Google’s Phrase and Broad Match Keyword Update [2021]

google keyword update

Last Thursday, Google announced that they would be making changes to phrase match and broad match modifier keywords, “making it easier to reach the right customers on Search.” This simplification of match types is designed to be better for searchers, customers, and advertisers — but will that be the case?

The team at Blue Wheel video chatted with Jordan Grantz, our Manager of Paid Search, to get her insight on what Google’s latest keyword update means for brands and agencies.

What Happened

On February 4, Google announced that starting on February 18, phrase and broad match modified keywords will begin to match the same user searches.

Google notes that phrase match and broad match modifier often serves the same purpose in actual practice, which is the impetus behind this change.

Phrase match keywords return results that show the meaning of your keyword — whether that keyword is implied or not. For example, “tennis shoes” will return results for red tennis shoes. Broad match modifier keywords return similar results — +tennis +shoes could return results for best shoes for tennis, as this keyword type allows additional words to appear anywhere in between your terms denoted with the + symbol.

In reality, phase match and broad match modifier often return similar results or are used to achieve the same end goal.

Now, phrase match has been updated to include some characteristics of broad match modifier, resulting in more accurate search results that respond to intent and retain the meaning of the search.

According to Google, “Phrase match will expand to cover additional broad match modifier traffic, while continuing to respect word order when it’s important to the meaning.”

Image Source: Google

The broad match modifier will be phased out in July 2021, giving brands time to adjust their search strategies before the change takes place. Your broad match modifier keywords will still be applicable, but you will no longer be able to create any new broad match modifier keywords.

Why This Change Matters

So what does this change mean for brands and agencies? Is this a good move on Google’s part? Well, that depends.

“We’ll see if it’s a good move,” says Jordan Grantz, Manager of Paid Search at Blue Wheel. “The idea behind this change is that Google used to report absolutely every search. So, if somebody had a 10-word search, that would be in your report, but that won’t happen anymore. It’s streamlining your reporting, which is a good thing.”

In addition, Grantz notes that you might see a slight uptick in performance but a decrease in traffic. “We find that exact match and phrase match traditionally have the best conversion rates. This change will probably increase performance because phrase match terms are generally lower on the marketing funnel and more likely to lead to a sale, but we may see a traffic decrease.”

Theoretically, this all sounds great. Grantz agrees that this change will likely be for the best, but it will have some implications for brands. “Google is scaling down reporting because the assumption is that you get most of your searches from 20% of your keywords and search terms, and one-off searches don’t really matter — which is true. So it will streamline reporting and allow performance to go up, but it will limit searches a bit.”

To combat that slight dip in searches, Grantz recommends adding in more keywords to make up for that loss in traffic.

What to Do Next

Google is automatically going to migrate your broad match modifiers into phrase keywords, so there is no immediate action necessary. The biggest change will come with your campaign structure.

Grantz recommends making sure that your campaign structures within Google are categorized by objective. For example, since a revenue campaign would be structured differently than a traffic campaign, you should organize your campaigns by these goals rather than by campaign type. Grantz also notes that Google recommends pairing the new broad match keywords with a smart bidding strategy, which is important to keep in mind.

Bottom line: your reporting likely won’t see a ton of change in terms of numbers, but if you are traffic-focused, you’ll need to rethink your broader strategy. Because traffic will likely decrease with this change, brands and agencies should revamp their strategy to either focus on a different metric or increase traffic in this new reporting structure.

Want an expert to help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of digital advertising? Reach out to the experts at Blue Wheel today.

Blue Wheel Fast Fives: Graham Burns

As a director, Graham is usually the one behind the camera, giving encouragement and notes to the people being filmed. So when it was my turn to interview him, I got to metaphorically step into Graham’s shoes, which I imagine are some cool indie brand I’ve never heard of.

Graham’s personality can only be described as chill — which is why it’s unsurprising that his favorite core value of Blue Wheel (we call them by their acronym YOOCI) is Cool Under Fire. “It’s really just something I think I’m good at — going with the flow and staying level headed in stressful situations. On set, no matter how much you plan, something always goes awry. Also my last name is Burns.”

That last line almost perfectly encapsulates Graham’s sense of humor — somewhat dry, somewhat punny, but definitely makes you chuckle.

Before joining the team at Blue Wheel, Graham and his partner in crime, Jackson, ran their own creative studio in Brooklyn called The Brothers Buoy, specializing in a wide range of creative endeavors, including product photography, video production, graphic design, and more. If he had to describe what he did to his grandparents, he’d say something like, “I bring creative people together to make pretty things.”

At The Brothers Buoy and at Blue Wheel, Graham has never stuck to just one creative endeavor — which brings us to the worst piece of career advice Graham has ever received. “I think the saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ gets thrown around a lot as a way to dissuade creatives from expanding what they do, when in actuality I think having a variety of skills and interests is more valuable in the long run.”

Then, Graham drops a major knowledge bomb: “The full quote, by the way, is ‘A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one,’ which is essentially saying the opposite of what people usually mean.”

Apparently, Graham isn’t just an expert at knowing the full versions of famous idioms; he’s also a master karaoke singer. Back in the day when we could gather with friends and strangers in public spaces and open our mouths to sing without the hindrance of masks, Graham’s favorite song was “Hold The Line” by Toto. “It really gets the crowd going,” he says. We can only imagine.

The last thing Graham and I talk about is his favorite GIF. “George Michael Bluth from Arrested Development coming home defeated and collapsing on the floor.” You can almost imagine Graham coming home and doing this after a long day at a shoot.

Watch Graham’s full Fast Fives video below!

Wanna work with people as cool as Graham? We’re hiring!

Black History Month (And Beyond) at Blue Wheel

blackout month at blue wheel

In early 2020, Blue Wheel made a commitment to recognize the fact that the impact, achievements, and history of Black people in America should be shared louder. Black history is American history, and we wanted to improve how we as an agency could better support, recognize, and honor this fact. It wasn’t enough to just say we valued diversity and were inclusive. We had to do more.

So, last year, we launched an internal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee in an effort to make Blue Wheel a better agency for everyone. We will now take action to help bridge the opportunity gap, and we’re committed to honoring Black History Month every February.

As part of our commitment to honor Black History Month, we’re launching a few initiatives that we’ll be rolling out over the course of February and the rest of the year.

Blue Wheel is blacking out our social channels and homepage for the entire month of February in honor of Black History Month. Our social profile photos and header images, as well the homepage of our website, will be blacked out to drive awareness.

For the month of February, Blue Wheelers will be sharing Black history facts on our Instagram! Follow along with us as we all learn more about some lesser known Black history facts. After all, Black history is American history! We’ll be sharing facts about important Black artists, musicians, and innovators in business and beauty!

Each day for the month of February, a member of our CSR committee will post a Black history fact in one of our internal Slack channels for everyone in the company to read. Slack is an integral tool to how our teams communicate about work, but we are committing to using the platform to educate our employees as well.

During the month of February, Blue Wheel will financially match donations that our employees make towards the Innocence Project, which gives wrongfully convicted people a second chance at living freely.

Blue Wheel is now offering Juneteenth as a paid company holiday. We’ll be officially making the announcement to our employees this month (spoiler!). 

While most companies offer the Fourth of July as a celebration of the freedom that Americans enjoy, not all Americans were made free on that day in 1776. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, when slavery was officially abolished, that all Americans were truly free. We’re excited to celebrate the emancipation of those who had been enslaved and offer this day off to our employees to celebrate!

Follow along on our Instagram to learn with us this Black History Month.

How Do You Find The Right Facebook Advertising Agency?

facebook advertising agency

When you’re looking for a Facebook advertising agency to manage your Facebook ad account, it can be difficult to know where to start. Everyone makes big promises on their website and in their sales pitches — but how do you find the right Facebook advertising agency?

We’ve outlined some questions to ask before you sign that advertising contract. Whether you’re a startup looking to gain new customers, a legacy brand looking to expand your reach, or anything in between, here are some questions to help you find the right Facebook advertising agency.

Do They Have Successful Results?

Here’s the truth: some Facebook Advertising agencies say they do Facebook advertising, but they might not be experts. Despite listing it on their services page, some agencies don’t actually have experience successfully managing Facebook advertising campaigns.

When you’re in the inquiry process, ask for results — hard data will show results better than any sales pitch can! Also check their website for case studies. All data tells a story, but that story is chosen by the ones telling it. Ask for clarification or more detail on a case study if you have concerns or questions.

Do They Have A Dedicated Advertising Team?

This certainly isn’t a requirement, especially if you’re working with a smaller agency due to budget, but having a dedicated advertising team that works on your account can be a huge benefit.

From small details like keeping your copywriting consistent to larger factors like being solely dedicated to your account, its strategy, and budget, having a specialist who only tackles your Facebook advertising (not Facebook advertising in addition to your organic social, paid search, etc.) can hugely benefit your brand.

Are They A Facebook Marketing Partner?

Facebook has an official Marketing Partner program, which allows certain agencies to be vetted by the platform as experts. The Facebook Marketing Partner page says: “The Facebook Marketing Partner badge is awarded to companies who meet the highest standards of performance and service. If you’ve got a badge, it tells everyone you’re among the best at what you do.”

Look for the official Facebook Marketing Partner badge on the agency’s website — most companies who are part of the program will display it somewhere on their website (often in the footer).

Can They Create Content that Converts?

Depending on your internal capacities, you might also need an advertising team who can create images, GIFs, and videos for your advertising campaigns. If you have an internal creative team or outsource your product photography to another agency, you might not feel the need to hire someone to create additional content just for your Facebook ads. And, depending on your budget, you might have to prioritize advertising spend over new content for the time being.

But content creation for advertising is different than product photography for your website. Sure, you can piecemeal together an acceptable ad image from your website photos, but is it the best option?

Ask your potential Facebook advertising agency if they can create content specific for your ads, or if they require assets from your team. If they can create content specifically designed for Facebook ads, you will see better conversion rates and  results overall.

What’s Their Reputation?

This question is a little hard to quantify, and you probably won’t want to ask it directly to your sales representative — but it’s important to understand an agency’s reputation in the industry. Are they seen as the cheap option? The overpriced one? The one that gets results? The startup-friendly agency? The agency who doesn’t respond to emails?

Reputation isn’t everything, but it can be telling if you know of multiple former clients who left for the same negative reason. Ask your colleagues if they’ve heard of this agency to understand how they’re seen from a client perspective, and don’t be afraid to ask the agency in question for references. Specifically inquire if they are a good Facebook Advertising agency!

Can They Scale Your Brand?

The ability to scale your brand is arguably the most important quality in a Facebook advertising agency. Let’s be real — anyone can just manage Facebook advertising. It’s realistically not that difficult to just run a few ads with a set budget on autopilot. The difference is whether an agency can do it strategically and successfully to help you scale your brand.. that takes experience and expertise.

The Facebook advertising agency you work with should be able to scale your advertising, not just maintain it. Advertising is key to growth, so your agency should be able to strategize with your internal teams to help you reach revenue, ROAS, and impression goals.

Still trying to find the right Facebook advertising agency? The team at Blue Wheel would love to work with you. Reach out today!

How Apple’s Privacy Updates Affects Your Facebook Advertising

Apple recently announced their iOS14 update. With this update comes changes to how IDFAs (identifiers for advertisers) will be shared with apps. Now, users can choose to opt out of sharing their IDFA with individual apps — meaning apps won’t be able to track as many results of their advertising.

Facebook isn’t happy. Advertisers are worried. And brands are left wondering what this all means for their business.

We’re breaking down what we know right now about how Apple’s new privacy updates will affect your Facebook advertising, whether you’re an agency or a small business, and we’ll give some actionable tips to help you move forward!

What Happened

With the iOS14 update, Apple has increased their focus on privacy. The tech giant is allowing users to opt out of tracking on apps such as Facebook, which will heavily impact advertising. This update comes as no surprise, as data privacy has become a national issue over the last few years.

If a user opts out of tracking for Facebook, you will only be able to track one conversion event. Attribution windows will be taken down as well. This will not only affect tracking, but also targeting.

This update affects how mobile apps (including iPad apps) track your information — technically, it affects app-to-web browsing. Likely, desktop and mobile browsers will not be affected.

Facebook has been incredibly vocal about disagreeing with the update. In a statement on their website, Facebook says, “We support proactive privacy measures and data transparency, but we don’t agree with Apple’s policy changes.”

In the future, this update could affect other advertising platforms, such as Pinterest, TikTok, and SnapChat. As of now, these apps will be affected minorly from this update. Additionally, we have not seen any effects of this announcement on Google. However, we are keeping a close eye on the platform, as this update could affect it down the road.

This update could also affect Android devices, even though they do not run on iOS. We do not have enough information on the widespread effects of this on other devices yet.

In addition, on January 19, the attribution window was cut down to a 7-day click — with no other default attribution. People who relied on 28-day click attribution (longer customer journey) can’t report on that any longer. If you do default to a 28-day click, you will see a decline in your ad manager because you’re looking at a much smaller attribution window. We have already seen the effects of this within the reporting platform.

Impact on Advertising

Anything that happens before you click off the ad — impression, reach, click, etc. — should all remain the same because you can see these metrics within Facebook’s reporting.

However, when a user goes to your website, that’s where the changes take effect.

Whereas previously you could track a user’s entire journey through multiple events — visit a product page, add to cart, initiate checkout, etc. — this iOS14 update only allows you to track one conversion event. You get to choose which event you want to track.

Most people will likely see a decrease in ROAS, but it will be unclear how accurate your data will be because you won’t know how many people will have opted out of your audience.

How to Move Forward

Regardless of how you personally feel about privacy and data sharing, there’s no doubt that this update will affect many brands who rely on advertising to sustain their business.

Every brand will need to rethink the way they report. Rethinking how we report metrics will be crucial, especially since mobile is one of the top drivers of revenue and traffic across the board — with our clients, we’ve seen mobile generate anywhere from 65–90% of traffic. Generation Z, especially, dominates mobile app traffic.

You’ll likely need to look at ROAS as a holistic number instead of just looking at it in a vacuum. Start looking at the digital ecosystem as a whole instead of relying on a single number to determine your success.

What’s Next?

Advertising will still be a crucial part of many brands’ digital marketing strategies. Remember that not all people will turn off tracking, so you are still able to advertise successfully — you just won’t be able to see as much of the customer journey.

If you haven’t already, it’s also time to double down on your engaged audiences on social and email. These followers and subscribers are able to be marketed to without being impacted by the iOS14 update.

Want a team of experts to handle your Facebook advertising in the midst of these changes? Talk to the team at Blue Wheel today.

Blue Wheel Fast Fives: Nick Bond

I’m not sure what I expected from someone who’s self-described after-work title is “Turtleneck and Tracksuit Connoisseur,” but Nick Bond’s description of himself is spot on.

From the moment the Zoom doorbell rang and Nick’s face appeared, you just know he is exactly who he says he is — black turtleneck, gold chain and bracelet, wire-framed glasses, and perfectly styled hair. His bright white smile is surrounded by a manicured beard.

Nick says what we were all thinking, owning his look: “I’ve got this Steve Jobs look goin’ on right now.” He clearly has confidence in who he is. I mean, who else would dare to draw style inspiration from these two icons?

But Nick’s style apparently vacillates depending on where he’s at and what he’s doing. When asked the most inspiring place he’s ever traveled, Nick confidently answered with Colombia. “It was definitely my vibe. Very Miami Vice. It gave me a bit of a culture shock experience where I changed up my style and the way I presented myself.” Yup, we see it.

Throughout our call, Nick constantly referred to inanimate objects as “she,” a funny quirk that seems both unintentional and purposeful. “How does she save?” he asks as he’s trying to save our recording. But, like everything else Nick does, it feels like it’s just part of who he is — a mix of professional and laid back, serious and funny.

Later, when asked what his current favorite GIF is, Nick responds with this still from Wandavision:

“This image lives in my head rent free,” he says, and you can almost imagine him sending this to a co-worker over Slack. Nick is certainly funny, but in an understated way — the way that would send this meme and have the recipient rolling with laughter while Nick sits back and smirks.

Nick’s demeanor is certainly one of professionalism; you can tell he thinks about what he says before he says it, has an answer for every question, and makes you feel like he can solve all of your problems.

And then, every so often, he’ll crack a joke that reminds you he’s not just the Director of Account Strategy. He’s also Nick Bond, Turtleneck and Tracksuit Connoisseur.

Watch Nick’s Fast Fives video below!

Wanna work with and for inspiring people like Nick? Join our growing team!

Blue Wheel Launches Proprietary Amazon Advertising Technology

Blue Wheel, a leading Amazon advertising agency, has announced the launch of a proprietary Amazon Advertising technology called Companion.

“Companion was born out of necessity, because the existing ad tech didn’t allow the level of customization required for us and our clients’ success. As both an agency and a $50M seller, we know the Amazon game better than a pure agency. We needed a technology that could keep up with our vision and execute our strategies” says Trevor George, Founder and CEO of Blue Wheel.

This technology features proprietary bid optimization algorithms… Blue Wheel’s “EQ-Bid”, and functionality that gives our account manager’s full control over a client’s advertising profitability. 

Companion was built on Blue Wheel’s Search Term Isolation bidding philosophy – an advanced campaign architecture that allows the team to isolate search terms, automatically harvest keywords in real time and manage bids at scale. With Companion, Blue Wheel’s Amazon Advertising team has the intense level of customization they need to successfully manage complex accounts and run thousands of ad campaigns.

“Companion completely changes the game for Blue Wheel and our clients,” says Trevor George. “We’re excited to offer this proprietary technology to clients and brands to help them grow their business on Amazon through advertising.”

Companion is exclusively available to managed-service clients of Blue Wheel and is recommended for experienced sellers and brands whose annual Amazon revenue is above $1M.

Watch our video announcement of Companion:

Learn more about how Blue Wheel and Companion work together here

3 Takeaways from Cyber Weekend

2020 has been a year of unexpectedness — and Cyber Weekend was no exception. While parts felt familiar, brands shifted their strategies to account for more online shopping than ever, shipping delays, inventory issues, and larger competition in the ecommerce space.

We analyzed the ecommerce performance of every brand we work with on the owned and operated side throughout the entire promotional period. Based on this first-party data, we uncovered 3 key takeaways from Cyber Weekend 2020.

1. Highest Revenue Day was Black Friday (Not Cyber Monday)

Yes, total e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday did exceed Black Friday sales by almost $2 billion, but these numbers (provided by Adobe) include marketplaces and big box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Apple. Also worth noting is that these numbers took into account sales from mobile apps, not just websites.

When looking at the performance on our brands’ owned websites however, Black Friday was the highest revenue day, not Cyber Monday. This statistic was true for every single ecommerce client we manage. 

A few key factors played into this notable shift.

First, and not to anyone’s surprise, online shopping on Black Friday was at an all-time high this year due to COVID-19. Many customers who would have traditionally spent Black Friday shopping in person transitioned to solely online shopping.

Second, in years past, many brands increased the value of their deals on Cyber Monday. In the last few years as e-commerce has shifted to be a larger force in holiday shopping, brands have implemented the same promotional discount for the entire Cyber Weekend. This year proved no different, as most brands simply leveraged the same promotion over the course of the entire Cyber Weekend, so customers knew they were going to get the best deal no matter when they shopped.

Lastly, the majority of our clients allocated more spend to Black Friday than they did on Cyber Monday, in anticipation of this shift, which fueled growth.

2. Year-Over-Year Growth in Revenue

71% of brands we work with saw an increase in their ecommerce sales year over year during their entire cyber promotional period — many seeing increases of over 30%, and some seeing 79% growth YOY.

Online shopping for our digital advertising clients was up 21.5% on Black Friday and 15.1% on Cyber Monday compared to last year.

Of course, it’s important to mention that some of the YoY growth came from increases in budget. However, the revenue growth exceeded that of budget.

3. Brands Started Promos Earlier

Across the board, brands started promotions even before Thanksgiving this year. The trend has evolved from Black Friday savings, to Cyber Weekend, now to essentially a whole Cyber Week of sales.

Brands who started their promotions before Black Friday typically saw great returns on the first day of promotion, then saw a sales dip over the days leading to Thanksgiving, and then had their highest revenue day on Black Friday.

Brands who didn’t start their promotions earlier in the week missed out on thousands of dollars in revenue — and their business was likely cannibalized by competitors who did offer promotions earlier in the week.

Many brands worry about starting their promotions too early and discounting their products for too long. And while there is certainly a sweet spot for promotion length, beginning your cyber sales earlier in the week is certainly an opportunity to propel your revenue for a longer period of time. One of our beauty brands began their promotion on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and their sales on that day were significantly higher than their sales on Cyber Monday!

In addition, starting your promotions earlier allows you to compete with big box retailers that are also selling your products. Some retailers, such as Sephora, only offer bundles deals and ‘buy more save more’ promos on Cyber Weekend, so by offering a true percentage discount on your product, you can win sales from customers who would otherwise have bought from their favorite retailer.

How COVID-19 Has Reshaped Q4 and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health, finances, and life of the entire world. From heartbreaking losses to small lifestyle changes like wearing a mask, everyone has been affected.

The effects of the pandemic have rippled through nearly every aspect of life, and even behemoths like Amazon weren’t immune to the changes that came with a global pandemic.

Amazon’s annual Prime Day was moved from July to October — an unforeseen change that had many sellers wondering, “How will this affect my Q4 sales? With these large sales days encroaching on holiday shopping, will my business see fewer sales closer to Christmas?” The answer is no.

A brief Prime Day 2020 recap: this year was Amazon’s largest sales day in history, with sales of $10.4 billion — exceeding last year’s total Prime Day sales by over $3 billion. Small and medium-sized businesses, according to a press release from Amazon, generated more than $3.5 billion over the two days.

For Blue Wheel clients, unsurprisingly, stats were up across the board. Compared to the September daily average, sales on Prime Day 1 were up 235%, and impressions were up 160%. ACoS was down 5.79%, and ROAS was up 6.15%. This is to be expected, as people browse and click to find the best deal. In addition, conversion rates increased from a September daily average of 13.3% to 18.2% on the first day of Prime Day!

But how did Prime Day affect the rest of your Q4? What can you expect in this unprecedented holiday season? Our resident Amazon experts are here to give their predictions about what to expect in the last few months of 2020, which traditionally have been extremely profitable months for brands.

Prime Day for Yourself, Black Friday for Gifts

In general, shoppers tend to buy for themselves on Prime Day, and wait until Black Friday to shop for others. We know this to especially be true when Prime Day is in the summertime, but many were wondering if the same would apply with the sales being so close together.

Our Amazon Amazon Advertising Team Lead, Casey McRae, predicts that this classic shopping mentality will likely still apply this year — even though the two shopping holidays are only weeks apart. Because Prime Day was in October, before many people start holiday shopping, Black Friday and the following weeks will still draw in large sales.

With COVID-19 cases rising in the United States, in-person shopping will likely be impacted as shoppers choose to do their holiday shopping from the safety of their homes. “This year, fewer people are going to be standing in long lines in stores on Black Friday, so we’re expecting the market to still be strong as people transition to online holiday shopping even more,” says McRae.

In addition, there’s a smaller window between Black Friday and Christmas this year, making the holiday shopping season even shorter than usual — likely boosting sales. So, once Black Friday hits, people have the need to buy as the holidays creep closer.

Restocking and Shipping Concerns

Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s VP of Customer Support said “Every holiday puts additional pressure on each country’s transportation networks– this is an industry-wide occurrence. However, the pandemic crisis has the potential to increase the strain. As a result, we will encourage customers to do their holiday shopping earlier. We also encourage you to send inventory to our fulfillment centers, schedule product launches, and run deals and promotions earlier.”

Earlier in 2020, Amazon experienced severe inventory restocking delays due to the increased amount of sales during the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some brand’s products were shipped to their nearest Amazon warehouse and took 3 weeks to be checked in and restocked.

Amazon had mostly resolved all of those issues by Prime Day, but now the question remains — will these issues arise again as brands rush to restock after a record-breaking Prime Day, and will items be restocked in time for the holiday rush?

The deadline to create inventory for Black Friday was the first week in November. Amazon preemptively notified sellers of this deadline in the hopes that they would be able to restock their inventory in time.

In addition, Amazon will likely move up their final shipping date to get gifts in time for Christmas. In previous years, shoppers could order as late as December 22 and still receive their orders by Christmas Day, but Amazon will likely move that ahead by a few days to accommodate for shipping delays.

Category Predictions

Giftable Products

If your product is giftable, it will more than likely perform well during Black Friday. Regardless of how your Prime Day sales were, you will likely still see high sales during the holiday season leading up to December 25.

Giftable products span a variety of categories, but toys are one of the most popular gifted products during the holiday season. One of our toy-based clients saw a 531.33% increase in sales on the first day of Prime Day versus their September daily average. Brands like this will continue to see increases in sales as the holidays approach.

Groceries

Grocery is the last frontier for Amazon to conquer — and they’re already making waves in that vertical. Our prediction? This category will be hit or miss for the holidays. Those who are avoiding shopping in-person might prefer to stock up on holiday food online, but it’s also important to note that many people are foregoing large, traditional holiday gatherings with family and friends for safety.

In addition, with COVID-19 cases on the rise, many people are choosing to grocery shop online through Prime Pantry. Recently, the selection has been sparse, much like it was in March of this year. So while cyber weekend itself might not cause a huge bump in sales, a rise in COVID cases will likely cause people to turn to online grocery shopping — and could result in some restocking issues as well.

Lastly, some grocery items also make good holiday gifts, such as tea or candy, while others likely aren’t as giftable. One of our grocery clients that sells giftable food products saw a 34.19% lift in sales on the first Prime Day from their September average daily sales, proving that these items are increasing in popularity on the site.

Beauty

The beauty industry traditionally does very well during the holiday season, as makeup and hair care products are great gifts for friends or family. Items that have been increasingly popular during quarantine, such as skincare and face masks, will also make good gifts for holidays and will likely see sales increase during this season.

One of our clients in the beauty space saw a 1270.41% increase in sales on the first day of Prime Day versus their September daily average — a markedly large increase.

Apparel

As a kid, you probably hated to get clothes for Christmas — but as an adult, you likely don’t mind it so much! Apparel traditionally does well during the holiday season, as people look for gifts but also for new clothes to wear to family gatherings and parties. Similar to the grocery category, the lack of social gatherings this year could potentially impact Q4 sales of apparel outside of athleisure.

One of our clients in the athletic clothing space saw a 153.29% increase from their September average to the first day of Prime Day, proving that comfortable clothing continues to be a popular purchase.

Blue Wheel’s Recommendations

  • You should still run deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shoppers are specifically looking for discounts during this four-day period. We’ve found that discounts of 15% do well on Amazon.
  • Prepare for sales increases after Black Friday. Last year, many of our clients’ highest sales day during Q4 occurred after Cyber Weekend — and the same will likely be true this year as more shopping is done online.
  • Prepare for shipping delays.  Because Amazon is encouraging consumers to shop earlier for Christmas, combined with media reports of carrier slow-down, people will likely start shopping online a little earlier this year. You may want to think about moving your holiday promotions up.

Blue Wheel Welcomes Peter Kearns as new VP of Amazon

Blue Wheel is excited to welcome Peter Kearns as our new Vice President of Amazon. He will head up our expanding team of Amazon advertisers who continue to provide advanced Amazon advertising solutions for our brands, through our Search Term Isolation bidding philosophy

Peter brings more than 15 years of experience in advertising, e-commerce, and business development to the Blue Wheel team. He has worked for companies such as the Discovery Channel, Amazon.com, Feedvisor, and Buy Box Experts, has been featured in leading publications like MSNBC, CNET, Entrepreneur Magazine, and NBC News, and has spoken at notable conferences and events across the country.

Over the past nine years, Peter has established himself as an Amazon expert, working with brands and retailers to help them establish and execute their Amazon strategy. Peter’s first four years in the Amazon space were spent as a member of Amazon’s Seller Services team where he oversaw the Consumables team, along with spending time on the Hardlines and FBA teams. While at Amazon, he and his team helped hundreds of brands of all shapes and sizes generate $750+ million (and growing) in sales. 

During his time at Amazon, Peter learned what sets successful brands apart from the rest. “As I have been working with brands over the years, one thing that has become very clear is that winners and losers on Amazon will be determined by the brands that can execute the right advertising strategies,” Peter says.

“With our ever-expanding team of Amazon experts and new offerings like content creation, we are excited to welcome Peter as a leader in our company to drive us to the next frontier,” says Trevor George, Founder and CEO of Blue Wheel. “As our team continues to grow, we needed someone with not only Amazon experience, but also the ability and experience to lead — and we are excited for Peter to fill that role here.”

Want to learn more about what our Amazon Advertising team can do for your brand? Reach out for a free Amazon audit.