Look out Digital – Amazon’s coming…

‘Highly annoying, misleading or harmful’. That’s how Google referred to digital adverts while announcing their move to punish over 1,000 online publishers who contribute to the bulging mass of product ads and pop-ups. It’s difficult to disagree with their assessment, but with the all-powerful Amazon planning to expand even further into the world of digital advertising, could we all be in for a change?

The wrong place at the wrong time

Online adverts for new products can be pesky at the best of times, but part of the problem isn’t what they’re selling – it’s where, and when they’re selling it. Google and Facebook have an increasingly tight, vice-like grip on digital advertising, having captured 64% of all the growth in global ad spend between 2012 and last year. But are these platforms the best place for a pop-up to rear its head?

The world’s big brands seem to disagree over the answer to that question. P&G recently announced they’d be cutting their ad spend by over £100 million – but in the same week Mattel announced plans to increase their budget by over 40% from last year. It’s difficult to determine the effectiveness of digital advertising, which is done predominantly on Google and Facebook, when the companies who populate the internet with it seem to be at odds over whether it’s worth it. But when you go by personal experience it’s hard to argue that it is.

When was the last time you clicked on a pop-up, or didn’t click on the ‘skip’ button after the five second timer was up on a video? It was probably a while back, as they don’t typically appear at the most opportune moment. True, online adverts have come a long way since the early 2000’s when you’d see one, then another, and another and before long your screen was frozen amid an avalanche of holiday offers. But despite the sleeker, less intrusive design we see now, we’re still not interested.

Closer to the spout of the sales funnel

This is because Google and Facebook users generally aren’t at the right part of the sales funnel when they see a pop-up advert. In fact most of the time, they’re nowhere near it, as people who use Google tend to be, well, googling things, and people on Facebook are often busy spying on their friends. Maybe that’s over-simplifying things, but nonetheless these platforms aren’t efficiently positioned to make the most out of an advert for a product.

Amazon, on the other hand, are conveniently positioned right at the spout of the funnel – an environment much more conducive to buying. In fact, they’ve overtaken Google as the US’ favourite shopping search engine, with twice as many product searches. And for digital advertising, this represents a golden opportunity. For customers, it’s the difference between seeing an advert for a new shampoo while they’re googling how to play Pokemon go, or facebooking their latest eating habits, compared to seeing an ad for a comfy mattress whilst shopping for a bed frame on Amazon.

Understanding the customer

There’s a vital lesson to be learned here. The consumer shopping on Amazon will feel like the brand whose advert they see understands them because they’ll be noticing it in the right environment. It’s a concept we at JPC know to be an effective one: inhabiting your customer’s perspective and planning your marketing from there is just as relevant in B2B as it is in B2C. While they’re often vastly different, success in both realms is tied to how well you can market to a human being. Advertising a new product isn’t the same as presenting a value proposition, but you’ll fail in both endeavours if you don’t convince the audience you understand their world.

If you’d like to see how we can help you adopt a more customer-centric approach, we’re always happy to share our case studies. Just drop us an email.

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