New headline search ads, Amazon's price velocity, Alexa in-car software, Amazon goes after YouTube and could we have Amazon Cinemas soon?

New headline search ads

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Advertisers now have more placement options when promoting their products on category search pages. They will now have the option to promote products on the top, left-hand side and at the bottom of the search results page. They will also be able to direct shoppers to a specific page within your Amazon Store, so they can experience all your brand has to offer, rather than specific product offers.

These new features broaden the appeal of Amazon advertising, as they continue to attract more brand media investment.

Amazon's price velocity

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Amazon is changing product prices 2.5 million times a day, meaning that the average product's price will change about every ten minutes. This is made possible by the huge amount of data they have on shoppers.  Amazon has one billion gigabytes of data on their items and users. They are putting their data advantage to good use by analysing customer's shopping patterns, competitors' prices, profit margins, inventory, and a dizzying array of other factors. Amazon also raises prices on uncommon products, so that the most common products will appear cheaper. As a consequence, people start to assume they have the best prices overall. Through this process, one useful strategy Amazon has found is to undercut their competitors on popular products but actually raise the prices on uncommon products, such as by discounting bestsellers while jacking up prices on obscure books. The idea is that most people will just search for the most common products (which will end up being cheaper on Amazon), so they'll start to assume that Amazon has the best prices overall. 

If you are competing with Amazon in your category, carefully monitor and adjust the prices on your products so you stay competitive and maintain share.

Alexa moves into in-car entertainment space

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Amazon's mission to put Alexa everywhere took another step forward this week with the announcement of a new set of tools to build the digital assistant into in-car entertainment systems. The new Alexa Auto Software Development Kit includes code to program in capabilities like calling, media streaming, navigation and search, all via voice command. Amazon says the new tools make it simple for users to access Alexa’s more than 45,000 skills like controlling smart home devices and getting weather reports while driving. In many ways, this is a better context for Alexa than in the home; with your hands on the wheel, voice-enabled actions are incredibly useful.

Amazon’s vehicular ambitions extend beyond the in-car systems. Last year, Garmin debuted an Alexa-powered device, followed by an Alexa Device from San Francisco-based Speak Music.
 

Amazon goes after YouTube

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Amazon is making efforts to win over content creators to its live-streaming platform, Twitch, by offering them multi-million dollar contracts. YouTube is a behemoth when it comes to unique viewers — it had more than 10 times Twitch's 11 million unique visits in June, according to ComScore. But YouTube has been weathering a stormy year as it continues to manage its relationships with content creators, and Amazon is looking to capitalize on it. Although Twitch was solely focused on video game streaming before its acquisition by Amazon in 2014, Amazon is trying to broaden the appeal of the once-niche streaming platform in order to attract a wider variety of content creators, and in the long-run, earn more ad revenue. Twitch allows all sorts of streaming — from streams of everyday life to dedicated baking and cooking channels  - and it has reportedly set an internal goal of $1 billion in ad revenue. 

Amazon Cinemas?

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Amazon.com Inc. is in the running to acquire Landmark Theatres, a move that would vault the e-commerce giant into the brick-and-mortar cinema industry. Landmark’s theatres are known for showing art-house films, and some high-end locations include coffee bars or lounges, setting them apart from the typical movie experience.  With Landmark, it gets a chain focused on independent and foreign films with more than 50 theatres in 27 markets, including high-profile locations in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Though the acquisition price for Landmark would likely be small, it would mark a significant new move by Amazon into the physical world and bring with it many benefits. It would bolster their studio credibility, giving them clout in Hollywood and can bring their content costs down. You can already see how Amazon could bring its own movies to theaters and make them premium and unique experiences. And Landmark gives them another reason to buy Prime. Prime customers would get perks and may even get special access to Landmark.