Shopify Ecosystem

Healthy Sodas DTC Diagnostic: Part 5


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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. 

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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.

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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:

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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. 

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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.  

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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.

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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). 

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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!

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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. 

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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 😎.

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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. 

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

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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. 

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Sadie Evans

writer, editor & content coordinator for @dtcnewsletter

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Special thanks to our friends at Pilothouse for their insights on this topic.
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