As competition on Amazon is fiercer than ever, brand owners need to leverage their data analytics to grow effectively. Your Amazon business perpetually generates data covering every element of your operations, from ad performance to customer preferences, to the best-performing products. And, when analysed appropriately, you can use that data to make informed strategic decisions.
However, deriving valuable insights from data can be hard. Amazon Brand Analytics (ABA) are complex and multi-layered, allowing for different data silos to build up over time. It’s true, Amazon does offer their Sellers access to a significant amount of data through ABA. But, they don’t provide the visibility of insight needed to understand it and truly optimize your store’s performance.
At Nozzle, we’re all about analytics, having created an industry-leading insights platform that is built specifically for the Amazon ecosystem, we know what we’re talking about. Here, we're going to let you in on some of the secrets we've uncovered and shine a light on the critical reasons an effective data analytics strategy can take your Amazon Seller strategy to the next level. Specifically, we will look at both manual solutions to better master the native analytics and reporting features provided by Amazon, and how to take things to the next level with software.
Suggested reading: If you want a more indepth look at exactly how to maximise the value delivered by ABA, check out our eBook: Mastering Amazon Brand Analytics
Why and when are analytics important?
Data analytics are important for understanding various aspects of your business from product performance, to customer behavior. They allow you to make better decisions and optimize the performance of your Amazon business. However, analytics are only useful and effective when the platforms used to collate and analyze data can provide actionable insights.
But what are actionable insights? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the different levels of information:
- Data: Raw units of information that take the form of numbers or text (e.g. monthly revenue or total ad spend).
- Analytics: The grouping of multiple types of data in relevant categories to reveal trends and patterns.
- Insights: The interpretation of analytics that informs decision-making.
Insights are essential for Amazon Sellers — they are critical to turning data into outcomes. In the fast-paced world of Amazon sales, having real time access to those insights is critical. However, making that possible generally requires using a tool that's able to shortcut you to the right answer, rather than leaving you bogged down in spreadsheets — reducing the cost of advertising, and overall, making your Amazon store more profitable.
What does Amazon offer by way of analytics?
Amazon provides Sellers with various free data analysis and reporting tools that they can use to understand their ad and sales data. On the face of it, the datasets included in the ABA hub are extensive, which they are, but the capacity to cross reference the insights is lacking. Having lots and lots of reports is great… Unless there’s no way to contextualise them against each other! All the same, three of the datasets ABA includes are —
1. Brand Analytics
This is the main analytics feature provided to both Sellers and Vendors — although it was previously exclusively available to Vendors in Amazon’s push to make themselves a more Seller-centric platform.
ABA reporting tool that provides insights on customer behavior, customer demographics, competitors, and search trends. Knowing how to use Amazon Brand Analytics gives you a large amount of potentially useful data and is certainly the most user friendly of the reports offered by Amazon. But you do need to contextualize that data by yourself — by studying ABA reports — to uncover information that can be turned into actions like creating product bundles or using imagery that’s relevant to customers. And doing this can be time-consuming.
Fundamentally, this is a great tool that provides intuitive access to really critical information. With that said, it is lacking when it comes to transaction-specific insights (which you can only get from MWS) and has a limited ability to cross-reference data separated out across it's multiple reports.
Pro tip: In order to be eligible for ABA reporting you need to be brand registered with Amazon.
2. Amazon Advertising Reports
Amazon allows you to create different reports from Seller Central and download them as Excel files. The most commonly used reports include —
Advertised Product Report: This sheds light on impressions by showing you all ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Number) and SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) that won the buy box, sorted by PPC campaign and ad group. This lets you identify the best-performing Amazon products.
- Impression share report: This report demonstrates how each of your search terms impressions shares (across your entire account) compared to other advertisers. In other words, it reports on the percentage of ad impressions your efforts experience compared to competitors in a given time frame.
- Placement Report: This shows you the performance by ad placement of all advertising campaigns in your account.
- Purchased Product Report: This shows you the keywords that contribute to the purchase of products, but not the search terms used by customers.
- Search Term Report: This reveals the search terms customers use to find your products but is limited to products that get clicked on, disregarding those that only get impressions.
- Performance Over Time Report: This informs you on clicks, CPCs, and total spend, but lacks other important metrics like ACoS, CTR, and Conversion Rate.
- Sponsored Products Report: For Sellers only this report covers targeting, advertised product, campaign, search term, search term impression share, placement, performance overtime and purchased product reports.
- Sponsored Brand Report: This report, designed for Sellers and Vendors, covers keyword, keyword placement, campaign, search term, search term impression share, category benchmark and campaign placement reports.
- Sponsored Display Report: Designed specifically for Sellers looks at campaign, re-targeting, advertised product and purchased product reports.
3. Amazon Business Report:
Arguably the most crucial report — so important we’ve given it its own section — the report provides Sellers with valuable data to influence their advertising strategy. The report documents vital information such as traffic and conversion rates (unit session percentage), whichultimately translates to the success of your business — hence giving this report its own section. Specifically there are three kinds…
(1) Sales Dashboard: This is a snapshot view of orders and sales with a couple of trend graphs to compare across different timelines — namely, previous day, week and year performance.
(2) Sales & Traffic: This provides aggregated account level sales that display at date range levels — that is anything from day, week, month or random.
(3) Detail Page Sales and Traffic by ASIN: This is provided at the parent and child level and shows a detailed performance report at the ASIN level. It is the most granular level report that Amazon provides and again, can be customized by date range.
4. Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS)
Amazon MWS is a set of web service APIs that allow Sellers to automatically exchange data on listings, orders, payments, reports, etc. Using Amazon MWS helps you increase selling efficiency, save time, and reduce overhead costs by streamlining — or even removing — manual tasks related to inventory management, orders, advertising, and reporting. Amazon MWS is also where third-party tools for Amazon can pull transactional data to provide advanced analytics.
But, it’s important to bear in mind that if you want to use MWS you have to develop your own programme to do so or partner with a provider. That is, Amazon does not provide an interface that lets you access this data — the ball is in your court. So while MWS does offer you valuable insight that goes beyond ABA, you have to be pretty tech-proficient to be able to use it.
Why is Amazon Analytics not a one-stop solution?
These Amazon analytics tools analyze data but don’t provide insights on what brand owners should do to improve outcomes. They focus mostly on comparative analysis and don’t give you the contextualization needed to make sense of that information. In other words, Amazon leaves the interpretation of data and consequent decision-making up to you. While this might not seem like the headache it is, the task of interpreting data so you can devise strategic plans based on real-time information is gargantuan. Furthermore, data is siloed across too many reports, making cross-referencing data hard, which drastically complicates the process of extracting meaningful information and limits the conclusions you can reach.
Consider a rowboat at sea, riddled with holes: where the water is data, the boat is Amazon Seller Central, and you are trying to be a sophisticated analytics tool using a bucket to ‘sort’ and interpret the data as quickly as it fills up the boat. By the time you throw water off the side of the boat, it’s already replaced itself. The same can be said for Amazon Sellers, the data being generated is endless and crucially, it is only relevant if interpreted in real-time or it becomes redundant.
You need a platform that provides you with the valuable compound metrics needed to think about how these numbers actually impact your operation on a business-level — and let you focus on the strategic decision making. The right third-party platform will give you insights you can hardly obtain otherwise and deliver them with the speed needed to take action based on timely, relevant data.
How advanced analytics leads to best practices and better outcomes
We, at Nozzle, want to look at what we do to provide an example of the outcomes you should be looking to achieve. As a third-party tool that combines AI and Amazon data feeds, it can provide contextual information that guides your decision-making. Typically we find it more effective to segregate metrics into two different categories: customer persona analysis and sales analysis. Specifically, Nozzle can help you do the following —
Customer persona analysis:
Customer analysis is absolutely vital to making brand decisions that reflect a deep understanding of your customers. Our platform can deep dive into what makes your customer tick and how their behaviour evolves — so that you and your stakeholders can take immediate action to engage with different personas effectively and drive efficient ad-spend. Customer-based, Nozzle datasets include —
- Customer Lifetime Value: This can be defined as the total worth to a business of a customer over the whole period of their relationship. Understanding your CLV will help you optimize for your break-even ACoS/RoAS, identify long-term customer trends, and improve your bundling strategy and remarketing timing. Quantifying a CLV calculation is challenging, but Nozzle makes it easy.
- Repeat purchase analysis: Our platform learns which products are purchased multiple times so that you can set up tailored recommendations to your customers and drive even more sales.
- Customer purchase journeys: The Nozzle platform helps you track and disseminate purchase journeys up to four levels deep — that is, up to four purchases down the line for each customer. Understanding customer purchase journeys in this way allows retailers to more accurately cross-sell, up-sell and retarget to increase customer lifetime value overall. They categorise these use cases in three ways: the first ‘Trial conversion rate’, the second ‘bundle popularity analysis' and lastly the ‘level-up’ use case. Pro tip: for more information on what these use cases mean for ASIN optimization, check out this video.
- CLV-adjusted ACoS: When you know your customer persona’s CLV, you can more easily make informed decisions about how to set your target ACoS and a Break-even ACoS. You can more easily target the right customers at the right time, increasing your chance of conversions and sales and reducing wasted ad-spend. You can identify products that have a higher CLV and prioritise those in your ad-budget.
These metrics, that Nozzle helps to contextualise, will help you quantify the relationship between marketing spend and sales. Our platform will allow you to uncover specifics such as what time of day/day of the week/ day of the month your products are being bought. With information such as this you can adjust your marketing and sales strategies to reflect the insights you’ve derived from sales data. Specific metrics we prioritise for sales data are —
- Break-even ACoS: This is the tipping point between a profit-making and a profit-losing campaign. Your break-even ACoS simply corresponds to your profit margin. For example, if it’s 35%, you start making money if your ACoS is lower than 35%, and you lose money if it goes higher than 35%.
- Geo-hotspot analysis: Brand owners can find the cities where their products are being sold the most and so they can focus their advertising efforts there or replicate successful marketing tactics in other cities. You can adjust your advertising strategy to promote different products in different areas based on the geo-hotspot persona you devise from metrics such as this one.
- Target ACoS: This is the ACoS you need to reach your target profit margin. Your Target ACoS is calculated by subtracting your profit margin from your break-even ACoS. For instance, if your break-even ACoS is 35%, and you want a profit margin of 20%, your target ACoS is 35% — 20% = 15%.
Each of these compound metrics deliver insights that help you grow sales and take actions. Gaining a clear picture of these metrics is critical best practices, and should be a focus on your analytics strategy. But to actually be best-placed to determine and utilize these metrics, each of these compound metrics deliver insights that help you grow sales and take actions. Gaining a clear picture of these metrics is critical best practices, and should be a focus on your analytics strategy. Our technology can exponentially expedite the data sifting and sorting process, determine the value of these metrics and present its findings in one user-friendly, accessible dashboard. Our dashboard is designed to be simple so that commercial value can be cultivated through it, everyone in your business should be capable of digesting the analytic findings, not just the tech-buffs.
No Seller is an island…
Amazon is a unique and complex ecosystem. The Amazon selling analytics best practices that we have covered in this article, involve going further than just collating data through Amazon’s native tools. To take advantage of advanced analytics and beat the competition, you need a third party to work with you to contextualize your data, collapse data silos, and formulate decisions in one dashboard. That’s exactly what we do, at Nozzle. Get your free demo today!