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on August 19, 2020 by Drew Kramer in Marketplaces

What the Data says: How driving nonbranded advertising traffic on Amazon helps grow overall sales

Fun fact: Amazon is home to over 62% of ecommerce sales. This overwhelming volume helps make Amazon not only the largest and most lucrative online marketplace for brands but also the most competitive. To push through the competition, brands need to increase their visibility, and driving advertising traffic is a key way to do this—ad-driven sales drive rank, which increases organic sales. 

You want to position your brand in front of customers. After all, brand loyalty creates repeat business: according to FiveStars, even though loyal customers only represent 20% of a brand’s customer base, they drive a whopping 80% of a brand’s revenue. 

To protect your brand, you need to defend your branded search terms. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore nonbranded search altogether. In fact, nonbranded search has proven to make the biggest impact on incremental customer acquisition. Therefore, it should be an essential part of your overall marketing strategy. 

Know the difference: Nonbranded advertising vs. branded advertising

To optimize your brand’s search campaign, you ultimately need to find a way to make nonbranded and branded advertising, which we discuss in more detail below, work together. And key to understanding how they should work together is understanding how they’re different. 

What is nonbranded advertising and search?

Leaving brand out of the picture, nonbranded advertising leverages generic search terms to broadly describe products, businesses, or services. Examples of nonbranded search terms include “ramen noodles,” “kids’ shampoo,” and “best smartphone 2020.” Generic search terms such as these generate a large number of results in search engine results pages (SERPs). For example, a search for “black T-shirt” on Amazon generates over 90,000 results in its SERPs. 

What is branded advertising and search?

On the opposite side of the coin, branded advertising leverages search terms that use brand names to specifically describe products, businesses, or services. Examples of branded search terms include “Instant Thai ramen noodles,” “Suzy Bubbles kids’ shampoo,” and “best YourCam smartphone 2020.” As you would expect, branded search terms tend to generate far fewer results than nonbranded counterparts do. Using the same black T-shirt example, branded searches in Amazon—such as “Gildan black T-shirts for women”—seldom generate more than 1,000 results.

Focus on nonbranded advertising 

So why focus on nonbranded advertising? Since nonbranded search generates far more results in SERPs than branded search does, listing your goods with a nonbranded focus can cast a much wider net over top-of-the-funnel customers. If incremental customer acquisition is your goal, these are the customers you want your listings to target. 

To help guide their buyers’ journeys, top-of-the-funnel customers religiously rely on generic search. In fact, 78% of keyword searches on Amazon use generic terms, which indicates that there are a ton of these customers shopping around for favorite new brands to buy from. 

Case study: A consumer packed goods (CPG) company increases product rank through nonbranded search

Let’s look at the example of a CPG company driving awareness for their new coffee flavor. Once the company secured its branded search, it looked for opportunities to grow its customer base. 

As a result of its efforts to use nonbranded search to grow its customer base, the company realized an average month-over-month increase in orders of 18%. In some months, it recorded notable increases in first-time purchases. For instance, in the month of May 2020, it saw an increase of 25% over its numbers in April 2020.

The company found that driving nonbranded search increased impressions by 145%. As a result, the company not only generated more first-time purchases but also increased product rank, which further increased sales. 

Start with data analysis

To see similar success for your brand, start your nonbranded advertising efforts with data. Find out what the customers buying your products are searching for, and look to bid on those terms. 

Let’s say “spicy ramen noodles” or “tear-free kids’ shampoo” are your customers’ two most popular searches. Prior to bidding on those terms, you’ll need to assess the retail readiness of the products those searches describe. How do your products’ reviews, price points, listing titles, et cetera stack up in comparison to those of other products on Amazon’s first results page? If your products are competitive, bid on those search terms.

In addition, test and select a group of search terms to concentrate your advertising spend on. Pull a variety of nonbranded and branded search terms from your customer research, and see which ones perform the best. Once you know what the highest-performing terms are, move your advertising dollars to those terms to start driving impressions and conversions. 

For the search terms that don’t perform as well, find out why and make adjustments. Some of the reasons why a search term might not perform well include poor ad placement, the bid landscape of the competition, or another factor you should adjust your strategy to address

Don’t ignore branded advertising 

Remember: branded advertising is still very important. It’s crucial for capturing bottom-of-the-funnel customers and enticing them to return to your brand for business. Furthermore, since branded search produces fewer yet highly specific search results in SERPs, it helps first-time customers who are curious about your brand find your listings. 

Even though 78% of keyword searches on Amazon use nonbranded search, the most popular search terms on Amazon are branded. Marketplace Pulse’s study of the top 100,000 search terms on Amazon revealed that 74% of the top 10,000 did include a brand name.

To capitalize on these searches, businesses should make sure to defend their brands. Because competitors can bid on branded keywords, they have the ability to take advantage of another brand’s reputation and customers. 

A company like Honest & Co, for example, certainly doesn’t want to appear second to competitor California Baby when a customer searches for “Honest shampoo” on Amazon. By maintaining some focus on branded advertising, sellers can ensure that they reap the benefits of the brand recognition that they have built. 

Key takeaways 

Competition on Amazon is becoming ever fiercer, so making your brand visible to as many potential consumers as possible is vital. Brands that focus on incremental customer acquisition will benefit the most from nonbranded searches. 

Nonbranded advertising attracts new customers, drives more traffic, and can raise brand awareness if paired effectively with branded advertising. Leveraging branded terms helps defend against competitors and maintains customer loyalty. 

Finding the right balance between nonbranded and branded advertising doesn’t have to be guesswork. For help optimizing your marketplace ad strategy, use our Get Started form to get in touch with one of our Amazon marketing experts today.

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