How to Get Your Advertising Ready for Q4

Even if the holidays are not your brand’s peak time period, the end of the year is an extremely important time for most brands to wrap up the year successfully and profitably on Amazon and beyond. During the holiday season of November 1 through December 31, U.S. shoppers will spend $120 billion with online retailers, an increase of 15.5% from last year. Amazon’s projected share of this enormous spend is 40%, up from 35% last year. No matter what your product, you want to take advantage of this time of year.

So how do you get ready for Q4 on Amazon? Prepare. Here are three strategies to get your brand’s advertising ready for a successful Q4.

1. Set your strategy in advance

You want to come out strong in November and December, having all the kinks worked out and your advertising strategy set and in execution mode. The last thing you want is to still be testing and planning come November 1

• A great thing about Q4 is it’s after Prime Day! You can replicate your Prime Day strategy, use the elements that worked and refine those that were less successful.

• Wrap up message testing in October so you have a set strategy for November and December and the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days.

• Don’t forget about mobile! 68% of all holiday sales will be sourced by mobile this season so make sure to consider how listings change when viewed on a mobile device when creating images and copy

• If you’re using Amazon promotions and lightning deals, make those products a focus on- and off-Amazon. Create a page in your store for Q4-focused products and promotions. Leverage your Amazon promotions off-channel to existing customers through social media and email. Use promo codes and point links back to your store.

2. Anticipate the price of competition

Q4 is extremely competitive and therefore can be very expensive. Rather than coming from behind, anticipate this cost and increase your advertising spend in October to get ahead of the big spike in November and December. Increase your bids and don’t forget to have your own brand covered. In Q4, competitors will bid on your brand. While you are probably ranking organically, you still need to bid on your own brand to defend those ad placements from competitors.

It’s very important to ensure ample campaign bids and budgets during Q4. For the bidding side, consider enabling Bid+ on top performing campaigns. This will hedge against the likelihood of a competitor outbidding you for key terms. While this can enhance delivery, it can also increase your spend. You should have a way to monitor your budget to ensure campaign continuity and optimal budget allocation.

3. Capitalize on all campaign types

As Q4 gears up, you want to be fully invested in all campaign types on Amazon as well as initiatives off Amazon to capitalize on consumers who have engaged with your brand. Prepare, optimize and finalize your campaigns ahead of time and have them ready to go.

When leveraging different campaign types on Amazon, make sure you understand the function and sales potential of each, so you can budget accordingly.When launching the different campaign types available on Amazon, make sure you understand the purpose of each, so you can budget accordingly and have a well-rounded program running during the quarter.

• Sponsored Product Ads – research and identify themed search terms for Q4, even if your peak period is not this time of year. For example, “Christmas gifts for teachers” if your brand is educator supplies even though your peak time of year is back to school.

• Sponsored Brand Ads (formerly HSA) – align ad creative and copy with Q4 themes to have a fully integrated brand across all touchpoints on Amazon. Extend this to off-Amazon advertising, landing pages and programs.

• Product Display Ads – leverage PDA campaigns for both offensive and defensive coverage. For offense, target similar competitor products to show your brand on a competitor’s product detail page, increasing your brand awareness and occasionally stealing a sale. On the flip side, target your own products (either complementary or otherwise) to prevent a competitor’s ad from displaying on your product detail page.

You should also consider leveraging DSP (Demand Side Platform, formerly AMG) campaigns during this peak season. Allocating dollars to display in Q4, especially toward remarketing on- and off-Amazon, can help capture people who have already engaged with your brand.

Whether your peak season is Q4 or you just want to leverage the enormous selling potential during those months, with some advance planning, you can have an exceptionally successful last quarter of 2018 that will drive residual value for your brand into 2019.