Amazon’s dominance among online retailers likens itself to Apple when it comes to consumer hardware. They support over 270 million active customers, with an expected 60-80 million involved in their premium service, Amazon Prime. To give you a comparison, Ebay currently has 157 million active buyers.
But Amazon’s presence in the e-commerce market isn’t by chance. Why? To put it simply, innovation. Not a buzz word, rather the definition of the term. Amazon has pushed the envelope to create new methods in every factor of their business.
From a marketing perspective, I’ll always feel that their greatest innovation to-date is how efficiently their retargeting can carry a prospect through a complete sales cycle; or how their use of customer data makes for better communication and user experience.
Though it’s hard to argue that their roll out of the one-hour delivery turn around and drone-powered service hasn’t vastly raised the bar of the product delivery industry.
As Amazon continues to innovate, their latest move to bring content to the forefront of e-commerce will give consumers a new perspective when it comes to online shopping. But more importantly it undoubtedly validates the presence of content marketing in 2016.
Native Advertising Retargeting
Amazon’s content platform quietly rolled out in Q2 of this year and it appears that Amazon is starting to develop this model into an inbound tactic rather than just for informative purposes.
The program includes a panel of experts who write about recommended products within their niche. Amazon is said to be in search of how to best integrate these list-style articles into the shopping experience. Writers include both notable individuals and brands — Bob Vila, home style blogger Laura Trevey, Amazon shop Canopy, interior design resource Remodelista, just to name a few.
Curated content obviously poses a value to online shoppers who are looking to get more information or a new perspective from an expert who understands that market. But is it more advantageous for Amazon? They’ve made their buck on retargeting and now it looks as if they are traveling into uncharted waters with native ad retargeting.
Learning what you like by way of what you read.
Native content has been touched upon by other brands, successfully with Thrillist and Conde Naste, but not as successful with others. Though Amazon’s expertise when it comes to data could bring a whole new aspect to the “native” trend.
Native ad retargeting has yet to be explored. Data from native content is usually used to understand the masses, not individuals, until now. Expert Articles from Amazon is bringing editorial to help sell products through a different experience. Retargeting consumers from their reading choices and routing them to said products could change the landscape of e-commerce.
Aligns Writers with a Brand
The usual progression of an online shopper tends to transition from a customer evaluating a product, then going to search for an expert’s input before purchase. Though Amazon’s introduction of content seems as if it could flip that transgression.
Expert Articles presents a way where content can in fact lead to the purchase of products. To me, this is a step beyond native ads because the ability to purchase is possible on the same platform.
Stephen Crowley, a designer at Amazon, says, “It was important for us to share the uniqueness Amazon brings with its products and information.”
At the same time, we can’t ignore the value proposition for the experts involved. They are positioning themselves in alignment with popular brands, in front of a global audience.
Currently, this content doesn’t appear on product pages, but rather associated with certain verticals on Amazon. Though the program is still in it’s early stages as far as author and content promotion. Amazon will prove to become an amazing platform to scale a writer’s audience because of their massive reach and association with recognizable brands at the point of purchase.
Marketing product through content is an approach that Amazon could revolutionize. To the consumer, they can seek a place of refuge in learning. Rather than being sold a product, they can easily review an experts opinion and possibly help them find products they didn’t know they were in search of. Associating content within the buyer’s experience also seems as if it could scale these experts towards a more global audience. But the biggest win may point in the direction of the marketing industry. Amazon’s use of big data has been immensely successful as far as digital advertising and that method could now transfer over to native ad retargeting.
In 2011, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos spoke in reference to his growing powerhouse, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.” The introduction of Expert Articles seems to be right in-line with that ideology and could drastically change the buying and product marketing experience.
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