Amazon Is Looking More Like A Social Media Platform. Here's How Brands Can Benefit. – Forbes

September 23, 2022

If you’ve visited Amazon AMZN .com or its app lately, you may have noticed how much real estate is now dedicated to video content, lifestyle content, and influencer content.
It was recently reported that Amazon has even been testing its own version of TikTok among employees. Amazon is starting to look more like a social media app than ever before, in a bid to keep pace with apps like TikTok in a battle for our eyeballs and wallets.
The wallet-share battle is something that’s easy to understand. Amazon is, after all, on track to become the world largest retailer. But the battle for eyeballs is arguably more important for Amazon. More eyeballs means more first-party data: an understanding of what we have been researching, buying, and pining for. Brands selling on Amazon, as well as non-endemic brands like car manufacturers and insurance companies, can leverage this audience targeting data to get in front of their ideal customer rather than wasting budgets on mass-media campaigns with a lot of wastage.
In this way, Amazon’s foray into making a more immersive, social media-like shopping experience is beneficial to brand advertisers. Here’s how Amazon is adapting their interface, and the ways that brands can take advantage of these changes to engage their own shoppers.
Amazon has been buying advertising on social media apps like Pinterest and Instagram, driving … [+] traffic to influencer storefronts on Amazon.
For the past couple of months, I have noticed huge media buys from Amazon on Pinterest and Instagram, using influencer video content to drive me to the said influencer’s Amazon storefront page, where I can shop a curated selection that the influencer has compiled.
These influencers are often part of the Amazon Associates program – earning commissions on products that they successfully sell.
On the Amazon app, shoppers are being served hobby- and interest-based items and content. Recently I was served “outdoor enthusiast” content on the Amazon app, and prompted to add my other interests from a selection of ~20 interest areas like camping, baking, Marvel characters, and more. This will allow Amazon (and brand advertisers) to further refine products and content that are shown to me.
On the home page of the Amazon app, interest-based content is now shown to shoppers.
On the “outdoor enthusiasts” interest page, I saw products from Wilson, Columbia, and Streamlight. Some were promoted placements, but others appeared to be organic placements secured by simply being a popular product among this cohort.
Developing and curating content around hobbies and interests could be a boon for Amazon’s “discovery” ambitions. If outdoor enthusiasts spend more time checking out gear on Amazon than on Instagram, that not only boosts Amazon’s chance of a sale, but their ability to secure more advertising dollars from outdoor gear brands.
I was surprised to not see any interests around beauty and fashion – significant categories that Amazon is trying to gain a foothold in, and in the case of beauty in particular, high repeat orders.
The featured Amazon Live video on the Amazon app shows a viewership of just 146 shopper on August … [+] 29, 2022, although video replays can be viewed at a later time.
Amazon launched live video on the platform a couple of years ago. But results for brands have been mixed. When cruising Amazon’s live video page, its not uncommon to see the “top-watched videos” have only a couple hundred live viewers at a time. That might cause many brands to pass on the opportunity. But brands who invest in livestream placements with celebrities or beloved influencers can see great results. One influencer I spoke with said some items they have promoted in their videos have sold hundreds of units within minutes.
But brands who run their own livestream videos often see underwhelming results. Videos need an element of star-power, or a high follower count – and preferably both. Most brands lack either of these, so live videos fall flat. While it comes at a cost, leveraging an influencer’s own platform solves this problem.

Shoppers have the ability to “follow” brands on Amazon. Until recently, it’s been unclear as to the benefit either to the shopper or the brand to take this action. But now the use case is emerging.
New product alert sent to a Camelbak brand follower on Amazon via the retailer’s “Manage your … [+] customer engagement” program.
Once a shopper “follows” a brand, they start seeing content from that brand while browsing or on the app. That content can be Posts that a brand creates, deals on products, and live videos. There is also a fledgeling capability to email brand followers new deals and product announcements – a possibility most brands could only dream of until recently. That program, with the awkward name of “Manage your customer engagement,” is still a little buggy and under-optimized. And the emails sent to the customer (pictured) aren’t customizable or particularly engaging. But new features are actively being rolled out, and the potential of this program has created a big incentive for brands to build their follower-base.

While Amazon is rolling out these changes to cover more of the purchase journey, particularly the upper-funnel “discovery” segment. And this creates huge opportunity for brands who don’t just view Amazon as a distribution channel, but as a marketing channel.
Vita Coco’s store on Amazon includes a message encouraging shoppers to “follow” the store.

Amazon is not a company to stand still. To stay relevant with both consumers and advertisers requires constant evolution. Monitoring these changes and testing out ways to engage with them is one way that brands can continue to evolve themselves.


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