The Amazon Brand Referral Bonus program gives Brand Registered Amazon sellers the opportunity to earn a bonus from off-Amazon marketing that drives traffic to Amazon. We asked Justin and Teresa Coats from Volitant Consulting to come explain the benefits of the program, how it works, and how it’s benefitting the brands they work with. We had a great session with a lot of fantastic questions.
Here’s What We Covered:
- What the Amazon Brand Referral Bonus is and how it works
- How driving traffic to Amazon from other channels and Amazon Attribution helps you grow your brand
- How brands are using their Brand Referral Bonus to benefit them in many ways, including doubling down on their ad spend
- Other programs that benefit brands on Amazon
- Check out Volitant Consulting
- Connect with Justin Coats on Linkedin
- Connect with Teresa Coats on Linkedin
- Contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact Teresa at email@example.com
- Check out Teikametrics
- Follow Teikametrics on Instagram and LinkedIn
- Register for AdMax to maximize your growth in 2022
Watch the Full Replay:
Read the Full Transcript:
Liz Downing: Hi, everybody. Welcome to a Tuesday webinar or … Yes, it’s a Tuesday Teika webinar. And I’m Liz Downing. I’m the Marketing Manager, Seller Partnerships & Events at Teikametrics. I’ve got my friends, Justin and Teresa Coats with me today. They run Volitant Consulting. It’s a great agency that’s based in Oregon. But I’m going to let them introduce themselves in just a second.
Liz Downing: First, a couple of housekeeping items. I want to thank everybody who made it today live because this is that weird week between holidays and not a lot of people are hanging out at their desks. So, thank you if you’re here live today. That’s awesome.
Liz Downing: This session is being recorded for people who couldn’t make it live. So, if that is one of your questions or you need to drop off, I hope you don’t because we’re hoping you ask questions during the presentation today. In order to do that, you go to the little questions section of GoToWebinar on the GoToWebinar panel and just type it in there, and I’ll moderate that as we’re getting through the content.
Liz Downing: We don’t want to just talk at you, we want this to be more of a conversation and we want you to feel included. So, that’s enough about me and how all this works. If this is your first rodeo, it isn’t mine. But Justin and Teresa, you guys can decide who goes first. But tell me a little bit about Volitant, a little bit about your journey into ecommerce before we get started into the meat of the story today.
Justin Coats: Teresa, why don’t you take it away?
Teresa Coats: Hey, guys, I’m Teresa Coats. I am the Brand Success Manager at Volitant Consulting. I typically integrate into brands that we are working with to help guide them into success on Amazon usually by finding ways to best utilize their branding and marketing in Amazon and lead them to the ways to actually advertise and succeed.
Liz Downing: Awesome. And Justin?
Justin Coats: Awesome. Hey, everybody. I’m Justin Coats. I’m the owner and founder of Volitant Consulting. I found myself internal at a company that hated Amazon. And we were crushing it. I took them from zero to 1.5 million in a year-and-a-half with a company that didn’t want to do advertising, they didn’t want to do anything Amazon-related. And I saw the success and the impact it could have on a small business.
Justin Coats: And so, that’s when I branched out and did Volitant Consulting. We’re just over three years old. I’ve been in the space for over six years. And the whole impact of what we want to do is we want to help brands succeed. So, Teresa being the Brand Success Manager, that’s what we do. We take brands. We launch them from zero not even knowing what Amazon is and how to manage it, and incorporate it in their business to brands that have been on Amazon for years.
Justin Coats: Our main goal is to work with the brands and companies, so Amazon is not a hated entity at their business and it has an impact on their growth and how they present themselves.
Liz Downing: That’s awesome. I know back when I got started in ecommerce, there were so many different in the ad agency, in the brand management kind of world that would not go anywhere near ecommerce.
Justin Coats: Yeah, it still is kind of which is shocking.
Liz Downing: Yeah. But it is a tricky … especially Amazon is a tricky platform to navigate. So, it’s lucky that there are people like you that know what they’re doing because Amazon changes rules all the time. I talk about that a lot. But we’re here to talk today about cool things that are happening in the Amazon ways. And Amazon is giving back to the seller community which I think is pretty cool.
Liz Downing: So, I’m going to let you guys just because you blew me away the other day, just talk through the Brand Referral Program, why it exists, what it does, how it works. And again, those folks in the audience, if you’ve got questions as they’re going through this, make sure you ask them because this is a program that you should be taking advantage of as much as possible.
Justin Coats: Absolutely. Yeah. Please, questions. We love questions here. Yeah. So, the Amazon Attribution and the Brand Referral Bonus, they are two different programs but they work with each other. And you have to sign up for each one individually.
Justin Coats: And the whole purpose is for you as the brand to bring outside traffic to Amazon. We all know that there’s millions and hundreds of millions of people shopping on Amazon all the time. But what Amazon wants to do is they want to capture more of those shoppers. And so, they’re reward wording you, the seller, by bringing customers off Amazon to Amazon. So that’s the attribution link that you include in your socials, your emails, paid or unpaid media.
Justin Coats: And then the referral bonus is where you get a discounted rate on your referral fee. Actually, Teresa has some metrics from one of our brands that’s been utilizing it since October. And it’s just over 10% of the referral fee back to them. So, referral fee being normal, 15%, 20% if you’re in Launchpad. And they’re getting on sales coming through those attribution links. They’re getting just over 10% back on those referral fees.
Liz Downing: That’s a pretty good deal.
Justin Coats: It’s a really good deal.
Liz Downing: And of course, the trash pickup comes right like the one time of day that I’m broadcasting to people. So, I have to mute myself.
Justin Coats: Well, it helps … We can’t hear it much.
Liz Downing: Well, so let’s walk through some anecdotal stuff. You said that Teresa, you’ve got a brand that’s been working with those. So let’s talk about, real-life, how it works? And how complicated is it? How big could it get? And how is it working for your clients?
Teresa Coats: Right. So, the first numbers that we saw were really exciting with the Brand Referral Bonus. The very first attribution link that was used by the brand that we’re referring to today was through a single visit to … I’m sorry, it’s actually three views from a post, one purchase for $1,499. And the Brand Referral Bonus given back to that brand off of that one purchase was $1.53. So, at that point, we were already over that 10% mark on Brand Referral Bonus win.
Teresa Coats: So now that we have a couple more weeks’ worth of data that’s starting to trickle in from these attribution links that’s sent to these products, and actually, I think more of them were sent to the store than anything, we’re seeing now specific numbers are $564.69 in sales rewarded the company and a Brand Referral Bonus of $58.66 which for me is super exciting because that’s telling me that Amazon’s not pulling back. They’re actually going above that 10% mark to try to really incentivize sellers to bring that outside traffic.
Teresa Coats: It’s the first time that I’ve seen Amazon actually do something kind of pushing towards being nice when it comes to reboarding. That reward mechanism is real. You make posts all the time. As brands, there’s always posts, there’s emails, there’s all kinds of ways that we can use that attribution link. And when we point it back, there’s actually that reward now. So, it’s really exciting.
Liz Downing: And how are brands responding to it? Do they feel like, “Hey, that’s pretty cool?” Do they understand it’s as cool as you know it is? Or are they like, “Why it can’t be more?”
Teresa Coats: I think a little bit of both to be honest because right now, I’m actually … When the Brain Referral Bonus Program launched, it takes at least 45 days for the first metrics to trickle in. So now that we’re starting to see this, it was really slow to start. They may put one email out. So that very first purchase that was made off of one email with three views from that email wasn’t substantial. But we did end up seeing our first very first issued bonus from it so that’s exciting. However, that was 45 days ago.
Teresa Coats: So, there wasn’t really anything to incentivize the brand to keep going with it. Now, that we see this and now that we see that you’re getting 10% referral fee back, that’s huge. And I have a feeling that will be a big incentivizer moving forward with other brands to actually start using that.
Teresa Coats: And my hope is that Amazon continues to increase that as we go. I mean, we’ll see what happens. But I think that now that we’re starting to see those numbers actually come in, it will be a bigger incentivizer for brands.
Liz Downing: Sure. So, we have a question about referral fees. Could you explain how it works? So, how does the brand … Actually, I know that we covered that at the very beginning, but I think it came late. So, if we could cover like how do you get it? What do you do?
Teresa Coats: Right. Justin, go ahead and answer.
Justin Coats: Yeah, I’ll take that one.
Teresa Coats: Yeah.
Justin Coats: Yeah. So, your typical referral fee is 15% of your sale price. So, what Amazon has done is with this Attribution Link Program, you have to be brand registered in order to get it. And so, you create these links through the advertising console. And you can create … For one specific product, you can create for a store page.
Justin Coats: And you can create them for specific social media platforms or different advertising platforms that you’re reaching your audience on. So, whether it’d be email, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitch. Wherever you’re putting your branding out there, you can add these links to it. So, you can track that data.
Justin Coats: One, you’re tracking click to purchase. And then two, it’s showing the Amazon algorithm that you’re sending off Amazon traffic to your page, to your product. So now, you’re getting a boost in organic ranking. And then, if you enroll in this Brand Referral Bonus Program, then now you’re getting a 10% reduction, on average, 10% reduction of that referral fee.
Justin Coats: That referral fee is paid out like a reimbursement. And if you’ve done any Amazon reimbursements before, you know that they take their time. So that’s where when Teresa was mentioning the 45 days, that’s where that comes into play, is your reimbursement from that referral bonus comes 45 days after that purchase.
Justin Coats: So, it’s not that instant gratification that us as Amazon customers are used to, you don’t get it instantly. So, it’s hard to gauge is it working, is it not working? So you measure different KPIs. You measure your click-throughs, your traffics, your detail pageviews and purchases off that so you can start some projection. But until that 45-day mark or 50-day mark, really, you don’t really know what’s going on. So that makes it difficult.
Justin Coats: But we’re telling you, it works. It is the play for 2022. And as we’ve seen over ’21, Amazon’s shifting to be more of a social media platform. Amazon Posts, Amazon Live is becoming a major play. The attribution links with the Brand Referral Bonus, all of it is pulling off of socials and making Amazon more of a social media-style sales platform. This has to be the play.
Liz Downing: It’s about time, right?
Justin Coats: Rightfully, yeah.
Liz Downing: Posts and Lives are what seemed to have survived beyond what was it. There was also Profiles and Lists.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Liz Downing: I don’t know. I’m not hearing as much about Profiles and Lists as I am about lives and posts.
Justin Coats: Yeah. Lists are … Teresa can speak on this one more with the Launchpad Program. But Lists are happening pretty extensively in the Launchpad Program.
Teresa Coats: Yeah. That’s basically what Lists have evolved into. I think it got trickled and put into the Launchpad Program as that’s I think one of the few ways that they … Really, List is like an external or not external but extra-marketing that they offer within that program.
Teresa Coats: The Profiles, I haven’t seen much. It’s not really there anymore other than that’s also something that’s utilized in Launchpad. So, I think that those are just moves that they made to provide that extra essentially within that Launchpad Program. The Lists are still pretty big deal if you are using that program.
Teresa Coats: And now that we have mentioned the Launchpad Program, there’s also a really, really cool kind of stack bonus with using the Brand Referral Bonus and attribution links if you want to use it that way or think of it that way. Because there’s an increased fee if you get involved in Launchpad, you can essentially utilize the money that you’re making on your Brand Referral Bonus to offset that extra fee in Launchpad.
Teresa Coats: And so that’s a good way to incentivize young brands to get into that program. And essentially have it be a mute cost.
Liz Downing: I know it wasn’t on the agenda to talk about Launchpad, but if anybody’s got any questions about that, we will take them.
Teresa Coats: Yup.
Liz Downing: So we do have a question. Joel asks, “Is it a 10% reduction in fees, i.e. 15% to 13.5% or is it a 10% reimbursement on the sale amount, i.e. 15% to 5%? Example provided was $580 in sales equaled $58 in reimbursement. It sounds more like the latter.”
Justin Coats: Correct, Joel. Yeah, you’re in the right line of thinking. So, in the two examples that we had, we had a one-to-one, a $15-item sold and we had $1.54 return. And then this was $565 in sales and we had $58 return. So, yeah, you’re in that right line of thinking. So, it’s 10% back in your pocket.
Liz Downing: Well, is it the same? Because I know when you look in Seller Central obviously, and it’s not always the most up-to-date information, but it seems that there were different percentages based on the categories that you’re referring.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Teresa Coats: Yeah.
Justin Coats: So, Amazon says on average 10% because their fees, their referral fees, change based on certain categories and products that you’re selling. And so, they can’t just say it’s going to be …
Liz Downing: So, if it’s their device, then you get 30% if you’re just driving traffic to Amazon’s own listings?
Justin Coats: Right.
Teresa Coats: Totally.
Liz Downing: But you still have to be brand registered to do that which I think is funny.
Teresa Coats: Yes.
Liz Downing: Carlos asks, “Amazon keeps asking me to do the tax interview in order to receive the Brand Referral Bonus. I don’t want to do it because I don’t want to mess with my account. I have completed it previously. And Amazon also says that if the interview was recently completed, no further action is needed. However, they keep asking for it. Are you running into that with any of your clients?”
Teresa Coats: I’ve actually run into with all of our clients. And what it has done is it basically takes you back to your tax page just to see if there’s anything that needs to be refreshed. As of right now, I haven’t had any clients that have had to change anything within that. It’s just gone through and made them verify.
Liz Downing: Okay.
Teresa Coats: So, like a couple months ago, Amazon was asking everybody to reverify their phone number. They went through all the businesses. And we’re asking everybody to verify. Okay. Well, it looked like it was going to be, “Hey, you need to input a new phone number.” But in reality, it’s just going through a reconfirming information. That’s what has been so far for several of our clients. I haven’t heard otherwise yet.
Liz Downing: Okay. So, Carlos, maybe just go ahead and click through and see if it just takes you to your tax page. So that you can make sure there’s something that you need to update.
Teresa Coats: Yeah.
Liz Downing: All right, cool. Cool. So, what if you’re not brand registered? I want to go back to more tactics and how to really make this better. But if you’re not brand registered, I know that sometimes we get people who haven’t quite gotten brand registry yet.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Liz Downing: A lot of people have been running into trouble getting brand registered. So, is there anything equivalent to this for non-brand registered sellers? Or is it just Amazon Attribution or Amazon Associates which like pretty much anybody can do?
Justin Coats: Yeah. So, I mean, Amazon Associates is a completely separate program from being a seller. Amazon Associates is more for bloggers and influencers just making money off of the links that they post like what you do. If you put product links in your blogs, then that’s what Amazon Associates is for. No? Teika doesn’t do that.
Liz Downing: Well, we don’t want to take any kind of … We have a Brands We Love Program internally where we talk about brands that we love because we love brands and we love entrepreneurship. And we want to tell each other about really cool products that we’re buying off of Amazon.
Liz Downing: So, we really drink the Kool-Aid around here but we haven’t gotten into … Well, because we don’t want to look like we’re playing favorites either.
Justin Coats: Right.
Teresa Coats: Right, makes sense.
Liz Downing: So, we wouldn’t say, “I like this skin cream better than this skin cream,” because we’re not in the business to … Anybody more than like …
Justin Coats: Yeah. So that’s what an Amazon Associates is for. But for sellers who aren’t brand registered, one, seriously look into getting a trademark on something that for your brand, your product. It’s a must-have, must-have. You’re missing out on so many opportunities within Amazon, just the programs that open up just by having brand registry.
Justin Coats: Like this program, Launchpad, Sponsored Brand ads, Sponsored Display ads, those are four main pieces to success that you’re missing out on. So that’s the first thing I would say is seriously look at getting a trademark. And we’ve had clients use the IP Accelerator Program through the Amazon Service Provider Network. It works …
Teresa Coats: Great, right?
Justin Coats: Actually, this client that we’re sharing these numbers on, they use the IP Accelerator to get into brand registry four months ago. So, it works. It’s great. You get brand registry access faster than you get a trademark which is the whole key, the whole point.
Justin Coats: Yeah. Other than that, there’s not really a major program to take advantage of. You’re really missing out on a lot by not having that trademark and by not being brand registered. I would still advise send traffic to your products, your Amazon products through your social media posts, advertising links, emails, whatever.
Justin Coats: Amazon is rewarding sellers on an algorithm basis for sending off platform traffic to their platform. You get rewarded much more than organic on platform purchases.
Teresa Coats: That’s true.
Liz Downing: Not surprising either, right?
Justin Coats: No. They want everybody.
Liz Downing: So we’ve got a UK-based seller primarily selling in the US market but Brand Referral Bonus requests a US TIN, tax information. Can non-US companies participate?
Justin Coats: Oh, that is a question I don’t know. I apologize.
Teresa Coats: That is a very good question that isn’t. We do have a brand that we’re working with who sells in the UK. And I have been seeing the notices pop up for them to get enrolled in Brand Referral Bonus. I don’t know how it works selling from the UK in US.
Teresa Coats: I know that the companies that we work with from out of the country that are selling in US all have warehouses or some sort of an address here in the US that they use. So, I don’t know if that’s how they’re working through that or what that is. That’s something we have to figure out, too. That’s a logistical thing we have to figure out still.
Liz Downing: Okay. Yeah. I imagine if it wants like a tax information, then you have to be set up to do business in the US.
Teresa Coats: That’s my assumption view. I mean, that would be my safe bet and my advice would be, too, in that [inaudible 00:21:52].
Liz Downing: Yeah.
Justin Coats: And that might be why they’re asking for that tax information, just to update. And this program is fairly new for 2021. So, as all things, Amazon US is a testbed for most stuff and then they start branching out. So I would definitely look for that capability in the future.
Liz Downing: Well, I mean, for selling on a dot-com account, I mean, I guess they’re still asking for tax information. But to get brand registry, I’d be curious to see if you’re brand registered.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Teresa Coats: Yeah. That would be something I would follow up with is, are you brand registered?
Liz Downing: Our contact information is going to be in the replay that goes out to everyone.
Justin Coats: Yeah, please.
Liz Downing: Sorry, I thought I muted Slack and I didn’t. Maybe didn’t hear that either. I don’t know. But yeah, so we can follow up with you with questions like that.
Teresa Coats: For sure.
Liz Downing: Gabrielle says that she’s newly brand registered and she doesn’t have the option for Amazon Attribution or Brand Referral. Do you need to have X amount of sales or have X amount of storefront followers to unlock this feature?
Teresa Coats: So, I don’t think it’s a storefront unlocked just yet. I do think that there has to be X amount of traction within the company once you are brand registered. A lot of times, it takes I’ve seen six to eight weeks at a minimum for your products to connect to the brand once you have your brand registry actually there in place.
Teresa Coats: So, I think once … And that also depends on if you’re a new seller or not, too. So if you have previous sales and your products are getting cold underneath that new brand registry, it will probably happen sooner for you. If you are working on a brand new product underneath a brand new registered brand, it’s going to take a little bit of traction with the products before you have, I mean, a lot of capabilities within Amazon.
Liz Downing: Still drive traffic though because that’s how you get more sales.
Teresa Coats: As much as you can.
Liz Downing: And advertise, advertise, advertise, advertise.
Justin Coats: Advertise.
Liz Downing: We can help you. They can help you. We help you together. It’s beautiful.
Teresa Coats: Beautiful. It is.
Liz Downing: John says, “I have a brand and I’m in the jewelry business. And the referral fee for precious metal is the same as costume jewelry, 20%.” And I think he just wanted us all to know that because that does seem really wonky. But do you have any comments on that?
Justin Coats: Sorry.
Liz Downing: Yeah, I think that’s awful. I mean, they’ve got to selling precious metals but …
Teresa Coats: But I mean, if you’re using the Brand Referral Bonus and you’re getting an incentive back from them, that lowers your referral fee. So that’s a really good way to look at the program as a benefit to you as a seller. That does just … That’s your incentivizer. It drops that referral fee to something that’s more reasonable.
Liz Downing: So, we’ve got a person who sells electric submeters and wants to know how long it takes to get your brand registered. And I think that really, really varies. But that IP Accelerator Program is something to look into for that.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Teresa Coats: I would want a hundred percent look into that. Yeah.
Justin Coats: Yeah. The IP Accelerator Program will probably take you about a month to a month-and-a-half to navigate. You’re communicating back and forth with an approved lawyer’s office through the Amazon Service Provider Network. So, whatever deal you set up and however fast you communicate, you and that lawyer communicates, that will take some time.
Justin Coats: But if you’re going outside of the IP Accelerator Program, it’s going to take you roughly six-ish months to actually get a USPTO trademark registered number. And then, after that, then you can submit for brand registry.
Justin Coats: Also, just a huge caveat for Amazon right now, it is the end of the holiday season. And during a holiday season, their support, their everything takes longer, substantially longer. So, if you’re really wanting to start some of these new programs, make that a play for the first or second week of January.
Justin Coats: Just do some reading. Do some learning. And gear yourself up for the second week of January. That’s when the support agents start to come back online. You might get some phone calls’ capabilities. That’s when they’re their programs kind of simmered down a little bit. They’re all boiling and hot and can’t be bothered for the holiday season.
Justin Coats: So, just look at that, too. Set yourself up for success. Do some reading, learning and know what you’re getting into before you just jump in because it will take time. I mean, that’s the one thing I’ll tell all of our clients all the time. It takes time and money investments to succeed on Amazon so just expect it.
Liz Downing: Well, and it’s absolutely great that now there are things that Amazon has in place that you can take advantage of that help you be more successful because for a long time, it wasn’t like that. Angel asks, “How to get brand gated after brand registry is approved?”
Justin Coats: Brand gated or …
Liz Downing: I think that’s a loaded …
Teresa Coats: Ungated or to get gated?
Liz Downing: I think it’s how can you gate your brand once you’ve got your brand registry in place? And last I heard, you can’t really.
Justin Coats: Yeah. To my knowledge, there’s only been one brand to really do that and that’s Apple. I mean, this … Liz, you said that sounds like a loaded question. Definitely but to Angel …
Liz Downing: Well, I mean if you think it more like 2016, 2017, there were services out there that would gate your brand or help you get a brand ungated, too, if you were a reseller. I mean, that was like a whole subset service in the industry. So now, you go to all this trouble to create a brand and you get brand registry and somebody’s selling your stuff or selling something that they say is your stuff.
Justin Coats: Right, which there’s the loaded question like which avenue do we want to go down? But to Angel, probably the overarching concern of how do I protect myself, how do I protect my brand after I got brand registry, you do it through some of the mechanisms by getting that trademark, keeping things copyright, your images, your copy.
Justin Coats: But it’s off Amazon. Amazon doesn’t really care. They’re a free and open marketplace. So, brand registry doesn’t automatically mean that you are the one and only that can sell that product. So, you set yourself up through off-Amazon mechanisms. Your wholesale system, you put something in your wholesale contract that says you cannot sell on third-party ecommerce platforms.
Liz Downing: Well, and there are … I know I have a good friend who has a company that what they do is get unauthorized sellers off of your listings. So, Angel, I’ll totally send you … Joe Kovacs with Brand Guarde is my go-to guy for that. But he will do cease and desist. And while Amazon doesn’t have anything in place that says, “Hey, that person can’t sell your brand, he’s had some pretty good success talking people out of selling other people’s brands.
Liz Downing: So, I’ll hook you up with that email address.
Teresa Coats: One of the really cool new tools that Amazon has opened up once you become brand registered underneath your brand tools is your brand catalog manager. And that actually allows you to have that oversight of how many resellers are on your listings, how many people are actually selling your products.
Teresa Coats: So, even if it’s now you have a true view of what you are dealing with, you at least have that advantage. So, you see that you have 173 resellers on one of your ASINs. Okay. All of a sudden, you know you need to reach out to a service like Brand Guarde or to someone that has that …
Justin Coats: Or a lawyer.
Teresa Coats: Yeah. But basically has that angle that can go ahead and send those letters from a lawyer standpoint. But there’s other tools and taxes you can use within Amazon to help try to get those sellers to basically stop ripping off your listings.
Liz Downing: Yeah. Well, I mean, because then you get into counterfeit stuff happens sometimes. And it can get really icky.
Justin Coats: Right.
Teresa Coats: Yeah, totally.
Justin Coats: So, Angel, there are a lot of ways for you to protect your brand. Unfortunately, Amazon makes it difficult. So, a lot of the mechanisms are off Amazon moves to protect your on Amazon stuff.
Teresa Coats: Yup.
Liz Downing: I like to call these, remember those math problems that were like word problems?
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Liz Downing: So, that’s one of these questions. It’s like a super awesome question but it’s very specific. So, I will repeat it if you need. But Brad says that they’re using attribution links on Facebook ads. And Facebook shows they have a hundred click-throughs but Amazon only shows seven click-throughs.
Liz Downing: The ad’s been running for two weeks. So, it seems like the data should be updating by now. We see an increase in sales on Amazon but that seems to be coming from the Facebook ads we’re driving there, but we don’t see them tracked via the attribution link. So, support has not been any help in answering this question.
Justin Coats: Yeah. Seller Support has no idea what the Amazon attribution program is. It’s too new. They really don’t. We’ve called them and told them about the program and walked them through, showed them links. And the agents that we got had no idea. So, I’m sorry.
Teresa Coats: They say just the stuff you knew.
Liz Downing: I mean, Amazon will roll it out and then deal with the problems later.
Teresa Coats: Yeah. That’s I think a lot of what’s happening. Yeah.
Liz Downing: Let’s get it out there and we’ll iron out the kinks as we go along. And that’s been the way, especially seller-focused new programs have run as long as I’ve been in this industry which feels like a really long time. But actually, it hasn’t been all that long.
Teresa Coats: But we have actually seen other brands that had had “broken attribution links.” So we’ve gone through a process within our company where we just make sure we verify that the link works before we use it in any of those because it could be something where maybe the link is just not working correctly that is utilized in that Facebook ad, too.
Teresa Coats: So, there’s things that you can go through and try to make sure that the link is working. And that would probably be my bit of advice on that is just to verify the link yourself before you actually use it in the ads.
Liz Downing: Right. So, somebody had asked, “Can you walk us through the process of sending folks from a Facebook ad? I want to make sure we aren’t missing any elements.” So, like first step … And I think we could probably do this in the recap, too. And probably, it would be good to get a guest post from you guys on that.
Liz Downing: But like step one, you go into your Amazon Advertising console, right?
Teresa Coats: Correct.
Justin Coats: Yeah. So, yeah, you go into your Amazon Advertising console. And then, they’ve changed things around. So, it’s under measurement and reporting. And then, you click on Amazon Attribution which is then going to take you to that attribution console essentially to where you can now create a campaign.
Justin Coats: Creating a campaign is you creating your links. You select which product so you have to get the Amazon URL for that product or the store page. And then, you tell it where you’re going to be posting that. Are you going to be posting on Facebook? Are you going to be posting on Instagram, TikTok? The list goes on.
Justin Coats: And you can also create your own. So for your own email marketing, you can create your own for email or internal email or whatever. And so then, you include … Once you go through all of that, you finalize everything and you get a final attribution link. You copy that link and then you put that in whatever material you’re putting out there. That’s the walkthrough with it.
Justin Coats: I will say that the attribution links have about a 14-day window for metric reporting. So, similar to Sponsor Brand or Sponsor Display ads where it’s about 14 days. I will also say that Amazon Advertising console itself has been really finicky over this holiday season. They went through a lot of revamping, updating, changing, and it still is not a hundred percent accurate to what it should be.
Justin Coats: So, unfortunately, the fix for the difference in the hundred clicks to a seven click-throughs, that might be timing in when they were clicked. If they clicked on day one and it’s day 14, you might see that one click. But if they clicked on day three, you’re not going to see those yet.
Justin Coats: And then, Amazon’s own issues, internal issues. We’re working with an imperfect system. That’s the biggest thing. We’re all counting on this giant corporation that’s not perfect. So, just take that with a grain of salt and just measure your own and watch how things go. And test one thing at a time. Don’t test a hundred things at a time, right?
Liz Downing: Right. Our friend in the UK has asked, “What would be the benefits of Amazon Attribution Program alone without Brand Referral?” So, saying he can’t do Brand Referral, will the external traffic improve ranking enough for it to be … Yes. So, that’s I presume yes.
Justin Coats: Oh yeah.
Teresa Coats: Yes.
Liz Downing: Heck yeah. That’s a heck yeah.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Teresa Coats: [inaudible 00:36:30] Yeah. You’ll still be given that bump in the algorithm essentially is what it is. It’s like you’re still being shown. Visibly, they can see and you get tracking, you also get those metrics yourself to measure, too. But they see that you’re bringing that outside traffic, they’re still rewarding you whether it’s via that Brand Referral Bonus or not, it’s still happening.
Justin Coats: Right. Look, I mean, Amazon’s changing. They changed dramatically over 2020. Their whole inventory tracking system changed which was insane. 2021 changed a lot. And what we’re seeing is they’re moving more towards social media. And what is social media? I want your attention. I don’t want your attention over here, I want it here.
Justin Coats: So, if you are sending traffic from everywhere else to Amazon, their search algorithm rewards you more than if you’re capturing on Amazon traffic that’s already there. They made that shift. When they shifted from the A9 to the A10 algorithm, search algorithm, that shift was made. They’re not announcing this as an update so this is just what I’ve seen. So, take that with a grain of salt.
Justin Coats: But from what I’ve seen, with that new algorithm shift, they’re rewarding more off Amazon traffic than they are on Amazon traffic.
Liz Downing: So, Joel first was helpful with Angel. So Angel, another thing to look into is the Amazon Transparency Program because that is a thing that, if I’m not mistaken, it works at the product level at FBA. So, if you enroll in that and you’re brand registered, then you’ve got the people actually on the floor keeping an eye out that your brand is not getting polluted by counterfeit or activity.
Teresa Coats: Just know that you’re tapping on a lot of extra work with that program, too. That’s something that does need to be definitely stated. That program is great. You’re going to work for it.
Liz Downing: But there are options out there.
Justin Coats: Yeah, tons of options.
Teresa Coats: Yeah.
Liz Downing: Like brand like you can’t sell my brand in terms of Amazon, but there are things you can do with your brand.
Justin Coats: I apologize for not diving down into that. Just that wasn’t the topic for today. But there are a lot of ways to protect yourself on Amazon.
Liz Downing: Oh, yeah. We can do that for the next one.
Justin Coats: Yeah, absolutely.
Liz Downing: Joel also asks, “What argument would you make to a larger established brand who always prefers to drive traffic to direct ecommerce sales over Amazon not only due to profit margins but also for maintaining a loyal direct customer base and avoiding exposure to competition?”
Justin Coats: Yup. So, your customers already know other products exist. Your customers know that Amazon exists and they shop on Amazon. Your loyal customers are loyal to you. They’re loyal to your social, your following, your website. They love you because of your brand. Wherever they find your brand, they love you. So whether or not it’s on Amazon or your own website or in a brick-and-mortar store, they’re loyal to you.
Justin Coats: So, by not pushing traffic to Amazon, one, you’re hurting your Amazon potential success. And those loyal customers that are loyal to you and your website, they’ll come back to your website. You might put out a post that says, “Hey, we’re just launching on Amazon. Help us grow. You love us, help us grow here because it’s another sales platform we need.”
Justin Coats: And then they’ll do that because they’re loyal to you. But then they’re going to come back to your website because you have limited editions, because you have different bundles on your website, because you have updates, you have new product releases, because you have a new company outing that you’re sharing on social media that they’re following before. You have that loyalty built. Don’t discount that loyalty for helping you succeed in another sales channel.
Liz Downing: So, Joel says, “Our company is unwilling to point outside traffic to Amazon. Will these links work with Amazon’s brand customer engagement campaigns?”
Teresa Coats: Yes. So, that’s actually yeah. So, anything that you’re doing is pointing outside traffic to gain followers on your store, to gain followers within your posts. To bring that outside traffic to Amazon, you’re still being incentivized by getting access to other programs.
Teresa Coats: So now, not only are followers good for your brand because it shows that you have a brand presence on Amazon, it’s also something where you’re starting to get rewarded into new programs, too. So, there are still benefits even if you’re not sending that outside traffic directly to those products. It still can all work together.
Liz Downing: Right. The other Joel followed up with Brad then said, “Ensuring all the relevant ASINs are being tracked is also a very important element of making sure that all of the tracking is correct.”
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Teresa Coats: Yes.
Justin Coats: There’s a lot of data analysis in this. And that’s why we do what we do is because we dive in, we look and analyze all the data so you can run your business. You don’t want to sit here and look at Amazon spreadsheets when you have wholesale orders coming in, your D2C through your own ecommerce coming in, Walmart.com is coming in.
Justin Coats: You need to run your business. And so, that’s what we do is we help you and teach you how to run Amazon. We analyze the data. And Teresa, the brand success side, does an amazing job at finding those new programs like the new email marketing that just came out. It’s crazy.
Liz Downing: I mean, I was blown away.
Teresa Coats: Yeah, which we do the whole app just on that.
Liz Downing: Oh, yeah.
Teresa Coats: That’s a [inaudible 00:42:41] program.
Liz Downing: We’re going to need to because I come from the tenant of where you’re sending buyer-seller messaging for product reviews world where people like got smacked down left and right. And the rules changed like daily it seems like. And so, now that there’s an email, yeah, I’m just blown away by that.
Teresa Coats: Have you been in it yet? Have you actually seen it?
Liz Downing: No, I haven’t.
Teresa Coats: Oh, it’s awesome. I’m so excited about this. I’ve been very, very excited.
Liz Downing: So, our friend in the UK asked, “If we set up Amazon Attribution tags, then register for the Brand Referral Program later, will the Referral Program take in historical data and reimburse for the older attribution tags and external traffic?”
Teresa Coats: It’s likely not.
Justin Coats: I don’t have an exact answer on that. But I would say no, I would not count on that. It’s Amazon, man, they’re not going to give you … They just not going to arbitrarily give you some money. You might be able to use a reimbursement service like …
Liz Downing: GETIDA.
Justin Coats: … GETIDA. You might be able to use that and work with them and see if they can figure that out retroactively since they go back 18 months. But by yourself, it’s not going to be worth it.
Teresa Coats: But using those links beforehand is worth it because you’re still gaining that algorithm traction, too. So, that’s still something I would advise you to do it before you get into the Brand Referral Bonus Program. By the way, that’s really not easy. It’s a click of two to get into that, too.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Teresa Coats: Yeah. So, it will be something where I think it would still be super beneficial.
Justin Coats: Man, you guys are answering or asking awesome questions.
Liz Downing: Yeah. They’re so good. Actually, I think that everybody is like, “Okay.” And Lee says thanks for that walkthrough because they were doing something wrong.
Teresa Coats: Oh good. I’m glad that you figured that out.
Justin Coats: Yeah, amazing.
Liz Downing: That’s who asked, “Could you walk us through what we’re supposed to do for Facebook ads?” And it’s when you went through the whole walkthrough. So, Brad, I would suggest that also, you listen back to that part and make sure everything’s hooked up right because like they said, there have been some broken attribution links. So, make sure everything’s tracking from Facebook over to Amazon because it does seem like in two weeks, things should be updated.
Teresa Coats: And also, just to go back on that really fast, hopefully this helps you, too. You do want to make sure that if you are posting on Facebook ads that you’re using the attribution link created for the Facebook ads. You can’t use your email campaign attribution link in Facebook ads. It won’t work. You won’t see a thing.
Teresa Coats: So, you do want to make sure you double check everything that you’re doing on there so you are getting that bonus.
Justin Coats: Yeah. And if you’re using a social media agency, hook up with us and we’ll walk your social media agency through how to use all of this. We’ve done that I think four or five times with our clients. And the social media agencies have no idea, no clue. And they don’t want to use it because it’s pointing to Amazon which just recently has pointed out four minutes ago that brands hate pushing to Amazon.
Liz Downing: Well, yeah. If you’re a large established brand who has spent a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of years building up your domain authority, building up your social following, doing the SEO work to make sure you’re ranking for your keywords and you were around in 2008 pretty much and realized you need to really start doing more to your website in order for it to get seen, it’s pretty infuriating to think about the fact that now you’ve got to drive traffic to Amazon in order for Amazon to like you better.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Liz Downing: So, while it’s a great thing, I can see for a large established brand, them being like, “No, I’m not doing that.”
Teresa Coats: Yeah. I mean, my view on that is that you have to look at Amazon as an actual part of your business. If you are a large established brand now, Amazon is real. It’s not going anywhere. You want to be using it and reaping the benefits of having Amazon sales because there’s so many customers sitting here waiting to buy your product.
Teresa Coats: So, as long as you consider it a part of your business and your play, then you have to do the tactics like we did in 2008. We have to play the game.
Liz Downing: Yeah.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Liz Downing: And that was the Wild West. I was a freelance writer at that time. That was bananas.
Justin Coats: A whole new world. And you’re not going to cannibalize your website sales either. That’s a myth that it’s not real. You’re not going to do it. Actually, I’ve seen the opposite over the last six years helping brands do this. As soon as we start pushing the Amazon play, their web sales increase as well as their Amazon. So, don’t be scared I guess. Research and …
Liz Downing: Well, but like if this person an ecommerce manager and they’re going up against other people that aren’t ecommerce-savvy, it could be hard to change policy.
Justin Coats: Yeah. And send me an email afterwards. I would love to sit down and answer more of your questions. Have another like a one on one. Absolutely.
Liz Downing: Yeah. Well, we’ve got a couple of people like they want to know how much you would charge to have them do brand registry. One person wants to know if you work with Shopify. So, all these folks, I’ll make sure you can get in touch with them. And Lee just said, “You guys are so great, so generous and helpful. Thank you.” So I thought that was really nice.
Justin Coats: Thank you.
Liz Downing: That comment. We usually don’t get like, hey, kudos to you as a good person kind of comments on this. So, I do sometimes, “Where’s the octopus if the octopus is not behind me?” So, it all depends on your audience. But for today’s audience, they’re amazing.
Justin Coats: Yeah, they have … Holy cow. Thanks, Chad.
Liz Downing: Yeah. Did you even know? So, thanks so much, you guys. This has been great. I think this is going to be the first of many because we obviously got a lot more to talk about. But it’s 10 minutes before the top of the hour and I like to let people go get a drink of water before their next meeting.
Liz Downing: So, Justin, Teresa, thank you so much. I’ll make sure everybody knows how to get in touch with you. Those of you who attended today or I will get a replay in your email. Probably not today. It will probably be tomorrow because I have to order the transcript.
Liz Downing: But it’s all good. Thanks so much. And we will see you next time. And check out Volitant Consulting. They know a whole lot of stuff, obviously.
Justin Coats: Yeah.
Teresa Coats: Thanks, guys.
Liz Downing: Happy New Year to you both.
Teresa Coats: Yes. Happy New Year.
Justin Coats: Yeah, have a good New Year. See you.