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Amazon DSP Video Ads: How Why Where When

    The need for video as part of the marketing mix is compelling.

    Amazon DSP video ads are a growing and powerful advertising option. Although Amazon now also offers Sponsored Brands video ads, the DSP delivers one of the most flexible and targeted advertising options on the platform. Amazon Sellers and Vendors have an opportunity to display ads off-Amazon, and drive traffic to destinations on- and off-Amazon). Brands that don’t sell on Amazon at all can access aggregated and anonymised Amazon customer data for programmatic targeting of advertisements.  

    This article will outline how to set up video campaigns; what options for creatives are available; what you need to provide to Amazon; and how DSP video ads can be best used.

    Suggested reading: If you need a basic walkthrough of the DSP, check out our other blogs. 

    Where are video ads displayed?

    Video ads can appear as a creative element within a display ad or within video content.  

    Video ads that appear either before, after or during video content are known as OTT (over-the-top) video ads. These ads cannot always be skipped and are typically viewed until completion of the ad. 

    Out-stream video ads typically use space reserved for display ads on a website or app, and do not appear within video content. In both cases, they appear on Amazon services such as IMDb and Fire TV, and across the web.

    Note: OTT ads are only currently available in the US. 

    Why use OTT video ads

    Amazon OTT video ads enable you to showcase your brand alongside high-quality content, including the latest movies and TV, curated news, or live sports. There are four primary OTT inventory sources available: 

    1. IMDb TV 
    2. Amazon Publisher Services broadcaster and network apps, 
    3. Ad-supported live sports, 
    4. News app on Fire TV

    OTT video ad campaigns that made use of Amazon Audiences saw a 44% average increase to detail page views compared to just using demographics.

    Pro tip: OTT ads are not displayed in a “clickable” environment, and should not include CTAs that encourage clicking — e.g. a button in the video that says “click here”.

    Unlock the power behind customer data

    Why use Out-stream

    Out-stream video ads appear on Amazon services such as IMDb and across the web in various formats, including:

    • Video in-banner
    • In-article/in-read video and in-feed video
    • Video served on desktop, mobile, or tablet

    You can use out-stream video ads to educate or engage customers with messaging that complements a display campaign.

    How to set up a video ad campaign with Amazon DSP

    In order to effectively deploy video ads, you need to know how to create and upload your content. Luckily, Amazon makes this pretty easy for DSP users. 

    Video creation

    You have the flexibility to use your own custom ads or Amazon creative options, such as e-commerce creative templates or video creative builder — the latter of which is still in beta.

    E-commerce creatives can include an image you provide or a product image found on your product detail page. Elements are generated automatically to enhance the performance for your e-commerce creative and engage the end customer.

    Amazon's video creative builder creates engaging video content by selecting one of the existing templates and using product images found on your product detail page.

    Technical set-up

    There are a number of different specifications for OTT and Out-stream videos. We’ve compiled the basics below. However, you can explore this in more detail using resources supplied by Amazon (resource 1; resource 2), which also provide pointers on Viewability settings and CORS (Cross Origin Resource Sharing) formatting requirements.

     

    Over-the-top (OTT) video assets

    Ad serving

    First-party (site-served) only

    Maximum file size

    500MB

    Aspect Ratio

    16:9

    Required duration

    15 seconds or 30 seconds is required

    Minimum frame size

    1920x1080

    Minimum video bitrate

    4Mbit/s

    Recommended video bitrate

    8Mbit/s

    Video frame rate (fps)

    23.976 (recommended), 24, 25 or 29.97

    Video frame rate mode

    Constant

    Minimum audio bitrate

    192kbit/s

    Audio sample rate

    44.1kHz or 48kHz

    Supported formats

    Video: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4; Audio: PCM or AAC

    Audio channel

    Minimum of two channels

     

    Out-stream video assets

    Ad serving 

    First party only; third-party trackers accepted

    Ad type

    Custom

    Video 

    16:9 aspect ratio, varies by device dimension

    Video Length

    6 seconds to 3 minutes

    Supported Devices

    Desktop, iOS and Android mobile app

    Sub-headline Copy

    70 characters max

    Headline Copy

    40 characters max

    Slate image

    1280 x 720 px jpg

    Amazon DSP Strategy Audit

    Third-party OLV ads

    Ads that are served on third-party sites are called Online Video ads, or OLV ads. There are a second series of requirements and technical best practices for ads served on third-party sites, and advertisers must have an understanding of creative asset standards as it impacts the potential audience they can reach. 

    You can use third-party video tags from an Amazon-certified third-party vendor (excluding OTT). The tags must be VAST 2, VAST 3, or VPAID 2. Amazon recommends you include VAST 2 tags in every campaign to ensure all supply sources can be used. If a VPAID tag is provided, they recommend it includes both Flash and JavaScript to access more inventory.

     

    OLV video assets

    Ad serving

    First-party (site-served) or third party

    Maximum file size

    500MB (site-served only)

    Aspect Ratio

    16:9

    Minimum duration

    6 seconds

    Maximum duration

    120 seconds

    Recommended duration 

    Exactly 6s, 15s, 20s, 30s or 60s recommended. 120s also supported.

    Minimum frame size

    1920x1080 (640x360 for third-party served)

    Minimum video bitrate

    4 Mbit/s (2Mbit/s for third-party served)

    Recommended video bitrate

    8 Mbit/s

    Video frame rate (fps)

    23.976 (recommended), 24, 25 or 29.97

    Video frame rate mode

    Constant

    Minimum audio bitrate

    192kbit/s (128kbit/s for third party served)

    Audio sample rate

    44.1 kHz or 48 kHz

    Supported formats 

    Video: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4; Audio: PCM or AAC

    Audio channel

    Minimum of two channels

     

    Strategies to improve your video ad outcomes

    Video ads are an attention-grabbing combination of visuals and, most importantly, a narrative. This is perfect for introducing your brand, explaining individual products, or driving awareness with new audiences. 

    Recent Amazon research showed that:

    • Audiences were 47% more likely to research a brand on Amazon when they saw both OTT and display ads compared to audiences that did not see both ads.
    • Customer engagement metrics were up to 90% higher among brands that used Display, Sponsored Brands Video and OTT together compared to brands that only used display.
    • Audiences exposed to both display and OTT for the same product were 28% more likely to view a detail page and 25% more likely to purchase.

    So, video is a powerful medium, but which strategies are best for which cases?

    1. Fuel lower-funnel campaigns


    Video is not all about awareness. You can feature products or brands in your video ads to drive lower-funnel campaigns. Combined with sponsored ads and display, you can foster engagement across the complete customer journey.

    If you're looking to reach new customers, you could use video ads together with Amazon Audiences to push products that are complementary to those they have purchased.

    2. Extend your linear TV reach


    With OTT video ads, you can extend the reach of your linear TV campaign to engage new audiences. On average, Amazon claims you can increase your total net media reach by more than 2% without increasing your total media budget.

    3. Tie results to brand metrics


    First-party and third-party Amazon-supported measurement tools can connect insights with actionable intelligence. You can demonstrate the impact of your video campaign across your entire funnel with metrics like brand reach, brand lift, offline sales lift, and new-to-brand.

    4. Double down on targeting options


    The more consumers you have at the top of the funnel, the more customers there will be at the bottom. Take the entire funnel into account in your performance strategy. 

    One of the keys to this strategy is to ask yourself which market segments and personas you want to target. To do this, Amazon provides many segmentation options that can easily be combined with other Amazon data to create detailed customer personas and customer lifetime value (CLV) calculations.

    • Behavioral: Brands that leveraged Amazon Advertising's behavioral signals have seen an increase in the total customers who visited brand detail pages on Amazon compared to those that reached audiences based on demographic attributes alone. 

    OTT video ad campaigns that leveraged both demographic attributes and behavioral signals saw a 38% lift in consideration. Further, OTT video ad campaigns that exclusively leveraged behavioral signals drove a 44% increase in consideration compared to those that used demographic attributes.

    • Retargeting: One of the most effective ways of targeting is to direct programmatic video and display advertising to those consumers who have already shown interest in buying your product. Retargeting in this way is reckoned to be 45% more likely to achieve conversion.

    Pro tip: Analytics tools can help you gain a better understanding of your customers and how they engage with your products. For more details, check out our free ebook — How To Make Sense of Your Amazon Customer Data.

    Know your customer

    Amazon is ever-evolving techniques and technologies to enhance customer segmentation and targeting. Video is a crucial vehicle to reach those consumers and customers. However, generating the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and post-campaign analysis relies on getting the right data at the right time. 

    You need to understand your break-even ACoS/RoAS and understand how to effectively attribute your campaigns. It also requires understanding your audience and campaigns with the depth and precision that, these days, only AI can achieve. By aggregating the different data sources within the Amazon ecosystem,  you start to implement video strategies that can really move the needle on your sales and profitability. Get in touch if you want help auditing your campaigns or exploring how technology can improve your advertising outcome on Amazon.

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