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Amazon Marketing: How to work with other channels in a competitive Black Friday market

September 24, 2021

Selling on Amazon during the biggest shopping event of the year should be simple. When Black Friday rolls around, you’d think that taking advantage of the site’s branded promotions would be as easy as submitting products and watching your sales figures rise.

Although many retail brands have the potential to take advantage of Amazon’s own Lightning Deals ad service, the strict qualifications can exclude many other much-relied on sellers. For brands and sellers who don’t qualify, they’re left to make their own way in a highly competitive market.

How can brands qualify for Amazon’s Black Friday Lightning Deals?

Amazon consistently sees a growth in Black Friday sales of 60% year on year, with many of these sales coming from their Lightning Deals ad campaigns. These Lightning Deals are time-bound promotions that feature on Amazon’s deal page – a sure destination for Black Friday shoppers.

The list of qualifications for taking part in Amazon’s Black Friday Lightning Deals includes:

  • A high product rating – low rated products are unlikely to qualify;
  • Having over 80% of product variations included (where relevant);
  • Not being included within restricted categories (including, but not limited to, e-cigarettes, alcohol, adult products, medical devices and medicines and baby formula);
  • Being Prime eligible;
  • A new item.

Problem is, this list is non-exhaustive, as we have found in the past when trying to submit our own clients’ products for these promotions. There appear to be many hidden criteria behind the scenes of this list, which you can only stumble across after trial and error.

What happens if you can’t qualify?

Not qualifying for Amazon’s own Lightning Deals on Black Friday may be a knock for brands hoping to take advantage of the sales-boosting advertising services. However, Amazon do not own any copyright or ownership over Black Friday, either as an event or as phrasing to be used in product descriptions and creatives, even on their own site.

Having to take on Black Friday without Amazon’s help may be daunting and, admittedly, it does put brands on the back foot when it comes to competing with products that have been approved for the services. However, sellers can combat this with their own sponsored products or ad strategies, bidding on Black Friday keywords and optimising for key points throughout the event.

Last year, ClickThrough shared insight into how to prep your Amazon strategy for Christmas, with many of these principles applying to Black Friday too. In order to plan for success solely within Amazon, you’ll need to:

  • Be sure of your top selling products and be prepared with inventory;
  • Identify seasonality within your products and ad performance;
  • Update your storefront to highlight your deals;
  • Adjust your product listings for organic visibility and user experience.

But when your competitors will equally be looking to these tactics to up their sales, looking to join forces with other channels is the newest and easiest way to stand out.

Why combine Amazon with paid social or PPC?

Amazon’s in-platform ad products are powerful and enable sellers to create campaigns based directly on their past performance and product data stored within their platforms. Sellers might well see the option to advertise elsewhere as less important, effective, or simply harder to assess when it comes to looking at performance. In reality, using your Amazon listings or storefront as a landing page is incredibly beneficial.

1. Get commission for bringing in external traffic in the US

You might assume that Amazon would prefer you to keep your paid ad campaigns within their own platform, but in reality they’re keen for any methods that will bring in external traffic and, if you’re in the US, will even pay a commission for your trouble.

The reality is, once users are on Amazon, the platform can serve up sponsored posts, suggest similar items and email with offers after purchase. When you’re providing Amazon with this traffic, that initial loss in ad budget can be quickly negated with your traffics’ additional spend on the platform. And there’s no reason you can’t take the same advantage: ensure your product clearly signposts to similar, or frequently bought-with products within your own store to maximise your conversion value.

2. Use audiences to approach more granular targeting

Whereas Amazon limits you to keyword targeting (unless you use the DSP network), using a channel such as paid social media will enable you to target audiences that fit with your own target market. With paid social having its own set of benefits when it comes to Black Friday advertising, being able to take advantage of those to increase your Amazon conversions only strengthens your approach.

3. Serve users with a site they’re familiar with

After refining your targeting to ensure you’re directing the right people to your products and storefront, presenting them with a well written page that they’re already familiar with will improve the opportunity for conversion. When shopping for Black Friday, finding a product available on Amazon (a site where most buyers will already have an account and - in most cases - be logged in with their payment details completed) simplifies the whole process and inherently makes them trust that they’re in a safe place.

While you may think it’s a fair approach to cut out the middleman and direct users straight to your own website (if you have one), consider the position of a first-time customer for your brand. Being presented with a site they’ve used many times before, that has clear standards set for sellers, compared to a new (to them) company’s page, takes the initial guesswork or research needed for users to feel safe buying.

4. Unify your marketing strategy

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, joining forces with your other advertising channels gives you a unified approach to full stack advertising. At the busiest time of year, being able to address users at all stages in the conversion funnel is the only sure-fire way to nurture and guide them towards making that final purchase. While we, as marketers, all have our specialisms (and our own channels that we swear by), being able to recognise where we fit within our users’ story is essential.

Whether you qualify for Amazon’s Lightning Deals, are able to up your ad spend to cover bases within Amazon itself, or look elsewhere for driving traffic towards your brand, it’s essential you start optimising your listings now. To find out more about creating the perfect Amazon product page, you can download our free eBook to get you started.

By Lewis Jewsbury – Amazon specialist, ClickThrough Marketing

Lewis Jewsbury is ClickThrough Marketing’s Amazon specialist. He has been building brands through e-commerce strategy and marketing for seven years and, since joining ClickThrough, has worked across a range of sectors, solely focusing on Amazon performance.


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