Note to readers: This is the first in a series of posts offering some guidance to marketers during this global health crisis.
Advertising, rather famously, has been described as the right message in the right place at the right time. As the industry grapples with not even the “new normal”, but the ever-changing normal of life with the novel coronavirus, getting back to this basic maxim can help give guidance on what we can and should be doing to continue our efforts in the most effective, and most humane way possible.
This guidance can, and will, vary by advertising channel. We are seeing behavior tack towards the core identities of the primary digital channels, so leaning into what each channel is best at is going to be critical to maintaining a successful program during this crisis. Skai will be taking on each of the key channels that we support to give a closer look at how marketers can continue to operate effectively in this new and evolving context.
First, let’s talk about Ecommerce.
Online sales matter more now than ever
We’ve seen how online shopping has accelerated since this public health crisis started affecting consumers’ day-to-day lives. Early industry estimates point to Amazon, in particular, as capturing more of those new online purchases. With respect to the broad category of sponsored listing ads, even across online shopping destinations, these platforms are largely set up so that if you are relevant, and you have available inventory, your ads should be showing up.
So, as recommendations of social distancing turned to shelter-in-place orders in various parts of the world, shoppers turned to the major online shopping sites in increasing numbers. And when they did, they saw ads, clicked on those ads, and bought products in a wide variety of categories. Impressions and spending had already been steadily increasing throughout the first quarter but spiked in the week ending March 14 driven by categories such as CPG and Food & Beverage, according to Skai data. The following week, the Toys & Games category increased.
If you are advertising on these platforms now, you are likely tracking developments with Amazon and Walmart closely. You may be reacting to changes or anticipating changes you’ll need to make as consumer behavior evolves. If you have only dipped a toe in these waters, maybe it’s time to jump in with two feet. If you are only on Amazon, it might be time to expand to Walmart as well.
Both tactically and strategically, what enables marketers to make the best data-driven decisions on how to steward their campaigns is actionable intelligence. The ecommerce channel is still relatively new, so marketers may not yet have access to the kind of rich data that they’ve come to expect in other, more mature channels such as paid search and social advertising.
For example, it’s important to understand the competitive landscape for your product keywords, but that isn’t offered natively. This is where a partner can help. One such instance is Skai Ecommerce’s Share of Voice (SOV) report, where you can get an in-depth analysis of your ad positions compared to those of your competitors. SOV can change often when consumer and competitor behavior shifts—and such shifts are occurring rapidly these days—so this is a report that can provide deep value and directional insight.
See which brands are showing up at the top of the search listings with the SOV report
Tips for Ecommerce Advertising During a Pandemic
As we weather this storm, the main thing that ecommerce marketers with Amazon and/or Walmart campaigns need to focus on is simply making sure everything is working and running as planned.
Using automation is an excellent and efficient way to execute those plans, and the following are some of the best features available to Skai users that may prove extra valuable during a crisis.
Skai Ecommerce Tip #1: ‘Products Not Serving’ Report
If you go out of stock on an item, your ad for that item is typically pulled. For categories with exceptionally high demand as shoppers stock up on emergency supplies, this may happen more than usual. Run this automated report to be notified when a product is not serving and the reason behind it so that you can take action to fix the problem.
Skai Ecommerce Tip #2: ‘Out of Budget’ Alert
Use this automated action to receive email notifications when a campaign has depleted its budget. For high-demand items, this may be sooner than you are normally used to.
Skai Ecommerce Tip #3: ‘Out of Budget by Hour of Day’ Report
Schedule daily reports to review yesterday’s Out of Budget alerts to ensure you and your team are on top of every campaign. You can also run this weekly to get a more holistic sense of how your program is being managed as it relates to capping out on budgets.
Skai Ecommerce Tip #4: ‘Change in Conversion Rate’ Alert
Use this automated action to receive email notifications when a product, as defined by an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) has a significant change in conversion rate in a Campaign or Ad Group.
How can we help?
Ecommerce advertising is clearly the right place at the right time for many brands reaching their target audiences. And Skai Ecommerce helps marketers create, manage, forecast and optimize Amazon and Walmart advertising campaigns at scale. If “right time, right place, right message” is the goal, then “right partner” is currently mission-critical in order to reach it.