As Amazon continues to compete with Google and Facebook as a major advertising platform, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands on and off Amazon’s marketplace to get on board with Amazon Demand Side Platform. Previously known as Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP), Amazon DSP offers display and video placements as part of a cross-channel advertising strategy, instead of simply an in-marketplace option.
This display tool can be used to advertise in and outside the Amazon marketplace to expand your customer base, which is one of the reasons why it’s so attractive. The ability to advertise outside the Amazon website means traffic from your ads can be driven directly to your ecommerce site compared to other Amazon tools that only allow you to drive traffic internally to Amazon. You don’t have to be an Amazon Seller to run ads on DSP. To understand if DSP is right for you, keep reading to see what it’s all about, what creative you need to participate, and how to target your audience for success.
What Makes the Amazon DSP Program Stand Out?
The biggest difference between DSP and other Amazon tools is the data. It’s helpful for targeting customers based on their behavior, such as purchase history, brand affinity, and searches performed. This data is updated in real-time since it’s first-party data that allows brands to make well-informed decisions and adjust their targeting strategies quicker and more accurately. Keep in mind that search (PPC) is still fundamental and display (DSP) should be built out in tandem to create a full-funnel experience. As mentioned in Adweek by Criteo executive vice president of retail media, John Roswech, “2020 will be the year for marketers to stop thinking of Amazon’s search ad product and DSP as separate from their search marketing or programmatic advertising strategies.”
Creative for Amazon DSP
There are some creative assets that you’ll need to get started with advertising on DSP, such as banners, interstitials, and short videos. Amazon DSP does not have an automated creator or templates available to use as Google Display Builder does. It’s important to consider using custom creative because it can show higher conversions than Amazon plug and play ad formats.
Ads will display across these Amazon-owned platforms, so you can reach your audience with these inventory sources:
Freedive (IMDb Streaming)
A Brand’s Experience with Creative on Amazon DSP
MasterClass recently began experimenting with creative using Amazon DSP to promote their hobby-based online classes. They found success on Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook with three-minute trailers featuring celebrities like Anna Wintour and Gordon Ramsey. But, they found that their long videos were not effective within Amazon’s DSP platform and had to adjust their strategy to include DSP as its own unique channel with unique needs.
Still becoming familiar with Amazon’s programmatic platform, MasterClass CMO David Schiber describes the brand’s recent discovery with creative on DSP to Digiday:
“It will sound like common sense, but getting the message to be very clear, concise, brief and in the first few seconds is proving to be the best way to reach people when you get outside the social media platforms digitally.”
What can we learn from MasterClass? Well, in order for brands to hit the mark with creative on DSP, they must be willing to put in the effort and time to adjust their existing strategies and include the platform as part of their full media mix. What may work for your other channels now may or may not translate well with audiences you are trying to reach through Amazon DSP. Luckily, Amazon DSP offers enough data for your brand to figure out how best to target each segment of your audience.
Targeting Your Audience
You can drive awareness of your brand through retargeting, remarketing, in-market, lifestyle, and lookalike audiences through DSP. In order for your data to be smart enough for targeting, you must give your campaigns some time to run. The Amazon DSP platform gets more efficient over time, allowing your brand to build accurate lookalike audiences for segmenting.
Retargeting Through DSP
The retargeting option requires the installation of the Amazon pixel on key pages, including checkout, home, and receipt pages in order to build audiences. The audience builder in DSP allows you to create retargeting audiences with:
Product views: includes views from an audience that looked at detail pages for selected products
Product purchases: includes selected product purchases from audiences
Similar product views: includes views from an audience that Amazon automatically considers similar to selected products
Product searches: includes searches from audiences that used keywords related to selected products
Each of these behaviors can be layered or combined to really pinpoint customers. For example, a lapsed audience is defined by customers who have purchased within the last 365 but not 90 days.
Remarketing Options Available in DSP
Amazon recommends an “always-on” methodology for continuous advertisers that have plans for remarketing. To re-engage those who are interested in their products, brands can use pixel-based remarketing to reach customers who directly visit the site, product-focused to retarget customers who viewed just your advertised products, brand-halo for customers who have checked out other products, or similar-product to reach customers who researched products similar to yours.
What We’ve Seen with Amazon DSP
Adlucent’s experience using Amazon DSP has shown strong results for one wellness brand client. As displayed in the graph above, we’ve seen week-over-week growth while we continue to exceed Amazon’s standard benchmark of a 3-5 ROAS, coming close to reaching a 6 ROAS for this client.
The Amazon DSP program is best for brands that want to programmatically buy ads at a large scale, reach a larger scope of customers outside of PPC efforts, and cannot sell their products on Amazon but want to leverage the data provided by Amazon. Although everyone can use it, if you’re not a brand that has at least a $35,000 budget, it may not be worth the investment for you.