Over the last two years, there has been a real awakening of Amazon’s platform, with major brands like Nike and Sears Kenmore signing on to sell direct and a well documented influx of media dollars. But as we all know, just being present is never enough. What you say and how you say it remains integral to any commercial success. So, how should creatives and clients alike be viewing the platform from here? Is Amazon still only an effective ecommerce channel of haphazard static imagery and cold product descriptions, or are there much larger creative branding and content opportunities ready to be exploited across the entire ecosystem?
For those who haven’t looked at Spark yet—do it. Amazon’s currently embryonic social platform, hidden away in the company’s app, does not look significantly different from any other social channels. But the “Buy Now” options integral to the posts could be game-changing.
After a quick play, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that interactive video may have found its marketing holy grail. Within this channel, it’s easy to imagine literally every piece of video being made entirely actionable.
And if you’ve played with Prime Video, you’ll know how seamless the use of IMBD data is in providing options to find more personalized content. Assuming Spark expands beyond its very small user base, imagine the possibilities for advertisers to show content and offer a seamless purchase, there and then without leaving the platform and without even needing to enter a single detail. All boosted by the trust and fulfillment brought by the Amazon brand.
Sponsored content and product placement
In a world where content is increasingly king, Amazon (the ecommerce wing) is perhaps better set to own the game than any other platform due to its sister entertainment production company. No other platform has the ability to so readily and seamlessly move from awareness to sale within or alongside global properties that have the entire world talking.
And how about the Augmented Reality opportunities that exist within the visual search functionality of the core app? Visual search is quickly becoming mainstream, and once you have consumers using their device’s camera for this additional functionality, full-blown AR brand experiences can only be moments behind.
This holiday period’s record sales of Alexa Echo’s, and particularly Dots, boosted Amazon’s share of home voice assistants to around 70 percent. With that large of an audience, some brands are already waiting to see how and when they will open up the platform—and there have certainly been whispers.
That’s the future, but today we know there are increasingly worthwhile creative opportunities within Alexa’s skills. Many brands have, of course, already experimented; the rush of organizations to be first to the platform brings back memories of the “we need an app” craze of years past. However, there are some brands that have created helpful, authentic experiences.
Purina, for example, has created a skill to help would-be first-time puppy parents in choosing the right breed for them. Tide has a skill that talks consumers through the step-by-step process of removing hundreds of different stains. Each skill, of course, offers a direct link to a product purchase via the ecommerce platform.
As ownership of the devices continues, and consumers and clients become more familiar with the technology, it’s not difficult to foresee a whole new need for branded audio entertainment content—a need that’s far beyond simple practical instructions or the nefarious (yet wholly wonderful) execution employed by Burger King upon Google Home.
The creative opportunities only get richer still as consumers ultimately move to products like the Alexa Show, Amazon’s personal assistant with an added screen. Audio will remain integral, and video content of all kinds will inevitably follow. Perhaps with the added screen, immediate sales will also rise.
Within one ecosystem, we have opportunities for interactive video, content creation in partnership with an Oscar-winning production house, purposeful brand-led augmented reality and a market-leading home assistant—and all this combined with an unparalleled ecommerce channel. Let’s face it: That’s an arsenal any of the walled gardens would love to have locked and loaded.
It seems that the question is no longer whether Amazon is a fertile garden for growing innovation and creativity; instead, it’s pertinent to ask which brands will most successfully leverage the platform and which agencies will develop the capabilities to support these brands, ultimately offering an unparalleled customer experience.