Daily Insights

A Platform of Paw-portunities

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Apr 02, 2019

The pet treat market is a dog-eat-dog world. Innovation and competition are constant in the category, where consumers are more inclined to sample new products and switch brands. Here’s how brands, both big and small, can paw their way to the top of the purchase funnel.

While larger brands that perform better in pet food categories focus their investments on winning full meals, smaller brands can invest strategically and achieve top visibility in more specified sections, like treats. Brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Amazon Performance Rank 4Q18: Pet Food report maintained a small lead in their Amazon Performance Rank on Amazon, but independent brands, too, trailed less than one point behind on average, demonstrating a more even playing field on the platform.

One way to sniff out success on Amazon is through the use of Sponsored Products. Milk-Bone and Pup-Peroni, for example, are top conquerors of the dog treat category, together earning 37% and 22% visibility through sponsored products against Greenies and Canine Carry Outs, respectively. Legacy brands Blue Buffalo and Pedigree appear against 9% of nonbranded dog treat terms through Sponsored Products, ensuring consistent visibility in this competitive category.

While retailers like Chewy control product pages (giving brands less say over them), Amazon allows brands a bit more flexibility with their merchandising and media investments. This gives rise to a marketplace of independent hopefuls ready to invest selectively and disrupt unclaimed categories. That said, independent brands that optimize their product offerings and merchandising to highlight dietary trends in particular maintain a higher position in search results. For example, Old Mother Hubbard, Triumph and Spot Farms own the first three results against “natural dog treats.” on Amazon. Such is the case with cat treats too: PureBites, Vital Essentials and Cat-Man-Doo dominate the term “freeze dried cat treats.”

As product page and media investments are key to success on Amazon, brands interested in entering or disrupting less saturated categories should invest in Amazon media accordingly. To maintain visibility and share, index incumbents must monitor the categories with the most disruptive independent brands and utilize Amazon media and marketing opportunities to protect against the competition.