What Is Amazon’s Gameplan with Amazon Pharmacy?

Imagine you walk into your local pharmacy to pick up your medication and you spot that phone charger you need for your car. Plus, a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos sounds pretty good. Next thing you know, you’re paying for a basket full of small items when you just came in to grab some meds.

This is a huge driver for pharmacy stores like CVS, with retail sales making up around 30% of its business to the tune of $74B. Now, flip that formula on its head where you can shop for everything you want instantaneously…plus fill your prescriptions online. Welcome to Amazon Pharmacy – the next worldwide disruptor on Amazon’s roster.

Prescriptions on Prime

After buying PillPack in 2018 for $753MM, people were questioning what Amazon was going to do with a company that delivers monthly medications. Well, they just answered those questions with Amazon Pharmacy – an online platform to fill prescriptions and order medications.

Customers will be able to send their prescriptions directly to Amazon.com, which accepts most insurances, but also provides a discount to Prime members of up to 80% off generic and 40% off brand name medications when paying without insurance.

And yes, Primers will get that famous 2-day (maybe one-day?) shipping too.

PillPack gave Amazon license to operate a pharmacy in almost every state, which not only helps in America but also countries abroad like Germany that require a pharmacy license to even sell OTC drugs.

For brands like Sanofi, this could mean a huge opportunity has just presented itself where they can now finally sell products beyond their OTC lines.

Plus, Amazon has hired licensed members to be available (delete) to answer questions 24/7, just like at your local pharmacy. But luckily, they won’t make you sit in a plastic chair playing with the blood pressure machine for 15 minutes.

This move has definitely had some ripple effects in the healthcare industry, too. Due to Amazon’s new ability to provide price matching on medication, GoodRx’s stock price dropped 22.5% the day of the announcement.

Convenience pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens also saw slight stock price dips as well. And we’ve even heard some new radio ads announcing steep discounts from CVS trying to bring in new customers.

But the same thing happened with the Whole Foods purchase back in 2017 – other brands smelled trouble and ramped up their efforts in response. Walmart added more grocery pickup stations, Costco launched its own same-day delivery, and Target bought delivery app Shipt.

This didn’t seem to completely upend the grocery industry. So, could Amazon really succeed in this new pharmacy space?

Amazon Has a Track Record of Winning (Almost) Anywhere

This is what Amazon does. They analyze verticals to see how they can beat the competition and then they jump right in. 

We just haven’t seen them attack something this big since Amazon Web Services (AWS). And currently AWS holds a large majority of the top 100 sites’ cloud computing, so it looks like that was a solid move on their part.

Let’s go back to one aspect of Amazon Pharmacy’s offering: They allow competitive pricing for customers without insurance. And sometimes, the Prime price is the best price for prescription medications. Sound familiar? 

Amazon does this with every industry, just look at AmazonBasics. And now they can even win adjacent customers as well as those looking for pharmaceuticals based on pricing and offerings.

This move could also help them win the 31% of customers aged 55+ shopping online more due to the pandemic, providing them a place to get their meds at competitive pricing that Medicaid can’t even compete with (or cover for that matter).

But winning the customer on pricing is just the first step. According to Sarah LaVallee, our VP of Client Success…

“This is just the gateway drug to the larger medical industry (pun obviously intended).”

Sarah LeVallee, VP Client Success

So what is Amazon really up to?

What’s the Gameplan?

As with every other industry Amazon has invested in, just selling a few extra products here and there is not the end goal.

They bought Twitch to take over the gaming AND streaming markets. They bought Ring and Blink to become completely integrated into their customers homes. And now they can sell prescription medications online.

So here are a few of our predictions of what Amazon Pharmacy will lead to, rated from least to most bold:

(Least Bold) Amazon will deliver medications that require refrigeration on their trucks.

What if Amazon built up their delivery trucks to be able to transport medicines that require cold temperatures? They already refrigerate trucks enough to deliver AmazonFresh groceries, so it would just take a little more maintenance (and probably a lot of money, too).

(Bold-ish) Amazon will start opening pharmacies in brick-and-mortar stores.

Look out for pharmacies in Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh Stores pretty soon. They already have the locations, which would allow them to not only battle CVS and Walgreens online but also in the brick-and-mortar landscape.

(Getting Bolder) Amazon will deliver medications via drone. 

UPS and CVS recently teamed up to deliver medications via drone in Florida. Automated delivery is a technology that Amazon has been developing since 2016, so if high-risk people don’t want to leave the house, Amazon can just deliver through the air. Plus, Alexa already reminds you when to take your meds, so why wouldn’t she automatically fly them to you too?

(Most Bold) Amazon is going to take over the healthcare industry.

Now that’s an end goal. Amazon has been setting up for something of this caliber for a while now. Last year, they created Haven along with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan to provide affordable and efficient healthcare services to their own employees. 

This year, they released the Halo band, which is wearable technology that can track your physical health, sleep, and even stress levels through your voice.

And now Amazon can fulfill prescriptions online (not to mention sell their own brand of OTC products called Amazon Basic Care). All of these services bundled together with every other aspect of Amazon’s product line will give them the perfect look into a customer’s health.

Creating Amazon Insurance would be the perfect end solution to drive to. Everything would be housed online, plus Amazon’s 24/7 service is leading the way for them to enable telemedicine.

Customers could even set up virtual meetups with an Amazon doctor, paid for by Amazon Insurance, who then writes a prescription that’s automatically sent to Amazon.com, fulfilled, and shipped the same day on a truck with a smile on it. Hell, why not just call it Smile Insurance?

Wrap It Up

To sum up, convenience pharmacies like CVS are going to have to rethink their whole strategy to retain customers and insurance companies might even have to wise up too. Amazon has the infrastructure, digital capacity, and backing to be able to take on whatever industry they want. 

After all, healthcare is an $8T industry while retail is just a measly $2.4T. So buckle up because this is just the beginning.

20 Stats to Drive Your Video Marketing Strategy (2021)

Video Marketing can be extremely beneficial and lucrative for your business. Not only does it have higher rates of conversion, but it can positively impact the customer journey throughout their entire purchase cycle. 

That’s why we suggest incorporating video into your full-funnel advertising strategy. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s 20 reasons why video marketing should be on your radar and in your plans for 2021.

Enhanced Image Galleries (Why, What, and How)

At first glance, you can usually tell if an Amazon product page is engaging or if it falls flat. And since A+ content (formerly Enhanced Brand Content) is a tried and true way to increase conversion on detail pages, it’s safe to say that shoppers can sniff out great products just by looking at the image gallery as well.

Of course there are a bunch of other things you can be doing to rank higher and sell more on Amazon, but if a single tool can have that large of an impact, why wouldn’t you utilize it?

The History of A+ pages also known as Enhanced Brand Content (EBC)

If there’s one thing we do know, it’s that Amazon will never get tired of coming up with acronyms. But don’t worry, we’re compiling a list of that Amazonian alphabet soup for you right now, so stay tuned.

However, the following acronym was pretty well known up until a couple of years ago: EBC, also known as Enhanced Brand Content. This “Brand Content” was simply better-than-average images and more engaging content below the fold.

Enhanced Brand Content was originally only available in Vendor Central. Smaller startup challenger brands who grew up on Seller Central usually didn’t have a relationship with Amazon (predating Amazon LaunchPad) and had no access to EBC or anything like it.

Like all startups, when there’s a roadblock, they’ll always find a workaround. That workaround paved the way for today’s best practices for all brands, whether they are based in Vendor Central or Seller Central. (We’ll dig deeper into that workaround in a minute!)

Flashback to 2017, Enhanced Brand Content became available for free to Seller Central-based brands (who were registered with Brand Registry), while brands in Vendor Central were still having to pay for the original version of A+ Basic – aka the next level above EBC.

In January 2018, Amazon made A+ Basic free for brands in Vendor Central. Just a few months prior to that, Amazon had launched A+ Premium, which was a more advanced version of A+ content that was optimized for mobile and Amazon’s mobile app.

Fast forward a couple of years and A+ Content has become the norm, allowing vendors and sellers alike to create awesome content from pre-determined modules on the platform. 

According to Amazon, “Adding A+ to your product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates, increased traffic, and increased sales when used effectively.” So that begs the question…

Why Doesn’t Everyone Use It Then?

First of all, it takes time to build. That’s why it’s often best to employ an agency to devote the time, care, and attention needed to create it for you (*cough* Channel Bakers *cough*).

Now, it is possible to roll up your sleeves and get into the platform yourself for some good ‘ol fashioned content creation. Amazon does provide detailed descriptions on what each section requires, but that’s just the half of it.

When it comes to your product title, description, and bullet points, we highly suggest having a skilled Copywriter take care of this so that your Detailed Page Optimization (DPO) is clean and SEO-friendly, ranking your products higher in search.

And yes, you most likely have some beautiful images from a recent shoot, showcasing each angle of your product. While we definitely believe that’s great to have, we suggest using your image gallery for something that’s much, much more important: telling your brand’s story.

As you can guess, product shots alone don’t exactly tell a story. Sure, the customer gets to see every angle of the product, but it doesn’t give them any reasons to believe in the product.

Once upon a time the best practice was to leverage lifestyle images as the way to tell your product’s story, but that was literally decades ago (think back to the early dotcom boom).

Back then and even up until 2014, Amazon’s Vendor Central Retail Business Services (RBS) moderation team would reject any images that had content embedded in them. The data standards rule in Vendor Central was “85% product, 15% white background”.

And this is where the challenger startup brand workaround comes into play. (Told ya we’d get there!)

Challenger brands that began their Amazon selling journey started on Seller Central. Well…Seller Central didn’t (and still doesn’t) have a data standards moderation team that rejects images that brands submit through the Seller Central console.

Boom! Seller-based challenge startup brands began injecting their A+ content into their images in the image gallery carousel, which was scrappy, way ahead of their time, and super-effective.

Here’s a few examples of awesome Seller Central based challenger brands (*cough* Channel Bakers clients *cough*).

You might be saying, “Ah yes Josh, but I’m a larger, non-startup brand that lives in Vendor Central and we’re not allowed to upload images with A+ content embedded.” As of 2013, I would have agreed wholeheartedly with you…but what if I told you that was not the case for your ASINs today?

You see, Samsung gets it…(*cough* also a Channel Bakers client *cough*). 

Compare Samsung Galaxy Buds to the most popular product on Prime Day 2020, according to Amazon search terms data.

Apple doesn’t get it…

Looking at this image gallery we’re seeing a handful of pictures that give us absolutely no context as to why we’re looking at them, let alone why they selected these images.

According to Euclid Analytics, 51% of U.S. households use the Amazon Mobile App. With a recent update to this app, the image gallery now overtakes the entire screen when you click to zoom in on the images inside the carousel.

These Amazon Mobile App optimized images are something we call an “Enhanced Image Gallery” (and no, we are not calling it the EIG).

Brad Malm, our Creative Director at Channel Bakers, calls the Enhanced Image Galleries…

a beautiful combination of art and science that use your brand’s guidelines and messaging to educate your consumers with easily digestible information. It looks great, but it also gives a quick snapshot into how this product can make your life easier.”

Brad Malm, Channel Bakers Creative Director

Plus, this kind of information does a great job of informing potential customers of your product’s features, leading to less returns and negative reviews.

It’s All About the Execution

The ultimate goal is to have a unique mix of engaging content and informative, stylized imagery. The entire image gallery should take the customer on a journey, answering their questions along the way.

Key points like verified 5-star reviews, industry awards, and sizzle videos are great ways to legitimize your product in the image gallery. Also, including a 360° spin image has been proven to add a 6-8% increase in conversion.

But the best way to make your Enhanced Image Gallery shine? User experience.

With 151M monthly users on the Amazon Mobile App, the best thing you can do is optimize your images so that they’re mobile-friendly.

This means adding in portrait images to take over more of the screen while they scroll. For instance, you can fit quite a lot of information into one of these images while still providing some product imagery to tie it all together.

And according to a survey we ran on Suzy.com, 61% of users prefer to swipe left and right on an image gallery while mobile shopping (thank you, Tinder).

Also, consider that a desktop allows for 9 images (or 7 if you add a video), which is a great amount of shots for people to peruse through. However, mobile only shows the first 5 to 7 depending on the category. So, we typically frontload the first 5-6 images with the strongest storytelling pieces possible to grab the user’s attention.

There are still countries out there like Canada, where 73% of users shop on desktop, and Brazil, where 34% of users don’t make digital purchases because they like to see the product beforehand.

But that trend is changing every year. The worst thing you can do is let someone else register your product’s ASIN on Amazon before you do. 

If a third party (3P) seller gets into the Brand Registry before you list it, they have complete control over the product’s description, bullets, and worst of all, the image gallery. Unfortunately, if they beat you to the punch then Amazon doesn’t have much power to kick their images out for yours.

This is where 3P sellers can really be detrimental to your brand’s story, so get in first and get in fast.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got a bunch of other secret sauce that we’d love to implement to build your following and educate your customers on just how fantastic your brand is.

Reach out to bradm@channelabakers.com to see how we can optimize your Enhanced Brand Images today.

Amazon Wasn’t the Only Winner On Prime Day

Going into 2020, Amazon was already primed to have a record setting year with a projected revenue of $350B, up 50% from 2019…and then the pandemic struck. After the initial toilet paper rush into brick and mortar stores, people started switching to online shopping.

The pandemic brought 145MM new online shoppers (you know…the folks who are still afraid to use their credit card on the interwebs), which resulted in plenty of success for Amazon, especially during their recent, record-setting Prime Day. 

But that doesn’t mean Amazon is capitalizing on this pandemic. On the contrary, they’ve been extending a helping hand by emphasizing essentials like hand sanitizer (pun intended).

Looking Out for the Little Guys

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been hit the hardest by the economic shutdown of 2020. With over 100,000 SMBs shutting their doors for good, Amazon brought it upon themselves to lend a helping hand.

So they set forth a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, aiming to invest $18B in SMBs to get them back on their feet. And if there’s one thing we can expect from entrepreneurs, it’s that they know how to pivot when faced with adversity. In fact, for many of them, when the doors closed, the laptops opened. 

Amazon has already seen 1,029,528 new sellers join this year and according to a Bluehost survey, 50% of SMBs plan to stay online only.

As for shoppers, Amazon made it a point to keep production running, but only for essential items so that consumers could get all the face masks, hand sanitizer, and diapers they needed. This ethical move was coupled with a price cap on many essential items to make sure shoppers weren’t getting gouged in a time where unemployment was teetering on 20%.

Society’s shift to online shopping has brought a significant change in the way we view the holiday season as well. According to Radial, 60% of consumers plan to shop less in-store this season due to fear of COVID-19 exposure. But it also follows a trend that’s been popping up every year around Black Friday…

Does this mean Black Friday’s in the Dark?

According to the CDC, shopping at crowded stores around Thanksgiving is a high-risk activity that should be avoided.  Over the past couple of years, society has been pushing for a new way to get their holiday shopping done. From REI’s Opt Outside campaign to worldwide protests against consumerism, there has been an “anti-Black Friday” perspective emerging.

So what does this mean for Black Friday and brick and mortar retailers?

One thing that we can glean from this pandemic is that brick and mortar stores have had to re-invent their in-store experience.

Both Walmart and Target have put a huge emphasis on click and collect over the past few years, which has contributed to their omni-channel success this year – Walmart.com with 65.4% YoY growth and Target with 103.5% growth.

Walmart also recently announced that they’ll be revamping their Black Friday sales structure. Rather than having crowds of bargain hunters in-store, they’ll be limiting the amount of shoppers allowed inside while spreading the savings “throughout the season”. They’ll also be implementing shorter store hours and keeping up with all coronavirus prevention guidelines.

So, Who Won Prime Day Then?

According to NBC, Apple Airpods Pro were the top selling item during Prime Day, but in second place? Safe+Mate face masks! Next came Samsung’s 65” QLED Smart TV followed by the Yosuda Stationary Bike. This trend of purchasing health and wellness items mirrors what has been consistent throughout this entire year of quarantine.

Amazon also put out a press release stating that marketplace sellers were the winners this year with 60% growth to reach more than $3.5B. And with 2.3MM SMBs making up Amazon’s online marketplace and Prime Day sales skyrocketing to over 260 million items, that’s a solid win for sellers everywhere.

At Channel Bakers, we’re keeping our finger on the pulse and watching this data closely. Where others may see barriers, we try to help our clients find a strategic advantage.

Sarah Lavallee, our VP of Client Success at Channel Bakers, said, “The brands that “win Prime Day” are those that use it strategically as a springboard to make Black Friday/Cyber Monday even more successful.  It is rare to have three major high-traffic events in Q4 during a time where we’ve seen a significant shift in consumer purchasing behavior.  Brands that don’t leverage this to their advantage are missing a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Let’s switch gears back to brick and mortar.

Near the end of every year, brick and mortar stores go through a re-evaluation “reset” to see what products have been moving and what has gone stale on their shelves. Unfortunately, the pandemic has had massive consequences on brands like JC Penney, Pier 1, and Neiman Marcus.

Other brands took advantage of Prime Day’s online traffic surge. For instance, Target hosted their “Deal Days” during the Prime Day event and saw more than double the sales compared to last year. Best Buy brought back their own “Black Friday” deals at the same time and it was reported that 51% of the top 100 online retailers had sales on Tuesday too. This led to Amazon realizing a 1.5% drop of total share of commerce.

Ultimately, Amazon still dominates by making up 39% of retail eCommerce

US ecommerce sales will reach $794.50 billion this year, up 32.4% year-over-year and will reach an unprecedented 14.4% of all U.S. retail spending this year. -eMarketer 

It’s safe to say, when it comes to a sound retail strategy, sometimes the best advice is to meet the customer where they are. It doesn’t hurt to have a kickass product and a hot deal too.

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.


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.