Prosper Show Recap:  Amazon Advertising

by Liz Adamson

The fourth annual Prosper Show featured over 100 vendors and 40 speakers across several categories from accounting and taxes to inventory management and advertising. As one of the few Amazon-centric conferences, the Prosper Show is a great resource for sellers just starting out as well as those who have been selling on Amazon for a while. This year was no exception. The 1600+ attendees were given a wide variety of vendors and workshops to interact with and learn from.

The biggest theme I picked up at this year’s conference was advertising. The keynote speaker, Collin Colburn from Forrester Research, even focused on this topic and the critical need for sellers to be investing in the right mix of ads. He shared that 17% of new customers are discovering a product on Amazon and 28% are using Amazon to research before buying. And while 84% of retail sales will be offline, 36% of those will be influenced by what they saw online and by 2023 57% of all advertising will be digital.

As Amazon’s ad products continue to evolve and as other marketplaces start launching their own ad platforms and as social media and other platforms continue to grow, sellers will need to be deliberate in selecting the right media mix. Collin emphasized the need to understand where your customers are during the discovery, research and purchase phase and to be prepared with ads to engage with them.

Other workshops I attended on advertising were standing room only. There was obviously a big interest in the subject from attendees and there were presentations ranging from “The ABC’s of Amazon Advertising” to more advanced topics on Amazon’s DSP (demand side platform) and their retargeting and other display ads. Advertising has become a critical part of selling on Amazon, due to both a crowded marketplace and the prime placement Amazon is giving paid ads in search and on the product page. Sellers are starting to notice and, as evidenced by the strong interest at Prosper Show, are trying to figure out how to best use advertising to grow sales. To those in a similar position, here are three tips for getting started:

1) Start with the basics.

I tell sellers that ads can be used to drive as much traffic as you want to your product pages, but if they are not optimized to convert browsers into buyers, you are just going to be spending a lot of money with little return. Product pages should have great images, informative and easy to read copy, a good review rating and competitive price. Your page should inform the customer on the features and benefits of your product and what differentiates it or makes it unique.

2) Decide what your advertising goals are.

Too many sellers jump right in without setting goals that enable them to properly measure the success of their ads. At the very least you need to know if you want to focus on brand awareness, sales or profitability, or some combination. Your goals will determine where you advertise and what metrics you track to determine success. For example, a brand awareness campaign will have a low return on ad spend (ROAS) and high advertising cost of sale (ACoS) and will not be very profitable and will utilize different media like video and programmatic display.

3) Use ad media appropriate for your product and customer.

Just because one seller or guru has seen amazing success with a particular ad type or strategy, doesn’t mean you will too. Advertising is not a one size fits all approach and you need to figure out what works best for your brand. Where do your customers browse, research and shop? What kind of ads are most engaging for that demographic?

With just over one third of the workshops at Prosper Show focused on some version of advertising, it is obvious that this is a critical topic for Amazon sellers. As we finish out Q1 and look forward to the rest of the year (and especially Q4), take a moment to evaluate how advertising is working for your Amazon business and how you can improve or adapt your strategy to ensure a successful 2019.

Originally published on April 5, 2019, updated April 5, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.