Amazon's digital advertising revenue is expected to reach $16.7 billion in 2021, with an estimated 9.7% market share. Amazon DSP has been a key platform pushing Amazon into the mixed media advertising sector. It provides off-Amazon advertising opportunities for Amazon merchants and delivers access to Amazon customer data for advertising purposes to brands that don’t sell on Amazon.
Fundamentally, programmatic advertising is a growing industry, and increasingly important to a digitally-focused economy. Amazon DSP has developed rapidly during 2020 -- including significant updates to API integrations which will simplify the extraction and updating of datasets. This article is going to look into the four main categories of development, and use that information to make projections about how use of the platform will develop throughout 2021.
Suggested reading: If you want more background on the DPS, check out our article — What is Amazon DSP?
Increased usability and flexibility
The DSP has evolved from the siloed AAP (Amazon Advertising Platform) offering that was cumbersome and difficult to use. Amazon seems focused on bringing more balance to the interface and making DSP more user friendly with an array of new features and functions. There are two significant updates worth mentioning.
1. Bulk upload and editing
Amazon has been trying to move away from manual updates on DSP. This is important for agencies or large corporates working with many campaigns and potentially hundreds of ASINs. It’s also an essential step towards automating uploads and downloads using an API — more on that later.
- Bulk editing of targeted device type: You can now update the targeted device type for standard display and video line items in bulk
- Bulk edit of supply bids and total budget: You can now increase or decrease the supply bids (base and max) and total budget across multiple line items in a single action.
- Bulks sheets for DSP campaign management (US beta): Create and update standard display line items and associated creatives. Import and export line items for a single order, advertiser or across multiple advertisers.
2. Goal KPI during order creating
Amazon DSP orders will now require a goal KPI to be selected when creating an order. To implement a goal KPI, you can choose a metric from the drop-down during new order setup. A goal KPI will allow for more automated optimizations and recommendations, significantly improving outcomes for inexperienced users.
How this changes strategy:
Bulk uploads start to remove the DSP UI and manual intervention from the equation. It is a sign of the move to automation where third-party apps will talk directly to DSP. Fundamentally, this allows users to more rapidly shift their strategy, and update advertising and targeting options.
The setting of KPI goals is also an indication of the move to a more AI-based service — similar to Google Smart Shopping. This delivers far greater efficiency for experienced users, and levels the learning curve for new DSP advertisers. Together, these changes make the platform more accessible and more efficient. The outcomes will likely be more users and greater competition.
More sophisticated creatives
Amazon is building-in flexibility for Amazon-created ad options, such as e-commerce creative templates or video creative builders. These are expanding the creative availability to advertisers, and also making these creative types easier to use.
- Video ads: Video creative builder (although still in beta) will allow you to create an engaging video ad by selecting from existing templates and using product images found on your product detail page.
- Auto generating creatives: You now have the flexibility to use your own custom ads or use Amazon creative options. E-commerce creatives can include an image or a product image found on a product detail page. You can also now customize responsive e-commerce creative with brand logos and headlines.
- In-line messaging: In-line messaging (ILM) is available for e-commerce creatives, including responsive e-commerce creatives (REC) and dynamic e-commerce ads (DEA). Detail page ILM showcases an above-the-fold placement at the top of the product detail page.
How this changes strategy
We can expect more variants of ad creatives to be released in 2021. Amazon is moving away from a rigid templated approach – where ads kind of look the same – to more dynamic and brand-appropriate presentations. Changes to ad creatives create opportunities for brands to stand out in new ways. It will be essential to keep up with these developments as ad content and presentation will be critical to differentiation for Amazon Sellers in 2021.
Suggested reading: For more information about video creative and Amazon, check out our blog — Amazon DSP Video Ads: How Why, Where, When.
New targeting options
As consumers continue to shift the way they buy online, advertisers will need to adapt and evolve their targeting. With more online marketplace Sellers entering the market (and more coming in 2021), making the best use of Amazon's unique data will be vital to knowing and pinpointing your target audience.
Amazon is offering much more granular targeting. Here are some of the more recent additions, we can probably expect this list to grow by the end of Q1 2021.
The Audiences tab introduces audience exploration and management. Explore and search across audiences:
- Custom built and more
You can also browse and sort audiences by forecasted reach and impressions, or creation and modification date.
Prime Video signals in Audience Builder
You can now define audiences based on Prime Video content as well as more usual retail indicators: keyword searches, product views and sales. This feature can enable engagement from audiences streaming films or TV series related to brand offerings.
Video completion targeting
Amazon Advertising's video completion targeting features machine-learning model predictions and allows you to select the granularity of the video completion rate you need.
You can now engage audiences that have recently considered products in a given category.
A new tab labelled "Custom-built" provides access to audiences based on specified Amazon shopping or streaming indicators.
Interest Audiences (launched in the US)
“Interest audiences” helps drive awareness even to audiences that have only shown an interest related to your product.
Suggested reading: For more detail about targeting options, check out our blog — Amazon DSP Targeting Option Explained.
How this changes strategy
Amazon has access to the largest global database of online shoppers, so much so that it’s coming under scrutiny from regulators about how it uses this position, especially in Europe. Sharing access to targeting algorithm results and data will be one way the company can demonstrate more openness. Expect more and more comprehensive targeting options to be forthcoming in 2021.
What this means for users, however, is the increased importance of understanding your target audience. The more targeting options you have, the more valuable making the right choice becomes. Getting a handle on your Amazon customer data is key to delivering positive outcomes with these new options, and sidestepping the increased competition on the platform.
Suggested reading: For more details about customer analytics, check out our free eBook — How To Make Sense Of Your Amazon Customer Data
Focus on measuring impact and data exchange
As Amazon relentlessly introduces new features onto DSP, it will have a significant impact on Sellers and advertisers. They will have to:
- Key up with all this stuff: New features will offer access to new markets, new segments, new ad vehicles — strategies and tactics will have to be amended accordingly
- Measure and change campaigns often: Agility will require more automation and more programmatic advertising. To keep up, advertisers will have to tie their systems more closely to Amazon via APIs in order to measure the impacts and update ads.
Advertisers and agencies can leverage the new Amazon Advertising API to retrieve reports for Amazon DSP campaigns. This API function will make it easier for advertisers to view campaign performance and retrieve reports using their own preferred tools. Although uncercertian, it’s speculated that full read/write access to this API will be rolled out in Q1 of 2021 — further increasing the versatility of this feature.
The Amazon Advertising Platform can be considered overall as a combination of three primary services:
Advertisers who buy media through Amazon DSP can reach and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns using Sizmek Ad Suite. Through Sizmek Ad Suite's integration with Amazon Attribution, advertisers can access reporting and audience insights that show sales and conversion metrics on and off Amazon.
Pro-tip: Amazon also now provides the “Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC). This service can be used to aggregate and analyse insights from multiple different sources.
How this changes strategy
Amazon has a habit of renaming and rationalizing its ad services, AAP to DSP is a good example. Look out for developments in APIs and tighter integration between DSP, Attribution and Sizmek. Probably with some rebranding of offerings as well.
The outcome for users will be an increased ability to understand the impact of their advertising. Historically, this has been challenging with DSP because the 14-day last touch attribution used by DSP ads overrides previous attribution from different Amazon advertising types — for example, sponsored product ads, sponsored brand ads, and sponsored display ads.
Getting to the data early
As Amazon gets more loaded with brands, it's crucial to stay ahead. By being an early adopter of new ad betas and targeting abilities, you can get your footing with these new options and use them to the greatest extent possible. The earlier you can adopt, the better.
Fundamentally, there will be many new opportunities created by DSP developments, and getting a grip on your data and advertising types is key to making the most of them. For more advice on how to succeed on Amazon, check out our two free eBooks: