Over the past years, we’ve observed the trend of brand discovery behaviors moving far beyond the traditional search engine box to direct commerce marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Tmall.com, Souq.com and Flipkart. According to Forrester, 31% of people used Amazon to research their most recent purchase (vs. 21% for search engines).

All brands, especially those in the Retail and CPG space, must plan and activate a marketplace strategy that aligns with the changing landscape of brand discovery. Four key trends for brands looking to discover exactly how to connect marketplaces to performance:

THINK OF SEARCH AS A BEHAVIOR, NOT A CHANNEL:

It’s imperative to stop thinking about search as a channel, and start thinking about search as a behavior that spans across all marketing mediums, including marketplaces. Marketers can create and convert demand wherever it’s expressed by interpreting consumer data, understanding consumer intent and connecting the journey, end to end.

TAKE A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO MARKETPLACES:

In planning, start with inputs like consumer intent data, platform data (e.g. Amazon metrics) and data from other channels like search, social and display. Then, create and align content across paid, owned and earned commerce opportunities. Brands should test and learn to not only continually refine keywords and content, but also inform marketplace strategies like new product development, packaging or SKU prioritization.

MOVE FROM PLAIN TEXT TO FULL SENSES:

Commerce marketplaces are leading the way in voice search. Amazon is expected to ship 10+ million voice assistance devices in 2017, and Google, Baidu, Alibaba and Facebook are nipping on Amazon’s heels. With a voice assistant in every home—directly connected to a commerce marketplace like Amazon—brands must structure their product listings and content for voice search visibility.  Search keyword and copy strategies, in particular, must reflect the conversational nature of voice search, as opposed to traditional text search.

EMPLOY MARKETPLACE INTELLIGENCE:

Many commerce marketplaces are in the early stages, especially when it comes to reporting. Brands should consider utilizing third-party applications that enable insights—such as granular reporting, performance pacing or budget forecasting—beyond what’s currently available via the platforms directly. 

Author: Michael Kahn, Performics Global CEO & Publicis Media Performance Practice Lead