Is Amazon Trying To Be the Next Social Network for Brands?

If you have spent time on Amazon lately, chances are you have seen one of the programs designed to help brands engage more with Amazon shoppers and create a more holistic marketing approach on the shopping site.

What are these programs? How can brands utilize them? And finally, is Amazon trying to be more social? We will take a look at each of these questions in detail throughout this post.

What Branding Programs Are Available on Amazon?

In recent years, Amazon has listened to major brands selling on its platform and as a result has created more opportunities for brands to customize their content, engage with shoppers, and develop more engaging features on Amazon.

Some of these programs include:

Amazon Live

Shopping while an influencer, brand advocate, or other salesperson shares the features and benefits of a product or service via a live video stream is not a new or innovative media, but it is a new form on Amazon. The branding program, Amazon Live, launched several years ago, but it’s still an open playground for brands to experiment with, engage shopper interest, and test different messaging themes. 

It’s my opinion that while Amazon Live has been out for several years, brands have been slow to adopt it, and Amazon shoppers have been fickle in their participation with the program, leaving it ripe for marketers to experiment with. I don’t believe that any one brand (including Amazon) has nailed down a formula for success on the platform. So, why would brands want to utilize Amazon Live? 

  1. Video – There is very little real estate for video content on Amazon currently. Brands can add video content to product detail pages and their brand storefront as well as run Sponsored Brand Video ads, but that’s about it. The rest of the content on Amazon is static, image or text-based content, leaving the option for Amazon Live Video appealing. We have seen that video content in marketing is a preferred method for shoppers to learn about a product, so Amazon Live is another channel to fill that demand for product content in the limited video space on Amazon.
  2. Influencer Marketing – Amazon has been developing different opportunities for influencer marketing over the years as the demand for content has grown. First, it was the Amazon Affiliates program and then Amazon Vine. Now, influencers can go live with Amazon Live to talk about a product they are promoting and create content within the Amazon channel, rather than having to host a website or other social media platform.
  3. Connect With Shoppers in Real-time – Amazon Live has a chat feature where the shopper audience can engage with the video content in real-time. This is similar to all the other live platforms but gives the brand or the influencer direct access to answer questions, demonstrate features, and engage with shoppers at the moment of purchase.
Amazon Posts

Amazon Posts is available to brand owners to share lifestyle images with shoppers on Amazon. As shoppers browse through product pages, brand content can be shown on the bottom of product detail pages of products listed within the brand’s category. Posts only appear on the Amazon shopping app or on the mobile browser. They do not appear on desktop.

Posts will appear below the fold in the section titled Related Posts on product detail pages of products listed within the same product category. Currently, there is no way to refine this targeting or what categories or brands Posts show on. Once you are using the Posts program, there will also be a Posts subpage that is added to the end of your Brand Storefront. This is your Posts feed, and shoppers can view all your content in one place. Posts are free to use and serve as a great way to show products in a real use case scenario that shoppers resonate with. Shoppers have become accustomed to seeing products from multiple angles, in different use scenarios, and with every feature highlighted, thanks to social media marketing. This is Amazon’s addition to meet that desire for brands to share more original content and grow their following on Amazon.

Posts are evergreen, meaning they are live on Amazon until the brand decides to remove them. If you incorporate this in your Amazon marketing, be sure to keep a schedule for timely posts and when you want to pull posts down or make sure your content is relevant all year round.

Customer Engagement Program

This is a new beta that Amazon has rolled out to Brands as their following on Amazon grows. In Seller Central or Vendor Central, this program is gradually being added as it moves through beta. Some of our brands have it, and some do not. The Amazon Customer Engagement Program is in the early stages, so keep an eye out for it to be added. But from what we can tell so far, you do need to be using the Amazon Posts program and have brand followers in order to qualify.

From Amazon’s Customer Engagement Program, a brand can create templated emails that are delivered to shoppers who have opted in to follow your brand on Posts or from your Storefront. Ideally, you want to have 800-1,000 followers on Amazon to get the most out of this program. Emails will be sent out on your behalf to your brand followers over a one-week period. You then can see the open rate, the number of emails delivered, and the sales generated from the email campaign.

There is very little opportunity right now for customization. When creating a campaign, you select a product from your catalog that you want to be featured in your email along with one supporting image. You can then add up to four supporting products to feature along with this primary product. Then, you select from one of six pre-written subject lines and one of six pre-written headers. Finally, add your brand logo. The only control you have over messaging is what is in your images. Brands cannot write any custom email copy at this time. Just as with any other Amazon communication, brands do not have access to the shopper emails or the purchase history of their brand followers.

Here is a sample of what an email sent through this Customer Engagement Program would look like you your shoppers:

With these tools, Amazon is creating more opportunities for brands to engage with the shoppers on Amazon. However, there is still a lack of data which is a common constraint behind what Amazon is offering compared to other social media platforms. 

As shoppers adopt these programs and Amazon sees increased purchases through these avenues, we may get more features, more data points, and overall more access to the Amazon shopper. However, time will have to tell. Amazon is notoriously secretive when it comes to shopper programs such as these. But if the revenue is there, brands may have to engage with more curated and sociable content on Amazon, similar to how they engage on other platforms. 

For ideas on what trends our Social Media Team at JumpFly are seeing, check out this blog post by Marisa Giacalone. These trends we have seen translate well on Amazon too!

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