Hit the Mark with Offsite Traffic: What’s Hot and What’s Not
Perhaps you’ve been on the Amazon Attribution scene for a while, but you still feel like you don’t really know which products you want to devote time and energy to. Or maybe you’re new to Amazon Attribution and have no idea where to begin.
Welcome to the club.
When I first sat down to write about this, I searched the internet for advice, to little avail. And if the internet hasn’t spoken about it, it’s probably not a topic most people know about.
Rather than throw in the towel, I went straight to the experts at my fingertips: Kris Weissman, Rylan Crump, Bre Yashko, and Connor Arrington.
Kris, Rylan, Bre, and Connor spend their days researching trends and figuring out how to get you the best ACOS. Today, they’re going to help us figure out which products in your arsenal are the best for offsite traffic.
My biggest takeaway from what each person said is that whether or not your product will perform well in attribution depends on a number of complex factors. There’s no one-size-fits-all system.
The Good News and the Bad News
Whenever I’m faced with a choice between hearing the good news and the bad news first, I typically go for the bad news to get it out of the way. And today I’m imposing that preference on everyone by talking about what won’t work in attribution first.
Products that Won’t Work
Kris boiled it down to two categories, noting that items priced under $15 and products where design is a key factor, such as the design of a bandanna, are less likely to perform well. Rylan echoed this opinion, particularly when it comes to the low price factor, adding that it would be really tough to get your ACOS low enough to make a profit on something that doesn’t cost very much. This is typically referred to as having a tight margin.
Rylan did a quick demonstration to back up his point, showing me the amount of detail you see about a product from a Google Ad vs. an ad directly on Amazon. I’ll copy and paste screenshots from my own test below to help you see exactly what I saw.
Searched “best tshirts” on Google:
Searched “best tshirts” on Amazon:
Both times we searched, Rylan and I looked for the sponsored products where your Amazon Attribution ads would show up.
As you can see above, Google ads don’t offer a lot of technical information about the product from the SERP, and they may or may not even include a picture. On the other hand, the Amazon SERP always provides a picture, the price of the item, the brand name, the star rating, and how many colors/patterns are available.
Because of this discrepancy, Rylan pointed out that the consumer who clicks on the Amazon ad is much more likely to know that they want the product than the consumer who clicks on the Google Ad, and that’s a huge part of why attribution would not be as effective for a product like this. This goes back to Kris’s point about how design-dependent products work against your ACOS.
Particularly if the price is low, the tight margin effect requires the ACOS to be a lot lower than is possible to get a profit.
Connor and Bre shared a list of other factors that cause a product to not perform well.
Products that have a lot of competition and where brand loyalty plays a role (for ex. Food, supplements, and toys) – for emerging brands
Products not in season (for ex., holiday-specific products) – for any brand
The product is too unique – for any brand
Not enough search impressions – for any brand
Amazon storefront or product listing is not optimized for conversions – for any brand
Little to no reviews or bad customer reviews – for any brand
Products that Work
Even with all of the limiting factors listed, there are plenty of products that will work and get better traffic from Google. In fact, depending on your specific brand, you may be aided by some of the factors in our previous list that make performance lower for other brands.
Here’s the collaborative list from Kris, Rylan, Bre, and Connor:
Products with these attributes tend to perform better simply because the product page has more evidence of the product being great. Practical aspects of your Amazon listing like a Prime delivery option and an ATC button are some things I personally look for as basic requirements if I’m going to purchase something.
Connor explained having good reviews as his ideal starting point for any product coming into the program, “Firstly, having a product with a strong amount of 5-star ratings and great customer reviews is an easy way to ensure we start off on the right foot.” These ratings and reviews inspire confidence that the product has worked for and was beneficial to a large group of people, leading to higher conversion rates.
He went on to emphasize the importance of a product being unique, saying “When we get a product that is in a competitive category, it is important that we find what sets the product apart from its competition and highlight it within our ads.” Although, as we know from our previous list, there is a balance to strike. Luckily, Connor and Bre are just the people to have on your team to strike that balance.
Doing the Long-Game Work
Other items on our list, such as being a top seller or having a strong brand presence take longer to build, but they can also have a huge impact on conversion.
Having a strong brand presence may seem like a tedious marketing task, but in the end, it’s worth it. What you put out there to increase brand awareness is the first thing your consumer sees when they first encounter your brand. Over time, the level of effort put into your branding to become a recognized name often serves as an indication of how much you care about your product and what consumers can expect from your work in the product itself.
In addition to the attributes listed above, there are some categories that tend to perform better in attribution:
What makes these categories so profitable? Here’s my take after discussing the issue with Rylan.
The consumer typically does more research on these categories before clicking through to a PDP, so the intent to buy is much higher by the time they click into any sort of ad for a product, keeping the ACOS down.
Also, Google has been around longer and is considered a more reputable source for information, so if a consumer wants to learn about something, they’ll start on Google. By putting an ad out there in the same place the consumer gathers information, you provide a direct link to a product they might want once they’ve finished their research. As with any online user experience, the fewer clicks, the better.
How to Supplement Your Product’s Natural Abilities
Not every product can naturally have all of the elements in our “ideal world” list above, but that doesn’t mean this is the end of the story for you and your brand. Especially if you’re a new brand, you need to stay profitable while building your brand awareness, gathering customer reviews and ratings, etc. If you feel like you’re in this situation, our team has some advice.
Rylan was very clear in our conversation that “Success looks different for every brand and every product. Some brands may be shooting for a 60% ACOS and that’s profitable for them based on their specific situation. Others need to stay more at a 20% ACOS to make a profit. It really just depends.”
Connor, who works directly with the ads themselves, has experience creating ad campaigns that can help make up for some other weaknesses. He said, “Creating a well-tailored ad campaign is vital for the success of the paid search campaign. Targeting users low on the purchasing funnel will help with preventing users from bouncing from our landing pages or continuing with their research before purchasing. There is a lot that goes into the success of one of our attribution campaigns but being able to separate our product from the rest of the competition is the most important.”
Bre chimed in, adding that seasonal relevancy can play a huge factor in how well your product performs. Just as much as it can hurt you, it can also help you if you make sure you’re targeting the right products in the right season.
And no matter your situation, everyone has a chance for success with Prime Day coming up. Our founder, Ben Faw, said just this week, “If you have a customer who isn’t sure if they should put one product or two in the program, tell them to put all of their products in. If they’re not, they’re missing out.”