, you could funnel traffic to the most relevant products that you’re selling based on customer intent data and historical behavior. We also recommend tactics like RLSAs and Customer Match to drive sales from customers that have already researched your products or added items to their cart.

On Facebook, try re-engaging shoppers who have browsed your site with dynamic product ads (DPAs).  This allows you to optimize your product feed and sync it with your campaigns on Facebook daily, allowing you to show recommended products in real time to the most relevant audiences.

You likely have customers that are specifically going to Amazon to shop, so running sponsored products on both your brand and non-brand terms ensures you’re capturing demand and driving sales in your marketplace.

3. How effective is your website?
Do you have an ecommerce site where consumers can buy your products directly? If yes, is it profitable and scalable? If you are selling direct to consumer through an ecommerce site, we recommend you evaluate the traffic, bounce rates, and conversion rates, both trending over time as well as year over year to analyze any changes. It’s helpful to research how your category is performing on Amazon to identify any upticks and opportunity areas for you to sell on the marketplace. You can then compare your sales performance across your website and your Amazon program by looking at metrics like volume and margins to help create your channel strategy. Then, you could create an advertising program to send traffic to the most profitable channel – whether that is your website or your Amazon store.

4. What is your brand and product strategy?
Do you own the trademarks on your brand? Are you re-selling other manufacturer’s items? How do you differentiate your products? Will you be competing for the buy box with other sellers? What is your redistribution strategy? All of these factors will play into your Amazon strategy and how you compete across the networks. Take a moment to evaluate your current strategy and revise your channel approach based on these factors.

5. What kind of resources do you have?
Managing your digital ads takes time. If you’re on Amazon, you will need to to answer consumer questions, maintain your product listings, encourage reviews, meet shipping requirements, and manage inventory levels.  If you’re not yet prepared to take on more work, you may want to consider an agency like Adlucent to manage your Amazon ads for you, or it might be best to stick with Google and Facebook ads until you can re-allocate your resources.

6. What are your margins?
How do your CPCs differ between networks, what is your return on ad spend (ROAS) and what are your margins (including fees on Amazon, for example)?  You will also want to think about what your product cost is—this will help you manage budgets based on true profitability so you can clearly decide where to invest your funds based upon your expected return. At Adlucent, we’ve built a proprietary Amazon reporting software to pull in your product margins at the SKU level, sales performance across both 1P and 3P, as well as from your advertising campaigns to provide a true profitability analysis for you on an ongoing, monthly, weekly and daily basis. This helps you examine your margins across channels with all components factored in, allowing you to make better business decisions.

7.  How are you approaching your shopper’s customer journey?
Are you combining push and pull tactics? If you create demand with channels like social, are you prepared to capture that demand when people start searching on Google and Amazon?  This is an essential piece of every cross-channel marketing strategy. You may be able to capture people that shop solely on Amazon that you may not be able to reach on Google or through your website. Map your shopper’s journey and manage all of the moments that matter—and then adjust your advertising strategy accordingly so you’re seeing the best return across touchpoints.

There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about where to allocate your advertising dollars.  It’s essential that today’s marketer employ a solid cross-channel plan that meets your shopper in their ideal platform.  We hope these thought-starters help to ensure that you aren’t missing out on the growing revenue you can gain by implementing a strategic advertising program.

Are you excited to grow your presence on Amazon but feeling like this is a lot to manage?  Check out our Amazon Solution Sheet to learn more.   


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