The massive growth of Walmart’s advertising ecosystem, most recently with Walmart Connect, has affirmed Harvest Group’s decision to invest heavily in growing our ads management services through additional resources and new tools.
The recent updates are opening new opportunities for brands to advertise on the platform, but the changes will also create more manual work for brands seeking to effectively manage advertising without a Walmart Advertising Partner.
This is no easy feat, and the process is still manual for WAPs, but handing your campaigns over to a trusted partner is the most efficient way to manage your Walmart advertising with expertise. While Harvest Group is managing these changes for our clients, we wanted to share four tips that have emerged from our research, findings, and execution on the platform.
1. Item Page Fundamentals
It is imperative to address the item page fundamentals first. In other words, address the factors that contribute to your item’s relevancy. Relevancy refers to the value the Walmart advertising algorithm gives your product listing based on SEO requirements and using relevant keywords for your audience/product. If your product listing is not relevant, you will not be able to serve ads, regardless of bid price. Think about your content first, not your advertising.
I recommend reading this post from Katie Ramsey, our Senior Content Manager product content fundamentals to gain a better understanding of how to set your items up for success on both organic ranking and sponsored placement opportunities.
You are not guaranteed ad placements from bids alone. Just because your brand team made content or wrote product copy, doesn’t mean it’s optimized for Walmart sponsored ads.
There is a fine balance between being compliant and optimized and still staying true to your brand. Our Content Team works with brands every day to create engaging, authentic copy that captures the needs of the brand AND wins at search.
2. Automatic vs. Manual Campaigns
We recommend executing a combination of automatic and manual campaigns but suggest prioritizing automatic campaigns – it is best to work with a Walmart Advertising Partner to manage campaigns as they are most familiar with Walmart Connect and are trusted by Walmart’s team. A basic rule of thumb: use manual campaigns to own your share of search for specific keywords that are important to you and use automatic campaigns for maximizing impressions.
Automatic campaigns tend to deliver the best results for most brands. This is because automatic campaigns give your items more opportunities to serve ads because they are built on a list of 200+ broad match keywords (created by Walmart), thus increasing your impressions and opportunities for clicks/conversions.
Brands should utilize manual campaigns to serve ads against specific keywords they have already achieved high relevancy for. Low relevancy for a particular keyword will prevent you from serving ads against that keyword, and, at the least, make it costly to do so. For example, you might have to bid twice the amount your competitor is bidding for the same keyword because they have higher relevancy for that keyword.
Pick one to five of your most relevant keywords per item to target in your manual campaign and start testing bids. If your item is not showing organically for any of those terms, you should not include those terms in the manual campaign, as they will not serve your brand efficiently.
3. Bid Multipliers
Using bid multipliers allows you to increase your bids for certain placements in order to meet your campaign goals. The incorporation of bid multipliers into your bidding strategy will be increasingly important as Pickup & Delivery and Walmart.com sponsored products merge together on March 1st. You will no longer get to choose whether your ads serve on one site or the other.
The only way to manipulate where your ads show up is using multipliers, which increase your chances of serving in specific placements. Build your sponsored products campaign structures so that they complement your advertising goals through strategic multiplier modifications.
While bid multipliers are extremely useful in winning specific placements for your items, they require active management and expertise to execute efficiently. “Set it and forget it” will not work. Harvest Group provides the active management your brand needs to win – we are constantly watching our clients’ campaigns in order to restructure as needed to take advantage of learnings and opportunities.
4. Consistency and Patience
Take an “always-on” approach and be patient. The longer you run your campaigns, the more relevancy your items will build. Before you know it, you’ll be improving your organic search rank and online visibility. The Walmart Connect platform will be more manual with less granular reporting for brands not working with a Walmart Advertising Partner (WAP). This will make it more difficult for brands to execute campaigns and learn from them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a WAP like Harvest Group for your advertising needs!
Who is Managing your Ads Business?
As you can see, Walmart search advertising is not a simple “set it and forget it” activation. You need a dedicated campaign manager actively managing and optimizing content and tasks to achieve the best results.
The unification of Pickup & Delivery and Walmart.com sponsored products will create a need for even more manual, hands-on management as the amount of available ad inventory increases and competition rises. Not to mention the consolidation of OPD/.com reporting, which will demand deeper analysis as data will not be segmented by placement. It will be imperative for brands to find a Walmart Advertising Partner that understands not only search advertising but the Walmart ecosystem in its entirety.
Harvest Group would love to help. We have a dedicated ads management and content team with years of Walmart expertise. If you are interested in learning more about Harvest Group and our expertise, we’d love to see you at our upcoming Ads Webinar. You can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to talk.