The Name of the Game is Intent

February 3, 2021

Delve Goes Deeper: Amazon DSP

Leverage Amazon data to target high-intent buyers without having to sell or advertise on Amazon.com

The most successful brands and retailers understand that audience data is at the core of any successful marketing strategy, including Programmatic Display strategies. The more you know about your target audiences and their purchase journeys, the better you can target your messaging, expand your reach, and optimize acquisition efforts.

Most retail marketers have mastered the use of traditional demographic data such as age, gender, and income for their acquisition campaigns, but unfortunately, the majority of such third-party data targeting campaigns deliver a 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 (the key reason why DMPs have repeatedly failed to deliver the promised returns in Programmatic Display efforts).

You can achieve far greater results when you target prospects or customers based on what they need at any given moment. This is true especially in programmatic display advertising, and when working within demand-side platforms (DSPs). 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 actually deliver high a ROI in programmatic display advertising: Intent data.

Intent data provides insight into what shoppers are actively searching for, at any given moment, and allows marketers to programmatically serve highly relevant display advertising where it matters most. Many marketers use Google’s Custom Intent audiences to target based on intent, but few know that they can also leverage high-intent data from Amazon.com and Amazon’s demand-side platform (DSP) to complement their programmatic display programs.

While the launch of Amazon DSP has influenced how some marketers think about and implement programmatic advertising, many retailers and brands have yet to tap into the potential of the platform. In our experience, while most retail and brand marketers agree that intent data from Amazon would be extremely beneficial to their programmatic advertising programs, many do not yet know enough about Amazon DSP and its benefits or confuse the features with traditional Amazon Advertising. Many also assume that they can only take advantage of Amazon data if they sell or advertise on Amazon.com. 

This confusion is understandable; the platform is folded into the Amazon Advertising solution suite which most marketers associate with options for advertising directly on Amazon.com. Many also assume that they need to sell on Amazon.com to leverage this high-intent data. As a result, many retailers and brands discount the platform immediately.

In our experience, once retailers understand how Amazon DSP works, they immediately understand the value of the platform. Because of the massive amount of traffic that comes to Amazon and Amazon-owned properties every day, the amount of audience data collected by Amazon is unmatched.

There is no doubt that Amazon DSP presents a unique opportunity to reach an engaged, high-intent audience at scale. However, while we strongly suggest testing the platform, it should not immediately replace existing programmatic efforts with other DSPs. We recommend testing it in parallel with other programs to gauge the effectiveness and return on investment before making any major adjustments to the overall approach.

Navigating and understanding platforms like Amazon DSP can be overwhelming, even for the most seasoned marketers. We typically advise our clients to partner with digital marketing and data experts to help to determine the best testing strategy and integrated approach to ensure success.


This article was developed in partnership with Fit For Commerce, a leading boutique consultancy that helps online and multichannel brands and retailers make informed digital, ecommerce and omnichannel retail investment decisions.

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