Using the Amazon DSP for programmatic display and video campaigns

Over the last few years Amazon’s demand side platform (DSP) has become an essential part of many digital advertising strategies. This year the platform saw HUGE growth of 77% in Q1 and 67% in Q2. 

Digital marketers are increasing their investment in programmatic display campaigns through Amazon’s DSP because it allows brands to use Amazon’s first-party data and targeting capabilities to show ads across Amazon owned properties (including the Amazon site itself) along with third-party display publishers, outside of the Amazon walled garden.

An advanced solution that allows advertisers to automatically bid on ads through the platform in real-time, with optimised targeting and powerful machine learning ensuring ad placement are timely and relevant. While most leading DSPs would claim similar, Amazon is the one having exponential growth. So what has led to such a huge increase? In our opinion, there are two deciding factors. Data and Diversification.

Data, Data, Data

The first one is pretty simple. Data. The vast amount of data Amazon holds, and owns. That is super powerful and can not be underestimated. It gives the DSP a natural advantage when targeting. It understands consumer behaviour arguably more than any other platform. If you’ve got an Amazon account (and who doesn’t) you’ll know what we’re talking about. If you’re a Prime member, chances are you’re happy about this.

Identifiable Shopper Data

At a basic level Amazon DSP is the most intelligent platform for targeting in-market audiences. Due to its vast search pool, it knows what people are researching and looking at, but haven’t bought yet. This presents one of the most cost effective tactics traders have in their armoury – search conquesting. Nothing satisfies a client as much as rival product targeting. It’s bottom of the funnel without the associated top of the funnel cost of activity. ASIN targeting allows advertisers to target people who view competitor products as well as retargeting users who have viewed their own.     

Along with intent, and history, Amazon also understands what people have bought, which means it knows what similar products a consumer might be interested in. That presents advertisers with obvious efficiency savings and opportunities. For example if you sell apparel there are clear benefits targeting anyone who has just bought a new bike with waterproof clothing or cycling jackets. 

Amazon seems very keen on lifestyle audience targeting. These are being expanded all of the time, and with the recent introduction of Prime Video and Music there are cost effective opportunities for advertisers on categories that may align with their product offering.

Third Party Data Integrations

One of the biggest indicators in Amazon’s attempts to gain marketshare with the DSP is the fact it is offering pre-bid capabilities from DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Oracle Data Cloud as complimentary integrated service. These are all best in class, premium providers that other DSPs typically charge a CPM for using. 

Our expectation is in time, these will become paid add-ons, but for now they’re welcome added value for advertisers. They allow advertisers to filter third-party ad inventory for invalid traffic, viewability and brand safety and provide better control over where ads are delivered.

Open Third Party Marketplace

It’s a misconception that Amazon DSP is limited to retargeting or to products and brands that sell on Amazon. You can use the DSP effectively to serve ads off Amazon across the internet. If it’s a website you can buy programmatically, we can access that inventory through the Amazon DSP. Marketers often don’t associate ads they see on premium publishers such as The Guardian or Daily Mail with being served from Amazon, but they absolutely can be.  

Alternative ad formats

While Amazon’s data prowess is well documented, the DSP growth has been triggered by its significant product expansion. Until recently Amazon’s DSP was associated with display ads. These were primarily featured on Amazon’s own site and marketplace, along with it’s owned property from Audible and IMDb. 

Along with display (which is still really effective) Amazon DSP has entered into mixed media, offering alternative formats in OTT advertising for video and streaming.

Amazon Video Ads

OTT (over-the-top) advertising are ads served directly to viewers over the internet through streaming services such as smart or connected TVs (CTV), Amazon Firesticks, media-players and game consoles.

The term comes from the ability to cut out traditional TV providers (that control media distribution), by going “over-the-top” and giving advertisers the ability to reach their audiences directly. It offers advertisers freedom and greater opportunities without pre-determined broadcast schedules or geographic restrictions.

Amazon obviously has a heavily invested interest in the CTV market with Amazon Fire TV. There are over 50 apps which serve ads, with the sport audiences currently featuring heavily with NFL Thursday Night Football and the English Premier League package. Using the DSP advertisers can programmatically bridge the gap between linear television advertising and digital media.

With eMarketer estimating that CTV ad spend will rise from $6.9 billion in 2019 to $8.9 billion this year, it is no wonder Amazon are focused in the market and have grown market share of OTT from 16% to 39%. Along with its own network it is looking to expand further, into new ad formats.

Amazon Streaming Ads

It is a well-known secret that Amazon is looking to increase the use of streaming ads outside of its own Fire TV ecosystem. Along with alternative CTV it is exploring gaming platforms in an effort to own the advertiser relationship today’s digital marketer needs to reach even more audience segments.

Amazon’s ability to attract premium content deals boosts its clout among advertisers. Even with its current limited  inventory the fact it can attract a Premier League or NFL audience shows how serious they view things. It just added access to HBO Max which is launching an ad-supported version next year, and with Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, and Android TV all rumoured as potential targets. Accessing CTV inventory for streaming ads is going to feature heavily through the Amazon DSP. 

For brands using the DSP Amazon’s CTV ads offer the ability to directly tie CTV ads to Amazon interactions and purchases to measure campaign attribution and conversion. This allows advertisers to get additional data and you can understand, if somebody that saw an ad on CTV went on to purchase a product on Amazon.

By expanding ad formats and environments digital marketers can use Amazon’s incomparable amount of identifiable data to target specific people and households and reach new audiences they wouldn’t reach with standard tactics or linear TV alone. 

What is next for the Amazon DSP?

With people staying at home and online shipping booming, the global pandemic has naturally been good for Amazon. The increase in ad format offerings and the growth of the DSP is therefore very timely. 

The platform offers some premium features that are usually chargeable on other platforms 

These same orders are prompting advertisers to pivot their advertising campaigns away from sales pitches and into brand awareness, and Amazon’s DSP expansion places it perfectly to allow advertisers to reach audiences where they are now.

Grow your brand with programmatic display and video campaigns on the Amazon DSP

So that’s our take on programmatic display and video on the Amazon. It will help you grow your brand and showcase your videos and streams on multiple platforms. Accessing the Amazon DSP is not always easy, but we can help you get started and get you ahead of your competitors.