Amazon has continued to share more data with Vendors and Sellers over the last two years. ABAs rollout in 2019 was the first move — finally providing a reporting tool for Sellers that went beyond the basics of inventory management. Now, starting in April of 2020, Vendors have access to ABA as well.
For Vendors using Amazon Retail Analytics (ARA) Premium, ABA access won't actually change the data they have available, but it will come with a $30k per year price tag reduction. Unlike ARA Premium, ABA is free for all registered brands — Sellers and Vendors alike.
Note: Vendors that can’t meet the Brand Registry criteria will still be able to access ARA Basic.
This switch in accessibility is worth commenting on, and a great reason to step back and look at what ABA really has to offer. ABA has some great secrets hidden within its reports. If you can overcome the report segmentation to cross-reference your data in unique ways, insights that are less than obvious jump into focus.
We've just completed a far more in-depth guide to Mastering Amazon Brand Analytics, check that out if you have time. But, without further ado, let’s get started. Let’s get started.
1. There is more behavioral information than SFR
The Amazon Search Terms Report is a central pillar of ABA. It contextualizes search terms by placing them in order of search frequency rank (SFR), and lets you view the percentage of conversions and clicks that the top three ranking ASINs receive in each.
The Search Terms Report won't tell you the raw numbers, but it will let you validate the raw numbers you get from third-party reporting tools, and is a great stand-alone benchmark for understanding market opportunities and trends.
Most people, however, just use the Search Terms Report to look at rolling updates of customer trends, seeing how top-ranked terms fluctuate over time. More advanced users know that looking at click share and conversion share for the top ASINs can tell you a lot about market competitiveness, and how your market share stacks up against the competition. But there is even more data hiding in plain sight.
The context provided by reverse ASIN lookups
Keen-eyed ABA users will have noticed the ASIN search box next to the more popular search terms box. When used together, these two search functions add to each other’s value — helping you identify buying trends and competitors.
Start by pulling the historical keyword rankings for the most-clicked ASINs per keyword and date ranges. Then use the reverse ASIN lookup function to identify where that ASIN was ranking. If you use this information to track both clicks and ranking position per ASIN for the top three most clicked per week, you can find patterns that begin to map out the preferences of your customers and your competitors' reactions.
What this lets you do: Within the reports, you can find the list of top five ASINs. These could also include products that might not be obvious competitors, allowing you to expand the scope of products to target. With a greater number of products to consider targeting, you have a greater chance to get your ads in front of more potential customers.
2. You can estimate your market share
ABA won't allow you to look up your market share directly. However, you can pretty easily estimate your relative market position by looking at the Conversion Share and Click Share data provided by the Amazon Search Terms report.
If you divide the Conversion Share by the Click Share for one of your ASINs, you get a number (R). This number is a good representative of how your products are doing compared to the average conversion rate for a given search term. If the number is greater than one, your share is above average. If R is less than one, you are below average.
What this lets you do: By understanding the relative position of your ASINs, you gain context on how well your products are doing compared to their potential. For example, if your R figure is 1.8, you know that you are performing better than 80% of your competition, and likely have little room for improvement. However, if your R is 0.5, you know that by making adjustments, you could significantly increase the number of sales being made.
3. You can see if your competitors are cheating
Your ability to look at all ASINs on Amazon (what they are ranking for and their click/conversion share) is a great source of competitor information. As we’ve stated, it can help you determine how competitive markets are, and who your main competition is. You can also get a lot of value from the Item Comparison and Alternate Purchase Reports by studying your competition and finding weak spots; your own, and those of your competitors.
What most people don’t know about ABA is that by cross-referencing the right data, you can also tell if your competition is cheating. There is a bit of legwork involved (so it’s best to pick and choose when it’s worth undertaking), but it can be helpful if you suspect foul play.
Most Sellers on Amazon play by the rules. But there are many Seller actions that violate Amazon’s Terms of Service (TOS). An all too common violation is the use of bots to run searches, click the target product, and perform a range of customer-type actions. This leads to a higher keyword ranking for the product.
You can use ABA to identify rank and keyword abuse by looking for three convergent signs:
- Large click share for a single ASIN
- 0% conversion share
- No sponsored ads and not ranking in the top two pages.
What this lets you do: You can’t actually remove products based on this information. However, you can report the suspicious behavior to Amazon. Ultimately, this information will help you contextualize your own click and conversion shares, better understand the competition, and maybe reduce some of your competition by reporting cheaters to the Amazon authorities.
4. Figure out what you should actually be doing
The biggest problem with ABA is figuring out what to do with the information. It’s great to know the most searched for terms, which products shoppers look at after looking at yours, and what percentage of conversions the top-ranking ASINs receive. But none of that tells you a lot about what you should do to improve your outcomes.
The answer here is manually intensive, but very valuable if you have the time. Basically, you can use the ABA reports to find your main competitors (on a brand and, more importantly, on an ASIN level), pull that information out into a spreadsheet, and add in the context by hand. That means looking up the products, recording their delivery times, star rating, number of reviews, product attributes, whether or not they are A+ listings, etc.
Using the information you collect, you can then cross-reference that data with your own product data. By spotting differences, you can make educated decisions about how to improve your listings and encroach on your competitors.
You can also use the Item Comparison and Alternate Purchase Report to find new keywords. Use successful ASINs in search term brand analytics and note what the competition does differently.
Using analytics tools to go further
ABA is not the be-all-and-end-all of Amazon customer data. Other sources of data such as those coming from Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS) can provide transaction information that is not otherwise available. However, MWS is an API and requires additional resources to access. You are going to need to invest in a third-party analytics tool if you want to get granular with your data.
Analytics tools also make most of the strategies discussed here far simpler — particularly, point number three. A big reason that Sellers and Vendors never really dig into contextual details is time. Digging out all of that information is slow-going, and it starts falling out of date as soon as it’s moved to a spreadsheet.
Third-party tools can help you cut through that noise by automatically pulling all of the contextual information you need to take action based on Item Comparison and Alternate Purchase Reports, and keep that information up to date. They will also archive that data so that you can look at long-term trends. Remember, ABA only stores data for one year. So, if you want to identify long-term or seasonal trends, you will need to archive that information somehow.
Using AI/ML, these same tools can crunch the numbers on that information (augmented by MWS data) to map out buying-trajectories over time, and estimate customer lifetime value based on certain product categories. Again, we go into more detail on this in our ABA eBook. However, we hope this article has helped you get more out of ABA.
Good luck and get selling!