Amazon Advertising in Today's World [Video]

Pauline Shiu

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May 4, 2020

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In this pilot of our new YouTube series, "Ask the Ecom Experts" (the cousin of our "Ask the Growth Guys" blog series), we interviewed Straight Up Growth's Daniel Tejada.

Our interview comes at a time when many brands are a crossroads: Should they scale up or scale down their advertising efforts? What are the short-term and long-term gains of ads? What keywords should they bet on?

Having managed over $10 million in Amazon ad spend, Daniel delivers the straight-up truth about ads. In our interview, he dives deep into the lessons he's learned over the years, and how Amazon ad strategies are changing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch "Ask the Ecom Experts" Episode #1

The Full Transcript

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A Little Background Story (0:01)

Pauline Shiu — Director of Marketing, Zentail
All right, everybody. Hi, you have Pauline from Zentail here and we are excited to talk today with Daniel Tejada from Straight Up Growth. Hi, Daniel.

Daniel Tejada — Co-Founder, Straight Up Growth
Hey, how are you doing today?

Pauline
We are good, I am good. You know, we're making the best of it. It's a little bit rainy and cloudy here in Baltimore, but we’re shining inside.

Daniel
Cloudy day in San Diego here, which is rare, but we got one today as well.

Pauline
I was gonna say, I didn't think that that ever happened [in San Diego]. Daniel, please—tell us a little bit more about yourself and Straight Up Growth, and kind of what you’re getting into.

Daniel
Awesome. So a little bit about Straight Up Growth. You know, I'm a co-founder here. We're an Amazon focused digital agency. We really help brands scale on Amazon through a combination of on- and off- Amazon traffic, depending on the client's need there.

And so my background has been pretty heavily focused on Amazon these past few years. I particularly run the paid side of things—I actually came up when Amazon was first launching their Amazon ads in 2016, and they did about $550 million in ad revenue. Back in the day, we had five or 10 cent cost per clicks—I was fortunate enough to be a part of those early days.

Whereas last year, you know, Amazon did about 11.2 billion in ad rev alone, so those CPCs definitely shot up along the way. But, fortunately, I've been able to spend about $10 million in Amazon ads and sold over half a billion dollars’ worth of products on the channel so I’m excited to chat through growth today.

Pauline
Those are some pretty decent stats. So cheers and congrats. That's awesome.

Daniel
Not bad—and in a few years time (laugh).

Pauline
Exactly. You've been busy. Yeah, so I believe that you've also worked with some decent sized brands, is that correct?

Daniel
Oh yeah, so I've worked with brands starting at, you know, the private labelers and with much, much smaller accounts—to much more enterprise clients as well. They each have their own challenges I would say, but one of the great things is what happens on the advertising front. It's still the same technique, still the same strategies. Having a bigger budget just allows you to do more. But, you know, still the same strategies will be implemented across the board, whether you're a big small seller doing—er, if you're a small seller doing 30,000 a month—or if you're a big seller doing a couple million dollars a month. You know, the strategy should still ring true there.

Pauline
Nice, got it. And sorry, when you speak to the small versus large, are you speaking about ad revenue or like—

Daniel
—both, I would say. So, I actually brought on a pretty large supplement brand the other day that was doing $400,000 a month, and they're not spending a dollar on ads, so that's pretty awesome. Still presents plenty of opportunity. And then you do have brands that are a lot more heavily dependent on ads for their growth. Sometimes, depending what your strategy is, you might even break even from an ad-cost perspective with your new customer acquisition or something like that.

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How Amazon SEO and Ads Go Hand in Hand (3:07)

Pauline
That's interesting. Let's dive in there a bit. So, where have you seen companies really been able to get away with lack of advertising to a certain point, and then where are the ones that have kind of relied on it from day one?

Daniel
So I would say a lot of brands that have gotten away with not a ton of advertising—it's typically due to two things. One is high brand awareness, so they've got a lot of branded search volume. Usually that's due to a lot of outside marketing. Maybe they're doing TV pushes outside. Sometimes they're not even driving to their own dotcom—I mean, to their own Amazon.

They might even be driving to in store [purchases]. They might be driving to their dotcom, but because Amazon has such dominance (especially here in the US, where you've got 120 million Prime subscribers)...I've seen brands do a TV ad to their dotcom and all of a sudden, their sales on Amazon spike up dramatically. And that's just has to do with how ingrained Amazon has become with user shopping behavior here in the US.

Pauline
Yeah, totally agree.

Daniel
Yep, and the other types of clients you'll see that aren't as heavily ads driven are typically ones that have really good organic ranking on Amazon. So a lot of the times—

Pauline
Which kind of goes hand in hand, right?

Daniel
—right, exactly. They do go hand in hand and that's the thing. But, you know, there are sellers who were fortunate enough to get on the [Amazon] catalog, you know, four or five years ago. And the way SEO really works on Amazon is it's pretty heavily driven based on your performance. What I mean by that is, Amazon's looking for your product ASIN, and they're looking at the number of clicks your product ASINs had on the search term, the number of sales that your product had against that search term and then your conversion rate against that search term.

So, if you were fortunate enough to be an early Amazon seller, there was not a lot of competition. So what you've been able to do if you have years’ worth of clicks and sales and conversions against these search terms—you've been able to get pretty good SEO on Amazon without a ton of ads work.

But what I have found, probably in the past year and a half/two years, some of those brands are starting to have the conversation about why they should do advertising, where they didn't need to as much in the past. Because what happens is, as more brands get in there, they're actually using their ads offensively to improve SEO and focus on playing against the Amazon's A9 algorithm and the way SEO works. So they'll actually use their ads to buy organic ranking, and some of those brands that historically have not had to advertise are now having that conversation as they're starting to see lower sessions, lower sales because that SEO has started to slip.

Pauline
Yeah, yeah. I was gonna ask about the algorithm. So you mentioned that the A9 algorithm obviously has paid and social components to it. You know, how does the paid aspect affect that ranking?

Daniel
Yeah so it's actually a very very major factor in your ability to rank. So what Amazon's looking for is what is the most relevant item to the search term? Eighty percent of sales on Amazon happen on page one of any search term, and there's a reason for that. It's not that it just so happens that the correct products are listed there. It's because Amazon is building relevancy, and so they say, “Okay, you know, 10 people clicked on this item for this specific search term. Five of those people converted, [that’s a] 50% conversion rate. They're highly relevant, so we want to keep showing this product in the future.” So, your SEO will actually get improved there. I wouldn't say it's the only factor, but it's one of the biggest factors in terms of driving your SEO.

Pauline
And so naturally, if you are on page two or three, then you want to drive the ads to get higher to then help your organic.

Daniel
Exactly, exactly. So that's one of the things we do a lot here and you also want to be very strategic about what those search terms are that you're using your ads to try to improve your SEO.

Now, if you're on page 10 for a search term and it's a very competitive search term, your relevancy scores could be [doing] really well. And how that can affect your advertising is, there’s a bidding auction that happens for even getting an ad impression. If I'm after the term ‘protein bar’—highly competitive, and Amazon isn't just looking at what you're willing to bid to determine your actual CPC. They're looking at what you're willing to bid, as well as how relevant you are to that search term.

So very frequently what you'll find is that you do a search on Amazon, the first organic product is also one of the products that has the top ad placement for Sponsored Products. That's not an accident, right. That is because there's more relevancy that's been built up for that product, and as a result, [the advertiser even pays] a cheaper cost per click on that search term than you do on page 10.

Now, it doesn't mean you can't get back. You know, with brands with bigger budgets, I will actually use that advertising strategically to improve my SEO. I'll eat the higher ad costs initially because I know that my relevancy will be built up, and I'll be paying a lower CPC over time.

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Short-Tail vs. Long-Tail Keywords (8:08)

Pauline
Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Part of a larger strategy, that's great. Do you find that there's normally a sweet spot for that timing for it to kick in?

Daniel
So, what I’ve found is, it depends on the competitiveness of the search term. So, I'll actually look up the search volumes associated with it and try to figure out, what does my click and conversion share really have to be to be able to manipulate my search results?

So if you're looking at maybe a more moderate search volume term…maybe it's got somewhere between 20 to 60,000 searches a month on Amazon...there's still volume there. But what you tend to find is there's less advertisers that actively have exact matches set on those search terms.

If I'm, you know, selling a protein bar, I might put ‘protein bar’ in a keyword research tool. And for my ad campaigns, maybe the top five to 10 search terms there are really where I'm pushing and trying to spend in terms of volume.

But there's all these other search terms there that are a little bit more long-tail that don't have advertisers actively engaged on trying to win those bids there. I mean, a term like ‘protein bar’ has 2 million searches a month on Amazon, right? Even if you had an unlimited budget, you're not going to cover all the search volume there. And so what I like to do—especially if you're in a more competitive category—[is] go after those longer tail search terms that allow you to rank faster. There's less competition there. You might have lower cost per click and the ability to rank yourself better quickly.

If you are fortunate enough to have big budgets, then you can start playing in some of the higher volume spaces where it might still take a long time. Sometimes it takes three months, sometimes it takes 30 days. It just depends on the competitiveness of those terms.

Pauline
Makes sense, yeah. Um, I feel like long-tail’s something you hear a lot about in like Google advertising conversations and less so on Amazon, so that does look like a good opportunity.

Daniel
A hundred percent. And even like quality of search terms, I think, is one of the biggest gaps. People do sort of basic keyword research and they’ll look for the really obvious search terms associated with it.

If I'm selling a protein bar, I'm gonna look up ‘protein bar’ and go after those search terms. Maybe I'll find the top competitors in the space and go after those terms, but that's really where that keyword research ends. Then they tend to rely on broad keyword matches, your auto campaigns to find new terms. But there's a lot of power in manually doing some more in-depth keyword research to find some of those less competitive search terms.

For example, you could look up specific ingredients. There might be search volume associated with specific ingredients within that item. People don't normally think about that, but I know I had a beauty brand that sold a very, very expensive Marula oil that is probably 10x the price of what most Marula oils were selling on Amazon. And so, I actually looked into some of the ingredients, found specific ingredients within the product that had moderate search volume and no competition because no one was actually looking at those search terms there. Great way for me to help the business scale. I mean, in the year we went from $30,000 a month to $750,000 a month on Amazon. Did it profitably. And it's because we went beyond just the basic search terms that everyone else is going after.

Pauline
That's huge. That is incredible growth. That's awesome.

Daniel
Yeah, fun time. Lots of beauty.

Pauline
Exactly. I'm personally working on my beauty routine right now so I have probably clicked on one of your ads. That's awesome.

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The Blind Spot that Many Advertisers Have (11:40)

Pauline
All right, let's see what else. So for a company who is more established on Amazon...what are some ways to continue growing, optimizing—whatever—their operations, their listings, etcetera.

Daniel
So what I found with brands [is] they already are doing big volume. They're seeing some growth. Maybe they're seeing 10% a year, 15% a year. They're gonna to continue to grow with it if they already have some good organic ranks. And one of the areas I see that's neglected very frequently is the advertising.

And one—when you're looking at your ads through like your campaign manager, you get your keyword-level data but you don't get search-term-level data—and there's a very big distinction between that. If I have an auto campaign, let's say, and maybe it's running at a 20% ACOS. I'm feeling, you know, pretty happy about that—it's below my target. Everything looks fine and dandy.

You download your search term report. Now, you can actually see where your spend is going. You might have a couple branded terms in your auto campaign that are sucking up 30, 40, or sometimes 50% of your ad spend, and they're converting really well. Then you look at the rest of the search terms and you have all this wasted ad spend that's just sitting there. You're spending, and because you're not being diligent about looking at the actual search terms and downloading that search term report, you're missing out on a lot of potential free money essentially. You could take some of that wasted spend...if you already have a lot of good converting search terms set through exact match types...now, you could readjust/reallocate your ad budget. This gives you the ability to increase your ad rev and decrease your wasted spend very quickly, and it doesn't cost you any money to be able to do that process. It's just time.

So that's one area I definitely recommend brands you know audit their ad campaigns. If you could do it every 60 days, every 30 days, it's just really good practice to see what you're spending on and moving yourself away from those research match types, and [move] more of your spend towards converting terms via exact match.

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COVID-19's Impact on Ads (13:43)

Pauline
Okay, nice, nice. So in the age of COVID, I think that speaking to you today, we'd be remiss not to talk about it. What has changed in the advertising landscape?

Daniel
Great, great question. I think a multitude of things have changed. So one: you know demand is up on Amazon. Search volumes have been increasing, and a lot of that is [because] customers can't necessarily buy products in store anymore.

And so that in itself is really, really beneficial. So a lot of brands...are moving deeper, not wider. What I mean by that is, find out what's working. If you have terms that are working, there's more volume to go. Reinvest more dollars there, especially if it's focusing on new customer acquisition and if it's not branded search terms. Maybe competitors you’re conquesting that's working really well...that gives you the ability to acquire as many new-to-brand customers as possible.

When this COVID event ultimately passes, what that’s going to mean is that you have a lot more new-to-brand buyers that next time probably aren't searching the non-branded search term; they're searching for your actual brand itself. And what you've been able to do is, as the economy recovers, [buyers] have more money again, they're willing to spend more and you've already acquired them as a customer. [That’s] definitely one thing I'm seeing.

I've also seen conversion rates change both positively and negatively. So, one of the issues we saw on Amazon, and I'm sure you've seen this with some of your sellers, is that Amazon blocked certain categories from being eligible for that two-day shipping window.

Amazon customers are very impatient because of Prime. And so if all of a sudden, your ship window’s 30 days out—that could potentially impact your conversion rate. So that's just something to be careful with if you're ship windows are pushed out.

Now, if you were fortunate enough to be in one of those six core categories, I've seen conversion rates increase, and that's probably because [buyers] have more time to browse because they're stuck at home, they're on the computer, they're on their phones and they want to buy. They're bored. So, conversion rates are up there, so it's a good opportunity to take advantage of those increased conversion rates—if you're starting to see those, I definitely suggest paying attention and potentially spending more against those converting terms.

Pauline
You just summarized my entire life of online shopping. My daughter had a birthday and so I had to get her like, we threw a party at home, we threw a Zoom party. And we had to get everything in on time and so when, I'm sorry, when the Amazon delivery date was gonna be past the birthday, I had to look elsewhere.

Daniel
Exactly. It's totally true, and that's something to pay attention to. So, and some sellers might have a mix of both. There's certain beauty brands that some of their products are core essential and some of them are pushed out. And so maybe even reevaluating where you're spending your money. If maybe product A is your core product and that's typically where you spend, but then you start to see your conversion rates go down, maybe pivot to product B during this time because that shipping window is more accurate.

Pauline
Right. Yeah, yeah. And then what else has happened here? And because we're clearly spending way more time at our home, I'm slowly but surely starting to redecorate and redo everything in the house so my spending is kind of...

Daniel
Oh, it’s happening at our house too. There’s a lot of new packages showing up these days.

Pauline
The llama! What's going on with the llamas? Is he new or is he...

Daniel
Oh yeah, so my llama friend over there. I'm half Peruvian, and so that is an authentic llama from the Andes mountains there and the indigenous folks there, so I wanted to bring a little taste of that to my home.

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How to Pivot Your Strategy (17:25)

Pauline
Okay, cool. Sorry, getting back on track. I get sidetracked very easily, but—let's see, brands, Amazon, COVID right now. So we have seen that singular brands are kind of hurting right now. They're faring a little worse than, let's just say, resellers—those who have, you know, a larger brand assortment, things like that. Have you seen any of that? What are some of the companies—

Daniel
—so, you know unfortunately there are some brands that have been hurt harder than others from this, and sometimes it's not that they're Amazon has gotten hurt necessarily, but retail is such a large part of their business. And so that's caused them to have less cash to spend on ads. Sometimes it's caused massive layoffs even at some of these companies.

I know I had a client that was spending—or was about to spend—a ton of money on Amazon ads. But retail was such a huge portion of their business. When all this happened, they had to shut off everything, like pause all their ads—going from significant, significant spend to, we gotta go nothing. Like we have to create as much cash as possible right now.

And so it’s tough. As brands, there are some things you could do but, you know, at the end of the day if you don't have any cash flow, you gotta do what you can there. I think some brands are weathering the storm trying to cut costs where they can, and advertising, actually, can be a good place to cut some of that. So, reducing some of that wasted spend like we spoke about. You know, I had a brand that that was a big thing for them—trying to make their ad spend as much as possible. Still brought us on as an agency. We were able to reduce their ad spend by 15% and increase total sales by another 15% at the same time. And it's just making that ad spend more efficient. So, there’s still room...

Pauline
Yeah I was gonna say, it sounds like one of the topics we talked about earlier where the long-tail, and if those are cheaper, you can do kind of more of that and make your ad budget go further.

Daniel
Exactly, right. I think my suggestion is don't turn it off completely unless it's really just not working. If you have the ability to at least make things more efficient, that's at least gonna keep more sales coming in, right. The tough part is you turn off all your marketing, and then your sales start to slow, and now you're really in a tricky place.

Pauline
Yeah, while keeping an eye on the ACOS, yeah. Let's see, what was the most common advice you gave pre-COVID and has that changed now?

Daniel
My most common advice is typically around new customer acquisition and understanding who—like if you're using Amazon as just a marketplace, which is [what] I think a lot of brands do and kind of list their products and advertise.

But I like to think of Amazon as a search engine; 60% of all online product searches start on Amazon. And so how to focus your advertising efforts around new customer acquisition is the way we've been able to scale businesses really, really quickly.

So that was definitely my advice pre-COVID. My advice now is still pretty similar, but I would say, you know, the caveat is new customer acquisition but doing it more efficiently. And that's where some of those exercises, like going after long-tail search terms, finding that cheap traffic that works for your business but still allows you to drive new-to-brand customers is something that I find to be really important right now.

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Taking the Omnichannel Approach (20:46)

Pauline
Got it, got it, got it. When you were going through Straight Up Growth, you kind of mentioned paid and other methods on and off channel, and so are you able to speak to some of those other components like off-channel?

Daniel
Yeah, so I could definitely speak about it. I mean one thing that I see with brands, is they'll have...they’ll put a lot of work into creating a great listing. They don't—and maybe they're trying to spend on ads or spending on good photo assets, things like that—but that doesn't help if you don't have reviews. Reviews is a really, really big thing that can be essential and some brands—I have one in particular, it's a pet brand. Very, very, very well-established brand on their dotcom. They’re doing millions and millions of dollars on dotcom. Their Amazon efforts [were] very, very poor. Maybe a twentieth of what they were doing on their dotcoms.

Huge disconnect, and the big thing is, all of their off-Amazon channel traffic (which they spent a ton on social ads, TV, radio, affiliate, anything you could think of) drives to their dotcom. Nothing will drive to Amazon.

So what we did for them...they wanted to be a top seller in their very specific high-volume pet category, and their big issue is, they had 30 reviews on their top item. The number one item had over 5,000 reviews, so it doesn't really matter what I'm doing from a PPC perspective. They're just not really going to convert as well.

And so we actually leveraged some off-Amazon channels, like Facebook, social, using some of their influencers...to actually drive traffic to their Amazon listings. What it did is it helped drive brand awareness. Those customers are already more likely to purchase from them anyway because they've already purchased from them in the past. And we're simply showcasing the Amazon product.

That allowed us to see a lot more sales velocity and relevancy that was built up, and we had the added benefit of a lot of those brands’ customers, who were loyal to the brand. So they actually left product reviews that allowed me to increase my conversion rates for my ads. Took that brand from 30,000 a month to 655,000 a month, and in 10 months on Amazon. Didn't need to drive all their traffic from off of Amazon, but it was enough to facilitate turning Amazon into a new customer acquisition channel for them.

Pauline
Exactly, yeah. Nice, nice, nice. Because what do you often see as the kind of a split between their dotcom and Amazon?

Daniel
So I would say one of the big issues I think brands have with dotcoms versus Amazon is they treat it like separate entities. It's like, “Oh this is my Amazon. This is my dotcom,” and it's kind of like one is fighting against the other.

Really where I see the most value (and you guys obviously see this as well) is the omnichannel approach. Like if you do Amazon right, it should actually grow your dotcom.

That pet brand I was telling you about—their dotcom grew from 50 million to 250 million in the same timeframe, in which we did our new customer acquisition channel for Amazon. They actually created a lot of that dotcom growth from their efforts on Amazon because everything we were doing there was so focused on new customers, new customers, new customers. Customers that weren't searching for the brand name. We wanted them to search for non-branded search terms to get as many folks into the mix, and because they do such a good job of treating their products as more of a brand rather than a commodity, then that omnichannel approach [kicks in]. Customers like the product, then they go to the dotcom to find out what else they have there.

Pauline
That's awesome. That’s like the holy grail. That's like the “aha!” moment that you want to get to as a brand.

Daniel
The big fundamental change for them was for them to stop looking at Amazon as just another channel for them to sell, and understand that this was actually a product discovery engine. And that is what really allowed them to move quickly.

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Important Pro Tips for Going Multichannel (24:45)

Pauline
Very good, I love it. Let’s see, what about other marketplaces? So at Zentail, obviously we help sellers on Amazon, on their own dotcom and then on other marketplaces. What is the relationship that you guys have with helping clients do that, or giving advice to sellers who want to do that?

Daniel
Yeah, so I think a lot of sellers are always hesitant to get on to...or sometimes they're hesitant to get on to other marketplaces because it's more work involved. Maybe they need to hire more staff to manage that channel. Maybe they have a head of ecommerce managing Amazon and dotcom, and then you want to throw Walmart or Target and Kroger into the mix.

It's difficult to manage all of that. So I definitely recommend making sure you have the resources available, whether it's through technology like someone like you guys, or if it’s [a matter of] hiring out appropriately or having an agency that can actually manage those channels.

Like for us, you know we don't manage other channels because there's so much going on in Amazon. Throwing another marketplace on top of it would be just too difficult for us to scale on our own. And so that's definitely something to consider. But, the other thing that's so great about it is it's another place for you to acquire new customers, and they're gonna come back to your dotcom or come back to Amazon. They're going to purchase where they want to purchase. But if you're giving yourself the ability to be found on those other marketplaces, it really gives you a chance to take as much market share as possible through product discovery there.

Pauline
Very good. Yeah, and like you said there there's a lot going on with your own dotcom and Amazon, but that's why we're happy to help sellers out with Walmart, with eBay, with everything else—because it's another sales channel. There's, like you're saying, the customer acquisition is great. And especially in terms of brands, we have found that they can list different segments of their inventory (different category, tiers of products) and leverage the different marketplaces accordingly so that’s good.

Daniel
And I think that's a huge topic. I just want to talk about [it] really quick—your buy box issues you can have. Amazon's gonna look at where you are in terms of price points for a single ASIN or SKU across multiple marketplaces. And so that Amazon exclusive SKU or marketplace-exclusive product line can be a really great way to navigate that tricky situation in regards to price consistency there.

If Walmart's priced lower than my Amazon is, my buy box is gonna break on Amazon, which would affect my conversion rate. But you can get away with that, let's say you had a six—I'm selling protein bars again—I've got a six pack variation. I could send that to Walmart, and for the 12-pack variation, we can do that on Amazon. We've got Target—maybe they've got an 18-pack or whatever.

And now, you're still getting new-to-brand customers because you can push on all of those different marketplaces, but you don't have to worry about having a broken buy box, and one channel affecting the other. But, you know, leveraging some technology is definitely a huge way to navigate that tricky landscape of the actual work that's involved there.

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More on Straight Up Growth (27:52)

Pauline
Awesome, awesome. Daniel, this has been great. I've learned a ton. If you don't mind, I'd love to dig in and just learn a little bit more about Straight Up Growth. I had questions there, and then I wanted to do like a fun little 10-questions roundup.

Daniel
Awesome, love it.

Pauline
Cool. Straight Up Growth. Let's see. So you mentioned a little bit of your background. I think you also have a free analysis?

Daniel
Yes, we do. Yeah. So for us, you know, we're a little bit more boutique than most agencies. Our goal is to make sure that we can really help our actual customers and not just play off of what we've done in the past for others, because each customer is going to be unique.

So right now we're doing a free analysis on every client that we talk to. Essentially we'll take a look at your business report, your advertising data. We'll take a very holistic approach to what's working, what's not, here's the opportunities...and essentially just give you a game plan on this is what this looks like in your account, and here's an opportunity to drive a bit more success on the channel.

Pauline
Nice, nice. And so, question—do you prefer to speak with companies who currently have an advertising plan or really it doesn't matter if they're new or if they're...

Daniel
For us it’s both. We're trying to help however we can. If you've already got ads data, that's awesome because now it doesn't have to be theoretical data. I can show you with your own ad data where the opportunities lie. But we have brands that, maybe they're not selling much on Amazon and they need to understand how to advertise and how much to spend. That's where we can really, really, really help brands navigate the space as well.

Pauline
Okay, nice. And so you mentioned that you're more of a boutique agency. What else do you think kind of sets you guys apart at Straight Up Growth from the others?

Daniel
I would say the biggest thing is the holistic approach on the account, and the way we think of Amazon from a new customer acquisition standpoint. One area I have a lot of success with is hirer end beauty brands, where a lot of agencies struggle with them. And it's because—I won't say the name—but I had a client that sells lipstick for $40 for a single unit.

If you search lipstick on Amazon, you can probably get a five pack for a dollar a unit on your lipsticks. I'll never have a high enough conversion rate to go after a term like ‘lipstick’ and still convert.

But that doesn't sort of deter us. What we like to do is, “Okay, we're not in the same target market as most of the people searching lipstick. So what I'll do is, I'll go to Sephora.com and I'll search ‘lipstick’ there. And now I find all these brand names of products that are sold at a similar, if not higher, price point than what I'm selling at.

What's the great thing about beauty brands? They spend a ton on marketing and social and everything like that, so their branded search volumes are massive on Amazon. And those are the terms I go after. So even with that luxury beauty brand—I helped them grow from $150,000 a month on Amazon to $900,000 a month on Amazon in seven months. It's an account that they were not able to see success with, and it's just rethinking what they're targeting. Truly understanding this is the market that makes sense for you, not the market that you were going after previously.

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10 Rapid-Fire Questions (30:59)

Pauline
That's great. That's awesome. Um...are you ready for your 10 questions?

Daniel
Let’s do it.

Pauline
Okay, first one, we're trying to go like a rapid fire here. So, what did you have breakfast?

Daniel
For breakfast today I had a banana and a yogurt.

Pauline
Ver good. What is your workout routine?

Daniel
Well, right now it's a little bit trickier than usual but normally there's a gym that's literally across the street for me. I like to superset and I'm a high-intensity workout kind of guy that likes to work out three days a week and nothing more than that. Get it all done,

Pauline
High intensity. I can see that. Cool. What do you turn to for caffeine?

Daniel
Coffee.

Pauline
Cheers. Black, sugar, white? How do you take it? Cream?

Daniel
I’m a black coffee guy. Don't need any taste, no funny business. Coffee’s just fuel.

Pauline
What is the show you're watching now that you're most excited about?

Daniel
I always watch The Office. I've watched The Office every day for like eight years. I can actually do most of the scenes, by heart, every character.

Pauline
Next time we'll take you up on it. What book are you reading, or what book would you recommend?

Daniel
A book that I'd recommend...I'm not reading anything right now, which is tough. I need to get something going there. I did just get a recommendation on a book actually...let me pull this up here. I have this book that I just got. Sorry. Bad question. Just joking. There's a book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie that I was just recommended to read so that's what I'm going to be picking up soon.

Pauline
Nice. Very good. I will search for it on Amazon. Tell me something that's on your bucket list.

Daniel
On my bucket list is to get in the car of my cyber truck. I pre-ordered a Cybertruck a while ago and I really, really want to drive it. So, that’s on my bucket list here yeah.

Pauline
That’s amazing. I was just about to ask what your favorite car, and you checked that one off at the same time

Daniel
Ready to go.

Pauline
That's awesome, by the way. What was the first concert you went to?

Daniel
The first concert I went to was a Plain White Tees concert when I was in middle school. There’s that “Hey There Delilah” song that was on the radio. That was a hot song. They’re a one-hit wonder, so that is the first concert I went to.

Pauline
That's amazing. I'm so glad that you got to admit that.

Daniel
I'm not embarrassed—way different than what I listen to now, but that was it.

Pauline
Yeah, solid. Do you have any COVID goals?

Daniel
My COVID goals right now, honestly, are really about helping brands navigate right now ‘cause I know there [are] a lot of brands struggling. And we’ve been taking in a lot of brands that are big in retail recently, and helped them navigate Amazon out of need, so that a big thing right now—is helping brands in any way [we] can to mitigate the crisis.

Pauline
Cool, great. When everything opens up and you're free—we're all free—what is the first thing you're going to run and do?

Daniel
First thing I'm going to do is go to the gym. Honestly, I've been dying to work out because I'm doing push ups and long walks right now, and it's just, you know, not cutting it.

Pauline
Got it. Very good. Very, very good. Daniel, again, from Straight Up Growth. Thank you so much. This has been enlightening. It's been fun. It's been a really good conversation.

Daniel
Oh I appreciate having you guys on, and Zentail has been doing some amazing things helping brands navigate multiple marketplaces, which I know firsthand is not easy, so I appreciate all the great work you guys are doing as well.

Pauline
Awesome. Cheers. Well, take it easy and thank you so much.

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written by:

Pauline Shiu

Director of Marketing

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