Beyond PPC - Leveraging the Full Customer Journey
Laura Conboy, January 20, 2023
Sometimes we can forget that a multitude of events takes place before and after someone actually buys a product on Amazon. When a customer purchases your product, you see a sale and monetary success. However, take a step back - how did they get to that point of conversion and how can we bring them back in the future?
It is important to consider the full customer journey so that we can connect with consumers at every possible touch point.
Traditional Amazon PPC advertising focuses the majority of its efforts on middle-of-the-funnel (MOTF) activities. Below, we’ll go a bit deeper into how you can capture shoppers’ attention at all parts of their buying journey, and at all stages of the advertising funnel.
Before and beyond the purchase
Let’s take a step away from the “classic PPC and advertising funnel view” that focuses heavily on purchases to dive more deeply into pre-purchase awareness and consideration, and post-purchase loyalty.
Traditional PPC (i.e., Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display advertising) focuses heavily on the middle to lower part of the funnel in targeting those who (a) already know what they are looking for and; (b) are looking for it on Amazon.
But, what about the rest of the population that may not be looking on Amazon yet, or might not know that they are looking for something in the first place?
When it comes to Awareness and Consideration outside of Traditional PPC, let’s consider two concepts: 1) reach, and 2) social proof.
How far and wide does / can your advertising reach? What audiences are you penetrating? Who is seeing, thinking about, and ultimately buying from you?
With Amazon Sponsored Advertising, your reach broadens as you move through Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display. However, what about getting in front of those customers who have migrated away from where you traditionally advertise? Or those who have not discovered your brand yet? Below are some tactical avenues that you need to think about.
In a nutshell, the Amazon DSP is a demand-side platform that allows you to programmatically buy ads to reach and engage new and existing audiences on and off Amazon. Using the Amazon DSP can connect you with the most relevant audiences for your brand.
Using advanced targeting methods such as geographic location, demographics, and other segmentation capabilities is one part of the puzzle for reaching new audiences. Other elements include more granular targeting, including but not limited to in-market audiences and mobile vs. desktop-specific ads, where you can target and retarget new and potentially missed shoppers with customizable creatives.
Social media and influencers
A hot topic in today’s heavily digitized world, influencers and social media can expand your reach tenfold in moments. Think about Instagram and Tik Tok. It takes only a few seconds to swipe through multiple pieces of content. The average social media user spends 147 minutes (approx. 2.5 hours) a day on social platforms, according to Statista. The sheer amount of content that is digested by users daily is unfathomable.
By creating eye-catching content (e.g., videos) and placing it in front of the masses and by promoting that content to the most relevant audiences (this is called Spark Ads on Tik Tok), your reach potential is infinite, and not to be missed.
This phenomenon is also called informational social influence, and essentially it’s the idea that people copy the actions of others in an attempt to emulate behavior in certain situations.
Influence is a part of life. The way we walk and the way we talk is heavily influenced by those around us. Humans have an innate desire to be like the people we look up to or aspire to be. For example, what you are wearing right now might have a decision that was influenced by what you have seen!
From a statistical standpoint, a study by Oberlo found that 80% of consumers had purchased a product after seeing an influencer recommend it. In utilizing social media and the prowess of influencers, not only can you reach more people than ever before, but you can also leverage influencers that shoppers admire to show your products to build social proof for your brand, setting up your advertising campaigns for success.
We want our choices to be validated by others first as we endeavor to make the best decision possible for ourselves. Dixa discovered that 93% of people have purchased products after reading a positive review about them.
Editorial recommendations are product recommendations written by third-party publishers that can appear on and off Amazon. They can help grow online presence by building both trust and awareness for a brand. Both increasing awareness and supporting better consideration by shoppers, editorials have first-page real estate on Amazon Search Results pages for those who know what they want, and they allow you to be seen by those just browsing off Amazon on third-party website placements.
The loyalty part of the funnel is also important to consider. Retaining your current customers and having them as advocates for your brand can be invaluable. Beyond the retail side of advertising (e.g., promotions, reviews, and newsletters), when looking through an advertising lens, there is a multitude of tactics you can utilize as part of your ad strategy to align with this part of the customer journey like customer education, re-engagement, and continuing to evolve your business.
DSP / Sponsored Display
Traditional PPC certainly helps support the core part of the funnel; however, by using DSP and Sponsored Display in tandem, you are greeted with the perfect opportunity to cross-sell, up-sell, remarket to current shoppers and target new-to-brand customers.
Additionally, defending your brand from competitors is incredibly important when you see success (while being mindful of not cannibalizing your organic sales; find out more about that here). This supports retaining your customers when they come back to repurchase products, making sure they don’t forget you as they browse online. You will have done the hard work to attract and convert shoppers. Don’t lose them now.
Social media and influencers
Feeding into current trends and having the right people with the right reach as advocates for your brand can be boundless in value. Combine this with the ability for your current customers to share content featuring your brand with their own circles as your advocates. The opportunities, again, are endless.
“Seekers” vs “Seers”
When looking at the full customer journey, let’s take a look at two examples of potential customer types, the “seekers” and the “seers”, and some of the ad types you could consider to capture their attention at all stages of the buying journey.
The Seekers know what they want, now it’s just about finding what’s right for them. They are proactively searching for this “right fit” product on Amazon.
Your advertising efforts might focus more heavily on the Amazon platform itself, ensuring you are winning those key placements on the search results page, cutting through the noise and being seen by these “seeking” shoppers.
The Seers might not even know what they are looking for yet! They may see things by chance, by scrolling through social media, or by being shown a product somewhere more passively.
For these shoppers, you may want to focus efforts off Amazon, being seen in the places these customers browse before they even consider looking for products. Utilizing some of those ad types we broke down earlier in this post, like editorials and influencers, you can reach the masses and be at the forefront of these “seer” shoppers' minds, increasing consideration for your brand and serving needs they didn’t realize they had!
Overall, ensuring that you have an advertising strategy that considers a variety of shoppers within your target market is key to being as successful as possible in your advertising endeavors. No customer journey is singular and being mindful of this fact and utilizing it for your benefit is the key to engaging consumers at all stages of the buyer journey.
Watch out! Human bias is on the loose
Finally, the proof is in the pudding. You want to avoid putting wasted time and effort into your own (and potentially unconsciously biased) thoughts on how shoppers should shop rather than how they actually do shop. Using data points to validate or disprove your opinions and personal understandings of how your customers shop / audiences are reached is important in making sure you are serving your customers properly.
For example, by using Stream Data to gain granular, hourly insights into how shoppers actually purchase on Amazon can inform your understanding of the journeys your customers take. Stream Data can also help you understand customer shopping habits and how your Sponsored Ads perform over time by looking at a variety of metrics such as ACOS, sales, clicks, and conversion rates.
Similarly, using attributed data and insights from influencer campaigns (e.g., Tik Tok Spark Ads) can show what content works well and what could use tweaking to work better. Being able to attribute your performance and results to your content is imperative to judging the success of your campaigns, and it will help educate you on what trends, influencer types, etc. work best for your brand.
Furthermore, using the metrics available through the Amazon DSP in judging performance according to audience types is also a great way to mitigate risk against human judgement and bias in judging consumer shopping habits.
Reviewing data and KPIs wherever they may be one when utilising any of these ad types is fundamental in gaining a proper understanding of success, and identifying room for improvement in your advertising tactics and overall strategy.
If any of these ad types are of interest to you and you want to learn more, we support them all! Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or take a look at the links below and start serving your customers at all stages of their buying journey today!
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