Jumpstart Your Q4 by Implementing Sponsored Brands Video on Amazon Advertising

Video is becoming more integral to the eCommerce shopping experience and we at Channel Bakers have been leveraging Sponsored Brands Video to great success. A recent statistic even indicates that 68% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. 

Video is also increasingly more popular with advertisers. The thought is that video, as a medium, creates deeper engagement with consumers allowing for stronger, quicker connection with your brand than traditional media like static banners and landing pages. We see this from the number of advertisers engaging in video. As eMarketer reports,  “In 2020, we expect to see digital video ad spend grow 15.0%, accounting for £3.72 billion ($4.75 billion) and more than half of display for the first time—52.8% in fact [of all digital ad spending].”

Amazon’s Innovative Advertising

With Amazon as the largest eCommerce Retailer in 2019 in Europe, they’ve continued to release products and services that help brands and advertisers reach their audiences in new ways.

Amazon has taken a front seat role when it comes to engaging consumers by pushing video across multiple ad formats. The landscape of Amazon ads allows for video formats to be engaged with at nearly every stage of the consumer decision-making process.

Amazon Video Formats include: OTT, Video display ads, Stores Video, Sponsored Brands Video, Amazon Live, Video on Image Gallery, Video related to this product, etc.

Amazon OTT allows advertisers to directly connect with shoppers in their homes. By engaging viewers through VOD apps and Prime Video, you can create awareness before the consumer need is realized.

As shoppers browse the internet searching for information, marketers are spending more on Video Display Ads to break from traditional static creative and increase shopper engagement. And on Amazon’s website, we see video integration taking the form of Amazon Live, video uploads on detail pages, and Stores hosting video.

With the launch of Sponsored Brands Video, Amazon Search advertising is adding an exciting new form of media to the mix!

Welcome to Sponsored Brands Video

Amazon first released Sponsored Brands Video (sometimes referred to as Video in Sponsored Brands or Video in Search…creative spinoffs, we know) in the United States in 2019. This advertising product allows for brands to leverage keyword targets to engage consumers with video content on a cost per click basis.

For advertisers looking to create awareness of your brand, this video placement on Amazon provides the extremely advantageous option of leveraging pay per click as opposed to cost per mille (CPM).

For one Consumer Electronics manufacturer, Channel Bakers leveraged Sponsored Brands Video over the summer to create a deeper engagement with shoppers and increase the run rate of existing inventory.

In June, our core computer ASIN, which was a +$700 convertible laptop, showed returns of 6:1 and a cost-per-click (CPC) of $3.47. Sponsored Brands Video was integrated the first week of July, and by the end of the month, that ASIN showed a 12:1 return with a decreasing CPC of $2.68. Through optimization, August results for a single ASIN leveraging Sponsored Brands Video showed returns of 32:1 and a CPC of $1.98, highlighting efficiency and profitability.

Source: Amazon Ad Console Data, executed by Channel Bakers, Q3 – 2020

We see multiple CPG brands leveraging Sponsored Brands Video to drive non-branded search engagement, targeting shoppers that are in the Discovery or Consideration phase of their shopping journey. One notable example is the below pet food brand that leveraged Sponsored Brand Video to showcase the light, fun-loving nature of their brand. This piece created a unique experience for shoppers that stopped them mid-scroll, or as we like to call it  “Scroll stopping creative.”

With holiday advertisers and competition constantly increasing, Sponsored Brands Video will be critical to a well-rounded Search advertising strategy this year on Amazon. Not only does Sponsored Brands Video allow for you to layer in clear visual elements that align with your brand, but it also allows you to link to your PDP so you can track sales conversion for the deals that you may be running this holiday.

If you have yet to explore how to leverage Sponsored Brands Video on Amazon, please connect with us for Jumpstarting your Sponsored Brands Video, where we can discuss how to turn on Sponsored Brands Video, best practices for creating video, and how Channel Bakers can help build video and optimize this.

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It’s Official: Prime Day is Coming October 13-14

Hold onto your hats, folks! Prime Day is officially happening on October 13th-14th per Amazon’s website. After a postponement in July and months of waiting, we can finally save the date.

And with Prime Day 2019 sales exceeded $7.16 billion in just 48-hours and a 40% trend in sales increase YOY, this year is expected to bring another outstanding event. So how do we prepare with so little time left?

Two Weeks To Go

With so little time left, and with an incremental $3.59B expected to be spent on digital video ads, it could be time to shift some budget to digital. Traditional media has taken a huge hit this year due to COVID-19 as more people are spending their time indoors and online.

We suggest meeting your customers where they are. Shift dollars to Amazon Advertising and combine with highly competitive price points to succeed during this major eCommerce event. It’s a winning strategy that will kickstart your sales goals to carry you into Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday season.

Amazon has also recently announced that they’re upgrading Alexa, building a gaming platform called Luna, and releasing a slew of new smart home and security devices (including a home drone). Can your brand capitalize on these new offerings? We can help you create, target, and capitalize on any advertisements you need.

Channel Bakers Can Help

Enter Channel Bakers, we’ve been getting ready for this day since July 17th of last year. Trust us, it’s already circled on our calendars. From hosting webinars on how to “Prime the Pump” to getting ahead on new offerings like Sponsored Brands Videos, to leveraging Amazon OTT to stay top of mind before Prime Day, we’re here to help you optimize your advertising to get the most out of Prime Day.

“Prime Day 2020 has the potential to be the most monumental tentpole retail sales event since the launch of the very first Black Friday back in 1952,” says Josh Kreitzer, our CEO.

So partner with us to get your search, DSP, video, and digital video advertising ready for the big day! Contact us to Prime the Pump! October 13th is only a few weeks away.

Twitch Might Be the Future of Digital Viewing

Digital Video has become the fastest growing digital medium, with an incremental increase of $3.59B in ad spending. And no, it’s not just because the COVID-era has turned the world virtual. It’s due to a shift in where digital viewers are consuming content.

For instance, did you know that 17% of digital video viewers watch through Twitch? Of course you did! But just in case you didn’t, we’ll break down just what Twitch is and how to capitalize on its unique offering. (Hint: It’s not just for gamers.)

What is Twitch?

in 2011, Twitch has grown from a small streaming platform to hosting 1.6M viewers at any given time. That’s 10% more than MSNBC and CNN’s reported daily total viewers.

But before we go any further, let’s define “streaming.” It’s the bread and butter of Twitch and the entire reason why viewers spend an average of 1.5 hours daily on the site.

“Streaming” is where broadcasters live record themselves performing an activity while simultaneously engaging their viewers in conversation. For the vast majority of Twitch streamers, this means it showcases their skills on popular video games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and PUBG.

But if there’s anything we’ve learned from Youtube, it’s that if you give the people a platform, they’ll turn it into a content creation universe. These days, Twitch hosts channels for cooking shows, live sports commentary, and lifestyle pieces.

This open platform has also only grown stronger after Amazon acquired it in 2014. In fact, it was just announced that Twitch’s live streaming functionality will be incorporated into the Amazon Music app, enabling fans to engage with artists in brand-new ways and move seamlessly between live streams and recorded music.

This comes at a perfect time when artists are streaming live concerts more than ever, bringing a completely new audience to Twitch. According to ComScore, Twitch’s viewers are 81.5% Male and 56% are 18-34 years old.

This new music offering could bring a shift in their unique visitors. That now opens up a whole new conversation about what kind of brands should be on Twitch to capture this audience.

Your Brand x Twitch

Is your brand right for Twitch?

It’s obvious that Gaming Hardware like headsets, keyboards, and mice would be the best advertisers for Twitch, but when we look at Twitch’s demographic, and this new music audience that’s expected to shift towards Twitch, your products may be more relevant than you’d originally thought.

For example, standing desk brands have a real opportunity to educate the Twitch audience on how their product can improve their physical and emotional health.

Energy drinks have always been a gamer favorite, but Twitch’s move into the lifestyle genre has brought along fitness gurus from other social platforms like Instagram. Everything from yoga brands to healthy snacks also have an opportunity to thrive here. And we can’t think of a place you can’t promote hand sanitizer these days, too.

Advertising on Twitch

So, how do you promote your brand in an authentic way on Twitch?

Brands have been known to partner with notable streamers for a sponsored, one-time stream. These can include anything from playing a new game to giving viewers the chance to win chicken dinners by commenting in the chat. Yes…that was KFC.

Before you start developing your Twitch streamer sponsorship strategy, you’ll need to find the right streamer who resonates with your brand’s audience. Using tools like Twitchtracker can give you the data and analytics you need to decide what streamer to partner with and where to place your ads.

And with 82% of viewers saying that sponsorships are good for the gaming community, this might be the perfect place for your brand to get the best return on your advertising spend.

However, streamer sponsorships shouldn’t be the only strategy for getting in front of their savvy audience. Did you know you can implement Display advertising as well? You can absolutely send your digital video ads and static display banners if you don’t want to fully invest in the influencer route.

We at Channel Bakers can get you up to speed on Twitch and help you leverage the fastest growing digital platform. Contact us today to grow your brand!

How Important Is Prime Day This Year for Non Essential Brands?

This year, Prime Day is going to bring in the largest audience it’s ever had following the trend of sales rising around 40% YOY. In the midst of a global pandemic, Prime Members rose from 59% to 67% according to an RBC survey and this represents a huge opportunity for brands to capitalize on.

Typically, this tentpole eCommerce event takes place in July with a goal of kickstarting the second half of the year during a slow quarter.

But rumor has it that this year’s annual Prime Day is being postponed until October. Will this affect their expected surge in visits? The data says otherwise.

Prime Day is Growing

Year-over-year, Amazon’s Prime Day has been on a dramatic upswing. Just last year, sales exceeded $7.16 billion in just 48-hours – more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined!

They’ve obviously been crushing it, but how does that stack up in a world where purchases are leaning more toward “essential items” like baby products, groceries, and pet supplies? Well, first of all, Amazon changed what they deem “essential”.

Our VP of Client Success at Channel Bakers, Sarah LaVallee, found that Amazon was giving parents a break by slapping the “essential” tag on categories like toys, puzzles, Nerf guns, and video games.

Adding these items to the list could help bring a boost to Prime Day in 2020.

Ramping Up the Non-Essentials

“Isn’t Prime Day just a good excuse to buy things you normally wouldn’t?”, you and every other consumer might ask. And while that’s not the official tagline, Prime Day is an excellent way for non-essential brands to meet their sales goals.

That’s why these brands rejoiced when Amazon did come through on their promise to place purchase orders for non-essential products a little earlier than they originally said they would. Initially, it was a full stop on non-essential PO’s until early April.

According to LaVallee, “We did start to see a lot of clients begin to receive POs that were in non-essential categories. Also around that time, shoppers were beginning to receive their non-essential item deliveries a little faster than previously promised.”

This is great news, especially for the 145MM new online shoppers since COVID-19 began and the 197MM loyal Amazonians.

Getting Ready for the Big Day

If there’s one key takeaway from this article, it’s that non-essential brands should be leveraging Amazon’s shopper purchase behavior data leading up to Prime Day. Develop those data-driven strategies people! It’ll help you hit your overall corporate sales goals, not just within Amazon.

Investing in Amazon’s ability to tie advertising closer to the point of sale will win over new and returning consumers. With that said, looking at Amazon, last year they invested over $100MM in advertising to drive traffic for Prime Day before the sales event.

Strategically it’s a no-brainer that non-essential brands consider combining incremental budget for Amazon Advertising with highly competitive price points as a great plan of attack to succeed during Q4 this year.

With Prime Day now taking place in October it kicks off holiday shopping early, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Week. Historically, October was a month where shoppers researched products but didn’t pull the trigger until Black Friday and Cyber Week.

It will be interesting to see how impactful Prime Day is in shifting consumer spending before Black Friday and Cyber Week.

We at Channel Bakers will be looking at Q4 quarantine shopping to give us new data and fresh insights going into 2021…but everyone’s focus should start with the big one: Prime Day.

Planning for Prime Day begins with shifting budget(s) to where the shopper is going be shopping the most this holiday season, and that’s eCommerce. Your strategy should include stronger pricing and promotions…and your brand should invest in a new way to stay top of mind with shoppers like getting on television screens and connected devices through Amazon OTT.

As a last thought, Tyler Speer, Channel Bakers’ EMEA Director of Business Development, stated, “Prime Day is going to be the best opportunity that you’ll likely have all year long to get back on track to hit your company’s sales goals by getting in front of the shopper where they are shopping the most.”

If you’d like to view Channel Bakers’ full discussion on how brands can “Prime the Pump” in preparation for Amazon, visit this link. To learn more about next steps for non essential brands towards Prime Day, contact our Advertising experts at Channel Bakers.

Why You Should Be Paying Attention to Amazon Attribution

An essential element for any effective Amazon brand strategy is advertising, and pushing your products to be seen by a broader audience. Nowadays, most brands drive traffic to their Amazon listings through various platforms. Measuring the performance of the multiple traffic sources from a brand’s inbound campaigns is where Amazon Attribution is a powerful tool for identifying what’s working and what’s not.

Why Amazon Attribution Matters

Before joining Channel Bakers as our VP of Client Success, Sarah LaVallee worked for multiple brands. She commented that from a brand marketer’s standpoint, Amazon Attribution was helpful in overcoming one of the main challenges she faced trying to determine what traffic levers to pull and when.

Some questions her team had asked themselves were…What digital ads are we going to use? (Search or Display, etc.) Where are we going to send them? What is the message? 

According to Sarah, “It’s always a challenge with traditional media of understanding what’s working and what’s not working. Throughout the history of media, we’ve found ways to fudge this with a coupon code or a one day sale. And so that we can do back of napkin marketing math to determine what’s been effective.”

The nice thing about Amazon Attribution, when it comes to sending people to Amazon product detail pages, is that it takes the guesswork out. For Sarah’s team, they used Amazon Attribution through email and social, driving people to Amazon. Afterwards, they ran AB tests to see which creative message resonated with folks more, asking themselves in the process…

Is it more branding forward? Is it more deal forward? Is it convenience? 

Once people started heading to Amazon, her team was able to see exactly what was working, and what wasn’t working. The main thing was to leverage the database of people who are highly valuable to the brand, how they’re communicated to, how often, where they’re sent, etc.

“It was great for us to measure the efficacy of our efforts and help us understand what resonated most with consumers” says Sarah.

Some of our Channel Bakers clients deal with Amazon specific budgets, ecommerce budgets, and marketing teams that have their own budget. For example, removing Amazon out of the equation, assume there are two different functions, two different teams, with one marketing department that looks at everything available to help grow the brand, tell the brand story, and help influence sales. The question is…What do you do? How do you know what’s working? 

According to Sarah, “Measurability is huge. Measurability accountability. We need to be able to understand what is working, what tools are working, what messaging is working. All of these little things are crucial to marketing strategy”.

Using CPG grocery as an example, it’s very difficult to say, “We’re going to run these digital ads in Kroger’s footprint, and we are going to take a look at if there was any sort of impact on Kroger’s sales.” It’s hard to measure that, unless you’re actually giving people a coupon, which 99% of people are not going to clip. Versus Amazon Attribution, where the brand can say, “Let’s drive to eCommerce, to a place of purchase, and then we can understand exactly which of our branding marketing budget buckets are working to achieve specific objectives like getting more folks into the brand versus purchasing the product.” It’s about those sales versus awareness metrics that matter, then looking at their individual efficacy, and testing again based on those metrics.

History of Amazon Attribution

As marketers, we always want to know what’s working and what’s not working. The Amazon Attribution program is really powerful in helping us identify, whether it’s email, or traditional search like Google, or other display targeting like Facebook, what levers are working in closing the sale and/or driving traffic.

So why did Amazon go down this path and what platform did they do this with? Amazon wanted to identify and help the advertiser and brand figure out what their role is in the marketing stack.

Meaning, is Amazon contributing more from a performance standpoint, whether that be click through rates, return on spend, or sales? They want to be able identify how Google and Facebook compare when driving traffic to Amazon. But the history of this goes back a little bit further. 

Around 2013, Amazon opened the door for non-US based brands to sell on Amazon. For manufacturers and for many of those seller based brands that were overseas, they didn’t have access to all of the advertising tools that Amazon made available to US based manufacturer brands. Display advertising was the primary piece of what was not readily available to a seller brand.

The best practice for those overseas based seller brands was to leverage Facebook, and leverage Google. Rather than drive to their own websites (because they didn’t have one) in the US, and because they didn’t have a US corporation set up, they would always send their non-Amazon search and display traffic to Amazon.

While they were sending that traffic to their products on Amazon, they didn’t get any sales metric type data to be able to say, “This is working from a conversion rate standpoint and cost per acquisition standpoint.” Looking at that, this was a tool that was launched initially in seller central for seller based manufactured brands. 

Amazon Attribution Best Practices

Today, Amazon recognizes the best practice of leveraging other ad platforms to drive to traffic to their site. In response to the inbound traffic they were getting from those platforms, they developed the attribution tool to better help brands define the success of those campaigns.

Amazon also wants to help overseas seller based brands figure out how much of their budgets should be spent towards Amazon Advertising versus other ad platforms based on the metrics provided with their attribution tool. That’s the underlying tone. 

At the end of the day, Amazon is looking at giving you access to tools to help you identify more data points along the consumer decision journey, with various different ad platforms that exist out in the market.

Testing and learning is also critically important in the digital marketer landscape. This helps you identify what’s working and what’s not working, but also leveraging this data to build to new audiences and tests. This helps the marketer not only know just what lever to pull and when, but also which audience each lever works with best.

In Sarah’s experience having worked for multiple manufacturer brands, she intimately understands how very protective they are of their brand enthusiasts and fans. With Facebook or their email database, brands are super sensitive about giving their audience the perception that it’s their intention to “sell them, sell them, sell them”. 

That’s really where AB testing messaging sprints come into play. If we’re going to communicate to these people and send them to a place to purchase, we need to understand what will work, and we’re not just pushing their products on our loyal followers and customers.

Key Takeaways

The key takeaway here should be that leveraging Google or Facebook to drive traffic to Amazon is a best practice. Focusing on which ad levers, platforms, products, and tools to drive traffic with, to where, and with the right message is critically important.

Amazon Attribution now helps marketers with all of those critical touch points and the message conveyed along their decision making process by giving the ability to measure and test with a goal of being more relevant to those audiences the brand is trying to reach.

CB Cares: Together We Rise: Disney Days

Channel Bakers team members recently capped a memorable day at The Disneyland Resort as chaperones for foster youth in coordination with Together We Rise, a non-profit organization working with thousands of volunteers, social workers, CASA advocates, and other partners to transform the way kids experience foster care.

Each year Together We Rise reunites foster children & foster siblings in Disneyland. This program not only reunites foster siblings, who have been split up into separate foster families, but provides a common sense of normalcy and lifelong memories with their friends and family.

Leveraging Sponsored Display Across the Marketing Funnel

In a move to help Seller Central based brands better reach new audiences to further grow their businesses, Amazon has released Sponsored Display on Seller Central (in open beta). 

What are the key benefits of Sponsored Display?

What’s unique and powerful about Sponsored Display is that it can be used across the entire shopper decision journey.

To start, let’s talk about what’s unique to Sponsored Display that is not available with keyword, search based targeting. Sponsored Display, allows seller-based brands to easily create desktop and mobile ads that appear on websites and apps off-Amazon on a cost-per-click basis. Usually display advertising is based on cost per impressions regardless if the user seeing the ad clicked on it or not. The ability to serve ads on other websites off of Amazon’s website is a powerful way to drive inbound traffic to your products on Amazon.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through some examples of how Sponsored Display can help you execute a full-funnel strategy for your brand and/or products that includes Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion tactics.

Awareness

Sponsored Display allows you to target people in-market for a number of products or categories of products that you think are relevant to the product you are trying to promote. The ability to create campaigns without relevancy guardrails (meaning impressions will serve even if the Search Algorithm doesn’t identify your product relevant to the audience you want to target) is one of the very unique features that is only available through Sponsored Display Ads.

To give you an example of the Product Targeting feature in Sponsored Display, let’s say that I’m Gatorade, and I want to target people shopping for running shoes during marathon season. (Runners need their electrolytes after all!) With Sponsored Display, you can create a campaign with your Fruit Punch flavored Gatorade products that targets people in-market for Nike, Adidas, Hoka One, and other running shoes through Product Targeting. In this example you would have to identify the shoe ASINs and manually enter them if you wanted to target specific brands).

In this example we’ve demonstrated how a product that is in the Grocery category is relevant to shoppers looking at products in the Apparel category. Sponsored Display is a powerful tool that helps seller-based brands reach new audiences that may not have been in-market for their product to drive more New-To-Brand sales as well as drive more overall sales for their products.

Consideration

By leveraging Sponsored Display, you can also reach audiences that are or may be interested in similar products to that of your products. This can be a competitor’s products or it could be an opportunity to cross-sell your products with other adjacent products.

To give you an example, if you sell Soundbars, you can target people in-market for televisions. (everybody needs more sound when watching their movies! Just sayin’) With Sponsored Display (again, there are no relevancy guardrails that prevent you from serving ads), you can leverage Category-based targeting for “Televisions” and promote your soundbar products..

Because Soundbars are closely related to televisions, there is a large likelihood that they may consider purchasing a soundbar with their television. This very relevant Consideration tactic is one that can only be executed with Sponsored Display Ads within Amazon’s Search Console and Seller Central Sponsored Display product.

Another Consideration tactic that can capture the attention of more engaged shoppers that are further down their decision journey would be to leverage Sponsored Display Ad’s Product Targeting feature. With this powerful targeting option, seller-based brands can target their competitor’s specific products to help the shopper learn more about their comparable products that may have a better price, more features and benefits, etc.

The key benefit here is that seller-based brands have a higher chance of conversion as shoppers are already interested in the product category and are already close to purchasing. 

Conversion

When it comes to driving actual conversions for your products, Sponsored Display is key in inspiring shoppers who may have already identified a category of products they are interested in purchasing. The goal with conversion-based tactics is to help the shopper decide that your product is the right product for them in that category.

One very popular conversion tactic that you can execute with Sponsored Display is remarketing. Seller-based brands can re-engage shoppers who have viewed their product detail pages in the last 30 days.

Visually, what do product targeted ads look like?

Seller-based brands have the ability to show ads alongside relevant ad placements such as shopper reviews, search results pages, detail pages, and/or under the featured offer. 

Presently, Sponsored Display product targeting ads feature the product image and basic detail page information like reviews, price, and if the product is Prime eligible. With additional customization features coming soon, you will have even more creative control over your ads.

Your ads will now also show deals and savings badges so that your shoppers never miss a deal. 

We (Channel Bakers) were given the exciting opportunity to be an early participant in the Sponsored Display beta. Here’s a list of some new key features that came out of the beta that make Sponsored Display product targeting a great tool for Seller-based Brands:

  • No limitation in the UI on which targets can be selected based on advertised ASINs
  • Ability to refine category selections based on price, brand, star rating, and other filters 
  • Ability to feature >1 ASIN 
  • Ability to do negative targeting 
  • Ability to see detailed reporting for advertised ASIN, targeted ASINs and categories for optimization
  • Ability to set bids separately on each target (flexible bidding)

To learn more about Sponsored Display product targeting and how we can help you advertise with Sponsored Display, contact our Advertising experts at Channel Bakers. 

How COVID-19 has affected America’s Shopping Behavior

How has COVID-19 affected our shopping behavior?

We know that Americans have shifted their shopping behaviors drastically in the past few weeks due to the COVID-19 CoronaVirus pandemic. However, we wanted to put some quantitative data behind one of those shopping behavior narratives, “Everyone is shopping online now”. 

There’s a lot to unpack in that statement so we decided to survey thousands of U.S. shoppers from around the country to get quantitative data that will help us all identify some new shopping patterns within the past 8 weeks.

We knew people were shopping online more but to what extent? Here’s what we learned.

45% of the respondents stated that they have increased their online shopping by 10-20% with another 26% stating that their online shopping has increased by 20%-40% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic this past February. 

That’s 71% of participants stating that they’ve increased their online shopping up to 40% in the past 8 weeks. The other 29% stated they’ve increased their online shopping by more than 40% with 11% stating that they’ve increased their online shopping by more than 60% which is closer to the number we were expecting.

Average Order Value

The next question that naturally comes to mind is “how much are they spending on average per order they place online?”. 79% of the respondents stated that they are now spending up to $100 per order with 21% stating that they are spending over $100 per order.

We often joke around the office that “you can’t escape Costco without spending at least $200 with each visit” well it seems the internet retail landscape is beginning to see the same shopping experience with 7% of respondents stating that they have spent over $200 on average per online order in the past 8 weeks.

Most shopped category of products

It’s easy to assume that grocery is going to be the clear winner when asking the question “what have you spent your money on since the COVID-19 pandemic” but we wanted to know what percent of their increased online shopping was spent on grocery versus home entertainment or fashion & apparel.

From our poll, grocery made up 42% of the online purchases people have been making in the past 8 weeks, but it was interesting to see that apparel and home entertainment were very close.

We expected apparel to be less than 5% of the purchases, but to our surprise 12% of respondents stated that they are still spending on apparel despite being indoors with nowhere to go to show off their new outfits! Home entertainment, meaning Televisions, soundbars, streaming devices, etc was just slightly ahead of apparel at 15% which is to be expected with more people wanting an upgrade or needing another television for their house while binge watching Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.

It goes without saying that Health & Beauty would come in second place with 20% of shoppers purchasing products like Vitamin C, Elderberry, and Echinacea supplements, as well as the very popular Essential Oils to stay healthy defending against COVID-19.

Intraday Online Shopping Frequency

Now with Amazon Prime as well as Target with their Drive Up program, and Walmart with their pickup program, it’s much easier to place multiple orders per day, especially when we’ve forgotten to add something to the cart.

To measure the frequency of online shopping we asked shoppers “how many times per day do you go shopping online?”. We were surprised to see that 10% of shoppers go online to shop more than 4 times per day with the other 90% going online to shop at least once per day.

Where are people shopping now?

Of course, the question that had the most responses was “which online retailer have you shopped online with the most since COVID-19?”. Rather than create a simple poll surrounding the percentage of people who shop at one retailer’s website/App or another, we wanted to see what percentage of shopping is done at each retailer’s website or app independent of the others.

The next set of charts are going to breakdown the percentage of shopping done at each retailer’s site or app since COVID-19. It will be interesting to keep an eye on what percentage of respondents state that they do at least 50% of their shopping at a specific retailer’s website or app. For example, we were surprised to see that Walmart.com had 10% of respondents stating they do 50-59% of their shopping with Walmart.com and looking at Amazon’s chart we see the shoppers that do 50-59% of their shopping with Amazon at 11% of respondents.

Amazon.com

While only 11% of respondents state that they do 50-59% of their online shopping on Amazon.com, it’s important to note that if you add up the percentages of people who do more than 50% of their shopping on Amazon, we get a total of 53% of respondents having stated that they do more than half of their shopping on Amazon. 

To put that into perspective, there were only 13% of respondents that stated they’ve spent 50% or more on Target.com with only 6% of respondents in the group that has shopped 50-59% at Target.com in the past 8 weeks.

The inverse of that conversation shows that Amazon has the lowest percentage of respondents stating that they only shop on Amazon from 0% up to 10% but if you look at Costco.com, 59% of respondents stated they only shop from 0% up to 10% on Costco.com.

Walmart.com

Walmart has invested billions into their eCommerce platform with a goal to compete with Amazon. Their efforts have included the acquisition of Jet.com for $3.3B in 2016, adding Pickup in-store as well as Grocery delivery, and launching a digital returns feature through it’s app for both, in-store and online order, returns to be processed in-store.

With COVID-19 and the “toilet paper crisis of 2020” (yeah…we think that phrase will catch on),  it’s no surprise that Walmart.com was poised to be the second most popular online retailer behind Amazon in the past 8 weeks.

As mentioned before, 27% of the respondents stated that they’ve done more than half of their shopping on Walmart.com. That’s a very significant number considering that Walmart’s site traffic was 1.21B visitors in Q4, 2019, which is roughly one-sixth that of Amazon who had 7.2B visitors during that same time according to SimilarWeb.com. That 27% could indicate that Walmart.com picked up quite a few first-time shoppers to their site, especially with Amazon being out of stock on a number of hot products like Toilet Paper

Target.com

The good news for Target is that more than half of the respondents stated that they do shop 10% or more on Target’s website and/or app. The other 50% of respondents who shop online at Target.com land somewhere between 0% to 9% since COVID-19 over the past 8 weeks. That’s not too far off from Walmart.com who had 39% of respondents stating that they’ve done 0% to 9% of their shopping on Walmart’s website and/or app. It is worth mentioning that 38% of respondents fell into the 10% to 49% of their shopping on Target.com. 

With the improvements that Target has made to their online shopping experience, like their Drive Up program, it’s no surprise that the other half of the respondents stated that they have, in fact, shopped on Target.com 10% or more during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Costco.com

Costco does have a warehouse pickup option for their online shoppers, but it’s a very limited selection. There were only 10 product categories available for pickup with 5 out of the 10 being jewelry and a 6th with handbags. The other categories were Camera, Laptops, Smartwatches, and Tablets. There were only 918 products available for pickup and 769 of them were jewelry with Rings being the largest sku count at 448 products.

There’s a lot of buzz about how much foot traffic has skyrocketed for Costco warehouse locations, but their online shopping experience has caused them to miss this massive shift in shopper behavior due to the CoronaVirus. Some have argued that Costco.com doesn’t need to catch up to Amazon, Walmart, or Target, because they have strong foot traffic with their gas stations to help maintain that foot traffic. We’re not sure gas stations will keep the foot traffic coming as automakers like VW claiming that 40% of their vehicles will be electric by 2030. It makes sense that the time is now for Costco to get their online shopping experience on par with Target, Walmart, and Amazon, even if they still require membership for online purchases.

From this poll, we can see the audience that has frequently shopped (respondents who shop at each site at least 10% or more) at Costco.com since COVID-19 is only 41% of respondents. 

If we look at the same chart above for Amazon.com, they have 90% of respondents stating they frequently shop on their website (again, respondents doing more than 10% of their shopping on each site). 

When we look at the respondents who do not frequently shop on a retailer’s website and/or app, Costco ended up with 59% of respondents stating they shop at Costco.com less than 10% while Amazon only had 10% of respondents stating they don’t shop frequently on their website and/or app.

Again, Costco.com has some improvements to make with their online shopping experience. A good place to start would be to increase their assortment of products available for pickup.

Retail Advertising

As it relates to COVID-19, we’ve only seen a handful of clients pause some of their retail advertising. That’s primarily due to supply chain challenges from overseas having slowed delivery rates to retailers. Now with the Essentials only purchase ordering at Amazon, we have a few clients that are shifting their strategies to stay top of mind while still protecting their branded keywords.

Based on the data below, 46% of respondents stated that they search for a brand or it’s specific name or model number. All of those keywords need to be protected. During the spike in online retail site traffic you can expect to see the average cost per click (aCPC) for your own branded keywords increase as more of your competitors recognize the opportunity to conquest your brand. At minimum, it’s critical and an absolute MUST to protect all of your branded keywords at each retailer, at all costs.

The other key factor to consider is what type of ads are resonating with shoppers today. People’s levels of attention and patience are different today than they were before the CoronaVirus pandemic. The last thing we’d want to do is further frustrate and annoy people with irrelevant ads that aren’t sensitive to the fact that many people are having a difficult time right now. With that said, we thought we’d ask our audience which type of ads resonate today, static, video, or animated with click-through rate being the primary KPI.

We were surprised to see that animated ads were neck and neck with video ads. In the past two years, across the board, video ads have been gaining steam with the 2020 projection to be upwards of $37B in 2020 according to Statista ( that’s not including Amazon’s Video in Sponsored Brands and their OTT offering)

From an ad spend trend standpoint, we have seen an increase in spend for our CPG and Consumer Electronics clients, especially those that sell items that Amazon considers essential like Pet Food, Vitamins/Supplements, Mice, Keyboards, Monitors, Wireless Headsets, and Noise-Canceling Earbuds, etc. Amazon is updating their “Essentials” list and bringing various products back into stock each week. One of our team members received toys for her son’s Easter basket, which reminds us that Amazon’s team cares a lot about people.

The brands with products that Amazon categorizes as essential are spending significantly more on Top of Funnel, Non-branded search terms, and doubling down on protecting their own branded search terms. They’ve also been spending on awareness and consideration tactics with Amazon’s DSP, especially with Amazon’s OTT advertising as more shoppers are at home during this COVID-19 pandemic are watching Prime Video content on their FireTV streaming devices.

Yes. There has been a decline in ad spend for those clients whose products are not considered essentials. Having said that, in order to keep their sales volume up, we have been busy launching thousands of new campaigns focusing on those products that are still in stock and those products that are beginning to come back into stock as China production is almost back to normal.

We also expect that spending on Walmart Performance Ads (WPA) will increase in 2020 with COVID-19 being the catalyst for that growth as CPG brand’s sales are skyrocketing in their stores and Walmart.com.

Now that Amazon has shifted their warehouse receipts and purchase orders to suppliers for Essentials only, as well as pushing shopper order delivery dates out to end of April for Non-Essentials. It will be interesting to see how many people now turn to Walmart.com and Target.com who both have a pick-up in-store, or better yet, a Drive-up pick up option, to do their online shopping during this COVID-19 pandemic with a “Stay-at-home” order in place across most of the states across America.

There’s no doubt, as the data has shown, that Amazon will still be the #1 destination for online shopping, but…will the CoronaVirus help Target.com and Walmart.com catch up in the race for America’s online share of wallet?

Why Branding Best Practices Matter

It’s 2020, and with a new decade guarantees Silicon Valley will have more innovators, entrepreneurs, and business giants immersing consumers with their brand. For any product or service, their branding is just as important as the product itself. What does their product have to say that will make consumers eager to buy? 

When it comes to branding, it’s important to cover all the basics – digital platforms such as social media, web, and email or physical and direct advertising. At Channel Bakers, we believe Amazon is a big component when it comes to solidifying a brand. Our team are experts at how brands navigate through Amazon and set themselves apart from the rest of the online retail world. And with Amazon’s uncontrollable force in the retail industry and online shopping, here are the best brand-building practices online: 

Know Who Your Audience is and What Your Market Needs

At the start of brand development, It is essential to understand your ideal customer and to generate a buyer persona. What are the challenges they face and how can they overcome these challenges with your product or service? Determining your ideal customer is the first step to knowing what your potential customers will purchase. For example, if you wanted to brand new yoga pants for women (on Amazon), who is your market? 

If you’re looking to brand online, your particular market is mainly online shoppers or women who need clothes, gifts, or items fast, within 2 days. These women are most likely in the workforce. For this example, your particular market needs are for yoga pants flexible enough that can be available in her busy schedule. This particular group of women might need a pocket in their yoga pants for their phones, keys, or business card. 

Write down your target audience and brainstorm to properly understand what your market needs. These exercises can get you closer to finding the challenges your market faces every day and then, brand your solution. 

Find Your Authenticity

The worst brand is one that looks the same as everyone else. Consumers, especially online shoppers, are facing all sorts of ads with each search. Stand out from the competition by determining what makes your brand unique. You can reach out to your audience base and survey them through various surveying tools, to better understand what works, and what doesn’t.

Don’t Just Tell Your Story, Sell Your Story

When it comes to storytelling, learning to tell your story in a compelling and effective way is one of the keys to your brand’s success — regardless of what products or services you have, or even what industry you’re in. Maintaining this same story across your sales, marketing, and operational channels allows your company culture to be consistent in the eyes of your end customer. Not only does it build confidence, but it bridges the gap in order to make meaningful connections with your audience and foster brand affinity. This heart and soul method of storytelling helps you stand out from the competition – allowing you to communicate your “why” and highlight what makes your brand unique in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Establish Your Work Culture and Live Your Brand

(Through Your Website, Social Media, and Staff)

Your company should LIVE your brand. Does your website and social media mirror your brand? Making sure your brand is the same throughout your website, social media, and marketing can solidify a cohesive message. 

Anything you share online to your customers will help solidify your brand position – from posts from your staff, live feeds/photos of your office environment and hosted events, to sharing industry best practices – these elements should reflect your company mission and instill a culture that lasts and goes beyond just the workplace. With these in mind, your consumers will understand your brand and most likely, convert, making your brand can become that much stronger. 

Brand-building isn’t easy, but with the right practices your brand can be influential on and offline. With Amazon leading the retail industry, our company specializes in consumerism and algorithms that have set Amazon at the top. Learn more about our company by visiting our website here.

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