Sellers often see Walmart as an untapped resource with instant results. While the marketplace definitely holds massive potential for advertisers, the reality is that it often takes a lot of momentum and a long-term investment.
Since Walmart launched Walmart Connect, the retail giant has increased its focus on eCommerce and made some great progress in providing ad tools for sellers. Amazon Sellers looking to make the move to Walmart need to understand the differences in ad types, targeting, and overall approach in order to be successful on the growing platform.
Pacvue’s Co-founder and President, Melissa Burdick, recently participated in a panel discussion at Prosper Show 2022 providing “Answers to Maximize Your Sales and Profitability on Walmart.” Melissa was joined by industry experts with years of Walmart and Amazon experience who provided valuable insights on finding success on Walmart.com.
If you weren’t able to make the trip out to Las Vegas, here are some of the most interesting takeaways from the discussion:
Walmart Is Not Amazon
The most obvious thing to keep top of mind when developing your Walmart advertising strategy is the key differences between Walmart.com and Amazon. Walmart is not an overnight game. It is a long strategic play and your ad placements should reflect that. Here are some of the important differences that reflect the need for a more patient ad strategy:
- Walmart is a first price bid auction. This means the winning bid in an ad auction is the max CPC bid. By comparison, Amazon uses a second price bid auction which puts the winning bid at one cent over the second highest bid amount.
- Unlike Amazon, Walmart does not allow you to put your products in unrelated aisles. For the most part, your shelf placement has to be earned. Walmart’s goal is to give priority to the products and brands that have historically driven sales.
- Organic ranking on Walmart is a lot less nimble than Amazon. Increasing the rank of product detail pages requires consistent, always-on support.
- While Walmart does allow detail page targeting, you don’t have the surgical precision on Walmart Connect compared to Amazon. Detail page targeting for manual campaigns is a relatively new feature and is still very limited.
- Walmart has much higher bid minimums (as low as $0.20) compared to Amazon ($0.02). This creates more pressure on testing Walmart keywords and speaks to the level of patience needed to generate momentum.
How Does Walmart.com Compare to the Early Days of Amazon?
With 10 years of experience working at Amazon, Melissa was able to provide unique insights into how Walmart’s current growth compares to the eCommerce giant.
One area to consider is the growth potential of their paid memberships. US Amazon Prime membership grew from about 100M in 2017 to 150M in 2021, but that rate is expected to slow to just 3% growth in 2022. By comparison, Walmart+ membership has been reported to be between 30 and 35M in 2021. This indicates that Walmart’s immense eCommerce growth hasn’t been nearly as reliant on its paid membership because eCommerce sales for Walmart grew 79% from 2020 to 2021 ($43B). With fixed territory and an open digital market, Walmart still has a ton of runway left.
The biggest difference between the online marketplaces in Walmart.com is growing out of a logistical powerhouse. Walmart has a greater potential to leverage Brick and Mortar locations – combined with new delivery technology like drones – to bring products to shoppers more conveniently.
What Walmart Ad Tools Can We Expect in the Future?
As Walmart Connect continues to grow, expect to see new ad tools to provide new opportunities for advertisers and further compete with Amazon’s ad capabilities. While we don’t have any insider insights on what Walmart’s five-year roadmap is, we can make some educated guesses. These are some ad tools that Walmart could add in the future based on what Amazon is currently doing and what our experts believe would fill gaps in Walmart Connect’s current capabilities:
- Moving to a second price ad auction. The shift will be a huge win for all advertisers on Walmart and open brands and sellers up to more insight into their categories. Right now it is very difficult to compare your Amazon and Walmart keyword strategies and performance. The move to a second price auction for Walmart will be an opportunity to improve overall efficiency of accounts and make it easier to compare retailer performance.
- Brands will be rewarded for investing in paid search. We should expect to see better targeting capabilities and more ad types. Walmart is looking at ways to make sure they keep investing and that is to make sure they see the correlation between level of investment and growing share. Even for smaller brands, Walmart will want to make sure they see the impact on their business when they invest in paid search. It will be about the evolution in their algorithm and how it treats changes to media spend.
- Greater control over targeting and testing. Walmart needs to provide advertisers with more tools for affinity targeting and retargeting. The ability to A/B test variant or child SKUs will be another important step. Expect Walmart to adopt Google-esque Dynamic Ads with greater options and variant swatches.
- New ad placements and opportunities such as Sponsored Brand Amplifier campaigns, video ad placements on their SERPs, and the ability to create brand stories.
The opportunities are there for sellers looking to move into Walmart advertising. Understand the differences between Walmart and Amazon, build your Walmart strategy accordingly, and have the patience to see it through.
Drive your total revenue by winning more Walmart shoppers across ads, organic listings, and offline conversions. Learn more about how you can win with Pacvue for Walmart today.