Walmart Connect (WMC) recently unveiled several new enhancements to the search-relevancy algorithm impacting advertisers big and small.
128-Barrier Has Been Removed
Previously, advertised items had to fall within the top 128 organic search results to be eligible for serving sponsored products in-grid. The 128-barrier has been removed so that any item, regardless of organic search rank, is eligible to be promoted via Sponsored Products. As a result, there now is increased opportunity for new items and items with lower organic relevancy previously hindered by the restrictions. Keep in mind, that this pertains strictly to eligibility – brands should still focus on optimizing their PDP titles, item taxonomies, content, reviews, and other relevancy-driving variables to improve paid search performance.
Enhancements to Sponsored Products in Search Results
In addition to the loosening of relevancy restrictions, there have been several enhancements to the way Sponsored Products are displayed in search. You may have noticed duplicate product listings when searching Walmart.com over the last couple of weeks. Like the shopping experience on Amazon, promoted items can now experience a sponsored listing in addition to their organic listing, essentially doubling a brand’s coverage in search. The new in-grid environment is advantageous to advertisers who now can increase item visibility and share of the digital shelf even further through Sponsored Products promotion.
This change in listing behavior sets the stage for additional enhancements, as well. Sponsored Products can now appear in a slot equal to, higher than, or lower than the organic search position. Previously, Sponsored Products functioned primarily to “boost” your items’ positioning in search with all promoted search in-grid placements appearing equal to or higher than its organic search placement. This provides advertisers more opportunity to capture share of search even if they are not relevant enough (or bidding high enough) to win an ad slot above their organic listing.
Some users may experience additional changes in their search experience over the coming months as WMC continues to test new ad experiences for advertisers. Tapping into the Amazon playbook, WMC is running a limited test that includes up to 4 consecutive ad slots on row 1 of search and browse, instead of just 2. This means up to 10 sponsored product ads can load on page 1 of search, a 25% increase in current in-grid ad inventory.
Action Steps for Advertisers on Walmart.com
With that in mind, advertisers should take the following actions to ensure they are putting their best foot forward in this new search environment:
- Promote your Full Assortment
Your lower relevancy items that have not been eligible in the past may find new life in the updated environment. The new duplicate listing behavior in search applies to promoted items only. Take advantage of this new feature to improve your share of search.
- Focus on the Fundamentals
While relevancy restrictions are loosening, they are not going away. It is important to stay vigilant on optimizing your product detail pages for optimal search performance. Ratings & reviews, titles, taxonomies, images, and content are variables that influence your relevancy and, ultimately, the efficacy of your advertising efforts. – download our Walmart.com Content Best Practices Guide about content optimization here.
- Test and Monitor
With new Sponsored Product experiences being tested in search, make sure you are testing, as well. Try to take advantage of the additional top row ad inventory and secure more visibility for your items. Test different bids to manipulate your items’ positioning in search and evaluate the subsequent impact on sales.
Ready to Chat with a Walmart Platform Partner?
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can optimize your advertising spend with Walmart Connect, Harvest Group is a Walmart Platform Partner and would be happy to chat with you! Email us at email@example.com or fill out our Contact Us form here.