In the ever-shifting landscape of digital advertising, two major marketplace powerhouses dominate the scene: Walmart Connect and Amazon Ads. Powered by the giants of the retail world, each offers special opportunities and challenges for brands looking to reach their target audience and drive growth.
While Amazon is still at the top of the heap in terms of market saturation, more sellers are diversifying into Walmart selling, with the enticement of less competition and no monthly fees. Here, we’ll delve into the differences between these juggernauts’ ad platforms, dissecting their features, advantages, and potential drawbacks, ultimately equipping you with the knowledge to navigate the digital ad space and make informed decisions for your brand.
Walmart is synonymous with brick-and-mortar retail, but the past decade has seen them make a serious push into ecommerce. As part of this push, 2021 saw the company relaunch their advertising arm as Walmart Connect, inviting a direct comparison – and competition – to Amazon Ads. In fact, 2023 saw Walmart Connect join Amazon for the first time as a “Best In Class” ads platform in The Mars Agency’s annual Retail Media Report Card.
But the Walmart Connect platform isn't just about online ads; it's also about doing one thing Amazon can’t: strategically merging the worlds of in-store and online shopping, creating a seamless and impactful advertising experience. With 90 percent of the US population living within a 10-mile radius of a Walmart location, they’re positioned to do it, too.
Reaching and Targeting Audiences
One of Walmart Connect's biggest strengths is its ability to leverage Walmart's extensive customer data, encompassing both online and in-store purchases. This allows advertisers to tap into a rich vein of insights beyond just online activity, enabling them to target customers based on their actual buying behavior across channels. Imagine knowing that the person browsing for organic vegetables online also buys protein bars every week at their local Walmart. That’s targeted advertising gold.
Ad Formats for Every Shopper Journey
Walmart Connect isn't limited to one-dimensional ad formats either. It boasts sponsored product listings, display ads, and even video ads. These can be strategically placed across various touchpoints, appearing on Walmart's website, app, and even in physical stores. Imagine your brand's ad popping up on a screen next to the peanut butter aisle while a shopper ponders their next purchase – instant brand recall and purchase consideration!
Measuring Success With Granular Insights
Walmart Connect isn't just about throwing ads at eyeballs; it's about measuring their impact and optimizing campaigns for maximum return on investment. The platform provides robust analytics tools that offer granular insights into how your ads are performing. They even offer search attribution down to a per product level – something Amazon Ads lacks.
From sales figures to in-store traffic data, you can analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns and make data-driven adjustments to maximize their impact.
If you’re a veteran of Amazon Ads, the idea of learning another ads platform could seem daunting, but Walmart Connect has dont a surprisingly good job of making their ads platform user-friendly. It’s clean, visually attractive, and easily customized. While it doesn’t have every feature that Amazon Ads does (e.g. a conspicuous lack of a bulk campaign creation or ability to create negative keywords), they have clearly put effort into making their platform a clean and inviting point of entry for those looking to start selling with Walmart.
And you don’t have to go in blind. That’s why we built WallySmarter, an all-in-one solution to help you start scaling your Walmart.com business from the jump, with AI optimization, and more.
Amazon, the undisputed king of online retail, naturally translates its dominance into the realm of digital advertising. Amazon Ads leverages the company’s vast online presence and customer data to offer targeted advertising solutions for brands of all sizes.
A Universe of Online Shoppers at Your Fingertips
With a customer base that dwarfs most nations' populations (it sees more than 200 million unique views monthly) Amazon Ads grants access to a massive pool of online shoppers. Advertisers can laser-focus their targeting based on a treasure trove of data, including search history, purchase behavior, and even browsing patterns within the Amazon ecosystem. Done right, Amazon Ads makes it possible to target the exact audience that's likely to be enthralled by items as varied as a new line of gourmet coffee beans to high performance driving gloves.
Ad Formats for Every Click and Conversion
Amazon Ads isn't shy when it comes to ad formats, either. From the ubiquitous sponsored products and sponsored brands to display ads and video ads, it offers a comprehensive suite of options to engage potential customers at every stage of their purchase journey. These ads seamlessly integrate within the Amazon platform, appearing on its website, app, and even within product search results. Imagine your brand's ad nestled neatly amongst search results for similar products – prime real estate for capturing attention and driving conversions!
Data-Driven Decisions for Every Ad Dollar
Amazon Ads understands the power of data. Its comprehensive analytics platform provides detailed performance metrics, including click-through rates, impressions, and conversion data. This wealth of information empowers advertisers to track the effectiveness of their campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and optimize their spending for maximum impact.
The choice between Walmart Connect and Amazon Ads ultimately boils down to your brand's specific needs and goals.
If you have a strong brick-and-mortar presence and want to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences, Walmart Connect might be the perfect match. On the other hand, if your focus is purely online, with a target audience primarily residing within the Amazon ecosystem, Amazon Ads could be the more effective platform.
Both Ads Platforms feature the same basic feature sets of Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and DSP, although Amazon currently also offers a Sponsored Display option that Walmart lacks. And some sellers report that Amazon does a better job handling multi-thousands sets of SKUs compared to Walmart Connect.
But both platforms are constantly evolving, offering new features and refining their offerings. Take the time to make a comprehensive analysis of your market, considering additional factors such as your budget, campaign goals, and target audience demographics and consider conducting trials on both platforms to gather data and assess which one performs better for your specific needs. What you find just might surprise you.
By navigating the digital ad space with a clear understanding of the strengths and limitations of both Walmart Connect and Amazon Ads, you can confidently choose the platform that will propel your brand to success.