Let’s get the technical jargon out of the way. Amazon DSP, or demand-side platform, is an advertising platform that lets advertisers buy display ad placements both on and off Amazon.
Sellics describes it as follows:
“Amazon DSP is a platform for buying video and display ads across the Internet. Amazon DSP has 2 unique features:
a) Automatic ad buying process across thousands of different websites and
b) Advanced targeting options powered by Amazon’s exclusive purchasing data”
So DSP is basically Amazon’s display advertising entry, challenging Google and Facebook in the same arena, but backed up by Amazon’s unique datasets and 20 years of customer purchasing behavior.
These are Amazon ads that appear both on and off-Amazon and link back to your products on Amazon. This is what is known as “link-in” advertising. It is possible to run “link-out” ads with Amazon’s DSP that send traffic to other locations, but we’ll remain focused on the latter in this post.
Okay, cool but where does DSP fit in my business?
These are campaign types you know well and in some cases have been running for years. They are primarily CPC (cost per click) based. These are what most businesses on Amazon are familiar with, and may be all the advertising they need.
On the right hand side we have the world of DSP short for “Demand Side Platform.”
This used to only be available through Amazon managed services, which meant that somebody from Amazon managed it for you and you had to spend a minimum of $35,000 over a three month period to participate in this program. Yikes.
So if you’re a huge company with that level of ad budget, only you could participate.
However, more recently Amazon has made DSP available on a self-service basis, where agencies like ours can setup and manage campaigns for clients and are able to do so at a far lower minimum budget.
Thanks to this recent update to Amazon’s DSP access, you now can run DSP campaigns without having to meet that $35,000 minimum spend level.
That barrier coming down opened up a world of possibility for our clients. Essentially a whole other advertising platform is now available to them if their products are a good fit
The Amazon Advertising Funnel:
Amazon Marketing Services is advertising efforts you’ve been running for years already. DSP is an entirely different platform and way of thinking about advertising.
Rather than responding directly to shopper intent after they’ve expressed interest in a product by searching with keywords or looking at similar ASINs, you are creating audiences based on past behaviors and demographic, geographic and psychographic information and then serving Display ads to those audiences.
Think of it like a virtual billboard but targeted only to the right people.
Amazon’s DSP allows you to build a huge variety of different types of audience groupings that you can use to reach people in different parts of the purchase funnel.
So just like all advertising, you want to put your product in front of the right people at the right time with the right message.
Instead of “pull” marketing where the shopper’s intent is what triggered your ad, it’s “push” marketing where you are proactively reaching out to them.
This type of advertising should be familiar as it’s closer to the kind seen on Facebook where people aren’t aware of your product, nobody knows that your product exists, so you would use broader demographic markets.
Whereas if somebody already looked at your products on Amazon that didn’t purchase, you could use retargeting to advertise your product to them on websites off Amazon.
Here are just some ideas of where you can put these ads. You can also put them on Amazon properties, third party exchanges or any website that uses third party ads that Amazon has a relationship with.
Types of DSP Ads:
- Desktop display ads
- Mobile banner ads
- Mobile interstitial (full-screen) ads
- Image and text ads
- In-stream video ads
How to get access to Amazon DSP advertising?
Before you ask yourself how you can get access, you need to figure out if the fit is right. Think of DSP as the icing on top of the cake.
Amazon DSP is best for brands who want to:
- Expand who their ads are reaching beyond Amazon and its core CPC advertising campaigns.
- Amazon has data about all of their customers so you can use that information to build and reach new audiences based on that data.
- Advertise to customers both on and off Amazon.
- Reach an existing customer base but through Amazon. For example, if you have your own mailing list, you can provide that to amazon and they will create a lookalike audience based on your existing customers of other Amazon customers and you can target that audience.
- Get ahead of the competition by expanding your reach and frequency of appearance beyond where they are, discovering more customers off Amazon before they get to the platform.
And as we already talked about, there were two options:
- You can hire Amazon management for a high minimum spend (big fee!).
- You can use an agency like us where those large spend commitments don’t exist and you can test and iterate directly.
Okay great, but what else does DSP do for me?
Other than ad placement and ad types, Amazon DSP also provides audience insights that you can’t get anywhere else.
In combination with Brand Analytics data in Seller Central and DSP, Amazon will tell you about your brand and how people interact with your brand on Amazon, including how many people look at your products, how many people add them to cart, how many purchased and how many people come back and purchase again. There’s a saying:
Facebook knows what you like. Google knows what you search. Amazon knows what you buy.
This information is exclusive to Amazon’s years of collecting purchasing data from millions of consumers around the world.
Amazon audience data is very sought after in the ecommerce space.
The following is Amazon’s insight about your brand:
- Demographic information like age, income bracket, marital status, and residential status as well as browsing and purchasing data based on time of day and day of the week.
- *They’ll tell you what other brands your product overlaps with, which will help you with product targeting ads. This information is especially important to advertisers because we can use this data to extend your targeting strategy and improve existing audience behavior and interests.
- *And then the brand engagement, which is add-to-cart retargeting that encourages customers to come back and purchase or repurchase.
*Both can also be found in brand analytics
The power of Amazon DSP also allows you to reach shoppers who have exhibited specific interests and behaviors:
Behavioral shopper information:
This leverages past shopping behaviors within relevant categories to deliver ads to potentially interested shoppers on and off Amazon.
- Lifestyle: These are audiences that reflect a broad interest group such as ‘tech enthusiast’ and ‘coupon clippers.’ One way Advertisers can reach lifestyle audiences is to plant your brand in the minds of shoppers who have regularly shopped for related products in the past year.
- In-Market: This audience can be leveraged to reach customers who are likely to take action or make a purchase based on a recent search, browse, or purchase behavior in the past 30 days.
These are audiences in the Amazon ecosystem that are actively searching for or viewing products aka the window shoppers. By leveraging contextual audience behavior, you can deliver ads based on the relevancy of the shopper’s purchase journey.
Mentioned before, but bears repeating, Amazon DSP allows you to reach select demographic audiences to keep campaigns relevant. Options do vary from location to location but some common examples of demographic targeting are:
- Age range
- Household income
- Presence of children in household
- Marital status
- Education level
Otherwise known as retargeting– You can leverage audience behavior within Amazon to serve the right remarketing ads to your ideal shoppers.
This will help reengage potential customers to your brand, whether they viewed a product or seen it turn up in search. We can even exclude audiences that have purchased your product or encourage them to repurchase by serving them a coupon code.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the audience insight information you can discover through Amazon DSP but these are the main insights Amazon sellers want about their existing customers to improve their branding and ad strategy.
Leverage Your Existing Audience
There are different ways that you can upload your own audience to Amazon. We’ve brought up your own customer list already, and that’s either your newsletter email list, or purchase data outside of Amazon.
You can also put an Amazon Pixel on your website so anytime someone purchases, they automatically get added to the Amazon audience and automatically add new lookalike customers based on those people.
You can even build audiences based on website visitors.
They’ll generate various different types of ads for you. You can create your own, but they have a tool that creates a bunch of them.
They will put those ads on various different websites and they’ll figure out which ad works best on which website and they’ll continually learn and customize and display different ads in different websites based on performance for you automatically.
What to do with Amazon DSP Display Ad Features (Strategy Overview)
These are the different types of Dynamic Ecommerce ads that link directly to your product on Amazon. When it comes to the variations in their appearance, they will shift depending on the various options you use and what the current state of the targeted product is.
For example, if you have an active coupon or a lightning deal going on those things will show up on the ad as it’s displayed across different placements. You can write custom ad copy too so they will make an overall powerful impact.
You can also pick a specific customer review and highlight a section of it in the ad itself that in an ad or there’s the standard shop now button. Pick and choose or use all options.
From there, you allow the data reporting to tell you which one works best and then allocate budget to your successful campaigns, line items and ad creative.
This is what Amazon DSP is all about.
How should Amazon sellers use this compared to Amazon PPC?
Amazon PPC should remain your core advertising channel. It’s still the most effective because it’s direct and there’s fewer steps to get shoppers to purchase.
There are clear attribution models for both platforms but many of the targeting types available through DSP can be thought of more for middle or top of the funnel advertising purposes and we might classify them as awareness, or consideration phase campaigns.
The CPC campaign types available in Seller central are still your “bread and butter” advertising that drives profitable sales at the bottom of the funnel.
We consider Amazon DSP as the next level in advertising your catalog of Amazon products.
If you’re already winning at Amazon PPC with sufficient spend and an acceptable ACoS and your overall sales are steady or slowly growing, then Amazon DSP is where you go full Vin Diesel and thumb-mash that NOS button that drives more shoppers to your already winning products, pushing your overall total profits to the next level. *Explosion*