Amazon sellers must adapt continuously and quickly to Amazon’s ever-evolving PPC advertising tools and customer-centric policies.
They must also build marketing strategies to successfully surmount the fickle “squirrel!” attention spans of today’s consumers in their relentless quest for the next new shiny bobble.
And finally, sellers have to contend with niche competitors, a hungry horde of barbarians at the gates, seeking to capture every customer dollar, leaving their business burning in ruins if they aren’t prepared.
A critical component for addressing and overcoming these business challenges for sellers is to have unbiased, actionable intel about what is working, what’s not and what can be improved upon in regard to their PPC advertising and branding efforts.
This is why Amazon sellers should have an independent PPC audit performed.
Reasons for Having an Amazon Advertising and Branding Audit Performed
Sellers should give serious consideration to having an advertising and branding audit done if they or the same team of individuals have managed these areas for a long period of time. The audit will provide the seller or their in-house advertising manager(s) a second opinion to help them identify opportunities and solutions to current obstacles.
A fresh pair of expert eyes can reveal any inherent biases and the audit will “dust off” aged PPC strategies, guiding sellers on how to update them to better serve current shopper behavior and any recent Amazon marketplace changes.
Advertising and branding audits are ideal for those sellers interested in possessing a scalable, step-by-step blueprint to reach new revenue and brand goals.
Even with having access to a wealth of campaign analytics/data, sellers often find it challenging to accurately interpret it in order to create cost-effective PPC campaign strategies or to design a dialed-in gameplan to increase audience reach and influence shopper behavior.
Benefits of an Amazon Advertising Audit
Sellers who periodically have their Amazon advertising independently audited (even when it is performing well) can gain several ad performance and competitive advantages.
- Identify potential gaps in PPC advertising to improve overall performance (stop wasted Ad Spend, improve conversion rate, build loyalty, etc.)
- Evaluates the seller’s account health (SWOT Analysis will identify opportunities and unfavorable situations that can negatively impact the seller’s business)
- Evaluates budgeting, campaign aging, Ad types, Match types, placements and targeting.
- Help to develop a comprehensive, strategy to improve product listings and storefronts (maximize visibility, increase ranking, conversion rate outperforms niche competitors)
- Identify goals (alignment of the PPC strategy with strategic goals)
Benefits of an Amazon Branding Audit
Sellers who periodically have their Amazon branding strategies audited will have:
- A detailed analysis of the performance of their branding and advertising strategy, which will diagnose any gaps/vulnerabilities in it.
- Understand how to improve the performance of their Amazon Store (relevancy of subpages, quality of images, product placement, etc.)
- Detailed evaluation of their product pages (top listings)
- Itemized list of immediate action items for resolving outstanding issues and improving sales performance
- Top to bottom verification of branding aesthetic, including a thorough evaluation of their mobile presence
Black Diamond Audit – How a Comprehensive Advertising and Branding Audit is Performed
A comprehensive audit process can be done by performing a Black Diamond Audit, which focuses upon three key areas…
Advertising Audit – which consists of an overview of the strengths a seller should expand upon and the areas in need of improvement within their Amazon advertising.
Branding Audit – which consists of an overview of the performance of the seller’s branding strategy and the detection of any branding gaps.
Recommended Action Items – the auditor will share recommended action items to improve the seller’s PPC advertising and brand, while providing an outline of how the audit team can help the seller to achieve these goals.
The audit process consists of an initial call, the actual behind-the-scenes audit, and then the follow up call during which audit results are presented.
Prepping for the Audit
Step 1: The questionnaire – A seller signs on to have an audit done by filling out a brief questionnaire to communicate to the auditor the seller’s most urgent challenges related to their current PPC campaigns and branding, and their overall goals. It is the first step in helping the seller to achieve their desired business outcomes.
Step 2: Client Initial Call – Prior to call one, the audit team member will review the questionnaire and any notes left by the seller. On the call, the seller will be asked to elaborate on their notes and to discuss existing concerns and pain points.
Seller Central view-access for advertising and Brand Analytics will be asked for during the call, as well as a link to the brand’s storefront. Before ending the call, scheduling for call two will be confirmed.
The Advertising audit section will evaluate:
Budgeting and Campaign Aging to determine if the seller has allocated the appropriate budgets for their PPC campaigns and to look at if campaigns are being allowed to age properly or if they are being shut down too quickly.
Ad Types and Placements to determine if all ad types are accounted for (Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Brand Video, Sponsored Display) and applied correctly, and which Targeting strategies are in use (Product, Audience, Contextual), and their effectiveness.
Match Types and Targeting to determine if all Match types (Broad for research, Phrase for scraping, Exact for TOS and launches) are being deployed throughout the seller’s campaigns, and the effectiveness of their Product Targeting and Category Targeting.
Performance Issues and Strategy Notes – When the three sections of the advertising audit are complete, the auditor will discuss general performance notes and advertising strategy (strengths/weaknesses).
For example, discussion topics may include:
- Targets with high clicks and no sales.
- Search Terms with high clicks and no sales.
- Applying campaign types for specific strategic purposes
- Targets without Impressions.
Branding choices directly impact shopper behavior, and therefore both advertising and organic metrics. Improving Storefronts and Product Detail Pages can reduce ACoS, improve Conversion Rate and CTR%, and drive positive ROAS (return on ad spend).
A seller's branding sends a message about how they want their brand to be perceived. It attracts specific customer avatars, instills confidence, and provides valuable information that moves customers along the Customer Buying Cycle.
The Branding Audit will evaluate:
Storefront and Subpages – (e.g., are banner image on-brand and contain the brand name)
Product Detail Pages – (e.g. check to see if the product detail page has an easily digestible but keyword rich title)
Mobile – (e.g. does the A+ content on listings looks good on mobile or is there too much text)
General Branding – (e.g. review the language and imagery to ascertain if it speaks to the customer avatar)
A SWOT Analysis will be used to discover the internal strengths and weaknesses of a seller's Amazon business. It will also uncover opportunities (favorable situations which can bring a competitive advantage) and threats (unfavorable situations which can negatively affect a seller's business).
The primary goal of a SWOT Analysis is to increase awareness of the factors that go into establishing results-driven strategies for the seller's business.
Sharing the Findings of the Black Diamond Audit
The focus of the second scheduled call is to discuss the audit findings. The seller will learn what they're doing right, what could be improved upon, and the exact steps to be taken to improve their results. The auditor will present recommendations, which may or may not include paid services.*
*If the auditor has a service that they feel might meet a specific need of the seller, based on the results of the audit, the auditor will discuss the service with the seller during the second call in a zero-pressure conversation. At no point would the seller ever be required to buy anything to get their results. The service would be helpful and directly beneficial to the seller in fixing their weaknesses and expanding upon their strengths.
Who is a good fit for a Black Diamond Audit?
Brand registered Amazon sellers with active products and active advertising are likely to get the most value out of this audit.
Begin your journey to a more profitable Amazon brand.