The holidays have already arrived at Walmart, and customers are ready to shop. With a majority of people preferring online shopping over in-person this year (60% of consumers, according to Deloitte’s 2020 holiday retail survey), Marketplace sellers have an exciting opportunity to get as many eyes on their products as possible. Walmart.com attracts millions of customers, and using the Walmart Sponsored Products program can give your items a big boost in visibility and potentially conversion.
This is a year-round CPC (cost-per-click) service, but it’s particularly useful during the holiday shopping surge in November and December. While utilizing Walmart Sponsored Products is completely optional, it’s a solution that may work for you depending on your goals and advertising budget. In this installment of the Sell Better Blog, we’ll break down exactly how to use Walmart Sponsored Products to your advantage, which type of campaign would work best for your business, and actionable tips to get started.
Your Walmart Sponsored Products Holiday Playbook
The way the Walmart Sponsored Products platform works is you put a marketing budget behind your products, and they get surfaced throughout the customer experience on Walmart.com. Ads appear in prominent high-traffic placements including search results, category pages, and product detail pages. As a seller, you choose and set up your own campaigns (either Automatic or Manual—more on that later) and manage your own budget.
The best way to approach Sponsored Products is to think about which of your products could benefit from a holiday push. These should ideally include your highest-rated, competitively priced items rather than low-performing SKUs. If you sell in Walmart’s top holiday categories, even better—these include appliances, furniture, TV & video, bikes & riding toys, and dolls & dollhouses for children. Regardless of category, your product detail pages should have quality images, accurate titles and descriptions, and reviews. Remember, your ad choices should be strategic: you wouldn’t want to spend your money driving traffic to pages that are less likely to convert due to poor content.
As your campaign runs, be sure to use the Item Health Report in your Sponsored Products Performance Dashboard to keep a close eye on product inventory. When it comes to choosing a launch date, it’s in your best interest to get your campaigns up and running as early as possible to take advantage of Walmart’s Black Friday Deals for Days events. Check out important holiday dates below:
Setting a budget: You’ve got options
Thanks to our new lower budget thresholds, you can launch a Walmart Sponsored Products campaign with a maximum budget commitment as low as $100 and/or a maximum daily budget commitment as low as $50. If your budget allows for a bit more of an investment, it’s a good idea to set your daily budget at least 35% higher on top holiday shopping days, which bring in more traffic and more clicks. You can also increase bids up to the maximum you are willing to pay. Setting higher bids will help your products stay visible in prominent placements during peak holiday traffic.
Automatic vs. Manual campaigns: Which should you choose?
There are two types of campaigns: Automatic and Manual. Automatic campaigns are better suited for brands new to advertising, launching new products, or interested in expanding beyond their existing customer base. This type of campaign provides maximum exposure by relying on the Walmart.com algorithm to serve ads against relevant search queries. Through this process, your ads serve throughout the entire customer journey since there are more available ad placements. Automatic campaigns are easy to set up, require no keyword management, and generate higher impression volume based on the nature of the algorithm.
In comparison, Manual campaigns are ideal for brands whose products have a longer history on Walmart.com and who know the keywords their customers are using to search while shopping. While Automatic campaigns offer maximum exposure, Manual campaigns offer maximum control. As the seller, you bid on search queries that customers use on Walmart.com, so these campaigns are more targeted. You’re able to handpick the keywords you want to bid on and your preferred match types. Match types refer to how closely your keywords match those in a customer’s search (types are “exact,” “phrase,” and “broad”). Exact match types give you the most relevant traffic (let’s say the keywords are “women’s red sweatshirt”) and broad match types give you the widest exposure (“women’s loungewear”). You can benefit from Walmart’s Keyword Analytics tool to learn the traffic history of the products and keywords you want to promote.
With either Sponsored Products campaign type, you pay only for clicks, never impressions. You can also choose to run Automatic and Manual campaigns simultaneously to expand your reach.
Tips on how to get started: Define your campaign goals
Budgeting aside, deciding on how to get started with your Sponsored Products campaign depends on your business objectives and campaign goals. Putting a marketing budget behind your products is a great way to do one of three things (or all three!): drive brand awareness, consideration, and/or purchases. Establish measurable goals up front that support your business objectives.
If your goal is to build brand awareness by telling your brand story and reaching potential customers, you may want to choose an Automatic campaign and track impressions. If your goal is to get more shoppers to consider your products over another brand’s, you’ll want to measure clicks, click-through rate, and item page visits (either campaign type would work well). If your ultimate goal is to drive sales, move seasonal inventory fast, or convert high-intent shoppers to purchasers, you’ll want to measure sales volume and ROAS (return on ad spend) through a Manual campaign.
Putting your campaign strategy to use: Follow these best practices
- Set Manual campaign bids at least 20% higher than Automatic campaign bids to help maintain prominent placements during peak holiday traffic and to help capture the lift in impressions.
- Add additional holiday keywords and phrases, such as “gift ideas for Mom” or “perfect stocking stuffer” to capture long-tail searches.
- Use all three match types: “Broad” for as much exposure as possible and “Phrase” and “Exact” for relevant traffic with a higher chance for conversion.
- Use the Placement-level Report in your Sponsored Products Performance Dashboard to review your Search In-Grid ads. Add bid multipliers as necessary to boost performance.
- Use the Item Keyword Report in your Sponsored Products Performance Dashboard to discover which keywords generate clicks and sales. Then create a Manual campaign using those keywords.
- Use bid multipliers for your best-performing and most profitable products to increase their chances of appearing in Search In-grid and Buy Box Placements.
Choose your products wisely & reference this checklist for Walmart Sponsored Products:
- Product is in stock
- Product is winning the Buy Box
- Product is published
- Title is accurate and specific
- Images are high quality
- Description includes all relevant details
- Variants information is included
- Keywords are relevant to products in ad group
- Branded and seasonal keywords are included (if applicable)