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The Benefits and Limitation of Amazon Attritubtion
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Amazon Attribution: Will it Answer Your Questions?

According to the 250 top marketers surveyed in the iProspect Global Client Survey, Amazon will be the third most influential tech company for their target audiences in 2020, after Google and Facebook. This is hardly a surprise considering the ever-growing importance of the platform in consumers’ daily lives. More than 78 million people in the United States alone already use Amazon on their mobile phones to compare prices or availability when shopping in a physical store (Dentsu proprietary data).

For marketers, this situation comes with the critical challenge of correctly understanding the influence of their media efforts on Amazon sales to better drive their marketing investment. Until recently, Amazon hasn’t offered marketers the right tools to do so, but with the launch of Amazon Attribution, the e-commerce giant is actively working to close the gap with its competitors regarding marketing measurement solutions.

Does the Amazon Attribution beta live up to its promise of better visibility on media performance?

What are the benefits and limitations of the solution?

To find out, iProspect specialists tested the solution on a leading apparel retailer in the United States, which is both an Amazon brand vendor and works with third-party sellers. Through the example of paid search, our specialists share what you should know before getting started with the beta.

How Amazon Attribution Works

What Amazon Attribution Solves

The Amazon Attribution beta measurement solution aims to enable brands who sell on Amazon to better understand the impact of the digital media campaigns off Amazon (search ads, social ads, display ads, video ads and email) on their activity within Amazon.

Let’s take the example of search ads (including Google Shopping ads):

  • Anna searches for a product online in a search engine (i.e., outside Amazon), clicks an ad from brand X and lands on brand X’s website.
  • After reviewing options, Anna may purchase on brand X's website, but may instead buy brand X's product on Amazon or perform additional research on Amazon.
  • If she ends up buying on Amazon, it is clear the ad had an effect on her purchase, but without a proper attribution solution, it is impossible to demonstrate this indirect influence. This undermines the actual performance of search ads and limits brand X’s capacity to optimise its media dollars. This is exactly what Amazon Attribution addresses by providing brand X with sales impact analysis across media channels, so that brand X’s marketing team can now uncover the insights needed to optimise their campaigns and plan future activations.
     

Getting Started

The two-step setup process is simple:

  • Vendor brands and agencies work with their Amazon team to apply for the Amazon Attribution beta. Following the launch of the Amazon Attribution beta in 2018, Amazon expanded its availability in 2019, and the solution is now available both in the US and the UK (with limited access). The program has also expanded to include social campaign support.
  • Teams should categorise reporting data and create pixels through orders in the Amazon interface accordingly. The media pixels are created for each publisher type and then added to specific campaigns or elements. For this test we created pixels based on search term categories and applied the pixels within tracking templates in Google’s Search Ads 360. This allowed Amazon to track clicks from Google search and shopping campaigns to Amazon detailed page views (DPV).


What we found

Three Considerations About Attribution and Performance

(Results below combine data from first-party and third-party sellers on Amazon.)

  • On average, 48% of clicks on Google search and Google shopping also tracked to DPVs on Amazon. Although DPV rate varied by campaign theme the fact that almost half of paid search clicks influenced DPV on Amazon on average demonstrates the importance of having all of your brand’s shopping experiences optimised.
  • This indirect impact on Amazon casts a new light on the real performance of paid search and budget allocations within paid search programs. When factoring in paid search and shopping campaign influences, our .com campaign ROAS increased by 25%. Search engine campaigns to brand’s .com experience helps to influence potential customers before they go (or go back to) a platform like Amazon where they could easily buy from multiple or other brands. But particularly high DPV rates and conversion rates among certain segments helped us also re-evaluate our search campaign budgets to prioritise incrementality.
  • Not surprisingly, the average order value (AOV) on Amazon was significantly lower than the client’s site, which has higher free-shipping thresholds and higher-end items.

     

Three Implementation and Measurement Implications

  • Keep things simple at first: Marketers can add as many pixels/orders as they want, but they must consider how they will report and combine this information with the non-Amazon data. They should also keep track of precisely when they apply click pixels to media; not doing it all at one time can make the process of combining data rather complex.
  • Keep in mind Amazon Attribution is still in beta: The program is subject to changes and Amazon may not be able to solve all questions or data discrepancies.

    • Amazon changed the format of pixels from the initial launch into 2019.
    • New publisher support may be added overtime with more specific pixels.
    • Amazon has added new bulk features to streamline creation and implementation of pixels.
  • Amazon Attribution tells what happens, not how: Although we uncovered a more robust picture of the shopping landscape, Amazon Attribution does not tell us how users get to Amazon after they click on a search text or shopping ad, for example, if they come to Amazon directly (i.e., typing the Amazon domain in the URL bar) and then convert, or if they land on Amazon via an Amazon ad in Google or an organic listing in Google. It also doesn’t confirm which products they buy on Amazon.

     

Additional Opportunities to Explore With the Beta

  • Analyse performance over time if prices on your brand’s .com and Amazon experience are affected by promotions. 
  • If you are using results from the beta to help guide budget shifts and allocations for your search and shopping campaigns, launch incrementality tests to validate learnings from the beta. For example, if we reduce coverage purposefully on a subset ofsearch campaigns that drove high conversion rate with the beta, would our brand’s Amazon experience pick up enough of the revenue loss so we can focus our budget on other search and shopping campaigns?
  • Consider expanding pixel strategy to analyse performance by audience segments.
  • Launch the beta across more than one media channel for your brand to better understand performance impact across your media mix.

     

Verdict

Keeping in mind the current limitations, Amazon Attribution provides a great tool for brands to gain insights through Amazon sales impact analysis, develop in-flight optimisation strategies and plan future marketing activations across channels to maximise ROI and product sales.

Needing guidance to implement Amazon Attribution for your brand or for other marketplace and retailer optimisation tactics?

Contact global.marketing@iprospect.com today to explore opportunities.