As more and more brands staff up to properly tackle this fast-growing digital channel, we cover the key Amazon advertising skills necessary for success
Digital has been around for decades but the industry still suffers from an overall digital marketing skills gap. This isn’t surprising when you really think about it. Digital is fast-moving, constantly shifting, and increasingly expanding, making it challenging to master. And when new opportunities emerge, brands need to move quickly or risk losing ground to more nimble competitors. With Amazon now a legitimate contender to turn the Facebook-Google duopoly into a triopoly, marketing organizations in the retail space are scrambling to find the Amazon advertising skills necessary to properly manage this channel.
Why Amazon is an entirely different beast
Before we dive into the Amazon Advertising skills themselves, let’s make one thing perfectly clear: You can’t treat Amazon like just any other pay-per-click (PPC) digital marketing channel. Why? With platforms like Google and Facebook, advertising is their main source of revenue. Their focus is providing an amazing consumer experience to draw the audience they can then monetize with advertising. But Amazon is all about commerce. Their Goliath-like status in the online retail space comes from a laser focus on all of the elements that go into successfully converting browsers into buyers. Advertising is only a small slice of their revenue pie, so Amazon prioritizes the commerce aspect of the consumer experience above all else.
As a result, Amazon doesn’t simply allow every brand to advertise. Their algorithms are in place to safeguard the consumer experience. Amazon advertisers are evaluated algorithmically by many factors such as in-stock rates, prices, profit margins, sell-through velocity, seller ratings, customer reviews, content quality, and conversion rates. You might be doing everything right from an advertising perspective, but if you don’t keep up with the rigorous fulfillment expectations, your ad relevance will take a big hit and it might months to get it back on track. Unlike other marketing channels where the worst thing that can happen is that you waste budget, with Amazon advertising you could really hurt your business if you don’t focus on the consumer buying experience.
How brands are handling staffing
“Nowhere is it more true that the consumer holds the power than on Amazon,” says Megan Harbold, Skai’s Vice President of Ecommerce Strategy. “So when you’re staffing for this position, you can’t think about Amazon as just another traditional retailer or marketing platform. You need your team and your tools completely focused on solving the consumer experience first. Only then can you successfully advertise.”
In a recent survey Skai conducted in partnership with Digiday, we surveyed hundreds of marketers on their experience with cross-channel advertising. One question focused on how brands staffed their Amazon advertising needs.
As the image above makes clear, most brands pulled from existing teams. Clearly there are transferable skills that digital marketers can bring to bear on this new challenge. But when it comes to well-rounded Amazon advertising skills, there’s a little more to it than that.
The five key Amazon advertising skills you need
Whether you’re a digital marketer looking to specialize in Amazon as a channel, or you need to staff a position on your team, these are the five Amazon advertising skills required to do the job well.
- A PPC background—Experience with search engine marketing or other PPC-based platform marketing is a great foundation.
- The know-how to convert—Product marketers or others with conversion-rate optimization experience are used to doing deep dives on what drives an audience to take a desired action. You need an understanding of conversion triggers and how to optimize toward them.
- A data mindset—As with any other digital channel, Amazon advertising gives you a lot of data, and some of it is ambiguous. So you have to know how to pick out the most salient points and find the missing pieces you might need, and tie it all together to make the right decisions.
- Proficiency with testing and learning—It might sound basic but it’s crucial to know how to set up a test and evaluate data, then how to make decisions and pivot based on that data. You have to be able to read the signals from all of the other variables that drive sales and conduct tests that manipulate the right variables and improve from there.
- A need for speed (and adaptability) – Amazon has been a leader for so long because it has successfully adapted to stay ahead of the curve. As such, the platform changes quickly and you need to be able to keep up. Marketers on the platform must be able to switch gears and leverage new features and tools as soon as they’re available .
Finding the right set of Amazon advertising skills is just the start. Advertising on Amazon comes with a lot of challenges. You’ll need the right tools and technologies to do the job too. That’s where Skai can help. To learn more about the Skai Ecommerce platform, contact us for a demo today.