If you retail on Amazon, you should be excited about the Amazon Attribution Program. The best business decisions are backed by data, and the Attribution Program allows marketers, for the first time, to reliably attribute nearly all off-Amazon digital marketing efforts’ impact on Amazon engagement and sales.
For the first time, you can measure the impact of search, social, display, email, and video media channels based on how consumers discover, research, and buy your products on Amazon.
The Attribution Program has many similarities to UTM codes in Google Analytics. The platform allows advertisers to create unique tags that are then added to an Amazon URL, most likely the URL of an Amazon listing or brand store. The tag can be created to represent any depth of granularity, from the campaign it’s a part of, the channel it’s deployed on, or even a specific keyword. By doing so, advertisers can discern which campaigns, channels, ads, and keywords are making the biggest impact on their Amazon business.
The Amazon Attribution Program was news to many this year, but it actually dates back to 2017, when Amazon invited a few, select brands to test the earliest iteration of the program. Amazon opened the doors to its beta in 2019. Currently, the beta is free and open to vendors and sellers in the US, with limited access in the UK. Brands must be enrolled in Brand Registry to utilize the Amazon beta program.
Why Amazon Attribution Matters
In short, it’s a huge win for data-driven decision making, especially for social media, influencer, and video marketing as they become bigger players in brands’ digital marketing strategies. Instead of identifying correlations between Amazon sales and off-Amazon marketing, marketers can now prove causation, empowering business owners to make more informed decisions about how they invest their marketing dollars.
Prior to the program, there were few ways to attribute Amazon sales and engagement to marketing on social media, emails, display ads, and video ads, and each of the existing methods had limitations. With Amazon accounting for more than a third of online sales in the US, the lack of a reliable attribution model poised a significant hurdle to making informed marketing decisions.
How It Works
The Attribution Program uses a 14-day window, last-touch, cross-device attribution model. Breaking that down, any engagement by a user within the 14 days preceding their purchase will be tracked. If they engage with multiple advertisements, only the last advertisement they viewed or clicked prior to purchase will receive the attribution. Finally, the Attribution Program can track the same user across multiple devices, so if they engage on their smart phone, then two days later make a purchase from their desktop, Amazon can still track the attribution.
The Attribution Program is a self-service platform. It’s structured using four hierarchal layers: Advertisers, Orders, Line Items, and Tags.
- Advertisers are the organization running the ads. This can be the seller or an Amazon agency running marketing on their behalf.
- Advertisers create Orders. Orders can be thought of as a brand or a product line. Reports are pulled at the Order-level.
- Line Items can be created using any Amazon URL. We suggest creating Line Items for specific listings and Brand Stores, as these are the locations advertisers are going to direct consumers to most often. By default, Line Items include the publishing destination, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Google.
- Tags are the unique text created by the Attribution Program that are added to the provided URL. Similar to UTM codes in Google Analytics, the unique URL+tag can be used when embedding links in off-Amazon marketing efforts, enabling attribution.
How to Utilize the Attribution Program
Step one is start collecting data. That means immediately creating tags through the Attribution Program for all off-Amazon marketing that you can use to drive traffic to Amazon. The Attribution Program provides data, but it’s still up to advertisers to determine how to use that data.
As information comes in, advertisers can refine their strategies, directing budget and time to increasing advertising effectiveness. Consider what factors are causing an ad to perform well or poorly. Are there any commonalities? Is it based on the copy, graphics, or temporal factors such as seasonality or trends? Do certain channels perform better than others?
Data gleaned from the Attribution Program can be used to improve other efforts as well. For example, if you learn that your most engaged customers are most active on Facebook, you can direct more of your attention there for non-Amazon focuses.
By allowing data to guide your efforts, you can increase your return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), use time more effectively, increase traffic, and grow sales.