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The ultimate marketplace advertising guide

advertising on analyticsLast year more than 60% of all searches worldwide for products by consumers started on Amazon (1). Marketplaces are growing in popularity, and so is the demand from sellers to advertise on them. If your business is not pushing its products on marketplaces, it is missing a big chunk of potential customers. Moreover, this recent shift from product searches on search engines (like Google) to marketplaces means that the competition for most products and ads is not that fierce yet, resulting in lower bids and cheaper ads compared to Google or Facebook. Although this will likely change, your e-commerce business continuity is dependent on selling and advertising on marketplaces.


Types of ads

Most marketplaces offer four types of advertising/promotional options. However, the possibilities for advertising can differ from marketplace to marketplace. The four main methods are:

1. Sponsored search (or sponsored products)

With sponsored search, you can promote the visibility of your desired product listing within marketplace search results. These are essential to the buyer’s journey as they appear on almost every page. These ads are known for having a high conversion rate and work based on keyword bidding. Sponsored product ads are considered a mid to low-funnel strategy.

2. Sponsored display

Display ads are different from other ads because they are not keyword-based. Display ads are based primarily on customer behavior. Aspects like what product(s) the customer bought, what product(s) they previously viewed, and what product(s) the customer searched all determine what ads a display shows. Sponsored Display ads are considered a mid to low-funnel strategy.

3. Sponsored brand

Sponsored brands highlight your brand (and with some marketplaces, a few products). This type of ad is keyword-based and is effective in driving brand awareness. Sponsored Brand ads are considered a mid to high-funnel strategy.

4. Promotional offers

Create promotions to entice customers to buy your products and make the marketplace algorithm favor your placement above others. On Amazon, for example, you can create Lightning Deals. These are promotions that Amazon will promote for you; this often creates a significant lift in sales if you use this tool the right way. It is an expensive method, but it can generate a halo effect, lifting your rank (and sales) for your items for days, weeks, or even months to come.

Note: dependent on what method you choose, you can use an automatic or manual bidding strategy. In the next paragraph, we will discuss the difference and how to use them.

Automatic vs. manual campaigns

Successful sellers use both auto and manual strategies to get the most out of their campaigns. The split between automatic and manual in your campaigns depends on your business targets (scalability or efficiency), expertise, and available time.

automatic campaigns manual campaigns
Easy to use for PPC beginners
Very effective when managed by an expert with enough time
Takes less time
Allows you to maximize your sales volume to your Target ACoS
Gathers and stores data for future campaigns (on most marketplaces) Target more precisely
Best way to experiment
Easy to reduce bids or pause low performing keywords
Gives long-tail insights Test single keyword ideas easily

A good strategy is to make manual and automatic campaigns work together. To achieve this, you create an automated campaign, wait for the data, and analyze which keywords are most profitable. You then build a manual campaign with increased bids for these keywords. This way you use automated campaigns as a research tool and manual campaigns for their customizability and flexibility.

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General tips for advertising on marketplaces

Stated below are a list of tips and tricks you can leverage to beat the competition and make marketplaces a revenue generator.

Marketing calendar

Use a marketing calendar to create and time custom ads for events and holidays. This will likely increase your profitability. Here are a few marketing calendars based on the geographical location of your market:

Willingness to test determines success

With paid online marketing, you must continuously test your ads and promotions. Competition, customer behavior, and marketplace algorithms change all the time. You will fall behind the curve if you are not switching out creative, titles, bids, descriptions, and more.

Analyzing data

To become successful at advertising or selling on marketplaces, you need to be competent at data analytics and leverage powerful tools to generate insights. Robust data analytics tools will allow you to get insights into the competition, the market, your products, and advertisements. Read all about data analytics in our ultimate marketplace analytics guide.

Optimizing your marketplace sales

There are many aspects you can optimize when selling on marketplaces. Read all about it in our article about optimizing your marketplace sales.

Every marketplace is different

Every marketplace uses a different interface. Uploading products, building and managing ad campaigns, and data analytics can be challenging, especially for small to mid-sized companies. e-tailize offers the same user interface for all our connected marketplaces. This interface makes it easy to build and upload campaigns and push them to all marketplaces. Besides uploading ads and products to your marketplaces centrally, e-tailize offers data analytics that uses AI and Machine Learning to create unique insights for you to leverage. 

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