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Amazon Ads: The basics of Amazon DSP

Amazon Advertising can sound a bit like an alphabet soup, especially to a newer user. You may have heard of AMG, AMS, AAP, DSP, or PPC. And you might be confused about how these terms function and relate to one another, especially because some of these are now-defunct branches of Amazon Advertising programs. The purpose of this blog is to explain the basics of Amazon DSP (demand-side platform) ads for brands. Leveraging this type of ad can help advertisers reach and programmatically target relevant customer segments on and off Amazon’s website.

What is Amazon Advertising?

Relaunched and rebranded in 2018, Amazon Advertising now includes two branches to serve sellers’ and vendors’ advertising needs. One branch encompasses PPC (pay-per-click) ads called Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products. The other branch is Amazon DSP, which used to be called AAP. This focuses on display-type ads that allow advertisers to target their ads and pay for impressions. Amazon DSP is available to both advertisers who sell products on Amazon and those who do not. Amazon DSP is best suited to advertisers who want to programmatically buy display and video ads at scale. According to Amazon: “Whether you’re looking to drive brand awareness, consideration of your product, brand, or service, drive purchases, or increase loyalty, we’ll give you the tools to find the right advertising solution to drive measurable outcomes.”

Display ad options

Amazon offers DSP users two options when it comes to creating and managing ads. A self-service option lets businesses manage their own campaigns and requires no management fees. But this self-service method is only available to a select number of brands willing to invest heavily in DSP. For all other businesses they can access this option through an agency that has access to DSP who will be able to manage the ads on their behalf for a fee. There is also an Amazon managed service option, which has no fee but typically requires a minimum spend of at least $35,000. With this option, Amazon manages DSP on your behalf and assign you an Advertising Account Executive who will work closely with you and manage the right DSP strategy for your products.

What does DSP advertising look like and where do these ads appear?

Amazon DSP has a broad reach. Display ads appear on Amazon websites (including IMDb), apps (like Amazon’s mobile shopping app), and devices (Kindles, Fire TV, Alexa, Fire Tablets, etc). They also show up on sites and apps not owned by Amazon. Each ad looks different, because businesses can supply their own creative or use Amazon-generated ad designs. When customers click on these ads (on or off Amazon.com) they may be taken to a product detail page, a Brand Store, a custom landing page, or an external website (remember Amazon Ads can be purchased by those not selling on the platform).

The ads can look different depending on where they appear and from platform to platform.

Amazon on-site DSP ads can appear on the Amazon homepage, detail pages, search pages, and more.

Interstitial ads on Kindle

Fire TV

Mobile app:

Targeting customers

Amazon DSP harnesses the power of data to target ads to customers. These ads can potentially reach millions of consumers and browsers, but of course, it’s hitting the right customers who will actually convert ad impressions to sales that make them worthwhile. The available targeting can be very strategic and sophisticated, funneling customers to specific location (detail pages, brand stores, etc.) based on their predicted intent. DSP ads have two main purposes. One is driving awareness and consideration and getting customers into the funnel. The second piece is once in this funnel, these customers can then be targeted to make or complete purchases.There are four main types of targeting options within Amazon DSP ads:

  • Pixel-based targeting, or customers who’ve viewed your website.
  • Product remarketing, which retargets customers who viewed your items but did not convert to a purchase.
  • Brand halo remarketing. This focuses on retargeting those customers who viewed items from your brand and range.
  • Similar product remarketing reaches customers who are browsing similar products to your brand.

Some examples of how brands might use a strategy are: Using DSP ads to enhance brand awareness (more of a lifestyle ad), placement of DSP to consider their brand over a competitor’s, or re-engaging customers who may have previously looked at an item to return and complete the purchase.

For example, businesses might target ads to lifestyle-type audiences “toddler gifts” or certain demographics “dog owners.” Ads can be targeted based on recent customer behavior, such as customers who browsed chewing gum in the past 30 days, and who are likely to re-engage. Likewise, DSP ads might target competitor items to try to convert customers who might buy similar items, such as targeting a customer who bought Vans shoes and may want to see Converse shoes.

Targeting customers can be relatively simple, or quite complex, depending on your needs and products. When it comes down to it, DSP advertising offers ways to engage customers who, hopefully, have a high intent to purchase. Thus making your ad, and in turn your business, more successful.

Leveraging your campaigns

Is DSP worthwhile and who should be investing in this type of advertising? DSP ads make the most sense when a brand has already got a good Sponsored Ad strategy and are achieving great results. There is a limited reach of customers with Sponsored Ads and DSP widens that net. To achieve results when it comes to advertising, and DSP advertising in particular, brands and businesses should have a solid marketing plan and advertising budget. It’s especially important to account for ads you may want to run during peak periods, such as Prime Day or Black Friday, and any seasonally relevant periods for your category (for instance, fitness items in January or pool toys during the summer). Make the most of your advertising by also focusing on key items, such as top sellers or new releases.

While this explains DSP ads on a basic level, there are a lot of strategies and finer points out there. DSP advertising is key for increasing your brand’s exposure. For more information, visit Amazon DSP. Whatever help you need with ads, we can assist your customized needs. Contact us for personalized solutions and helping your brand achieve success when it comes to advertising with Amazon.

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Katy Luxem

Katy Luxem is a Salt Lake City-based writer and editor who specializes in online marketing. As a former Amazonian in both the U.S. and U.K. locales, she worked in marketing for several different teams and product lines. Prior to that, she worked at Microsoft and was a journalist. She now enjoys helping businesses succeed and grow with next-level content.

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