The holidays are fast approaching and brands and retailers of all sizes are busy with preparations. To help sellers prepare for the season ahead, we decided to highlight some advice from our Managed Services experts in a Q&A blog series.  

The ChannelAdvisor Managed Services team works with clients every day to provide strategy and execution in their e-commerce efforts — maximizing their presence on marketplaces and optimizing their digital marketing campaigns. 

We sat down with Francine Stylski, one of our client strategy managers for digital marketing, to get some of her Amazon Advertising tips for the upcoming holiday season. (Read Part 1, on marketplaces best practices, and Part 2, on digital marketing best practices.)

Q: It’s September. What are the three most urgent things sellers should be doing right now before the holidays?

Campaigns
Sellers should prioritize launching any campaigns for the holidays by October 15th and opening up campaign budgets ahead of the holidays.

Brand Store
Sellers should ensure their brand store is up to date with any new products and submit any edits by the end of the month for Amazon to approve.

Account Check
Sellers should update their payment information to avoid going dark during this crucial time.

Q: How should brands and retailers approach specific advertising “goals” for the holidays from an Amazon Advertising perspective? 

Remember the majority of sales happen outside Cyber Five so plan to increase budget from October through December. Approach October and November as a time to build awareness and increase visibility on your brand, and keep in mind that there is a delay in attribution. 

Q: What are some ways for sellers to boost visibility in a competitive category on Amazon?

We recommend leveraging an offensive and defensive product detail page strategy by targeting top competitor Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) in the category and your own ASINs with Sponsored Product and Sponsored Display ad types. Additionally, we recommend increasing the top of search modifier on Non-Brand keyword campaigns to increase visibility for category keywords. 

Q: What new advertising tools in Amazon Seller Central and Vendor Central (that weren’t available last holiday season) will make a big impact this year?

Additional tools from last year include an emphasized focus on creative brand assets — we recommend adding lifestyle images to your Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Display campaigns to grab consumer attention and showcase products highlighted. 

Another tool we recommend utilizing is the budgets beta in the ad console. This allows users to filter down to see which ads are consistently running out of budget, and can guide decisions for what campaigns to increase the budget for. 

Q: How important is it to reach customers in the days ahead of Cyber 5, and how should brands approach budget planning & execution?

It is extremely important to build awareness leading up to Cyber 5 as consumers are planning in advance where to purchase. It is important to plan for increased spend in the 1-2 weeks leading up to Cyber 5. We recommend leveraging Sponsored Display views retargeting to capture consumers who have viewed your products leading up to Cyber 5. 

Advertising budgets should scale alongside total channel sales during the holiday season. We recommend planning budgets on both weekly and monthly levels, and consider budgeting based on total advertising cost of sales (ACoS). Don’t underallocate in early November leading up to Cyber 5 and don’t go dark from Christmas to New Year’s.

Q: Any other best practices when it comes to reporting or leveraging your advertising results to enhance campaigns in the weeks ahead?

We recommend conducting a keyword harvest of top performing keywords from your automatic campaigns to ensure your keywords are up to date. We also recommend applying negative keywords to maximize efficiency and make the most out of your budget. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how our Managed Services team can help you prepare for this holiday season, contact us today.

Posted by Contributor