If you've been following Forrester's search marketing research over the past few years, you'd know that we talk a lot about search marketing evolving to a broader discovery marketing strategy. As a refresher: a discovery marketer creates programs that help users find your brand in their preferred medium and during their moment of need. Some marketers, especially retailers, have begun to take on this new and challenging charter and are looking to new channels and websites to increase their discoverability.

Enter: Amazon, Google's newest, and biggest, rival in the search marketing space. We set out to determine two things about Amazon search marketing: what factors do they take into consideration when ranking products and what type of ads are available for brands on Amazon? The research report just went live today and you can read our findings here.

To summarize what we found in the research:

Amazon search moves customers along the customer life cycle. Google has long dominated the discover stage of the the customer life cycle. But Amazon is playing an increasingly large role in how customers find products. In fact, according to Forrester's Consumer Technographics data, 31% of US online adults who made a purchase in the past three months started their shopping research on Amazon. And it doesn't end there. Amazon is also a place for customers to research product choices and even transact.

Search marketers can apply most of their best practices in Google for Amazon search. Marketing efforts on Amazon should be put in the hands of your search marketing team because their skillsets will be easily transferable. Amazon SEO is like SEO on Google from 10 years ago — Amazon's algorithm is primarily trying to match customer queries with product listings containing those keywords. And the advertising capabilities in Amazon, while somewhat immature, are similar to AdWords with less sophistication. 

Amazon will look to take over the advertising industry. There has been no shortage of media speculation on Amazon eyeing the ad industry as another segment of its business. Advertisers are not only able to promote their products in Amazon, but also advertise across the web. We believe Amazon will invest heavily in their advertising platform bulk up their capabilities over the next few years. And look for Amazon to differentiate against Google and Facebook through the way it engages with brands and its use of Amazon Alexa in serving up customers highly relevant information. 

Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear from you.