Amazon's new metric must not be a 'walled garden'

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 31 January 2019

Amazon's new-to-brand metric might not be as valuable as it's touted to be and must work across platforms, according to industry execs.

The new metric, which lets brands know how many new customers they receive, is another attempt by Amazon to lure in more advertisers as it seeks to boost its ad business.

The tool works by telling advertisers if an ad-attributed purchase was made by a returning customer or a new customer buying the brand's product on the site for the first time in a year.

It's the latest of a series of moves by the e-commerce giant to grow as an ad business, including a new social media strategy and free product sampling.

A polarising effect?
Ex-Bohemia digital investment and data director Victor Condogeorges says it's important not to become metric obsessed.

“There is value to be had here, but the important thing is staying focused on the goal you've set out to achieve and not turn it into a game where you're misled by metrics that only have data on part of the story,” Condogeorges says.

“These metrics will have a polarising effect on two distinct audiences.”

Condogeorges, who now heads up consultancy Best Practice Advertising, said for those just getting started with their advertising partnership with Amazon, these new metrics may confuse them and stifle their success.

However, he said for those that are well refined and looking for another edge, these may help gain further understanding of performance and opportunities that may be hidden.

Media agency Speed chief accelerator Ian Perrin agreed, saying he isn't convinced it's as significant as Amazon says it is.

“It’s certainly helpful in terms of understanding how to better use Amazon and how to optimise advertising on their platform,” Perrin says.

“But the world of measurability is so much more vast than a very specific measure on a specific platform, regardless of how big Amazon is.”

Must be multi-platform
Despite the hype Amazon has created around the metric, Eyeota international MD Aaron Jackson says the metric needs to be multi-platform.

“These are great metrics to be introduced as many businesses always strive to understand loyal buyers, returning lapsed buyers and net new buyers,” Jackson says.

“However, it's important these metrics are not a walled garden and closed solely to the Amazon platform.

“There needs to be a holistic view on the effectiveness of all digital media campaigns and digital sales channels, not just Amazon, so brands get a full and clear picture.”

Robert Cain, managing director at Overdose Sydney, said the new metric is a small but important update.

“Amazon, Afterpay, affiliate marketing, paid ads all eat into the margin of the retail businesses and it is important that each element of this is tested and proved to have an ROI,” Cain said.

“It's another tool to clear the hurdle of 'why sell it on someone else's site', why pay commission when I have my own channels to sell it through?”

While Cain said such tools can prove good value to retailers, Amazon's personalised Australian campaigns, such as the 'easy AZ' campaign, has already started tackling demand.

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