There is more to a best-in-class Amazon search strategy than just optimizing keywords

Marjorie Borreda

VP Retail Consultant, jellyfish

When we talk about Amazon Search bar we immediately think about keyword optimization in bulk, automatization and ROAS. But there is much more to see, learn and share when we focus on what consumers are looking for.

Brands on Amazon usually have a standard approach to this : what are the top searched keywords and how do we get ourselves there? But this is just the tip of the iceberg – Amazon search is a vast ocean of unexploited consumer data. 

In this article we’ll explain how to move from a ROAS-centric approach to a more consumer-centric approach for both global and local teams looking for a best-in-class Amazon Search Strategy:

  • what you can learn about your consumers and the category just by looking at search terms
  • how you should optimize and monitor your search KPIs
  • why you should break silos on Amazon

There is a lot to learn from the searched keywords on Amazon

7 out of 10 product searches start on Amazon, this statistic in itself proves the need for brands to 1: be on Amazon (obvious but still it does not hurt to repeat it), 2: spend more time learning everything they can about their consumers. At the end of the day, search keywords are as powerful as consumer reviews or Instagram comments to learn more about your audience.

And when it comes to the search bar on Amazon, there is room for improvement! In our experience, working with various brands and departments (marketing, leadership, sales…), a majority of brands don’t look past the main KPIs on Amazon. For them, a search analysis usually starts with “is my brand in the top searched keywords this month?” And ends with, “what about my competitor?” And that’s it… 

But it’s such a shame! 

Searched keywords, like reviews (yes we’ve already been there, here is the article 😉), are a goldmine of information you can use to get to know your consumers better. 

So what can we learn? 

  • Do consumers search your category through generic or branded keywords and which brand is winning the game?

Did you know for example that 59% of keywords in the cat food category in the US are branded? Cat owners in the US are not simply browsing Amazon for inspiration, they definitely know which brand they are looking for and are leveraging Amazon as a way to get better deals on their favorite products. 

  • Going further, what are consumers interested in? We can regroup those branded and generic keywords by theme to highlight insights or trends and adapt brand content accordingly.

For example, when dog owners are searching for dog food on Amazon, they mostly search for types of food, food fitting some specific diet, food adapted to life stages and dog type.

  • Is there a seasonality in the search of your category?

For example, did you know that new-to-category customer purchase propensity for beverages, especially tea and coffee on Amazon.fr peaks in March, November & December? In fact “calendrier de l’avent” (advent calendar) is one of the most searched keywords in the tea category in France.

  • What are the most clicked products on generic and branded keywords?

Thanks to Brand Analytics on your Vendor or Seller Central Account, you can identify the top 3 most clicked products by keyword. It’s very useful to understand which products, assortments and content seems to stand out to consumers and win the game. 

What can we do with these learnings? 

These findings are a goldmine of opportunities to optimize your owned and paid content. If you know what people are looking for, you can adapt the navigation on your brandstore, adapt your copy on your sponsored display, adapt your videos on sponsored brand videos and so on.

You already have amazing products, once you know what people are looking for it’s easy to adapt your content, your offer and your advertising efforts to match their needs. 

How do you monitor your “Search Strategy” with your Share of Shelf?

Now that we’ve established that doing a bit more research on the Amazon search engine could not hurt your business, let’s dive into how to monitor your search efforts over time. 

Brand Analytics allows you to monitor searched keywords during a specific time period (week, month…). You will learn for example that the PS5 is the most searched keyword at the time of writing and the top converting ASIN for this keyword is the Sony controller. 

That’s good information, but to go even further you should also pay attention to your position and visibility on those keywords. It’s one thing to know what people are typing in the search bar it’s another to make sure they see you and you are emerging vs your competitors.

Monitoring your Share of Shelf on both generic/branded keywords and organic/paid placements will help you to understand how strong the advertising pressure of your competitors is and help you to adapt your Search strategy accordingly. 

For example :

  • Having a ROAS of 9 on your branded keywords is good, but if you already have 80% of the share of shelf on these keywords, it may be time to switch some of the budget from brand protection to a more acquisition-oriented strategy and fight for a bigger piece of the pie on your category or on your competitors branded keywords.
  • By monitoring closely your share of shelf, you can also discover that your budget is definitely not enough against your competitors as you’re only owning 50% of the paid placements on your brand. Who wants that a consumer looking for you end up clicking your competitor because they were more visible?!

We recommend using retail media analytics software such as the Seelk Studio to monitor over days/weeks/months your share of shelf. Being able to monitor your visibility and SERP positioning on generic, competitor and branded keywords is key to making the right decisions (budget splits, ASINs focus…) 

Why your content, ads and retail strategies must be all connected

Amazon is a global platform, your KPIs should be global and shared across different brands and countries as well. 

As we’ve covered, on Amazon everything is connected. Everything will impact your visibility and your business from your reviews to your content supply chain and beyond.

It’s impossible to monitor and to optimize your Amazon media strategy independently from your retail strategy, that is why you need to agree globally and across brands on Retail-Media KPIs based on marketing and business objectives. There is much more than the ROAS to monitor an Amazon Search Strategy.

Our favorite Retail-Media KPI today is the TACoS (total advertising cost of sales). The TACoS is a good KPis to monitor as it takes into account the impact of your marketing campaign on all your products sales. You have a vision of incremental sales generated by your campaign and it helps you to maintain a healthy search strategy. Our benchmark is a TACoS of 10% but it can go up to 20% for brands trying to emerge within particularly competitive categories such as beauty.

And what about NTB (new-to-brand)? The % of NTB should be a key KPI when you are looking to recruit.

If you manage to have TACoS, Share of Shelf and other global KPIs centralized in one place it will be easier for you and your teams to make decisions. How much should we spend on protection and growth campaigns ? How to split the budget between my 20 – 80 products?

It’s time to change your paradigm, and to move from conversion centricity to consumer centricity on your Amazon Search Strategy.