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Intro to Walmart Advertising: What You Need to Know to and the Main Differences From Amazon PPC

Ready to take your Amazon business to the Walmart Marketplace? It's time to learn the difference between Amazon & Walmart advertising.

Expanding your FBA business to the Walmart marketplace increases sales and provides an opportunity to grab the attention of potential customers. We have outlined some of the basics of Walmart’s pay-to-play advertising platform to help you get your products kickstarted. 

So, you’re ready to start driving traffic to your Walmart listings? A common mistake for new sellers is to assume the strategy and execution will be the same as Amazon.

Although the goal of advertising on both marketplaces is the same, it’s important to understand the key differences between them to start driving your business! 

The Walmart Ad Center is where the magic happens (think Amazon Campaign Manager). From this dashboard, you can control your ads as well as view the performance of current and past campaigns. Although the Ad Center is not as robust as Campaign Manager (especially when it comes to the breadth of reporting), it is easy to navigate and simple. 

This is your home base where you will find a high-level summary of spend and an assortment of campaigns. From here you can toggle to your detailed campaign view, keyword performance, and reporting.

So, what are some key points to understand with Walmart Advertising? 

  • Functionality
  • Ranking & Content
  • Ad placements
  • Keyword Bidding
  • Minimum bids & budgets
  • Attribution 

Functionality

sell on walmart

It’s important to set expectations before launching your Walmart advertising campaigns. In many ways, it’s more difficult to launch advertising campaigns on Walmart because of their stricter requirements and increased focus on product page content. 

More so than Amazon, Walmart gives priority to listings with “Listing Quality Scores” of over 80%. This limiting factor makes it more difficult to launch products with no reviews or content that Walmart deems low quality. With Amazon, even if the content of your listing isn’t optimized or lacks reviews, you can still win ad placements.  

Another layer of complexity comes with updating content if you are not the original creator of the listing. Because there isn’t an equivalent to Brand Registry for Walmart Marketplace, it can be a challenge to own and update content on your products without a lengthy seller support inquiry.  

In terms of review generation, Walmart does offer a program much like Vine, called Spark. You are also allowed to syndicate reviews from your brand’s website through Bazaar voice. 

Walmart bases the quality of your listings on:

  • Content & Discoverability
  • Offer 
  • Ratings & Reviews

Ranking & Content

To deploy sponsored product campaigns on Walmart you need to rank in the top 128 spots for that specific search term.  

How is it possible to rank so highly with a brand-new listing? 

Well,  Walmart will scrub your content (this is why content is king, but you already knew that) and determine where it falls short.  This is where the “Content & Discoverability” metric comes into place. Things like title, description, images, bullet points, attributes are examined to generate this score.  

Walmart will also provide recommendations to you to improve your content. In the example below, Walmart provided guidance on the recommended Title length, stating that the top performers in the category have a title of 92 characters. If your content is clear and customer-focused, and you improve your content based on Walmart’s recommendations, you should be able to rank for at least a few keywords to start. 

Because there is less competition on Walmart, you’d be surprised how easy it is to rank organically for many keywords. You can find out how products rank in the Seller Center under Growth Opportunities –> Assortment Growth.  You can use this tool to see where your product ranks and your competitors. A good strategy to start is to identify a few keywords that are “must-win” and tailor your content to support them.

Ad Placements

There are three available ad placements for Walmart Sponsored Products (see visual below). The biggest difference from Amazon placements is that Walmart does not offer sponsored brands banner placement at the top of the search results page (Actually, Walmart doesn’t offer Sponsored brands campaign functionality for third-party sellers at all …yet). 

Again, your ads are more likely to serve in the top spot if their Listing Quality Score is above 80%.

Keyword Bid Auctions

Knowing how to budget for advertising on Walmart is important for profitability, and it isn’t safe to assume you will spend the same amount as you do on Amazon.  Before placing aggressive bids, you should understand Walmart’s first price auction (You might be used to the second price auction Amazon uses).

First price auction: You pay what you bid. Think traditional auction where the highest bidder gets the prize. Example: advertiser 1 bids $1, advertiser 2 bids $2, and advertiser 3 bids $3; advertiser 3 wins and pays $3.

Second price auction: You pay $.01 more than the second-highest bid—up to your budget. In the same example: advertiser 1 bids $1, advertiser 2 bids $2, and advertiser 3 bids $3; advertiser 3 wins and pays just $2.01 (saving $.99).

Pro Tip

Start low and ramp up. It’s easy to spend significantly more than your competition if bids are too aggressive out of the gate. Bid shading is a common strategy for new advertisers looking to optimize their advertising spend.

Walmart also imposes minimum and maximum bids to help with the unknown in the first price auction model. 

Attribution

Amazon attributes a sale from advertising based on the click only. For example, a customer clicks on your ad and converts, attributing one sale to advertising (given the customer converts within the standard 14-day attribution window).

Walmart provides another layer of attribution by counting an advertising sale only after a view and a click on an ad (within their standard 30-day attribution window). This gives a slight advantage because it allows you to measure an advertising sale if a customer viewed a product up to 29 days ago and made a purchase. 

These points only scratch the surface of advertising in the Walmart ecosystem. And with the rate Walmart is introducing more tools and functions, there will be a lot more to explore soon. In the meantime, focus on optimizing content and start low on bids. Good luck! 

Grace Kopplin

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