There has been a great deal of attention recently on the legality of collecting and utilizing online consumer information. The UK Data Protection Act in 2018 requires, among other things, that consumers be notified of data collection and given the opportunity to opt out. While this law is applicable only in the EU, ecommerce companies that are based in the US and sell in the EU need to be aware of how these laws impact their business.
iOS 14 policies on Facebook Ads and Google’s announcement of its new policy to eliminate the use of third-party cookies from their Chrome browser have also garnered attention in recent months.
What Do These Laws Say?
Have you noticed while cruising the web the large and in-your-face pop-ups asking if you’d like to accept cookies for this site? Those are a direct result of the UK Data Protection Act.
Third-party cookies are packets of non-identifying information that is gathered as consumers browse the internet on connected devices. This information is then used to place targeted advertisements across that user’s entire online experience on that device. We will talk about what types of data is collected shortly, but let’s start with what is not collected.
As consumers’ concern about privacy grows, more governments and corporations are tightening their restrictions of what information can be collected and how it can be used. The most wide-sweeping government regulations to date were enacted in 2018 with the UK Data Protection Act. This act states that information must be:
- used fairly, lawfully, and transparently
- used for specified, explicit purposes
- used in a way that is adequate, relevant, and limited to only what is necessary
In addition, stronger legal implications are involved for information considered to be more sensitive, including:
- ethnic background
- political opinions
- religious beliefs
- trade union membership
- biometrics (where used for identification)
- sex life or orientation
While these specific laws only govern the UK (with similar laws enacted in California in 2020), online businesses easily cross international lines. As companies scale to international markets, these restrictions become quite applicable.
What Information Does Amazon Collect?
Amazon gathers a plethora of information about customers, including names, addresses, credit card information, logins, and passwords. Because of the aforementioned laws, this data is stored securely and is not used for advertising purposes. However, Amazon gathers a great deal of less specific information that helps advertisers better understand consumer searching behavior, making it ideal for optimizing advertising.
Some of the useful information collected includes:
- Content interaction on Amazon.com – this includes what is downloaded, streamed, and whether it was viewed/downloaded multiple times
- What device was used to access Amazon – smart phone, a desktop computer, an Alexa device, etc.
- Information about the connection itself – including the service provider, the quality of the connection, and even if the customer experienced errors
- Amazon purchase and content use history
- The full URL chain that leads a customer to, through, and from Amazon’s websites
This data cannot be used by either Amazon or businesses to see which sites or items specific shoppers interacted with. It simply categorizes actions so that users who have exhibited certain behaviors can be served your ad.
How Is This Information Used For SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a critical part of any business selling on Amazon. Optimizing your listings to give them the best chance of appearing on the search engine result page (SERP) is critical to making sure that customers who are looking for your product actually find it.
Amazon gathers the terms that people search. Knowing what customers are actively looking for versus what you think they might call your product is invaluable to the optimization of your product detail page. It’s important when optimizing your product to do more than tell customers what the product is and what it does. The next step is to figure out what questions your product answers. Knowing what customers are searching for is the first step.
Amazon has a report that shows you for what keywords your products are ranking highly. This report can be found in Seller Central by going to the Brands tab. From there, click Brand Analytics. Among other reports on the Consumer Behavior Dashboard, you will see Amazon Search Terms. This report is ideal for analyzing and improving existing products that have performed decently to identify which keywords have contributed to traffic.
For more detail reports and to research keywords for new products, SEO marketers turn to third–party tools such as SEMRush and JungleScout. SEMRush is one of many services that provides powerful tools fueled by information gathered from third-party cookies. Information in these tools is based on information searched for in search engines such as Google. There are 3 ways to access this information:
- Utilize the free account for basic analytic information
- Subscribe to one of their professional subscription plans
- Partner with an agency such as Kaspien who have access to tools such as this and much more!
Other tools are more specific to what customers are searching for on Amazon, namely JungleScout. Paid tools such as these allow you to discover how often keywords are searched within a month, find new related keywords that you might never have thought of, and many other insights. These tools can be used for a monthly subscription.
How Is This Information Used For Search Marketing?
The data collected by Amazon and third–party sources are crucial to maximizing your advertising dollars. On Amazon, the goal is to keep your Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS) as low as possible and your Return on Advertising Spend (RoAS) as high as possible. To do this, you need to be able to reach the right people at the right moment in the right place.
Let’s explore how consumer information helps improve ACoS and RoAS by examining the who, what, where, when and why.
To Whom to Advertise?
Traditional marketing, such as billboards and radio advertising, take a blanket approach. You’ll reach more people, but only a small portion of those reached are the “right” people. The collective pool of consumer information allows Amazon Advertising to serve ads to people who have shown interest in your product, similar products, or who have searched for similar keywords in the past.
What to Advertise?
As people search Amazon and the internet, there search queries reveal their interests. By utilizing this information, your ad for a new baby product can be served to people who have been showing interest in parenting, pregnancy, children, and other relevant topics. Your tricked–out survival gear can be shown to those who have searched for outdoor gear, camping, hiking, survival, and more.
Where to Advertise?
Thinking about where to advertise is a little different than placing your ad in a physical location. Advertisers have to consider which platform shoppers tend to use and tailor their ads to meet them in that space. Sponsored Brand Video Ads are great for shoppers on mobile devices, while Deals and Sponsored Product Ads tend to be more appealing on desktop.
When to Advertise?
There are several ways to time your ads in Amazon Advertising, but often ads are placed with a daily budget. Once that budget is depleted, your ads stop showing. That means there are many ads shown early in the day, but not reaching as many of the evening shoppers.
Kaspien has addressed this issue by adding a brand new feature to our Amazon campaign management software, AdManager, called Day Parting. This industry-leading features allows us to serve ads to customers when data has shown they are online to see them. The first six weeks since implementing this feature have shown an amazing 40% decrease to ACoS!
Data-driven advertising provides customers with a much stronger answer to the question “why should I click?” No one likes to be pestered with advertisements for products that they will never use. Thanks to consumer information, they are more likely to pay attention to the advertisements in the first place because they are used to being shown useful, tailored products. With more attention paid, directed ads translate to higher click-through and conversion rates, too!
Need Help Applying Consumer Data To Your Company?
We know that data can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be transformative to a business that knows how to harness it. On the other, it can be overwhelming for those who don’t know where to start in the analysis and implementation of the inferences derived from this data.
Kaspien’s digital marketing experts are industry leaders in SEO and Search Marketing and are ready to partner with your company to tackle any project, whether you have one campaign or are looking to optimize your entire portfolio of Amazon products. Subscribe to our weekly blog newsletter to ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest news and strategies.