DTC 43: 📦 Soda Brands: Amazon Analysis
May 21, 2023
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It’s the series finale of our Healthy Sodas DTC Diagnostic, and we’re going out with a bang by tackling Amazon! 

In the game of pick the billionaire most likely to be a supervillain, Bezos is an underrated choice. Not only does Bezos own 50% of the entire eCommerce market, he also owns 32% of the world’s cloud infrastructure, a newspaper, and a rocket ship company.   

He seems psyched about it, but really it’s just because he’s read this week’s Amazon analysis. 

The Pilothouse team is on the case and is bringing their Amazon expertise to the table. They had lots of thoughts. So get out your notepad and settle in – we’re about to go DEEP into Amazon listings, SEO and pay-per-click.

Amazon’s not the only thing we’re diving into today. Read on for an industry report breaking down trends in buying and selling eCommerce businesses, our ad creative of the day, and M&A! 

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Welcome to our fifth and final installment of the Healthy Sodas DTC Diagnostic (for real this time… this is the actual end). 

If you’re playing catch up – head to the DTC blog to read the first four issues of DTC Diagnostic covering Facebook Ads, email, websites, and product experience. 

Today, Sadie from the DTC team is your host as we dive into the wild and wonderful world of Amazon. 

We enlisted Pilothouse’s Amazon aces, Rob Russell and Clifford Donovan, to get their opinions on what Poppi, Olipop, and Ugly are getting right and… not so right… on their listings and pay-per-click.

So, how do our three illustrious DTC soda brands match up on the Bezos battlefield? Let’s see!



Ugly’s top-of-search sponsored brand ad has good intentions. However, it misses the mark by not considering Amazon’s downscaling of image resolution, which unfortunately rendered the ad’s text illegible. 

When searching Ugly Drinks, the brand holds the first three search spots – which is good news. However, the Amazon choice product was Zevia, which means when people search Ugly, they likely bought Zevia more often than Ugly’s products. 

Why is this happening? 

It’s likely that Ugly was not bidding frequently enough, or that they were outbid on their branded keywords. Holding top placement in your branded keywords is essential – make those bids! 

Overall their pay-per-click (PPC) is practically non-existent outside of their branded terms. Ugly should consider taking advantage of their competitor’s brand presence with product targeting. 


Instead of having flavor and quantity options as individual listings, Ugly has one listing where you can select your preferred variation. This is a great way to cultivate reviews and increase sales volume to one listing.

Ugly’s titles are solid. They do a good job of getting their brand in without being too aggressive, including the quantities that people search for – plus a few keywords.

BUT… “No Sugar, Sweeteners, Calories, or Artificial Flavoring” isn’t benefiting their keyword strategy. Our team recommends doing keyword research, then replacing the latter portion of their description with clearly outlined keywords.

Take a look at this title for a men’s shampoo line, as an example:

Yes, they’re basically saying the same thing over and over, BUT each portion of their title targets a different keyword. 

This is important for relevancy and rank. 

If you front-load a keyword in your title, Amazon gives it more weight and relevancy. So, when someone searches for that keyword, you’ll be more likely to show up. Plus, you’ll see a ranking boost for that sale – if it’s driven from that search. 

Another area for improvement is Ugly’s bullet point descriptions.

Ugly’s bullets are too short. They’re missing out on this opportunity to get more keywords indexed and further highlight their value props. Also, their first bullet is a quote, which lacks impact. 

For listing images, rather than including all the benefits of the product on one slide, Ugly should amplify each value prop on its own slide.  

Ugly could benefit from bidding on their own keywords, since other brands are taking priority placement in the related product section of their listing. 

Bidding on your own Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) is a great defensive strategy. It takes up real estate in your own listings to prevent customers from considering your competitors, and it showcases your diverse product selection in the ads.

Ugly’s A+ content seemed a little off to us – we’d suggest losing the text at the top, and expanding on different concepts from those already outlined in the bullets. Ugly has cool, cheeky branding, and we’d love to see them better seize the opportunity of the A+ content space to make their brand pop.

Overall, Ugly’s listing is solid. It’s a great example of strong text, images, reviews, and consistent color used throughout images. Plus! They’re the only brand to show their product being poured into a glass (looking refreshing AF, if we say so ourselves). 



Poppi is absolutely crushing their competitor keyword and ASIN campaigns. 

It wouldn’t be fair to Ugly and Olipop if we didn’t point out that Poppi’s main focus is Amazon. All checkouts from Poppi’s website lead to Amazon, so they’re pretty much masters. They don’t have an eCommerce part of their website. 

They have the sponsored brand placement, the top three sponsored product placements, and they're Amazon's choice product for their search term. Well done, Poppi team!

Poppi also owns the top-of-search sponsored brand ad and sponsored product placements for the search term “Olipop.” Plus they have the top “products related to this item” spots on Olipop’s listings, and sponsored display spots all over Olipop’s pages! Poppi’s keyword domination has EVEN netted them Amazon’s choice badge for the keyword “Olipop” – ie. they’re getting a whole lot of sales from their competition… for free.


Poppi’s listings are fantastic. They exhibit good use of variation, and above-average A+ content. 

Like Ugly, their listing shows all available flavors. They also include subscribe-and-saves, and coupons – smart! Get those subscriptions!

Poppi’s listing images have sizing disparities and inconsistencies in image choices between flavor options. However, their more Instagrammable images really stood out – they look great. 

Like Ugly, they aren’t using the full space available to them in the bullet points on their listings. As a result, they’re losing an opportunity to sell and boost SEO. You can’t assume that folks are looking at all your images – the bullets need to stand on their own.

Tip: Use an all-caps headline for each bullet, to get your point across for the skimmers out there! 

Poppi’s A+ content is great! Each flavor and its value props shine through perfectly. We'd suggest including social proof like UGC to complete it 😎.



As mentioned above, Poppi takes advantage of Olipop's lack of PPC. The number one result for Olipop's keywords is Poppi. 

Plus, Poppi is Amazon's number one product choice and owns all the ad placements. 😭

The brand needs to improve their presence on competitor pages and searches ASAP. 


Olipop has very strong listing images, titles, and bullets. Plus, their branding outlines the different propositions in excellent fashion.

Their branding is a treat, and each image does a great job of outlining their brand props. 

Also, they have a chart. We love a chart.

A minor tweak would be adding fun explanations of the benefits of each of their unique ingredients. For example, Jerusalem artichoke is rich in iron to give you energy, along with potassium and vitamin B1, which support your muscles and nerves.

We’d also suggest moving these can product images to a secondary image. While the image showcases the variety of flavors available, it lacks depth and finesse. 

Our team would change very little, other than adding video and a few minor tweaks to titles for improved SEO. That said – why is there no A+ content!? Take advantage of that real estate! 

A general note for Amazon listings: Never assume that anyone on Amazon is reading everything! No one is looking at every single part of a listing. Each section of the listing should stand on its own. 

Want to work with the Pilothouse Amazon Team? Get in touch.

Or, April 28th, 29th & 30th hang out with Robert Russell and two of the Pilothouse Senior Amazon buyers as they take you through how they have scaled multiple clients up to hitting a 3.0 ROAS in our DTC+ Amazon Workshop.

Well that’s all folks! Thank you for joining us on this fizzy fun journey through the DTC healthy sodas landscape. Hoping you snagged a few tips along the way, and maybe placed a soda order or two. 

For the next round of DTC breakdowns, we’re diving into SHOES. 👟

We’ll be releasing the first part in a couple weeks, so stay tuned. 🚀 

Is this the best time EVER to sell your eCommerce business? 

Sale prices for online businesses, especially eCommerce, have never been higher. We’re currently in the first-ever season of the seller.

If you’ve been considering cashing out of your eCommerce business for a capital windfall that’s probably larger than you’ve ever received in your life, then 2021 could be your year.

There’s a huge industry shift happening right now. Gigantic funds from private equity firms, family offices, and high-net-worth investors are swallowing up the market.

And these big-money investors are looking for eCommerce businesses.

This isn’t marketing hype. This is real sales data collected from the sale of 844 online businesses over the past three years.

At Empire Flippers we have the world’s largest curated online business marketplace. And we’re the only broker who collects data from the business sales we broker.

Every year we collect all of this data and analyze what it shows to see what state the market is in.

We break down this data in our annual State of the Industry Report. And we add in our expert analysis and predictions so you can learn how to take advantage of the trends and get the maximum-profit exit from your eCommerce business. 

Here are 2020’s stats at a glance: 

  • 298 businesses sold 
  • 34.8X average TTM sales multiple (^13%)
  • $269.2K average sales price (^73%)
  • Average of 48 days on market (⌄16%)
  • $81.6M in total sales (^66%)

While we would never recommend trying to time the market, if it’s the right time for you personally and financially to exit your business, then our data is showing that there has never been a better time to do it

Ask yourself how much faster you can reach your goals with multiple six-figures, seven-figures, or even eight-figures in the bank? Unlike when you were running the business, you can do anything you want with that huge capital windfall, from starting new businesses to investing in real estate, or enjoying your money with your family and friends.

We’ve partnered with hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs to help them sell their businesses, and we can tell you that the capital you get from selling your business could change your life. Selling your business gives you the freedom to perform everything from offline investments to building new businesses, without the stress of bootstrapping. You effectively become your own private equity company. 

If you’ve ever thought of selling your DTC business, you should know that there’s never been a better time to sell than today. The market has heated up and valuations have grown tremendously. Right now you can sell your business faster and for more money than ever. 

Want to see how you can take advantage of the first-ever seller’s market with some hard data? 

Read Empire Flippers’ Annual State of the Market Report for industry insider analysis of market trends in the online business buying and selling world.

Read the FULL 100+ page 2021 State of the Industry Report, featuring deep-dive data and well-researched trends.

Ad Creative of the Day

Check out this scroll-stopping creative from Superside!  


What does the Pilothouse team have to say?

Give this concept a shot! But like Evan said, be careful. There’s a good chance Facebook may reject ads like this. Test it out. 😎

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🧐 Robinhood’s unusual path to IPO.

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