The Protein Category on Amazon Brings the Power
John Rode
on May 01 2019

The Protein category on Amazon is pumped up! With three brands in the High IQ Brand quadrant, ten brands in the Niche Performers quadrant, and a single brand in each of the Large Leakers and Laggards quadrants, this category is really pulling its weight.

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This BrandIQ Quadrant benchmarks brand performance by the critical disciplines of supply chain operations and marketing. Who is best able to both drive and fulfill demand on Amazon in this category? The metric that underpins marketing is Share of Voice (how often your brand appears in organic or paid search results), and for operations it's revenue leakage (how well are you able to avoid losing sales because shoppers are unable to buy your product because it's unavailable, lost buy box to 3Ps, etc.). Given Amazon's ever-increasing complexity and speed, mastering both is not simple.      


High IQ Brands

Glanbia has really pulled away from the other brands in the Protein category. With 8.8% share of voice and only 2.8% revenue leakage Glanbia is in a powerful position. Orgain and Nature's Bounty are a bit on the margins of the High IQ quadrant, but their position is still impressive given how competitive this category is. 

It's interesting that all three brands have 5% to 6% organic share of voice, but at the same time Glanbia and Nature's Bounty are really pouring it on with 15.7% and 12.8% paid share of voice, respectively. These are pretty high advertising levels. Orgain is running at a more tame 5%, but that's still strong for this particular category.

These three brands start to separate when we look at revenue leakage. Glanbia comes in at an impressive 2.8% while Nature's Bounty and Orgain clock in at 8.2% and 9.8%, respectively. Glanbia is tops on availability and just takes a few hits from 3Ps. Orgain actually has Glanbia beat on the 3P front but stumbles with availability issues. Nature's Bounty is fairly balanced with light to light/moderate revenue leakage.


Niche Performers


Wow, ten brands in the Niche Performers category! This is pretty rare and speaks to how well the brands have tuned their operations. The highlight is there are four brands (Cytosport, Nestle, MusclePharm and BSN) who could elevate to the High IQ Brand quadrant. And of course there is the outstanding execution story from McCormick, BSN and Iovate.

Picking apart share of voice a bit there are no real standouts in terms of a brand spending heavily on ads or leaping ahead on organic share of voice. And looking broadly at revenue leakage, only MusclePharm seems to be struggling a bit losing 8% of revenue to 3Ps. Most other brands have a bit more of an issue with availability than 3Ps. But again, nobody in the Niche Performers quadrant has a problem executing.

  Share of Voice Revenue Leakage
Cytosport (Hormel) 4.3% 2.5%
Nestle 3.5% 9.5%
MusclePharm 3.3% 9.6%
BSN 3.0% 1.5%
Fairlife 2.2% 7.1%
Iovate 2.1% 2.0%
Abbott 1.8% 3.2%
Quest 1.7% 4.9%
Atkins 1.7% 5.4%
McCormick 1.6% 0.3%


Large leakers


Post is our sole resident in the Large Leakers quadrant. Post scored the most points on organic share of voice, outpacing its nearest rival by over 45%. But its paid share of voice is more pedestrian, which pulls them down just a bit.

And since they're in the Leakers quadrant you know there's an execution issue festering. It's manifesting itself as lost revenue to 3Ps. Post is actually quite good on availability but is losing over 19% of revenue to 3Ps. At least they know where to focus! 




Kettle & Fire is a bit lonely in the Laggards quadrant. And while that points to a healthy category, it's not good news for this brand. Kettle & Fire is pretty solid on the marketing front with moderate levels of organic and paid share of voice. And on the operations side they are good on availability. However, loss of revenue to 3Ps is pulling away 93% of their revenue.


Similar L3 Amazon Categories



The Protein category is clearly one of the healthiest we've analyzed on Amazon. Looking more broadly for comparison categories, the Coffee, Tea & Cocoa category is probably the closest in performance levels. They both have a packed Niche Performers quadrant and several brands skirting the periphery of the High IQ Brands quadrant. However, the coffee category has far more Laggards and Leakers than Protein. 



protein_amazon_keywordsOur data was drawn from an automated, daily analysis of top keywords in the Amazon L3 Protein category over a one-year period. Our method focused on 1P brands and their associated SKUs. Marketing performance was determined by analyzing Share of Voice which essentially divides how many times a brand appears in search results, by the total available slots in the search results. Our system looked at both organic and paid ads for the top keywords discovered for the Protein category on Amazon. Our system focused on page 1 search results and the product page for each SKU. Each appearance of the brand in organic search and paid ad slots was given equal weighting. Revenue Leakage was determined by an algorithm that analyzes inventory availability of the SKUs on the product page and translates that into estimated revenue missed for each brand due to things like a SKU being Currently Unavailable, Inventory Encumbrance, Item Under Review, a 3P seller taking the buy box, etc. 


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