How Mattel and iProspect used sponsored ads to help exceed sales targets

The company

Mattel is a global toy manufacturer that owns several leading brands, including Fisher Price, Barbie, and Hot Wheels.

The challenge

In 2017, Mattel worked with its media agency, iProspect UK, to successfully promote its products in the toys category on Amazon and help accelerate product sales across Amazon’s websites in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, while adhering to strict return on ad spend (ROAS) requirements. In order to meet these goals, it was essential for Mattel and iProspect to collaborate, focusing on promoting retail-ready products that would be visible to relevant audiences on Amazon.

Mattel and iProspect turned to Amazon Advertising’s suite of product offerings to come up with a strategic plan. They allocated their Amazon Advertising budget as follows: 70% for Sponsored Products, 20% for Sponsored Brands, and 10% for Product Display Ads.

Mattel had to meet sales targets through advertising campaigns while maintaining profitable ROAS requirements. To achieve this, iProspect and Mattel designed a consumer-centric strategy, which focused on a combination of brand awareness and finding the right product sales opportunity during the customer journey, paired with an always-on approach to benefit from regional trends and key seasonal opportunities. iProspect implemented an approach based on best practices it had developed and tailored keyword strategies to the toy category in individual European countries. The strategy was fine-tuned and optimized accordingly based on local knowledge and insights provided by Mattel.

Results exceeded ROAS targets by almost 113%, which led to further investment in 2018 across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. In 2018, under even stricter ROAS requirements, Mattel challenged iProspect to generate more up-sell and cross-sell opportunities in the toys category on Amazon.

At Mattel, we know the importance of advertising during customers’ shopping journey. Where better to focus our efforts than Amazon. We have worked closely with iProspect to refine our strategy and our approach to advertising on Amazon to ensure our performance improves year on year. Suffice to say, 2018 was a great year for us.– Mike Kebby, Associate Manager, Mattel

The solution

To meet this new challenge, iProspect created an overall optimization strategy. Specifically, iProspect built on 2017 learnings and focused on refining keyword lists, separating campaigns between exact and broad match types, leveraging Amazon’s first-party insights to tailor an individual brand strategy, and testing out new products.

To generate the most relevant keyword list for the campaign, iProspect examined Mattel’s initial list of products to promote and determined the 2017 top-performing search terms in their Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands advertising campaigns.

With this data, iProspect generated reports outlining potential keywords to target and increased bids on keywords generating high sales attributed to advertising to help increase product visibility. They also used the data to highlight specific keywords that underperformed in terms of ROAS targets. Search terms that were more research based (reviews and comparisons) were removed from the overall keyword strategy.

iProspect separated exact and broad matching within their Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns. Exact match allowed better performance control for top-performing established ASINs. While broad match enabled Mattel to reach a new, larger audience, who was still in the product or category consideration phase of the customer journey. The core brand keywords (such as “Barbie”) were used as always-on strategies via exact match campaigns across Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. Concurrently, iProspect utilized broad match to capture long-tail shopping queries, such as “Barbie doll houses with carpool and slide”, which wouldn’t typically be targeted in exact match campaigns.

iProspect also leveraged Amazon Advertising reporting capabilities to understand how each placement performed in both Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns. This ensured that they allocated budget to the best-performing ad types—that is, the ones with optimal placement and highest ROAS. iProspect also utilized the search terms report to surface any cross over between Mattel Brands.

Also, iProspect expanded the negative keyword list to ensure that ads appeared only for keywords that were meeting Mattel’s business objectives for each individual product. For example, they would add “Barbie” as a negative phrase match in the Enchantimals and Polly Pocket campaigns to avoid showing less relevant ads to shoppers.

iProspect used Product Display Ads to leverage the brand halo effect for cross-selling opportunities, especially during the busy holiday season in Q4. Cross-selling via Product Display Ads also delivered high ROAS figures.

The results

With campaign segmentation, refining keywords to reach relevant audiences, and leveraging improved reporting functionality, iProspect delivered significant improvements in 2018 over their 2017 results across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain:

  • 115% increase in sales attributed to advertising
  • Click-through rate (CTR) increase by 42%
  • Average cost per click (CPC) decrease of 28%
  • ROAS increase of 53%