2021 Guide: How to Use Competitive Intelligence on Amazon & Walmart

December 15, 2020
2021 Guide: How to Use Competitive Intelligence on Amazon & Walmart

From free to paid, brand owners and sellers have access to any number of tools providing competitive insights for online marketplaces. But what metrics should you be focusing on, and how can you put insights to good use in terms of optimizing other aspects of your online business? 

In this webinar, we walk through important considerations for sellers and brand owners when it comes to competitive intelligence, how the space is evolving, along with real-world commentary from brands on what’s working versus what isn’t. 

Here’s what we cover:

  • Surveying the landscape of current market intelligence options and reporting
  • Detailing what statistics and insights are most important at different stages of a company’s growth path
  • Highlighting areas where brand owners and sellers may have gaps in operationalizing any insights
  • Commentary from top-selling brands currently utilizing competitive intelligence, and where they see the market heading

Your hosts

Alon Maltzov, General Manager, Market Intelligence, Teikametrics

Andrew Waber, Director of Insights, Teikametrics

Ryan Goldstein, Founder, AirVinyl

Read Ryan Goldstein’s Ecommerce Brand Launch Story 

 

Key Market Intelligence Takeaways:

  • Take a hard look at the sources of your current market intelligence and understand the blind spots.
  • Amazon insights options are myriad, while Walmart is more limited. What option you choose should be based on what you’re looking to do with the insights.
  • Think about ways to drive interoperability, meaning the ability of software systems to exchange and use information, tying insights to actual decisions.

Timestamps:

[1:35 ]
Meet the speakers

 

[4:09]
Flywheel 2.0: Maximizing the potential of every seller and brand owner

 

[8:24]
The market intelligence landscape

 

[10:31]
Reporting examples – using multiple disconnected tools

 

[17:38]
Key Challenges – data sourced from marketplace API vs. data capture

 

[20:28]
Looking across marketplaces – location matters

 

[29:19]
Where to focus – what data will help you take action?

 

[33:07]
Using market intelligence for different business purposes — for ecommerce marketing, for research 

 

[46:11]
Example of market intelligence in Flywheel 2.0: Share of Voice Report

 

[51:18]
Key takeaways 

 

[52:27]
Q&A featuring questions from sellers and brand owners like you

 

Watch The Competitive Intelligence Replay

Read The Full Transcript

Andrew Waber (00:00:02):

Hi, everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar, I guess the third in this customer growth series. Really excited for this one, and glad so many of you are on the line. And as we get more folks coming in, we’ll just give them a minute. Again, for just a reminder, today we’re going to be talking about market intelligence, and specifically how you should be thinking about using it across major marketplaces, specifically in the Amazon and Walmart timeframe. So what’s out there, where are some gaps, what you should be aware of, depending on what you’re looking to do. So we’re going to cover a lot of stuff here.

Andrew Waber (00:00:41):

And just some housekeeping notes before we get started. This webinar will be recorded, and you’ll receive a recording of this webinar roughly 24 hours after the conclusion. Then additionally, you’ll receive this full slide deck so you can review it at your leisure as you go through, share it with teammates, et cetera. And as we go through, we’re going to have time for Q&A at the end, but at any time during the presentation you have a question that comes up, definitely pop it in the question box just as it enters your mind, and we’re going to get to as many as we can at the end of the webinar. But you don’t have to wait until the end to enter your questions, you can do it at anytime. And if you have a question that we’re not able to get to, we’re definitely going to try to get to those via email after the fact. So feel free to enter them as the case may be, as they come up. Without further ado, let’s go ahead and get started.

Andrew Waber (00:01:35):

We have Alon Maltzov here up at the top, who is a General Manager of Market Intelligence over here at Teikametrics. We also have Ryan Goldstein, who’s the founder of AirVinyl. And myself, I’m Andrew Waber, the Director of Insights over at Teikametrics. So maybe Alon, if you could kind of talk about your journey coming here, I know you initially started off, you had founded a company called Adjusti, which was recently acquired by Teikametrics. But if you could talk a little bit about yourself, and your experience in this space.

Alon Maltzov (00:02:13):

Yeah, for sure. So first of all, I’m super, super excited to be here now, and have this webinar going on. We started our journey, my co-founder and I, around three years ago when we realized that Amazon is growing like crazy, mainly as advertising aspect. And we realized that there is a gap in the market. It’s kind of like a black box that no one really knows how it works, and a lot of data points are missing. We’re comparing stuff from the world of Google and Facebook, there’s a lot of tools that basically helps you better understand what’s going on, who is your competitors, how you’re listing, how your ad looks like, and so on.

Alon Maltzov (00:02:52):

This is how we started the Adjusti.co. Two and a half years after, we decided to join forces with Teikametrics, and take our technology and embedded it in Teikametrics Flywheel and we’re super, super excited to show you what we are about to launch.

Andrew Waber (00:03:15):

Great. And Ryan, could you talk a little bit about AirVinyl, and your journey as a seller?

Ryan Goldstein (00:03:19):

Yeah. So I’m the founder of AirVinyl, which was the first ecommerce brand that I’ve started, I guess, back at this point it was in 2017. Now I’m currently a partner at Agent Retail, where I work on managing a series of brands that we both own or work on from an agency perspective. So these range from beauty and supplements to cookware, to still AirVinyl, and AirPod accessories, so kind of a wide net of various products, and so been deep into operating brands for the last few years now.

Andrew Waber (00:04:04):

Great. Thanks so much. Yeah, definitely exciting, a lot of great experience here. So next I want to go through what we’re building with Flywheel 2.0, as kind of an overview. And to bring us up, when Teikametrics was getting into the advertising space on Amazon, we launched this product called Sponsored Product Optimizer. And this was really focused on Amazon specifically, and only at optimization. We wanted to help people with those sponsored products, ads that you see, obviously on the Amazon search page, optimize those, bid better, place those better. Then, in 2019, we upgraded that with Flywheel. Now this was still Amazon only, and ad optimization, but it also included product data, a much richer feature set, allowed it’s sellers to do a lot more with the software.

Andrew Waber (00:04:57):

And that’s been working really well with the thousands of brands we work with, but if we look towards the future of what ecommerce is building, there’s a need to link up ad optimization with a bunch of other functionality, that you naturally need to manage as part of running your business. And each of these has an impact on one another. For instance, the way your inventory is managed, and what inventory you have available should impact your ad strategy. For instance, if you were in danger of running out of stock, if your ad is running well and is getting a lot of sales, you may want to pause that down, because it’s going out of stock, obviously it negatively impacts your Amazon SERP rank, et cetera.

Andrew Waber (00:05:42):

So there’s all these things that need to work in consort. So the idea between Flywheel 2.0 is giving you a few, and tying some of these things together, so that just make you a business across each of these individual aspects of your business. So that’s kind of the overarching view of why we’re building software, and again, we’ll talk a little bit more about this, but this webinar is going to be more focused on the experiences of brands like Ryan’s, and then generally what Alon has seen throughout his experience both at and prior to Teikametrics.

Andrew Waber (00:06:14):

So this Customer Growth series again, this is the third part of this ongoing series, the desire is to talk about real stories and best practices as they hit the ground. We can talk theoretical, but what can you take away from this webinar that’s going to help make you a better seller, and really just make you think maybe a little bit differently, especially in this case. The holiday season, it’s in full gear, but let’s really talk about 2021. The time is now to really start thinking about the changes you can make to put yourself in a much better position as the calender turns over, and just all the other things you can do there.

Andrew Waber (00:06:50):

So with that, let’s talk a little bit about what the agenda is for today. So first, I’m going to hand it over to Alon, who’s going to talk more about the landscape in general. There’s no shortage of free or paid tools out there when it comes to giving you a view into a specific marketplace, a specific category that you operate in, but what are some of the options out there? And then transitioning to key challenges, of those options that are out there for you, what should you be out there that can trip you up, and there’s some good commentary there. And then, okay, well going forward, where should you focus depending on the stage of your business, depending on what you’re looking to do. There’s different things that you want to want to pay attention to.

Andrew Waber (00:07:33):

And similarly, how do use market intelligence to address certain business purposes that you need to execute on in the immediate future? Because you want to do with certain bits of information is definitely different, if, for instance, you’re a well-heeled, very well-established brand in a particular vertical, versus someone who, I haven’t been in this marketplace, and I’m investigating. There’s very different things you need to look at. So we’re going to talk a little bit about that. And then, as I mentioned, we’re going to wrap up with Q&A at the end of the presentation. So as we go through, please enter your questions into the question box there, we’ll get to, again, as many of those as we possibly can.

Andrew Waber (00:08:12):

And for those of you that just hopped on, you will be getting a recording of this presentation if you miss anything, along with the slides there, so just to answer those questions there. And with that, let’s get into the landscape there.

Alon Maltzov (00:08:29):

Yeah. So usually when we’re looking at market intelligence, and sellers or people that are active in this area, we like to divide into two. One of them, one sector is the ecommerce marketer, which, it could be an active seller with a small GMV or up to millions of dollars of GMV, who actually is trying to improve their performance. They are doing it through different aspects and different tool, but that’s one area. The other area is people that just want to join and start selling online. It could be existing ecommerce sellers that are trying to launch a new product, a new brand, or just people that just hopped in, and want to start researching and see what you can do. That’s mainly the two areas that we are trying to talk, when we’re talking about market intelligence in general. And I think, Ryan, you can share a little bit about your journey, because I think you played into these two scenarios all the time.

Ryan Goldstein (00:09:29):

Yeah. I think it’s really interesting, people look at market intelligence or market tracking tools, and do apply it a lot into the research phase of maybe trying to figure out which products they want to sell, or categories that they want to expand into, but it’s really interesting how much you can use it during operations as well. I think it’s something that everyone thinks to use it during that initial phase, but in the last two years, I found myself trying to really bring in a lot of that continued research as I’m operating. So both of these two different aspects make a big difference when it comes to not only launching your brand, but continuing to grow your brand, which is obviously the goal of everyone who’s starting an ecommerce business.

Alon Maltzov (00:10:25):

Definitely. And if we are talking about the tool that we have, or some examples of what actually, Ryan, other folks are measuring, usually it starts with a lot of different tools, they are not connected to your same platform. So you would use outside tools, or download the data, put it in excel sheet, do your magic, you can upload it back again through a different platform. A lot of them are gathering a lot of data from different resources, and it’s super, super important to understand what the key challenge is, which we will talk about in a bit, but also insights that you are trying to gather.

Alon Maltzov (00:11:08):

One other thing that we realized while working on Adjusti.co and now with Teikametrics is some insights that we still don’t understand how people are advertising without those inputs. So for example, one of them is the organic ranked position. When you advertise on a product, you are trying, basically, to improve your organic rank, but currently, through the Amazon’s API, you don’t have any information on where your product is basically positioned. Ryan, how do you do it?

Ryan Goldstein (00:11:42):

I definitely think that it’s a cumbersome process going through all of this. There’s two aspects of it, but I really think about… Even just looking at organic ranked position, there are times when for things like that I used to manually just go to Amazon, and when I was launching a product and I wanted to see how I was doing on a certain keyword, I would go everyday, and I kept an excel sheet of typing that in, and I’d count where my product was, which is, needless to say, not very doable for a full catalog and different keywords.

Ryan Goldstein (00:12:16):

But the other aspect I think has been really interesting, Alon, as I’ve been talking to you more and more about it, is, you know, as you said, there are tools that are pulling from different areas, maybe different platforms, different times, and when I use these tools, I tend to just trust whatever they’re sending my way. But even sometimes when I would check it manually, they would be different. So it is a lot of manual, and can you trust some of the results that you see sometimes, when it’s being pulled from different areas.

Alon Maltzov (00:12:52):

Yeah, definitely. And another aspect that brought to the market, back, I would say two years ago, is the share of voice. And what does it mean? So, share of voice basically means once you, let’s say we’re looking at it from the commerce area, and you’ll go to a supermarket, and you have aisles of products, and you usually would know which products are next to your products, so if I’m selling a cereal box, I would know which brands are next to me, the prices, and I would get some of estimation how much they are selling, and how my products are positioned next to them.

Alon Maltzov (00:13:25):

In the ecommerce world, especially in Amazon, that’s just a black box. You have no idea who is next to you. And one of the thing that we did and provided is kind of an understanding of what’s the share of voice. How many products are listed on the first page under any search them? So, imagine that every search term is kind of another market, is another supermarket, so you could play around in that market, and which product are next to you, what their prices are, who is moving fast, the fast-movers, and so on. And that’s one of the insight that a lot of people are starting to utilize more and more, and then understand brand actions and a lot of other stuff. So that’s a super, super interesting area to tackle.

Alon Maltzov (00:14:09):

Another feature that we saw is the reverse ASIN capability ability, mainly for launching new products. So you want to know who is your competitor, so you can go, you can find them manually on Amazon, and then you put in the ASIN and, getting a list of search terms that he’s advertised on, or positioned on. And it’s a lot of insights that can help you better understand your market in general. Ryan, in terms of those tools, so I assume that you use some other tools out there, and did some analysis. Can you share a little bit about that?

Ryan Goldstein (00:14:41):

Yeah. That really is the way that I approach it, especially, let’s take, for example, just in the research phase, as I’m looking at these competitor products, I’ll go onto Amazon and see how would I try and find that product, and find a product that comes up that’s doing well, and then use something like these reverse ASIN tools, to then pull all the keywords that come up for that. And you mentioned it, this concept of every keyword really is it’s own marketplace.

Ryan Goldstein (00:15:16):

And so you have to understand how each one of these is specifically operating, and then looking into that and seeing for certain keywords, where are they coming up, and which one should you be targeting because of that. It’s definitely a very involved process, but it’s something that’s really important to understand as you’re looking at, maybe not just competitors, but putting that together with the keywords that they may be competitors on. Because certain keywords they may not show up, you may be trying to show up. So all of this works together, and it’s something that any one of these individually doesn’t really help. Yo do need a full picture of everything that’s going on.

Alon Maltzov (00:16:03):

Yeah. And another thing that we heard from a lot of customers, and that’s one of the, I would say, gold-mine, is to better understand your market share. How much money there is in the market, who is the main competitors, what’s the revenue that I can generate from that market, is it a red ocean, a blue ocean, what’s the thing it does, and that comes to another category that you are trying to be ranked on.

Ryan Goldstein (00:16:28):

Yeah.

Alon Maltzov (00:16:29):

All in all I… Yeah, go on.

Andrew Waber (00:16:32):

Yeah, I think what’s interesting about that on the market share aspect, which I think is particularly important given the current climate, where you have, essentially, a lot of sellers, so our kind of baseline numbers when it comes to sales across the year have increased. Because obviously more people are going to online channels generally. But the important thing is, okay, are you outpacing your competitors? Because you could have sales that year over year they’ve gone up 20, 30 percent, which if you just look at yourself, you’re like, “That’s awesome, I’m doing great,” but if your overall market is going 40 percent, well you’re actually pacing behind your competitors in that case, and it’s important to at least have some view into what that’s looking like. How is the larger growth of the market at a higher level, and how do you track against that, so you can have a better idea of, am I doing both subjectively and objectively well, as you set your strategy.

Alon Maltzov (00:17:24):

Yeah. I completely agree with this. And I think going to the next slide, I think that will be interesting, to talk about the key challenges here. Because as we mentioned, there’s a lot of tools for capture data, so if we look at it, mainly two areas. So one of them is, we can get data from the marketplace that’s API. Amazon is providing some of the data, it’s super accurate, because obviously Amazon is capturing it, the availability is pretty good, some of the reports you can get on a daily basis, some you can get an API access, but the problem here is that there are super limit in these abilities, meaning, currently we know how many people are searching for a certain word, or some of the tools are utilizing the impressions to better understand how could we be rank on it, but we don’t really know where the product is positioned. Even to our advertisement or search term, we don’t know if it’s the advertisement that is on the first page, second page, top of the SERP, the first position, the middle, and who is basically outbid you, and stuff like that.

Alon Maltzov (00:18:35):

And the second area, we have a lot of other tool that capturing data. And so it gives you wider visibility, and the structure is super important for you to take and basically plug it to your APIs. It’s super hard to get this data, and the accuracy is one of the major things that we need to talk about. There’s a lot of ways to capture this data, it needs to be super organized to actually become meaningful, and reduce the noise in the data.

Alon Maltzov (00:19:02):

And I think, Ryan, you can tell a little bit more about tools that you’ve been exposed to that you’ve been using.

Ryan Goldstein (00:19:11):

Yeah. And I think this also goes back to what I was saying, just about where the data’s coming from. With a lot of the market intelligence tools, whatever decisions you’re going to make, are very important to how either you’re doing your product research, which is setting your foundation, or operating your business. And you do have to have this level of trust that what is coming to you is actually the right information, again. So this has been an interesting one, again, Avon, because I’ve been talking to you more, and learning about where does the data come from, how does it come in here. It does kind of make you think a little bit more about this really critical data that I’m using, how good is it, and knowing which ones are maybe really accurate, versus ones that it’s a little bit more challenging to create that in more of an accurate way. It’s really important to know, and it’s critical to being able to make these decisions the right way.

Andrew Waber (00:20:18):

Looks like we lost Alon’s video momentarily. I believe he’s still… Yeah, he’s still on, it’s just like we lost video. We could talk through a little bit in this next slide, when you’re looking across market places, and what the challenges are. And as we look through it, location is really important, and I think this is sometimes lost on folks. Ryan, right, you were talking about how earlier, it’s like, “I’m going to go and I’m going to look at Amazon and see where my stuff is placed.” The issue is, even if you’re in incognito and all that, there is other things that Amazon will do to actually put things in front of you, depending on where you are. So it just changes dramatically. Yeah, go ahead.

Ryan Goldstein (00:21:04):

Yeah. It’s interesting to see some of that stuff, even, again, location, time of day. Obviously, especially when you talk about looking at things that are maybe paid advertisement, someone maybe could be bidding really high with a lower budget, and they show up high in the morning, but then when they run out of budget, they’re not showing up. So there’s a lot that comes into that, in terms of location, time of day, all of that, that changes that information.

Andrew Waber (00:21:36):

Yeah, and it’s super interesting, because when you… This is actually one of the things, when Alon was talking about the data capture tools, this is one, I think, a big caveat depending on how they’re architected is, what are they capturing, and from where, and how are they doing it? Because obviously if you are just capturing it from a single location you’re only going to get a slice, and how do you then provide some kind of information on what’s really going on. Obviously even that is kind of a subjective measure, but to provide you with the best directional information in terms of what’s showing up where, and at a general level, how are you doing.

Andrew Waber (00:22:21):

So the next one, and Alon, feel free to jump in here, is one on different attributes. I think when you look across marketplaces, the way Amazon architects it’s SERP page, which maybe redundant, just SERP, and the way Walmart organizes it’s SERP is very different, how they place ads there. For instance, I think one of the biggest things is for, on Amazon, right, I can have multiple sponsored listings and organic listings for the same product on the same SERP page. I can have a sponsored brands placement, I can have a sponsored products placement, and then I can have my organic placement. So I can show up three times for the same product on a given SERP.

Andrew Waber (00:22:57):

But on Walmart, they intentionally, just for what they determined was better for the consumer, is they only allow a product to show up once, and they’ve recently expanded this, but for a long time, it was even only certain portions of the SERP were available for ads. So the way you reconcile that as you take it in as a brand and try to determine what’s your best course of action, you need to think about this in a market-place specific context, and what that means. If your competitor’s showing up from a share of voice, if they can show up three times on a given SERP with the same product, that’s very different. You don’t even have that ability on Walmart. So Alon, if you want to talk a little bit about that.

Alon Maltzov (00:23:40):

Yeah. I think the location is one of the key aspect here, and I’m sure that I heard a little bit, sorry for jumping out. When you’re gathering the data, you’re not gathering it in the same time, from the same location. Basically, you add a lot of noise to the data, and it’s not an actionable, but if you want to actually build the solution that is good enough, you have to make sure that the data is captured in the same way. I’m not going to keep changing a lot of things in the website, adding more ads. And Walmart obviously just added a few more ad placements. So if this stuff continues, there’s continuing changes, and you need to make sure that the data that you’re relying on is super, super accurate. One of the easiest example is to, if you’re just going to search one search term on Amazon from New York and LA, you’re just going to see a different search page.

Alon Maltzov (00:24:37):

So that’s one of the keys aspect here. And I think also, Andrew, as you mentioned, when you’re comparing between marketplaces, it’s super super important to know how to do that, and also to have one single source of truth. When you’re gathering data from different sources and trying to connect it to your own data, first of all, it’s a lot of manual work, but second of all, some of the data is not tracked in the same way, which ruined the experience, and probably will ruin the results.

Andrew Waber (00:25:05):

I know we’re kind of, keep coming back to location here, but I think even… We were talking about this in the context of Amazon and Walmart, but even within Amazon, you could even look at just two different European marketplaces, and obviously, let alone the SERP is going to be different, obviously you’re talking different countries, different languages potentially, but then additionally, even, when you look at how do consumers behave, the behavior that, if they’re on a given sponsored product ad that shows up on a same search term in between these two Amazon marketplaces, you may see very different, whether it’s win rates, whether it’s conversion rates on those same ads, and the way you take action obviously needs to be marketplace specific, again, because they are so different.

Andrew Waber (00:25:59):

And maybe Ryan, I know as you’ve looked at both maybe between different product classes or different marketplaces, how you reconcile this idea that it’s like, well, there’s apples to apples, but there’s some ways I have to think about these individually.

Ryan Goldstein (00:26:15):

Yeah. I do think that the idea of that, partnered with the idea of where things actually show up on the page is important. I think something that people think about a lot is, if I’m organically number one, do I need to pay for a sponsored brand? Like, am I just paying extra to get a sale I would have gotten anyway? But again, I think it does come down to, it’s more complicated than that. It is a little bit… Like the user behavior, like you were saying, maybe if those two were together, do people end up purchasing because they’re seeing it twice, or maybe you’re not in the top spot but organically you are, and your sponsored product comes up midway down the page.

Ryan Goldstein (00:26:57):

So I think that there’s a lot of aspects to just the way that things are displayed on those pages that you have to take into consideration, and it does come down to your coverage on that page. If it’s not you, it’s going to be someone else, and that’s just a competitor for you. So I think it’s an interesting way to think about, and especially when you talk about different markets where on Walmart that’s not the case, you don’t have that option, and different European markets, and they operate differently than you’re seeing in the US marketplace. So all of that has to be taken into consideration, for sure.

Alon Maltzov (00:27:40):

Then, and I think Ryan, one thing that you mentioned is basically connecting it to advertising or inventory. One of the major aspect that we want to bring to Flywheel 2.0 is that, meaning connecting market intelligence insight into advertising can create the magic that we are looking for, and also inventory, preferred financing, and multi-channel if we are talking about Walmart and so on. That is the goal of what we are trying to build. And I think that’s where, also, the magic lands. As you mentioned, if the organic rankings is the top position, maybe you should move your budget to a different search term, or maybe you should keep doing it? If there is another scenario where, let’s say, you decided that you don’t want to be organically positioned number one, but you advertise on that product at one. There’s a lot of other things that we can start doing, and that’s the really exciting part of Flywheel 2.0.

Ryan Goldstein (00:28:39):

Yeah. The connection of it is huge. As a ecommerce operator, you don’t get the luxury of being able to operate in a bubble. Everything that you do has consequences to a completely different aspect of that business, like you’re saying. If you push advertising too hard and you don’t have inventory, you’re going to be in a bad scenario. And likewise, if you’re not doing this market intel to research what you should be doing for your base, you’re going to be making your advertising a lot more challenging. So it all comes together, and really, you have to attack it all together in order for it to be successful.

Andrew Waber (00:29:16):

I love that. And getting to that, talking about focus areas, and this is, I think, a good way of summarizing what, as a seller, you should really pay attention to, kind of like what we’ve talking about, but distilling it down to these points, which is where is the data coming from, Alon’s talked about this, you’ve talked about this kind of two different areas, the main areas where you see data sources coming from, whether it’s API, or whether it’s data capture.

Andrew Waber (00:29:50):

And how often is that data being collected? That one is a big one. Because if you look at, for example, those data capturing, even if it’s super accurate, I have a really good idea about where I’m showing up on the SERP page, where my competitors are, what my share of the digital shelf or share of voice is, but it’s really critical that you’re tracking that over time. Because really, if you just capture it, it’s a snapshot in time, which may be helpful, but it really doesn’t give you… What are you going on there? Because I don’t know, where was I last week, where am I going to be next week, where am I tomorrow, how often is that changing.

Andrew Waber (00:30:24):

For instance, you could look at a search term where, if there’s a lot of entrenched players, maybe the organic ranks on the search terms, especially on page one, don’t change all that much, but if you go to, let’s say, a search term that’s a little newer, maybe it’s, again, something that’s maybe more newly popular, maybe around a specific trend, where there might be a little more volatility in terms of what Amazon’s surfacing there. And so you should be able to tell, again, where are those differences, and how your strategy, again, shift based on what you’re seeing. And then kind of similarly, for these learnings, how can you incorporate them to action, which again, we talked about, having a more steady stream of when this information are coming in, it gives you the ability to say, “Okay, if I’m seeing this, maybe I should think about these actions.”

Andrew Waber (00:31:07):

And maybe Alon or Ryan, if you want to chime in here in terms of maybe other thoughts around these kinds of issues?

Ryan Goldstein (00:31:17):

Yeah, I think the one that always comes to me is how often is the data being collected. I think that idea of a snapshot versus seeing trends is very different. There’s a difference in the granularity of your data, versus how often, as the third point, do you incorporate that learning into action. Just because you’re collecting data every day or multiple times a day, doesn’t mean you’re doing something with it all the time. But when you get to, let’s say, the end of a two-week period, or the end of that month, you want that granularity, to be able to see what is the trend that’s happening. It’s similar with even the ad aspect of it. I don’t check Flywheel on my ads every single day, but I know it’s doing something every hour, and you need that aspect to be able to have it be effective.

Alon Maltzov (00:32:12):

Exactly. I think it’s super important to also collect the data a few times per day. A lot of tools are providing insights on a daily level, and some of them, we don’t know. We don’t know what happened in the background. And it’s hard for us to rely on those kind of tools when it comes to advertising. If you actually want to connect the data to advertising, and bidding it, Ryan, changing the bid every hour, can be up to every 15 minutes, that data source is super, super important, and once you are tracking that things on a monthly, yearly level, you can start identifying trends. So that’s one of the thing that we love about what we’re doing, and we can also project a lot of other things through that process.

Andrew Waber (00:33:03):

Yeah, it’s a great point, again, of, moving forward, we always talk about using this. And we talked about the business purposes earlier in the call, so let’s talk about the first one. This is if you’re already, you’re selling on a given marketplace, you’re looking to improve your performance. So we talked about the goals here, when you’re growing a product, for instance I have a product that’s been on Amazon as an example, for a number of months, it’s gaining some traction, but I want it to become the market leader, and I want to grow it’s sales, want to grow it’s market share. And similarly, let’s say you are very entrenched, I’ve got a product that’s been out for years, it’s one of the most well-reviewed, how do you maintain that position, the idea of brand protection?

Andrew Waber (00:33:51):

I think this is a big one with… Ryan, you talked about it, right? It’s like, I might be ranking number one, but how much of that is driven just, “Okay, I’m organic, and I can stick with it, I don’t really need to advertise much,” but how much of that is driven by, let’s say, other advertisements I might be placing on that same SERP? And this expands both of them, but expanding to other marketplaces, let’s say my product is doing really, really well on Amazon US, you could maybe make an inference, is it worth doing so on Amazon Canada, as an example? Do I have the ability to do that? And you can take some of these insights here, and how to port them over to similar markets, as the case may be, but you guys, in terms of any thoughts around this specific aspect?

Ryan Goldstein (00:34:44):

Yeah, I think the expanding to other markets is an interesting one. A question that I actually get a lot from people who are asking me about just expanding into other marketplaces when they have a product that’s doing well on Amazon, there’s always a difficulty in understanding, are you going to do well on that, everyone knows that there are different… You maybe aren’t going to go onto Amazon Canada and see the exact same sales because you’re doing well on the US marketplace.

Ryan Goldstein (00:35:17):

But when you have a strategy on the US marketplace, let’s say for one of ours we’re looking specifically at stainless steel saute pans or something, and you’re looking at the search volumes, and the market, and who’s coming up on that. Being able to switch over to another marketplace and at least compare what is happening, it’s very useful to then be able to inform a little bit more, and not just say, “Well, I’m going to take a wild guess and hope that… Is the volume going to be half of what it is on the US market or… And so you can look specifically at those search terms and understand by looking at competitors, looking at traffic that’s coming to those, and help actually figure out what it is that you need to be doing.

Andrew Waber (00:36:10):

Yeah, and kind of getting along with that, I think this is a great graph that illustrates a lot of this, and I definitely encourage folks to put this in their own mind, this is an audit that we conduct for certain subsets of our clients as we’re looking at what they’ve been doing prior to coming to Teikametrics. And this gets at the the idea of overbidding versus underbidding on a given search term. This is really critical, when you think about… One thing that we love about Teikametrics, the way we’ve architected ourselves, especially our bidder, is the idea around value per click. We want to maximize value per click, and we want to bid in a relation to that value.

Andrew Waber (00:36:55):

So we don’t want to, let’s say, overbid, where essentially it’s a click that essentially has as a lower value, lower potential value, or alternatively, we don’t want to say, if, let’s say it’s a, typically sees category terms where a user doesn’t know a brand they want, and a sale there is essentially much more, generally, it’s going to be much more likely to be incremental, in that that person was not, you don’t know whether or not they were going to buy your brand or a competitor, those terms are potentially more valuable.

Andrew Waber (00:37:27):

So you can see here that this is a really interesting graph to look at, because what this shows is when you look at a value per click, this is, again, across a client that we did this audit for, you look at these bubbles, and again, you can kind of see just the amount of investment. You see that they were doing, obviously a lot of campaigns, but really focused on the generic versus branded here, and the competitor chart. So branded terms, I think this gets to a question a lot of folks have, which is, “I have these branded terms, and they drive sales for me. I’m getting clicks on those ads, and I’m driving sales.”

Andrew Waber (00:38:03):

The issue for that is, the likelihood of someone going on a branded term with your branded term and not converting on one of your products, your brand’s products, is extremely low. Amazon is predisposed, in the organic rank, to put as many of your products in front of that consumer. They’re trying to foster a great consumer experience. If I search for Adidas shoes, they’re going to try to put as many Adidas on that search page as possible. So what you see a lot of is, well if I’m a consumer and I come there, I searched for that search term. I might click, “Yeah, exactly, that’s what I want, the first result,” which tends to be a sponsored add. And so when you just look at these results as, “Wow, this branded search term’s doing great for me, I’m getting a ton of sales off it, the A cost is low, however, are you driving incremental sales, are you capturing sales you would not have done organically?

Andrew Waber (00:38:56):

Now, there’s a degree of brand offense. You have to lock that line of, “I don’t want a competitor to bid out on mine.” Granted, you do have some advantage there as a seller, that you’re the brand that they’re searching for, and you’re a specialist, your brand’s registered, Amazon does give you a little bit of preference bid-wise on some of those terms. But looks at these generic terms or unbranded terms, and you see how many of them this company’s underbidding on. And these terms tend to be more popular than the branded terms, generally, and they’re more valuable. If I capture a sale on branded terms, I’m putting myself to the front of a consumer that likely didn’t know about me, they’re doing an initial search, and I can capture that before a competitor does.

Andrew Waber (00:39:37):

So those are typically more valuable sales that it can capture there, and your bid should reflect that. So this is something that, I’d take the metrics again and we’d put again this analysis for clients against part of a larger audit. But this kind of underscores this idea of not all search terms are created equal, and the way you look at the universe of where your products are showing up, and how they’re showing up, is really important, because it should dictate other aspects of your marketing mix, how you’re bidding, how aggressive should you be, all this other stuff.

Andrew Waber (00:40:07):

So I think this a really good graph. I don’t know if any of you guys have other things to add here, maybe, just in terms of your experience.

Ryan Goldstein (00:40:16):

I do think it’s really important. I was really interested when I saw this. I think it’s a cool analysis, to be able to really… I think everyone splits up in this method of this auto generic branded competitor, and you see these groupings, and it’s fascinating. I need to get this made for my brands.

Andrew Waber (00:40:38):

I love it. And definitely, I think this is something… It’s an ongoing process. Ryan talked about this. This is not a set it and forget it. If you were this brand and you look at this graph, you might make changes that can help you, okay, let’s try to get these bids more aligned with what the value is, but it’s going to be a constant effort. Nothing in e-commerce stays static. And similarly, the way you’re bidding on terms needs to change based on metrics like conversion rate, conversion volume, and those never stay the same. They just don’t.

Andrew Waber (00:41:11):

So switching over to kind of, okay, let’s talk the research purposes. This is a graph from some of the research we put out roughly, it’s actually a little less than a month ago. This was looking at from 2019, we looked across given categories, and we looked at how much did search volume on terms related to those categories change from the pre Thanksgiving period to Cyber Week, and post-Cyber Week, which is interesting, because actually what you find, and we’re in the process of it now, is that even after Cyber Week, conversion rates still go up, search volume still stays pretty high. So this gives you an idea, when you’re talking about research, high level things, if I’m looking at a new market, can I see some insights that can help me in terms of any other aspect of my business.

Andrew Waber (00:42:02):

I think this one could be a good justification. Let’s say if I’m only selling on Walmart, I haven’t sold on Amazon.com yet, key is Cyber Week, is Cyber Week a good time to launch a product, let’s say, in the certain category? And you could make an argument that it’s more competitive during these times, but there’s such a huge volume increase in things like electronics, and you see this in toys and games, that that can very much outweigh… Okay, yes, it’s going to be more competitive, it’ll be slightly more expensive when you’re talking about it on the cpc basis, but with that volume increase, this is something we talk about all the time when you’re launching products, you need to drive volume, that’s the name of the game, in order to get a defensible organic position.

Andrew Waber (00:42:47):

So if you know the volume’s going to be there, it’s almost always going to be worth that increased price, because that’s the way you get a defensible position. You don’t get it by, “I’m going to really be tight on ACOS when I’m launching this product, and I’m going to be tight on efficiency.” You need to be willing to say, no, I need to drive sales velocity, so that I show Amazon I am the right product for this search, I’m the right product for it’s consumers that search and like this, and it’s going to just do you better over the long term.

Andrew Waber (00:43:16):

So Alon, I don’t know if you want to talk a little bit, more when you use these research type mindset?

Alon Maltzov (00:43:24):

Yeah, definitely. I think, Ryan and I had a conversation about it a few days ago, when you could see how the trends in the category, how much the sales volume in the category goes up or down, and sometimes you think, “Oh, maybe I’m not doing everything right.” But actually, the sales volume’s just going down in the entire market. Ryan, do you want to share the example?

Ryan Goldstein (00:43:45):

Yeah. I think that it’s really important to be looking at getting into this granularity of understanding the search volumes that are happening within this. The example that Alon was talking about that we were discussing is, I have this product, and the sales for it started going down dramatically, and I was freaking out trying to figure out what it was coming from. Was it coming from an ad issue on my end, was there something wrong with the listing? And sales just kept going down and down. And then as I started looking into the market intel piece of it, the entire market was just dropping down. And you could see the search volume starting to drop down. And it just all… It wasn’t my product, it was the whole category was coming down during that time. And so it really informs a lot of it.

Ryan Goldstein (00:44:40):

I think the biggest piece of this, people look at how do you grow or succeed with your Amazon business, or your Amazon store, realistically, on Amazon, you don’t have an Amazon store, you have a very specific category and keyword store. You have thousands of marketplaces that you’re trying to succeed on. And so whether it’s at this level, looking at search volumes and the granularity of your whole category, then you break down into that, and look over these different keywords, and you have to understand what’s going on with that. Because if you try and just go on and say, generically, “I want to succeed on Amazon,” and you just shotgun it out, good luck. It’s going to be a rough road. But I think that the way that you really need to approach it is getting into these insights, and really treating each of the categories and search terms like their own stores.

Alon Maltzov (00:45:48):

Yeah, there is a large percentage analyzing this perspective, not in if something goes bad, but if something is go well, obviously different seasons, time zones, and obviously what we had in the first month of the Cyber Week, which everyone had, hopefully, good experience with that.

Alon Maltzov (00:46:12):

We want to give you just a glimpse of what we’re building, so market intelligence is kind of a tool inside of Flywheel 2.0, currently is presenting BCS, which is some brand cover on search, we determined the right terms to call itinstead of a share of voice, basically, how much brand coverage you have on a search term. If it’s total, organic or paid, we’ll obviously have breakdowns in the product and the position, and you can also see it on various marketplaces and different platforms. It’s super, super exciting to start this, and you folks already have an early access to it through our Flywheel 2.0 program. We’re very excited to take this to the next step.

Andrew Waber (00:47:05):

Yeah, and I think this is… As you look through this, I hope everyone on the call can take a look and envision this in their own brand’s context. I think the biggest thing, and Ryan can shed some light on here, is that what we’re building, and the way our thought process is, and we talked about this, we want to provide a degree of granularity, so that, as we talked about, every search term is it’s own market, and you have to treat it that way. You have to know who your competitors are, and this provides you a degree of granularity that we think is just going to make a really big difference in terms of your ability to execute.

Andrew Waber (00:47:40):

So, Ryan, I think you’ve had a little bit of a taste for this, but how would this change what you’re doing?

Ryan Goldstein (00:47:47):

Yeah, I am one of the lucky ones who’s been able to use this. It’s really great. Honestly, a lot of the stuff that I’ve been talking on and you just mentioned, about treating these different keywords very specifically, and getting granular in the areas that you need to be, but not presenting you with so much data that you don’t really need. I think the thing that’s great about it is that what you have to toggle in this is almost teaching you how you should be approaching market intelligence at both stages of research and operating. So the pieces of this that are really important to me specifically, being able to toggle to different keywords is amazing.

Ryan Goldstein (00:48:41):

As we said, each keyword is a very different market, and so your competitors in maybe one of your most generic searches is going to be different than your competitors into a step down from that that’s a little more specific. And likewise, even more so when you’re talking about branded search. And the other aspect of it that is really important is to be able to toggle looking at the differences in, right now this is set on total, but you can toggle between organic and paid. And what’s interesting about that is, I always, as I’m advertising, am wondering who’s paying to try and be at the top of these pages, or who’s paying to try and be at the top of my branded pages.

Ryan Goldstein (00:49:30):

So it’s interesting to be able to see, because the organic competitors that are there are not the same as the ones who are paid competitors. And you can use that as a way to even understand, let’s say you see a brand that is organically ranked number one, and then when you go to paid, the person who’s number one isn’t even in the top five for organic, you know that they’re making a push, they see that as an important aspect, and they’re targeting that. It’s a really useful way to be able to approach it, and I think one of the bigger things about this, too, is… Ecommerce is a very data-driven undertaking.

Ryan Goldstein (00:50:15):

There is a level of, it is what it is. The numbers will speak for themselves, and your assumptions are probably not what you should be going off of. You can find the data to actually make the right decisions. And so there’s been a lot of times where I think my biggest competitors are X, Y, and Z, and then as I start looking at these different keywords and different categories, I’m seeing that that isn’t the case. Yes, they are in this sense, but they’re not in another grouping of keywords. So this really, just the interface of how you are able to switch between these has been really useful. I’ve been using it for one of our brands specifically, and it’s been a game-changer for us.

Andrew Waber (00:51:07):

That’s awesome, that’s great to hear. So along with that, if you’re on the call, let’s first go to takeaways, and I’ll talk a little about this, but look at what you’re using for market intelligence currently. We’ve talked about what we’re offering at Teikametrics, but even outside of that. Maybe you don’t have access to it, whatever, there’s still stuff you should be doing now in terms of best practices to put yourself in a better position, especially as we get to 2021. And I think the biggest thing is understand what you’re looking at, and understand where the blind spots are. Because it’s going to allow you to make better decisions.

Andrew Waber (00:51:40):

When you’re thinking about, “Well, am I getting this, let’s say, from Amazon retail analytics,” which is obviously Amazon’s own data, and that could be very useful when you talk about, for instance, keyword popularity and how that changes, you can look at that. It’s a little more manual process when you’re doing this by yourself, but it’s possible to look at this stuff. But remember, remember what you’re not seeing. What you’re not seeing is really who’s showing up on that given search page, how does that search page change over the time. So there’s different blind spots here, and everyone on the call, as you step back from this, take a look at what you’ve got and what you’re not seeing, and just how that should color your overall analysis.

Andrew Waber (00:52:18):

And to that end, Amazon insights, there’s a lot of players out there that provide this, again, both free and paid. Walmart’s a little more limited, so it’s obviously a newer marketplace, so there are options out there, it’s a little, for right now, a smaller universe. But what option you choose, and maybe it’s multiple options, it really should be based on what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to outflank existing competitors that you know right now are at the top of the heap from a market share perspective, are you looking to, again, just sure up your own position, are you looking to, “I want to see about other marketplaces, and what my potential is there”? Each of those demands a different look at the data and what you’re gathering. So really, really think about this.

Andrew Waber (00:53:06):

And, we’ve touched on this, Alon touched on this and Ryan touched on this, but what are the ways you could potentially drive interoperability. How can you tie those insights into actual decisions? So it’s easy to get this wealth of data, there’s no shortage of data out there, but how do you turn that into something, like, “I’m going to take this, and if I’m seeing this trend, here’s a likely action that I’m going to take to help mitigate trouble, or double down if I’m seeing success”? It’s super important. And the rule of thumb here, again, a lot of ways to get data, you need to really understand what’s… Are you going to get a view into it in terms of what’s actually going on, and being able to make decisions? So it’s a good way to think about this.

Andrew Waber (00:53:52):

And Alon talked about this, but I’m going to emphasize it, the reason we’re building Flywheel 2.0 and reason why we’re putting market intelligence in there is because interoperability is so key in market intelligence community feedback, both across all your critical market intelligence informed operations, so inventory, ads management, when you talk about capital financing, whether, again, to move to a new marketplace, this matters. And I really want to encourage you that if you’re interested at all in this, at least in just seeing what’s out there, sign up if you’re not already, for this early access. Again, we’re building this, even what you saw right there from a screenshot, that’s going to get changed, it’s going to get better, there’s a lot more stuff that’s on the horizon. And as we release this, we want folks that are on this call to be on the front lines in terms of getting access to that and getting a sneak peek as it’s available.

Andrew Waber (00:54:46):

And the way you do that is signing up for early access, there’s an address here, I’ll obviously send it as part of a follow-up email, and then as you sign up you can just select that I’m interested in market intelligence, as an option. So if you do that, you’re going to be among the first to get access to it as it becomes available, as we continue to roll it out on a more sneak-peek type basis, be asking for feedback, et cetera. So if you want to get a taste of this, if you’re already using market intelligence from someone else and want to see what else is out there, really, really encourage you to do this, and we’d love to get your thoughts as we continue data writing on this.

Andrew Waber (00:55:18):

And with that, I think we can get to questions. We got about five full minutes left, so that should be good. So this is a good one from Keegan here. Keegan asks, “Thank you for bringing up the question if ads are worth it if you’re ranking well organically, is there a method of analysis or a general rule of thumb used to determine if an ad will supplement an organic ranking versus cannibalizing it?” So, I’m sure you guys might maybe have some thoughts on this. I’d say generally what we’ve seen when we are talking to clients about this, a lot of this is very contextual. If it’s, let’s say, you’re on branded term, you might think, “Well, am I cannibalizing myself, because I’m probably already ranking number one organically?” That’s potential.

Andrew Waber (00:56:11):

But remember, if it’s your link to your own branded term, you may need to defend it, because if you, let’s say, are one of the bigger players in the space, or people know about you, you may have people that are obviously trying to play against you, but in that case, what I’d highly recommend is, if you are, let’s say, going to take a sponsored brand spot, or sponsored product spot on your own branded term, use products that are not your top sellers. Because if it’s a top seller, someone’s probably already going to buy that anyway.

Andrew Waber (00:56:34):

Maybe it’s newer products, maybe it’s higher margin products, maybe it’s ones that are maybe a little bit more long tail. Use those spots intelligently, so you can still take that top spot, but potentially to a loyal customer who might see there, they’re getting something new, and you’re giving them an opportunity to not just, essentially, pay for a click that you would have gotten to your top selling product otherwise. I don’t know if, Ryan, you have any thoughts around that?

Ryan Goldstein (00:57:00):

Yep, that’s exactly what I was going to say. There’s a lot of really interesting ways that you can use it. The best, as you’re saying, per sponsored product is, again, use one that doesn’t have as good of sales. Sponsored brand is a really interesting one, because you’re obviously able to showcase three different products on there, and I do a similar strategy for this as well, where one of them I’ll keep as whatever that top product is,” so you show people, “Hey, this brand has whatever product has a ton of reviews, and it looks good when someone sees it. But then, the other two are ones that you want to promote, they’re newer products, and you want to tie them into the brand.

Ryan Goldstein (00:57:40):

However, the biggest thing that even comes into it if you’re making a decision of, maybe you only have one product, so there is a… And I’ve had that for AirVinyl, where there was a product where for a lot of keywords it was just the one product, but what I noticed was, as I was a smaller brand, no one was really showing up for that, but as I started growing the brand, there were a ton of people just throwing their product into that spot. And I did see a bit of a dip away from that, comparatively, to when I put the sponsored product in place to now fill it. And in that case, I did have the exact same product showing twice. What I tried to do in that, if you have a product that has variations, maybe try and put one of your lower selling color SKUs or size SKUs, or something. So in that case, I had a black leather case and a brown leather case, the black one sold better, so I put the sponsored product as the brown one, so both variations showed up. At least it’s not a duplicate.

Ryan Goldstein (00:58:46):

So you can get a little creative with it, but I do think it’s important to utilize it.

Andrew Waber (00:58:51):

Yeah, I love that. And Alon, yeah, go ahead.

Alon Maltzov (00:58:54):

Yeah, one of the thing that we realized, just adding on what Ryan said, is sometimes your sponsored position, if I’m talking about sponsored product for a second, is actually lower than your organic position. And that’s something that you can actually utilize by and through Flywheel 2.0. And that’s super, super interesting, but yeah, I think we will continue to the other questions, because we are running out of time.

Andrew Waber (00:59:18):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s keep going. And again, if we don’t get to it, I’m going to download all the questions after, and if I can I’m going to try to email you with answers after the fact. So some people are asking about that graph we showed around the Cyber Week activity, what that was showing, folks that didn’t know, is, we were actually looking at, basically, the frequency of search terms in that vertical, and how they were coming in, again, versus that pre Thanksgiving baseline. So it was not like the number of search terms, it was more how often those category terms were searched.

Andrew Waber (00:59:59):

So here’s a… From Jennifer here, “Can you define granularity, in, I guess, this sense of market intelligence that you are using, and why is that granularity important?” And maybe, Alon, this is a good question for you.

Alon Maltzov (01:00:15):

Yeah. There are two ways to look at the granularity when gathering data. So one of them is, you want to make sure the data is accurate, and we discussed it, but in the same way, you also want to know the trends, what people are searching for, how they’re searching for it, what’s the user activity, and basically the user journey. We can see, and we saw a lot of user that do not start their journey, actually, on Amazon or starting from other places, or ads that Amazon is activating throughout the web, and different websites, that actually brings more traffic to your website. So you can also see and get data on other data sources, that’s super, super interesting. And by that, trying to predict more and more trends in the market.

Andrew Waber (01:01:06):

Yeah, I think we talked about this a little bit, and we’ll probably wrap up, but the best takeaway, which, I know we’ve said it multiple times, but that each search term is it’s own market, and the ability to not just look at, “Okay, I’m going to look at this bucket of, you know, okay, this whole marketplace,” or anything. If you’re looking in a specific search term, granted there’s certain things you can do, certain things you can’t do, but it gives you much more finer lay of the land in terms of, to Ryan’s point, if it’s a branded term, whose trying to hone into your term? Is there anybody there? That’s a big question. If it’s a category term, what are the brands that essentially are going to be your top competition? Who are the folks that you need to leapfrog to get those big positions, and how are you going to do that?

Andrew Waber (01:01:55):

Maybe it’s some competition on the content, and then if it’s a competitor term, it may be even as simple as, “Am I showing up at all on those competitor terms, even if I’m targeting them? How aggressive do I need to be?” These are major questions you have to think about in this granular way, as you make tweaks to your strategy, because, again, it’s always changing. We keep track of that stuff. So we’re at time there, thank you Ryan, thank you Alon for coming on, this is a great session. Thank you all for the questions. Again for the folks if we didn’t get to your question, I’m going to try to get to you after the fact, so stay tuned for that. Thank you all for helping along. Again, you get a recording of this session, along with the slide deck roughly 24 hours from now, so keep an eye out for that, and looking forward to seeing you on the next one. Have a good one.