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Driving Amazon Product Ranking: Math & Tactics

This week, we’re bringing in one of our expert team members to give us the nitty gritty details of what drives Amazon product ranking. It may be one of the biggest mysteries in ecommerce, and no wonder: good product ranking is the difference between success and failure when it comes to selling on Amazon.


While there are many unknowns to Amazon product ranking, there is also a lot we DO know and that should shape the way we market our product. That’s where Drew Kramer, Vice President of Business Analytics and Insights, comes in. He’s our go to guy when it comes to numbers and what those numbers can teach us. So, without further ado, let’s let Drew take it from here…

 

Consumers love Amazon because it offers a single place to research, purchase, and review a vast number of products. Amazon works hard to provide a seamless experience where potential customers are shown products that are the most relevant to them. Their algorithm uses click-through rate, conversions, and reviews along with other performance metrics as a proxy into understanding user behaviour. For example, if someone searches for “headphones”, there’s a higher likelihood that person will purchase headphones with two thousand 5 star reviews and average orders of 500 units per day than a set with three 2 star reviews and 10 total orders. A good customer experience is good for Amazon’s top line revenue.

 

Right now, there are over 560 million products listed on Amazon. If you want to stand out, listings should be set up with some best practices in mind. Titles, bullet points, descriptions, photography, enhanced brand content etc should all be optimized to ensure the highest likelihood of conversion when a potential customer is researching a listing. Those best practices will still only get you so far.

 

Investing your marketing budget through various off-Amazon advertising solutions (AdWords, Facebook, Programmatic ads etc) have further down the funnel impacts than just those initial sales. The more views, clicks, and conversions that are driven to a listing the greater the impacts within Amazon’s ranking algorithm. You’ll see higher category rankings, increased search term rankings, and eventually higher overall sales.

 

Remember though, if you don’t track tactics, you won’t know what works. Setting a baseline of daily sales and tracking your in-category ranking is a great way to measure the outcome your upper funnel advertising spend is having.

 

The downstream effects on Amazon’s weighting of relevancy and performance extend beyond organic search rankings. Over 70% of users don’t scroll past the first page of a search result.

 

Sponsored products and headline search ads are 2 of Amazon’s most popular self-service options to overcome the hurdle of listings that aren’t organically ranked on the first page. Unfortunately, this can present its own set of challenges. Sellers and vendors alike often find themselves setting up campaigns with an extensive list of keywords that have bids well above what Amazon recommends, only to end up without a single won ad impression. You’ll quickly exhaust your listing enhancement options to index and advertise for certain keywords.

 

This is where driving sales tied to specific search terms can make all the difference. Creating a custom 2 step storefront url is a great way to drive sales for a keyword that you have reason to believe will convert well. You can drive off-Amazon advertising campaigns to that custom url in order to satisfy the requirements needed for Amazon’s ad algorithm to deem your product relevant enough to start winning advertising impressions for specific keywords.

 

Promo codes are another great way to accomplish similar goals to off-Amazon advertising spend if you have an existing social media presence. Recently Whitebox ran a promo code that was listed on a clients Facebook page that had 21k likes. Orders increased 20 times previous average sales the day the promo was launched. 89% of the initial sales were driven from the promo code. This increased our Amazon category rank from ~100k to ~8k. Most importantly the promo code had longer term effects weeks after the initial promo code surge: it increased organic search and advertising sales 210%. Check out the chart below to see just how much it changed sales.

 

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Moving on Up

 

All in all, there are many ways you can break into Amazon’s sales ranking. While Amazon may have a walled garden approach with their product offerings, you shouldn’t do the same when evaluating your marketing strategy.