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What’s New: eComm Advances & Latest Features from Q3

In a year full of disruptions and advancements in eCommerce, the past few months have seen constant evolution in the industry. eCommerce advertisers looking to keep up-to-date with industry growth, experiment with new features on Amazon and other platforms, and stay ahead of their competition have a lot to keep track of.  

If you’ve missed any of the major news and opportunities from Q3, here is a round-up of everything from last quarter to keep in mind as we move through Q4 and into 2021:

Industry-wide eCommerce Growth

With increased online shopping due to COVID-19, eCommerce continues its industry-wide growth. eMarketer expects 39% eCommerce growth for Amazon this year. In fact, Amazon shares have provided a total return of 81.8% of the past 12 months, well above the S&P 500’s total return of 15.3%.

Some categories are seeing more growth than others. Essentials and online grocery are seeing the largest shift. In Q3, categories like Office & Home saw a solid boost as back to school spending increased and more people invested in home offices.

Amazon Ad Performance in Q3

Despite the move of Prime Day to Q4, Pacvue data shows more than 60% growth year-over-year in ad spend for Q3. We also saw 12% growth in conversions, indicating that consumer online shopping continued to increase.  

After a dip in Q2, CPC have returned to relatively normal levels. As ad spend across industries increases, especially on Sponsored Brand ads, which are seeing a solid return, these ad placements are becoming more competitive.

To keep track of all the most important Amazon ad metrics, Pacvue released our quarterly CPC report. Download the Q3 CPC Report to gain insights from Pacvue’s proprietary Amazon keyword tracking database.

New Features in Amazon Advertising

Amazon continues to innovate its advertising features to help brands tailor and target ads for their specific goals. In Q3, Amazon released several new features that are worth experimenting with in your ad campaigns:

  • Sponsored Brands Store Pages: You can now feature Store Pages in your Sponsored Brand creative. This allows you to customize the headline, image, and label to highlight the different product categories available.
  • Sponsored Brands on Product Detail Pages: Including Sponsored Brands on Product Detail pages puts ads front and center on a well-targeted placement. However, they are currently seeing lower CTR than other Sponsored Brand placements.
  • Auto-translated Keywords: Automatic translation helps you target non-English speaking marketplaces in your manual campaigns.
  • Prime Video Signals: This feature allows you to build DSP audiences based on Prime Video content. With Amazon continuing to invest in DSP, now is the most important time to test this new ad opportunity.
  • Sponsored Display Customization: New customization features allow you to enhance personalization and test which variations perform best.
  • Negative Product Targeting for Sponsored Products: Advertisers now have the ability to add negative product targets for Auto or Manual Sponsored Product campaigns and even identify negative ASIN targets.  

Watch this 8-minute video for a deeper dive into these new Amazon features, as Pacvue’s Zach Zaerr discusses with Bobsled Marketing’s Advertising Director Stefan Jordev.  

What’s New in the Pacvue Platform

In order to take advantage of the new Amazon advertising features, as well as Instacart and Walmart, Pacvue made a number of advancements in Q3. Here are the most popular product updates you may have missed:

Pacvue for Amazon

  • Reporting for Amazon DSP: As we mentioned, DSP will be extremely important over the next year. Pacvue now allows you to view performance, advertising spend, orders, and more, alongside your paid search performance.
  • PriceTracker: This newly released product allows you to track trends such as price changes, product stock, reviews, and ratings across six different marketplaces.
  • Sponsored Brand Video: Pacvue now supports this new Amazon feature with reporting and campaign management functionality.
  • Product Eligibility Report: Gain a daily snapshot of which products are not showing up in advertising so you can easily learn any potentially negative effects on your advertising.
  • Updated Pacvue XL: The platform now includes integrations for DSP, Share of Voice, and Product Center reporting.

Pacvue for Walmart

  • Brand Halo Click Sales: This custom sales metric helps compare Amazon and Walmart sales data to account for the different default sales attributions in the two platforms.
  • Walmart Health Item Report: This new Walmart report is now integrated into the Pacvue dashboard, allowing you to see availability, buy box win rate, status, and more.

Pacvue for Instacart

  • Automation Enhancements: Pacvue adds automation to your Instacart advertising with new auto-pacing features for campaign budgets, rule-based automation at the ad group level, and automatic keyword bidding.
  • Share of Voice: You can now track the keywords your competitors bid on across retailers to better track paid and organic SOV.
  • Enhanced Keyword and Dashboard Features: Our Instacart dashboard includes new widgets, reports, and budget overviews for a single view. In addition, keyword rules can now be based on bid strength and type ,and bids can be filtered by keyword or ad group.

Planning for the Months Ahead

With the continued eCommerce growth in 2020, Q4 is expected to see massive sales growth. A record Prime Day started Q4, and the holiday shopping season should continue this trend as more consumers than ever will be avoiding Brick and Mortar stores this year.

Concern for many brands and retailers are potential shipping delays and out-of-stock issues. Last quarter, Amazon noted that they had invested more than $9 billion on capital projects, including fulfillment and transportation.

The lessons learned during Prime Day 2020 should be carried into the remainder of your holiday campaigns. During Prime Day, it proved difficult to appear in Top of Search placements without deals or promotions. If you don’t plan on running promotions during Cyber 5, consider pulling back on spend and CPC bids. If you are running deals, Sponsored Brand ads could be increasingly important assuming Amazon prioritizes their Today’s Deals widget.

With increased competition, you should leverage bid placement modifiers as much as possible and use tools to optimize your bid and budget. Your ad campaigns should already be in full swing to allow you to test out new ad types and targeting opportunities before CPCs increase. With the influx of first-time eCommerce consumers, you should also test out more brand-agnostic search terms to better reach this audience.

Q3 was a very strong quarter for eCommerce and there is every indication this trend will continue into Q4 and beyond. By keeping up on the latest opportunities, you can ensure your advertising stays ahead of the pack and can ride this wave into 2021.

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