Google and Facebook are absolute giants in the digital world.
From Instagram to your home’s smart lights, it feels like at least one of them has a share in pretty much everything nowadays.
And when it comes to online marketing?
Well, it’s not an exaggeration to say that a business that isn’t using Google or Facebook’s services to some capacity is missing out big time.
With all that considered, it can be easy to forget some of the other players in the digital advertising space.
And by some of the other players, I’m referring to one in particular: Amazon DSP.
Amazon: Underdog-turned digital marketing powerhouse
It wasn’t all too long ago when Amazon wasn’t even considered a significant competitor to companies like Google and Facebook.
Since then, Amazon’s gone from a small, online book-selling store to the e-commerce machine it is today.
And if Amazon has learned one thing over the last few decades, it’s why consumers buy products online.
Since Amazon’s such a popular marketplace, they’ve been able to collect an absurd amount of data on customer purchase behaviors.
And now, any business can get a slice of the Amazon pie through their very own advertising platform. And it’s appropriately named Amazon Advertising.
A rundown of Amazon Advertising
Amazon Advertising is an umbrella term that covers all of Amazon’s advertising services.
To make things simple, you can split Amazon Advertising up into two halves:
- The Amazon Ad Console (previously known as AMS)
- The Amazon Demand-Side Platform (previously known as AAP)
While this article isn’t going to cover the Ad Console side of things in-depth, it’s still good to have a basic understanding of the differences, so you know the strengths of each service.
What’s the difference between the two sides of Amazon Advertising?
The first difference to note is the logistics behind each of them.
Amazon Ad Console is a PPC(Pay-Per-Click) advertising service. Which means you’ll be paying each time a user clicks on any of your ads.
Amazon Demand-Side Platform, on the other hand, is a CPM(cost-per-mille) platform. With CPM advertising, you pay for every thousand impressions. An impression is an advertising term that just means each time someone sees your ad.
So when you run Amazon Ad Console, you only pay when people click your ads, whereas Amazon DSP has you pay for exposure, even if the user doesn’t click on the ad.
The second big difference is where these platforms come in during the sales funnel.
With a CPM platform like Amazon DSP, the goal is usually to get more exposure and brand awareness from your campaigns. This means your ads will have a broader reach, but they’ll also tend to target consumers on the upper ends of the funnel.
With CPC advertising, your target audience is going to be further down the line.
What this means is they’ll generally be closer to the purchase, but your ads won’t get the same amount of reach.
The third difference is who can use each of the platforms.
Amazon DSP is accessible for businesses that sell on and off-platform.
While there are more restrictions for advertisers looking to bring traffic off of Amazon, advertising off-platform products still have the potential for excellent results.
But using the Amazon Ad Console means you can only advertise products on-platform.
Programmatic advertising — Why it works so well
To understand why Amazon Advertising is such an excellent opportunity, you’ve got to understand exactly what it is.
And to put it briefly, Amazon Demand-Side Platform is a programmatic advertising service.
If you’re already familiar with programmatic advertising, then feel free to skip to the next section while I explain it in a bit more depth.
If you have no idea what it is, or just want to hear some more insights on it, then buckle up.
Programmatic advertising is a digital marketing method that uses algorithms to bid for online ad space automatically.
There’s a slew of reasons that programmatic advertising is becoming increasingly lucrative for business owners, the first of which being efficiency.
With traditional advertising, things don’t move as fast, so bidding for spots to place your ads is pretty straightforward.
But the online world isn’t nearly as simple as that.
Two of your options for bidding on the best ad spots
Things move way faster online, and there’s just too much ad space on the web for someone to manually bid for it all.
Which leaves you with two options:
- Hire a massive team to bid on every spot you want to show your ads
Or the far more realistic option:
- Leave the job of bidding for spots up to a computer
Saving time and money isn’t the only thing programmatic advertising does, either.
Companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have all designed these algorithms to bid for spots based on the ludicrous amounts of consumer data they’ve collected, as well as the data that the campaigns generate themselves.
This means that your ad campaigns will naturally improve over time as the platform learns more about what works and what doesn’t.
And much of this process is done automatically by the algorithm, with minimal input needed.
So to sum programmatic advertising up:
It saves you time and uses vast amounts of data to hyper-optimize your ad placement in the process.
But why choose Amazon? — A brief overview of Amazon and its competitors
Google: The king of online searches
The reason that Google is such an excellent platform for advertising is the same reason that SEO is so vital for businesses in the current age:
People make a lot of search inquiries on the internet.
And I mean a lot. (as in, 40,000 searches per second a lot)
Getting in front of those potential consumers is pretty high on the priority list for many business owners.
Facebook: King of user activity
While Facebook may not get the vast amount of online searches that Google does, it has its own strengths.
For one, Google may have a lot of searches daily, but Facebook has tons of user activity.
And this allows them to gather massive amounts of data on those users for advertisers to leverage.
Amazon: The king of consumer buying-behaviors
Google has a ridiculous number of searches going on every day.
Facebook has massive amounts of user data based on its users.
So what does Amazon have going for it?
Well, let’s look at some of the stats behind Amazon’s digital marketplace:
- Each one of Amazon’s 100 million prime users spends an average of $1000 on the platform per year.
- And even non-prime users spend an average of $100-$500 every year.
- Amazon itself makes about $4,722 in sales per second.
As I mentioned before, if there’s one thing that Amazon knows well, it’s what and why people buy.
This is why Amazon Advertising is such a massive opportunity. Advertising with them allows you to leverage all of the customer data they’ve built over the years.
There’s a place for each of these advertising platforms, and each business is going to have its own unique needs to consider when choosing the one that’s right for them.
The only real way to know which one works best for your business is by testing the waters yourself.
But with that being said, Amazon is undoubtedly an excellent place to start.
Getting to the good part — How Amazon DSP works
We’ve covered Amazon Advertising, and programmatic advertising is as a whole.
And we’ve also talked about why Amazon is such a stellar advertising platform.
Now, it’s time for the part you’ve all been waiting for:
“How does Amazon DSP actually work, and what do you need to get started with it?”
Where Amazon DSP displays your ads
Another factor that makes Amazon DSP such a robust service is the diverse network of websites and platforms your ads get access to.
The obvious ad spots are on any of Amazon’s websites; think IMDB, Audible, and the main Amazon website itself.
It doesn’t just stop at first-party Amazon websites. Amazon’s partnered with a long list of third-party providers too, which means even more potential ad space for your campaigns.
This full list of providers goes much further than this.
Some of the providers give more ad space, and some of them supply more data so that Amazon can better optimize your results.
Then, there’s ad space on the various apps and services that Amazon’s integrated into the platform, like Amazon Prime.
But wait, there’s more:
Amazon DSP has integrations with Amazon’s various home devices, too. Namely, the Kindle & Fire TV Stick (more on this later).
The budget requirements to run a campaign
There’s technically no minimum budget to run a campaign on Amazon DSP, but there is a catch…
Two catches, actually.
The first is that there are no minimum requirements for your budget— if you’re advertising a product that’s on the Amazon platform.
If you want to advertise an off-platform product, Amazon requires that you work with one of their consultants.
And the minimum you’ll have to spend on your campaign to work with one of their consultants is $35,000.
Working with an Amazon consultant for your campaign is a great idea, they’ll go through the process with you and help pinpoint your exact needs.
This makes it much easier to plan the best course of action, but the minimum of $35,000 might set the bar of entry too high for many businesses on the smaller end of the spectrum.
The second catch is that while there’s no minimum budget for your DSP campaigns, a low-budget probably won’t yield great results.
Programmatic advertising works so well because your campaign can utilize the data that it collects to self-optimize itself.
But that means you’ll need to put in the investment that allows it to collect that data in the first place.
The types of ads you’ll get access to with Amazon DSP
With Amazon DSP, your campaigns will get to use the following ad types:
From ads that appear during app transitions to the unskippable ads on Amazon Prime streaming services, you’ll have access to quite the array of ad spots to allow for multiple touchpoints with your target audience.
And speaking of video-streaming ads, let’s talk about Amazon DSP’s OTT integration a bit more.
CTV, OTT & more
Connected TV is one of the most lucrative advertising opportunities out there right now, and it seems it’s a trend that’s going to last for quite some time.
The previously mentioned ability to display your ads on Kindles and Amazon Fire TVs gives you access to a massive audience of potential customers. According to Tech Crunch, Fire TV already has over 30 million users — even beating Roku, that has 27 million users.
We’re already big fans of CTV at LiftIntent, and combining it with Amazon’s advertising platform is a recipe for success.
Another excellent way to get the most out of CTV and OTT advertising? By retargeting previous customers.
Using Amazon Pixel to set up retargeting campaigns
Retargeting previous customers and recapturing lost customers allows advertisers to increase their campaign conversion rates significantly.
Amazon DSP allows you to set up intricate retargeting ads that help you do just that.
If you want to set up retargeting ads, you’ll need to use an Amazon Pixel on your website, though, as the feature isn’t available without one.
You’ll have to take the time to set Pixel up on particular pages of your website, but it’s well worth it.
Especially when you consider how powerful retargeting ads can be when you combine them with the cross-platform, cross-device capabilities of Amazon DSP.
So if all that sounds well and good, there’s still one big question to answer:
How do you get yourself set up with an account?
I’m glad you asked:
How to get started with Amazon DSP
Before you jump into the deep end, it’s nice to know what to expect from the setup process.
To create a campaign, you’ll need to make your account, develop assets, set a budget, and more.
So let’s go over a few of the key things to note before you get started.
Creating your Amazon DSP account
Running a programmatic advertising campaign takes some know-how and experience if you want to get the best ROI possible.
But luckily, the account creation process with Amazon DSP isn’t all that difficult.
The initial page only has two fields:
First, you’ve got to let Amazon know whether or not you intend to sell on the platform.
If you’re selling on-platform, you’ll have two options:
Option #1: Start advertising right away with no minimum budget
Option #2: Work with an Amazon consultant to help optimize your campaign
If you decide to sell off-platform, you’ll only have access to option #2.
Keep in mind that working with an Amazon consultant can be well worth it, but it’ll cost you that previously mentioned minimum ad-spend of $35K, whether you’re selling on-platform or not.
Creating the assets for your ad campaign
If you’re going to be using Amazon DSP to advertise your business, you’ll need to create all of the assets for your campaigns.
Before you finalize them, make sure they’re compliant with Amazon’s specifications.
Amazon also provides some creative guidelines on the same page to help you get the most out of your ads.
Amazon provides a comprehensive list of guidelines and tips for each type of ad you can use on DSP right through the site.
How long before I start to see results?
Once you’ve got your account created, the budget set, and your campaign gets going, there’s another step you’ll have to take:
While it’d be nice to start off at a sprint, programmatic advertising usually takes a bit to build momentum as the algorithm collects data and optimizes itself for the best results.
During this period, you should avoid making any significant changes to the campaign so you can get the most data possible.
This can be frustrating because often, you won’t see the best results right away. It can take weeks before you start getting the results you’re looking for.
So don’t be discouraged if things don’t look amazing right off the bat. Be ready to give your campaign some time to build up steam before you try to change things up drastically.
Don’t forget to utilize Amazon DSP’s reporting suite.
With an Amazon DSP account, you’ll also have access to an excellent reporting suite that lets you see the data behind metrics like conversions, repeat sales, and more.
Data like this is invaluable in optimizing your campaign once you’ve gotten through the initial “waiting period.”
Need help getting started with Amazon Advertising?
I’m going, to be honest with you:
If all of this seems complicated, that’s because it certainly can be, especially when you first start out with programmatic advertising.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Amazon Advertising is a massive gateway for business owners to take advantage of Amazon’s infrastructure if you have the expertise to make the most out of it.
Of course, you could learn it on your own, but teaching yourself how to set up a programmatic advertising campaign is going to cost you quite a bit of time and money.
Which is what makes it such a daunting task to many would-be advertisers.
But it doesn’t have to be all that difficult.
At LiftIntent, we’d love to help you get started in the world of programmatic advertising so you can reap all of the rewards yourself.
Ready to get started? Contact us to start on your Amazon Advertising journey today. Don’t forget to request our media kit and review our case studies today.