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Amazon Attribution: Benefits, Risks, Requirements

With the release of Amazon Attribution Beta in 2018, sellers on Amazon that have been approved for the beta now have a way to measure impact from their digital marketing channels on the sales of their products on Amazon.

 

The beta is still in its early stages but what Amazon has developed is an impression pixel tracker for display sources and a click redirect for click-based sources such as search marketing.  With these implemented within the associated ad platforms, Amazon Attribution is able to measure impressions and clicks across media purchased outside of Amazon and attribute Amazon purchases to those various media channels and campaigns.

 

Amazon is not expecting media traffic to be driven to Amazon.com but rather to the e-commerce websites. However, should advertisers find it more profitable to drive traffic to Amazon.com, it’s unlikely they would have any issues with it and would welcome it.

 

For many advertisers and brands, their top digital sales channels have been their website and Amazon.com, with Amazon often driving more sales than the website.  Up until this point, any digital advertising spent outside of Amazon would only have its impact measured by website sales. However, with Amazon garnering an ever-growing portion of online sales, coupled with an increasing user behavior shift to shop on brand sites and purchase on Amazon.com, brands may not be full measuring the impact of their advertising spend, and may be dramatically under-reporting attributed sales.

Benefits of Amazon Attribution to the Advertiser

  • View a more complete picture of the impact and performance of your digital media sources, channels, and campaigns
  • Apply additional sales to attributed media channels which may drive increased investment to further drive sales
  • Understand how much of your growth on Amazon is coming from digital media spend outside of Amazon
  • Understand your media traffic based on Amazon audience segments and how each aid in driving sales actions on Amazon

Benefits to Amazon

Attribution systems are often built to show the value of their host platforms.  Amazon is no different. What Amazon is likely trying to demonstrate with their Attribution Beta is how much more efficient they are at driving sales as well as helping advertisers drive more media (on and off Amazon) that will impact sales on Amazon.  Eventually, they may even make the point that with their conversion rates, volume, and infrastructure (free 2-day shipping, 1-click checkout, solid mobile app, etc.) it may be hard to justify driving traffic anywhere else.

Possible Risks to Brands/Advertisers

Ignoring any terms and conditions or data policies set forth by Amazon Attribution, by using Amazon server redirects and tracking templates, it is possible that Amazon may have visibility into which advertising channels are being used and what audiences are being targeted by the advertiser.  This can then be tied to sales on Amazon and theoretically allow Amazon to go after the same channels. In the case of Google, with Amazon already being the largest advertiser on Google Ads1, it is extremely unlikely that this information would yield anything useful or would be in addition to what they already know or have tested themselves.  The redirects would also not be able to capture any specific campaign data unless it is purposely passed through with readable tracking parameters (legible UTM or Adobe parameters, for example) or if tracking links in Amazon Attribution are created at a very granular level.

 

It is possible for Amazon to also create a retargeting pool or audience segment based off of converting and non-converting users, but this is something they can already do and are currently doing with all users of their site.  However, the addition of users that never reached their site may be a new segment for them to target.

What does the fine print say?

Amazon Attribution Beta Agreement – Last Updated: August 24, 2018

Collection and Use of Data. Amazon will collect data related to the performance of the Campaigns through the Technical Means (the “Tag Data”) necessary to provide the Beta Service. Amazon will only use and disclose the Tag Data: (i) to provide the Beta Service; and (ii) for reporting, internal diagnostics, maintenance, and improvement of Amazon’s systems used to provide the Beta Service. In creating Reports and providing the Beta Service, Amazon will use additional data it has collected, including data collected from Amazon’s online properties (all such data, “Amazon Data”). Company acknowledges and agrees that Amazon Data is the sole and exclusive property of Amazon. Nothing in this Agreement: (a) restricts or limits in any way Amazon’s rights in, or collection, use, disclosure or ownership of Amazon Data; and (b) grants Company the right to access, use or disclose Tag Data or Amazon Data except through the Reports.

 

Amazon does state they will only use the advertiser tag data for the purposes of the attribution reports.  They may then use “Amazon Data” or data collected from Amazon’s online properties with the tag data to create additional reports.  With Amazon Data, however, there would be no restrictions on how they may use that data.

 

Overall, we do not see any major risks to brands or advertisers with the use of Amazon Attribution.  We do feel the potential gain greatly outweighs any potential risks – and advertisers may even be surprised by the amount of sales that is driven on Amazon by their off-Amazon campaigns.  It may also make sense to start with one channel first such as Paid Search to gain experience, familiarity, and trust, before rolling out to additional channels.

Implementation Requirements

For display and video advertising:

Impression tracking is done by adding their 1×1 image impression pixel to impression events on the ad or creative. Click tracking is done by replacing an ad’s original destination URL with a click redirect URL. Amazon provides a tool to automatically sync with DCM.

 

For search advertising:

A tracking template URL will be generated to redirect traffic. With the use of the {lpurl} function, the final URL can be automatically passed through, so there does not need to be a specific tracking template for every landing page.  There may be some additional complexities if another tracking template is already in place.

 

Pixel planning and coordination will be required for accurate attribution back to the source/campaign/strategy/etc as well as granularity of attribution.

Sample Report

Some additional things to point out:

  • Amazon Attribution only reports on non-Amazon Advertising media and is disconnected from all other Amazon reports and portals.
  • Sales reporting within Amazon Attribution will show total sales regardless if it is a Third Party or Vendor that made the sale.
  • Amazon Attribution Beta is still in its early stages and users may experience frequent “glitches” with the user interface.

1https://adage.com/article/digital/amazon-tops-list-google-s-25-biggest-search-advertisers/294922/

With Direct Agents, our clients find success by tapping into our data-driven omni-channel methodology, focused on paid and earned media, both inbound to Amazon and outbound to their own sites. If you’d like to learn more about our Amazon Solution or have any questions, please reach out to hello@directagents.com