A Walmart Sponsored Brands Advertising Guide

Data & Insights
Strategy & Trends
  • Carly Rennie
  • September 2, 2022

Are you one of the 100,000+ sellers on the Walmart marketplace? According to Walmart, “every year, 90% of American households rely on Walmart for a range of products from must-buy brands, both large and small. And every week, more than 150 million customers shop with us in-store or online.”  

For brands advertising their products through Walmart Connect, Walmart’s advertising platform, this massive opportunity to sell on one of America’s largest retailers (both online and in-store) keeps growing and growing. Walmart revealed that it generated $2.1 billion in advertising revenue just last year. Another strong sign that its retail media ad strategy was starting to click was in January 2022 when Walmart invested $3.9 billion in advertising. This investment proved to be a whopping increase of $700 million compared to what the company spent in the previous year.  

So, what’s the best placement for Walmart advertisers on the platform to spotlight their entire line of products with the goals of increasing conversions and gaining brand awareness? The clear answer is Sponsored Brands. Like Sponsored Brands ads on Amazon, Walmart Connect’s premium keyword-targeted search ads placement helps showcase your brand logos and curated product portfolios to customers actively searching Walmart online for similar products. This article is all about the ad type, the requirements to begin leveraging it, who can use it, and the best practices advertisers should follow to get the most out of it.

The Basics

Sponsored Brands works on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, which means advertisers will pay only when online shoppers click on their ad.

  • Premium Placement – Sponsored Brands is a premium placement that shows up at the top of the search results page for selected search terms and heavily showcases the promoted items’ brand. The placement displays the brand’s logo, a custom headline, and up to four products that appear at the top of the page, which helps to improve brand recognition while showcasing the brand’s product portfolio. The advertisers can select up to ten items to be included in the ad, and then Walmart will automatically fill the ad with those items based on availability and relevance.
  • Powered by Search Terms – Similar to Walmart’s Sponsored Product ads, brands can choose their own keywords that resonate with their customer base, as well as target categories related to their products. Advertisers can easily change match types or pause low-performing keywords to maximize campaign ad spend.
  • Pay Per Click – Sponsored Brands ads are pay-per-click, making it a cost-effective option for brands, especially since Walmart transitioned to second-price auction earlier this year.
Walmart advertising example - Search Brand Amplifier ad

How It’s Useful

One of the best parts of Sponsored Brands is that it shows up right at the top before the organic search results are displayed. Sponsored Brands is a very useful ad placement to encourage engagement with high-intent customers with the goal of increasing conversions and awareness. Regarding awareness, Sponsored Brands ads help reinforce your brand’s image while increasing the effectiveness of the product discovery phase with prospective customers. In terms of conversions, Sponsored Brands helps brand and account managers to drive more sales, especially when launching new or seasonal products. Sponsored Brands also helps brands gain Share of Voice for their line of products, which can help boost organic rankings.

Placements

Bidding requirements for Sponsored Brands ads differ from Sponsored Products ads in that minimum bids on the placement are $1.00, as opposed to $0.30. Although it may be more expensive to bid on Sponsored Brands ads, it’s still a cost-effective way to advertise as it showcases an array of products instead of just one.

Matching Keywords

Advertisers can choose and bid on the keyword-match options that best fit their campaign goals.

  • Broad Match – This match type gives the most reach but the least precision. Your ad will be served to all Walmart customers who search your keyword phrase. And it still functions regardless of order or the presence of additional words.
  • Phrase Match – This match type provides reach along with some precision. Your ad will be served to Walmart customers whose search includes your exact keyword phrase. Phrases can have additional words before or after and still function properly.
  • Exact Match – This match type has the least reach but most precision, by far. Your ad will be served only to Walmart customers who search your exact keyword or phrase.

What Requires a Review?

There are a few aspects that advertisers should be mindful of when setting up Sponsored Brands campaigns.

Brand Logos – The required dimensions are 300×180 px. We recommend that you use PNG file types since we’ve experienced resolution issues with JPEGs.

Custom Taglines – This is your opportunity to speak to the shopper. Ultimately, you will want to think about the specific shopper that you are targeting and create your tagline around what would drive engagement and serve your brand strategically based on the shopper’s behaviors (e.g., what keywords are they searching for?).

  • If someone is searching for your branded keywords, they have either already bought into your brand or are interested in learning more. Use this insight to your advantage and test taglines that call out new products, lesser-known, or familiar assortment.
  • For shoppers searching by non-branded category terms, you might want to include messaging that aligns with any national media/campaigns that are running. Ultimately, this is your opportunity to get creative and test different taglines to see what resonates best with specific shoppers.
  • The maximum length is 45 characters for your tagline, including spaces.
  • In addition to taglines, you can also submit your brand name, which is limited to 35 characters.

Best Practices

The following are best practices from account managers with experience managing Walmart Sponsored Brands campaigns.

  • Test your keywords – Testing the efficacy of your keywords is essential to improving the quality of your campaigns. We recommend that you test branded keywords and search terms versus non-branded keywords to see what works best.
  • Break out Sponsored Brands campaigns by category and product line.
  • Don’t break out campaigns by match type – If you take this route, you will end up competing against yourself and waste much of your budget.
  • Harvest keywords – Keyword harvest from your Sponsored Products ads automatic campaigns using the item-keyword performance report. Pacvue account managers typically run exact matches only on Sponsored Brands campaigns. Walmart Connect pushes for phrase and broad match keywords, but those will allow you to spend frivolously on terms that may not convert.
  • The approval process – Once submitted, the approval process can take 24-48 hours. We recommend submitting for approval a few days before the campaign’s desired start time to ensure ample time for approval, especially if you want to be live for event day.
  • The testing phase – Since you can currently only have one ad set and creative per campaign, the only way to test headlines, creatives, and images is by running multiple campaigns during the same time period.
  • Campaign ramp-up time – Pacvue account managers have seen the performance of Sponsored Brands ads improve significantly from week one to week four after going live.

Sponsored Brands ads on Walmart can help your brand’s marketing strategy by targeting shoppers at most points in the marketing funnel. It helps with driving awareness and conversions, so brands should be taking a close look at which SKUs to feature and why, which taglines are most effective, and which images to feature that convert the best after running several variations during the testing phase. What’s great about this ad type on Walmart is that they’re easy to set up and optimize once running.

Boost your reach and increase sales on Walmart with Pacvue, the leading platform to manage Walmart Connect Advertising campaigns. Contact us today for a demo, and you’ll walk through Pacvue’s customizable dashboards, five levels of automation, competitive intelligence, Share of Voice reporting, and more.


Author
Carly Rennie

Awards & Recognitions