As the first place more than 50% of all Americans go to search for products, Amazon is the e-commerce platform most brands can't afford to ignore. Nearly half of all large brands that use Amazon ads are spending more than $40,000 per month, with 38% spending over $60,000 per month.

If you want to reach a huge audience of customers looking to buy, then using Amazon advertising is a fantastic way to do that—for brands of any size.

However, disruption is everywhere, including e-commerce advertising, and that is affecting brands online and offline in a huge way.

Brand managers, executives, owners, and team members understand the importance of "being on Amazon," but they are trying to figure out how to resolve the painful problems that come along with that presence.

Using Amazon as an e-commerce platform is not as simple as you might think, so here are five steps brands need to take to stay in control of their brands.

1. Sign up for the Amazon Brand Registry program. Brands with registered trademarks should sign up for this program. According to Amazon, Brand Registry helps protect your brand's intellectual property and create an accurate and trusted experience for customers. With Amazon Brand Registry, you can have your trademarked brand's Amazon product detail page content locked down so only one marketplace seller—i.e., you or someone who works for you—can alter it.

2. Remember: Amazon is not there for you. Many brands think that when they are involved with Amazon, somehow a partnership has been formed. When issues of pricing or brand messaging come into play, they think if they contact the platform, then Amazon will be in their corner and do something about it. But is this truly the case? Amazon has created a marketplace with the largest selection of products at the lowest prices. It is completely customer-based; so, although brands are attracted to the 310 million user base, brands have to learn how to protect their pricing and messaging.

3. Control your brand content. It's up to you to ensure your messaging is consistent on all channels. The content you have loaded onto Amazon about your brand must be complete and totally accurate. Because of the amount of traffic Amazon generates, chances are good that the content indexed on Amazon will show up higher in a Google search than content on the brand's own website. Because it is likely that someone is going to sell the brand's product at some point, you want to help ensure brand identity on Amazon that is consistent with the content off Amazon.

4. Get control of pricing. If you are the only source for your product, you can easily control price. You're essentially the only sales channel. The tricky part to controlling your brand's pricing online is when you sell your product to distributors or authorized dealers: At some point, it will be sold on Amazon. If multiple resellers are competing to sell your brand, your product's price will fall. The best way to counteract that is to engage an experienced attorney with a deep background protecting brand manufacturers.

5. Get control of your distribution. This is a tough one, but it's extremely important. You want to hand-select the sellers you want to approve for selling online via marketplaces, and create a reseller policy for all levels of product distribution. Differentiate between authorized and unauthorized sellers, and monitor sales using technology or by placing test buys. Investigate sellers who break policy and use a graduated enforcement system to step up legal pressure until the seller removes your brand's products.

Bottom line: There is a lot to learn about Amazon advertising and e-commerce. If you don't have a team of experts in place, it can seem incredibly daunting not only to create and optimize your campaigns to get your best results but also to keep from falling into traps that will cost you time, frustration, and money.

The good news is that there was a time consumers were interested only in the lowest price, but that has changed. More consumers are now loyal to brands, not retailers or sellers.

Amazon advertising is one of the fastest-growing, most powerful marketing platforms available in the digital ad space, right behind Google and Facebook. Once you embrace and act on the five steps outlined in this article, you are on your way to potentially huge—event phenomenal—success for your brand.

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Amazon for Brands: Top 5 Problems and How to Overcome Them

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image of Timothy P. Seward

Timothy P. Seward is the founder of ROI Revolution, a provider of results-driven digital marketing technology and services to brands, retailers, and e-commerce merchants. He is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising.

LinkedIn: Timothy Seward