E-commerce giant Amazon has opened up its platform for advertising, and innovative brands are there for it. The more obvious use case for Amazon advertising is to drive sales directly on Amazon.com; but, considering the size of Amazon's user base, e-commerce, B2C, and B2B marketers alike can also use the system's targeting to reach their buyers. 

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To help marketers take advantage of the opportunity Amazon advertising presents, I invited Timothy Seward, author of the Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising, to Marketing Smarts. Timothy founded the agency ROI Revolution in 2002 and has an extensive technical, marketing, and retail background. He's spoken at more than 70 industry, e-commerce, and Amazon-focused events, and he is a guest lecturer at North Carolina State University's College of Management. 

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

Your brand should advertise on Amazon because your audience is on Amazon (02:56): "Amazon has become the search engine for products, at least in the United States. About 54% of all product searches in the United States begin on Amazon. So it has become a search engine for products. And about two-thirds of American households have an Amazon Prime membership, which is absolutely staggering. There's 125 million households in the United States, and about two-thirds of those households have a Prime membership.

"And with that Prime membership, they spend four times what a non-Prime member spends. And 85% of Prime members visit the site or the app at least once a week. About half of those make a purchase at least once a week. So Amazon has just navigated this whole system into being an engine to fulfill product desires for consumers. It's just created such a revolutionizing platform."

Amazon advertising can help any brand grow revenue and acquire new customers (04:06): "Two things that brands want: number one, they want revenue growth; number two, they want new customers. Seventy percent of all searches on the Amazon platform are category-level searches according to The New York Times...so that means that 70% of consumers are searching for 'lip gloss,' not 'Maybelline lip gloss,' for 'paper towels,' not 'Bounty paper towels.'

"So...that helps brands to be able to acquire new customers. A customer acquired in any channel, whether it's Amazon or through brick and mortar or an e-commerce site, any channel is an opportunity brand to have a new, loyal, enthusiastic customer. The opportunity is to help grow your new customer base, and the way to really propel this...is through Amazon advertising."

You don't have to sell products on Amazon to advertise there (08:10): "That's the beauty of the demand-side platform. You can take advantage of these high-income households who are on Amazon...generally at least once a week if you're a Prime member. If you sell products that are not available on the Amazon platform—theme park tickets, insurance, education—things that you just can't transact on Amazon, essentially not a product, then you can advertise on the Amazon website and you can have that click go off Amazon to your own website."

To learn more, visit ROIRevolution.com. You can also follow the company on Twitter at @ROIRevolution, and pick up a copy of the Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising.

Timothy and I talked about much more, so listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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