November 28, 2022
5 minute read
Stratably surveyed 40 consumer brands on their usage of Amazon's analytical tools including Amazon Marketing Cloud, Amazon Attribution, and Amazon Stream.
This is an important study because many brands are unfamiliar with these tools resulting in low adoption. This low adoption is resulting in a competitive edge opportunity that rarely exists on the ultra-competitive platform.
To help improve familiarity with the tools and arm retail leaders like yourself with quantitative data to make the case to invest further into them, the following results shed light on adoption, the impact these tools are having so far, and in what ways.
What are these tools?
Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC)
According to Amazon, AMC is “a secure, privacy-safe, and cloud-based clean room solution, in which advertisers can easily perform analytics across pseudonymized signals, including Amazon Ads signals as well as their own inputs.”
Put most simply, AMC provides users with a very granular understanding of the value of each ad unit and how different ad types work together across the funnel to drive conversion.
It’s providing advertisers’ a deeper understanding than what last touch attribution can provide.
Amazon Attribution (“Attribution”)
According to Amazon, Attribution is “an advertising and analytics measurement solution that gives marketers insight into how their non-Amazon marketing channels perform on Amazon.”
Since consumers are exposed to ads across many different mediums, brands can use Attribution to measure the efficiency of different channels as it pertains to driving sales on Amazon. Marketers can then optimize spend across channels to maximize sales on Amazon.
It’s an attempt at creating closed-loop reporting for ads that never before could be tied to specific sales.
Amazon Stream (“Stream”)
According to Amazon, Stream is “a push-based messaging system that delivers hourly Amazon Ads campaign metrics and information on campaign changes in near real time, through the Amazon Ads API.”
Stream sheds light on how the value of an ad unit changes throughout the day. Rather than paying $2/click the entire day, Stream data can illustrate why it makes sense to only bid $0.50/click at certain times and $5/click at other times.
This helps marketers refine their bidding strategy and generate more efficient outcomes.
Forty consumer brands across three main categories completed the survey in October this year.
- 65% CPG
- 23% Hardlines general merchandise
- 12% Softlines general merchandise
The sample included a range of different business sizes:
In addition, it included responses from brands across the spectrum of best in class to poor analytical capabilities:
As expected, only a minority of consumer brands have adopted AMC, Attribution, and Stream.
These figures may overstate adoption as some brands replied to Stratably’s benchmark email invite that they did not take it because they’re not using the tool. While impossible to calculate, this means adoption on AMC, for instance, may be closer to 30-40% rather than the 47% shown in the study.
The most surprising finding was the relative adoption of AMC compared to Attribution and Stream. AMC is described as difficult to use, but that does not appear to be limiting it relative to the other tools.
If you think about what these tools do relative to only a minority currently adopting them, it’s a no brainer for brands to move as quickly as they can to tap into these insights. This will provide at least a temporary advantage and perhaps permanent one for AMC given historical data not captured today is not available in the future.
Why aren't brands adopting these tools?
The survey results echo feedback Stratably has heard in its qualitative research around these tools – many brands are unfamiliar with these tools and how they can be used.
In most cases, eCommerce teams (and particularly Amazon teams) are aware of these tools. But the agency they use or colleagues responsible for analytics or marketing are less familiar, causing a slow uptake.
This number will move lower in ’23 as more information comes to the market, corresponding to less of a first-mover opportunity that exists today.
Are these tools having an impact?
The benchmark results were more muted than expected, with a full 19% of brands using these tools indicating they have had no impact on their business.
Based on Stratably’s qualitative research, this is often attributed to a poor understanding of how to use the tools. For instance, some brands are using agencies that do not have a strong understanding of how to tap into AMC. Stratably has also heard those relying on Amazon ad account reps to pull insights haven’t seen much in the way of results.
In contrast, many brands that either have internal resources or expert partners have told Stratably they have been incredibly pleased.
Thus, the right way to interpret these figures is that they should move in a positive direction over the next 12 months as users become more familiar with the tools, and brands start incorporating the findings into their Amazon and marketing strategies.
Is the impact just on Amazon?
The chart below illustrates that the tools are more likely to be impacting how brands spend their ad budgets on Amazon compared to off-Amazon.
For instance, a brand may shift more budget from sponsored product ads to sponsored display because of AMC insights that illustrate the impact display has on causing a consumer to search for certain items. In the past, this search and subsequent click on an ad would be the only ad attributed to the sale, whereas with AMC, a brand can understand what preceded that ad.
Off-Amazon ad budgets have been impacted to a lesser extent with the 24% figure driven nearly entirely by Attribution. This is not surprising given Attribution exists to help marketers optimize their off-Amazon spend.
The off-Amazon metric is expected to move higher in ’23 as insights from AMC, Attribution, and Stream make their way through an organization and into the hands of other account teams.
Currently, less than a third of brands using these tools indicate their colleagues outside the Amazon team are utilizing the insights.
For instance, while it would not be an exact science, applying Stream insights to Walmart Connect or Target Roundel advertising tactics would be an obvious extension of Amazon Stream data.
In addition, AMC insights on how display interacts with sponsored products on Amazon could be studied to inform how programmatic spend may be impacting Google paid search results.
- Amazon Marketing Cloud (Everything I’ve Learned so Far)
- Benchmark Research on Amazon Marketing Cloud – Part 2
- Benchmark Research on Amazon Attribution – Part 3
- Benchmark Research on Amazon Stream – Part 4
- Benchmark Research on Analytics Teams – Part 5