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How to accelerate your eCommerce growth with Walmart advertising

This is a guest post by Greg Swan. Greg is a Content Strategist at Tinuiti, where he coordinates and writes content to help brands and marketers make sense of the ever-changing world of B2B advertising, ecommerce, adtech, and more.

Walmart’s marketplace continues to grow, bolstered by both the unexpected Coronavirus pandemic which has only accelerated consumer ecommerce trends. Walmart’s strengthened online grocery and pickup capabilities will have brought in an estimated $41.01 billion by the end of 2020, compared to 2019’s more modest $28.45 billion. In fact, since January 2020, Walmart has overtaken eBay, emerging as the second-largest ecommerce retailer.

If you have any intention of selling and growing your brand on Walmart, then Walmart advertising needs to be a part of your strategy. 

Here’s why:

  • Supports your organic presence: Paid advertising on Walmart.com can assist your organic presence and increase product discoverability. 
  • Boosts your new seller performance: Digital advertising can help new sellers and products to boost their early sales performance. 
  • Aids your struggling SKUs: Effective, targeted ads can increase visibility for low-performing SKUs, as well as provide a sandbox for SKU ideas. 
  • Take advantage of seasonal spikes: Seasonal products will be able to take advantage of seasonality spikes and respond faster to changes.

How Walmart Advertising Differs From Amazon

Though both ecommerce sites offer a variety of products and advertising options, there are some key differentiators between Walmart.com and Amazon advertising.

These include the types of auctions, how auto bids are set, and bidding strategies.

Type of Ad Auction

  • Amazon = Second Price Auction
  • Walmart = First Price Auction

Auto Bids

  • Amazon = Set at target level (close match, loose match, etc.)
  • Walmart = Set at product level

Bidding Strategy

  • Amazon = Dynamic – Down Only
  • Walmart = Fixed

For Amazon advertisers, the most striking difference here is Walmart’s first price auction system. 

On Amazon, if you set a $1 bid for a keyword, and the second-highest bidder bid $0.50, you would then win the auction and only pay $0.51 as the highest bidder.

Walmart’s first price auction system means that you would pay the full $1 in the same scenario.

Walmart Ad Types and Best Practices

Advertising on Walmart.com can help increase your visibility by allowing you to reach and encourage purchasing behavior at every step of the customer journey. 

Ads that appear in search results, category pages, and item pages all drive traffic to your products. Not familiar with all the ad types available on Walmart.com? Here are some best practices and to follow and key insights to keep in mind while running ads.

Walmart.com Ad Types

Walmart Sponsored Products – In Grid Search Results

One in four Walmart.com purchases start out as a search, so if you want to drive traffic to your Walmart.com product pages, take advantage of these CPC ads. 

Advertisers control their spend by establishing budgets and bids, only paying when a user clicks on the ads. Minimum spend for these ads starts at $1,000 within a specific start and end date, and a daily minimum of $100.

This is not how much you will actually spend, however; this is just the minimum of what will be entered into the platform.

Walmart Sponsored Products – Sponsored Product Carousel

Located on the search results, category, and product pages, the Sponsored Products Carousel features paid listings and products, appearing as a relative, alternative option. 

The items listed here do not need to be in the top 128 organic listings, or about 3 pages, in order to appear.

Walmart Buy Box Banner

Like Amazon, winning the Buy Box is crucial for making sales. 

While there is no reported data for Walmart.com’s Buy Box, Amazon reports that 82% of sales are funneled through their own Buy Box.

If you are a top seller in a particular category, Walmart’s internal media team can select you for this much-sought-after spot. However, there are potential ways to win the Buy Box, such as an automatic campaign depending on relevance and bid.

Walmart Search Brand Amplifier

The SBA advertising strategy can help improve brand awareness and showcase your product portfolio. 

A logo, custom headline, and up to three products appear at the top of a relevant search result. Similar to the Buy Box banner, this placement is determined by the internal Walmart team, but can be won through automatic campaigns.

Walmart.com Advertising Best Practices

On the platform, there are two primary campaign types: automatic and manual.

“Automated campaigns tend to perform better over time than manual campaigns, but you need to have at least 10 SKUs in the product group and start by controlling it with minimum bid and ad budgets,” says Elizabeth Marsten, Senior Director of Strategic Marketplace Services at Tinuiti.

Due to their eligibility for additional placements, automated campaigns have the potential to scale upward. Make sure to check on your campaigns after at least three days.

If you decide to use manual campaigns, start with keywords from the Suggested Keywords tab. These keywords are listed in descending order, so start with the top of the list as they will give you better results.

In our Walmart advertising strategy webinar, experts touched on the following best practices for those starting out with Walmart advertising:

All Campaigns

  • Start campaigns with campaign and daily budget minimums and then adjust as data comes in
  • Set the campaigns to run indefinitely unless you have strict monthly budgets

Manual Campaigns

  • Try starting your bids around $0.50, and use cascading bids by match type
  • Test out higher bids for closely related keywords
  • Utilize Walmart’s suggested keywords
  • You will likely see lower volume compared to your auto campaigns
  • Success is category-dependent

Auto Campaigns

  • Add at least 10 products
  • Try starting your bids at about $0.3 – $0.5 and increase from there
  • Don’t forget to add a buy box modifier that brings your bids up to at least $1 so you have the potential to show up in this ad spot

Walmart Creative Best Practices

Like any ecommerce platform, when publishing on Walmart you must follow some rules that ensure your products not only comply with Walmart.com’s advertising guidelines, but also are optimized in order to increase conversions.

Product Listings

Walmart.com has predetermined input fields for you, so you know what information you need when listing your product. However, optimizing your listing will increase your presence in search. When creating a listing, try to maintain a title that is between 50 – 75 characters. Make sure to include any key features—particularly any that are trending—in your product title.

Product Details

As you describe your product, be sure to use easy-to-read language that plainly describes the features.

Weave in keywords where you can, as they will help you rise to the top of search. Use bullet points—no user checking out multiple products wants to be bogged down by a wall of text.

Images

If descriptions provide context for your product, images help back-up your claims. Would you buy a product without an image?

If you use a combination of high-quality, professional images to showcase the functionality of your product, as well as special features and the product in use, you will be able to rise in the ranks quickly.

TwoDay Delivery Badge

If you are a third-party seller on Walmart.com, shipping falls under your domain.

In order to compete with Amazon, Walmart has rolled out TwoDay Delivery. Many shoppers filter and browse by these product tags, so make sure that you set aside some strategy to determine if 2-day delivery could work with your business.

Tip: Use Deliverr to fulfill your Walmart.com orders and get pre-approved access to 2-day delivery tags.

If so, set up your 2-day delivery policy, and enable the feature on your listing. Learn more about how to leverage 2-day delivery to increase your conversions on Walmart.com here.

If you’re selling on Walmart.com, advertising is key for staying top of mind with shoppers and maintaining an edge against competitor catalogs.

Walmart continues to experience rapid growth in the ecommerce space, and early adopters of the platform will reap immediate benefits.

Review some of the automated and manual advertising options available—Sponsored Products, Buy Box, and Brand Amplifier—and see which could drive results for your company. Once you’ve picked your ad type, make sure to optimize your listings to increase conversions, and do your best to get the 2-day shipping badge.

Want to learn more about Walmart advertising?

Check out our most recent Walmart case study here and get in touch with our team here.

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