Amazon DSP Can Be a “Friend” to Brands

December 11, 2020

That Typically View Amazon as a “Frenemy”

Amazon Demand Side Platform (DSP) is a true “intent-first” Demand Side Platform that offers wins for both Brands using the platform and for Amazon as the owner of the platform: 

As a result, whether a Brand does – or does not – sell on amazon.com, with Amazon Demand Side Platform, every Brand has the opportunity to: 

  1. Access Amazon.com’s proprietary audiences
  2. Serve Ad Units against those proprietary audiences outside of amazon.com
  3. Drive the click on the Ad Units, and thus potential buyers, from amazon.com and to the Brand’s own website, and
  4. Generate a high ROI from Programmatic campaigns enabled by the Amazon DSP

We will address all the above benefits on the following pages.

(Is there a catch? Yes, and no. The Brand still needs to pay an Amazon DSP tech fee — as it would pay any DSP, including The Trade Desk or Google’s Display & Video 360. However, the Brand does not need to pay Amazon a revenue share %, because the sale happens on the Brand’s own website, and the Brand ultimately keeps the customer relationship.)

Which advertisers should use the Amazon DSP Ads vs. Amazon Advertising?

Here is a very simple ‘decision tree’:

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This article will provide you with an in-depth perspective on the Amazon DSP. 
(If you are interested in Amazon Advertising … stop reading.)

Amazon DSP Ads vs. Amazon Advertising  – What is the difference?

Although Amazon DSP is technically a part of Amazon Advertising, it is a different advertising platform.

1. Amazon DSP has different logins, and the interface is completely different from Amazon Advertising

Amazon DSP (login screen) 
Used to serve Programmatic Display Ad Units OFF amazon.com and on ANY publisher’s website.

Note: even though the below image shows the Amazon Advertising logo, these are Amazon DSP platform screenshots. We understand that this is confusing; however, in the DSP interface Amazon – unfortunately – decided to maintain its “Amazon Advertising” branding.

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Note that the Amazon DSP has a very similar setup to what you would see in The Trade Desk or Display & Video 360. For instance, you can create Line Items, define Creatives, set up Pixels, target Audiences, etc.

Amazon Advertising (login screen)
Used to only serve ads ON amazon.com:

Unlike the Amazon DSP – the image above – Amazon Advertising allows you to serve ads only on amazon.com.

Understanding Amazon Marketing Strategies in 2020 - 99 Robots

2. Amazon DSP ads can be used by Brands that do not advertise on amazon.com

In other words, both the so-called ‘endemic’ Brands (that do sell on amazon.com) and non-endemic brands (that do not sell on amazon.com) can use the Amazon DSP. 

Examples:


BrandTypical Non-endemic Brand(does not sell its products on amazon.com)Typical Endemic Brand(does sell its products on amazon.com)

Sample logo > Which ad platform to use?

Amazon DSP

Amazon Advertising


Why should I pay attention to the Amazon DSP? 

Shortcode

Four reasons why you should care to delve deeper into the Amazon DSP:

1. In an article published in October 2020, AdAge called Amazon DSP a “marketing marvel”:

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2. Gartner, in their September 2019 AdTech Magic Quadrant report** ranked Amazon DSP as a Challenger:

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3. In November 2018, Advertiser Perceptions analyzed the most often used DSPs. They identified Amazon as the #1 pick:

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Note 1: it appears that in the above study, surveyed Marketers ranked Amazon Advertising (which is technically an endemic DSP) and Amazon DSP (which is a non-endemic DSP) – together.
Note 2: Google rebranded “DoubleClick Bid Manager” or DBM, to “Display & Video 360” back in the summer of 2018; Advertiser Perceptions was still using the old name for Google’s DSP in the above report.

4. And finally, the ROI generated from programmatic efforts executed from within the Amazon DSP is very attractive.

We tested Amazon DSP with a large US-based Retail brand (just prior to COVID-19). We saw: 

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How is the Amazon DSP platform different from leading Demand Side Platforms such as Display & Video 360 or The Trade Desk?

In many ways, Amazon DSP is very similar to The Trade Desk and Display & Video 360. However, Amazon DSP’s features are still lagging these market leaders in terms of the set of capabilities offered in the platform. However, because Amazon DSP is the only DSP with access to amazon.com’s High Intent audiences, and it generates an above-average ROI, Amazon DSP is not to be overlooked. 

What are some of the “amazon.com proprietary Intent audiences” available for targeting only on the Amazon DSP?

You can only access existing amazon.com high-intent audiences and create custom high-intent campaigns with the Amazon DSP platform. No other DSP has access to audience data generated from amazon.com.

This setup is not unique to Amazon. Brands can access Facebook only using the Facebook Ad Manager. Brands can only access Custom Intent audiences from google.com using Display & Video 360 or Google Ads. All of the key advertising platforms are building higher and higher walls around their “gardens” to maximize the economic value of the audiences generated within each such platform.

Example, Intent Audience targeting capabilities within the Amazon DSP:

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Note: even though the above image shows the Amazon Advertising logo, these are Amazon DSP screenshots.

1. Examples of Existing (pre-packaged) High-Intent Audiences available in the Amazon DSP:

“Shoes” audiences, which may be relevant to Retail brands such as Nordstrom, Calvin Klein, etc.:

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“Sports” audiences, which may be relevant to any “sports” Retailer, such as Nike, Adidas, etc.: 

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2. Examples of Custom (you can create these yourself manually) Intent Audiences available in the Amazon DSP platform

First, you can create Custom audiences by targeting a) people who engage on Amazon.com and/or, b) shoppers who consume Prime Video:

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Note: even though the above image shows the Amazon Advertising logo, these are Amazon DSP screenshots.

Second, you can create Custom Intent Audiences based on:
– Specific products or SKUs, and
– Whether the buyer searched, viewed, or purchased those specific products on amazon.com:

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Reminder: even though the above image shows the Amazon Advertising logo, these are Amazon DSP screenshots.

What does the “Buyer Journey” look like with the Amazon DSP?

Example: a Retail brand that tested the Amazon DSP with DELVE achieved a 3x ROI (vs. baseline efforts with another DSP) by bidding against Custom Intent Audiences from amazon.com:

Amazon DSP, Buyer Journey:

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Amazon DSP enables Brands to access Audiences that searched for products on amazon.com but may have abandoned amazon.com.

Here’s how it works:

The above experience is a win-win for the Brand and Amazon.

Why is Amazon DSP a win-win for Brands (advertisers) and Amazon?

Amazon DSP behaves like any other programmatic Demand Side Platform, such as The Trade Desk or Google’s Display & Video 360. When using Amazon DSP, a Brand has to pay a CPM for the ad units to be served on websites (outside of amazon.com).

Amazon DSP offers a win-win for Brands and for Amazon:

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The Brand

Amazon

Why is Amazon DSP an ‘intent-first’ DSP?

Most retail marketers have mastered the use of traditional demographic data such as age, gender, and income for their acquisition campaigns. Unfortunately, the majority of third-party data targeting campaigns deliver limited ROI. (In fact, the whole Data Management Platform (DMP) industry has been on a steep decline because DMPs have relied on third-party data).

But, not all 3rd party audience data is equal.

Especially in programmatic display advertising, and when working within Demand Side Platforms, you can achieve far greater results when you target prospects or consumers based on what they need right now. Focusing on data that provides insight into what target audiences need in real-time is still third-party data, but there is a specific type of third-party data that can deliver a high ROI in programmatic display advertising – Intent Data. 

Example: A Retail Brand that tested the Amazon DSP with DELVE achieved a 3x ROI (vs. baseline efforts with another DSP) by bidding against Custom Intent Audiences from Amazon.com:

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I use several DSPs. Should I consider only using the Amazon DSP?

No. It can never be the only DSP in your Programmatic Display program.


If you look at the above screenshot from the Advertiser Perception’s research, a typical Brand uses three DSPs in its Programmatic mix. You should use a variety of DSPs, such as Display & Video 360 or The Trade Desk – and also test Amazon DSP.

You may find that the Amazon DSP delivers great performance because of its access to Amazon’s High Intent Audiences. You may want to use The Trade Desk for its Connected TV capabilities. And you may want to work with Display & Video 360 from Google, because it is, in our opinion, the most feature-rich DSP, with unique access to Youtube.

Bottom Line

You won’t know if Amazon DSP is the right fit for your Brand until you give it a chance and test its performance.


Sources:

  1. https://adage.com/article/digital/making-sense-amazons-ad-platform-thats-evolving-marketing-marvel/2289681 
  2. https://www.criteo.com/blog/criteo-gartner-magic-quadrant/ 
  3. https://www.advertiserperceptions.com/amazon-pulls-ahead-in-latest-advertiser-perceptions-dsp-report/ 

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Have questions? Want to review your current approach? We’d be happy to help. Get in touch with the DELVE team today.

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