With over 5 million marketplace sellers across Amazon, it’s becoming more and more difficult for brands to stand out — even as today’s consumers shop online more every day. If you’re not re-engaging your potential customers, your competitors will be.
The good news? Advertising to the audiences available within Amazon’s DSP can help increase your brand awareness both on and off Amazon. Through DSP, you can keep your brand messaging consistent with a full-funnel strategy.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is Amazon DSP?
- Where does the Amazon DSP program fit into the marketing funnel?
- Amazon Demand Side Platform ad types
- How to use Amazon DSP
- Amazon DSP success story: R+Co
What is Amazon DSP?
Amazon DSP — also known as the demand-side platform — is available under Amazon advertising. DSP enables advertisers to programmatically buy video and ad placements. Programmatic advertising uses data to decide which digital advertising spaces to buy and how much to pay for them.
Advertisers are increasing investment in the Amazon DSP, which allows brands to use Amazon targeting capabilities in showing ads not only on Amazon owned-and-operated web properties, but also those that it does not control.
According to the Tinuiti Amazon Ads Benchmark Report, in Q3 2019, 32% of all Amazon DSP spend was attributed to ad impressions that appeared outside of Amazon owned-and-operated properties.
Where does the Amazon DSP program fit into the marketing funnel?
Through Amazon DSP, you can programmatically reach your audiences across both Amazon’s own sites and apps (like IMBD) and leading publishers’ sites. Here’s how Amazon ads fit throughout the funnel:
Ad Console campaigns mostly cover the mid- to low portion of the funnel. These campaigns work towards driving purchases, while DSP works throughout the whole advertising funnel from awareness to purchase. Having the capability to retarget customers through DSP keeps your brand top-of-mind for prospects and previous customers.
“While Amazon Advertising Console (previously known as Amazon Marketing Services) is where we are able to drive significant sales volume for clients, we can only drive so much volume until we hit a plateau. Having the capability to retarget customers gives us the opportunity to target past shoppers and stay top of mind as well as prospect in an effort to gain new customers.”
– Jordan Berry, Lead Marketplace Channel Analyst at Tinuiti
In this post, we’ll focus specifically on the mid- and upper-funnel advertising strategy: the consideration and awareness buckets. The targeting strategies we’ll cover work for businesses that sell both on and off Amazon. These upper-funnel campaigns will ultimately help you fill your retargeting campaigns and grow the number of people you target at the bottom of the funnel.
Amazon DSP ad types
Now that you know how to target the right audience, it’s time to create some ads. Here are four main ad types available to your brand through DSP.
1. Dynamic e-commerce
Amazon’s machine learning offerings are becoming more impressive and approachable every day. Dynamic e-commerce ads automatically optimize which creative shows based on your campaign goal. To encourage customers to view the product on Amazon, you can include coupon codes or customer reviews in your creative. Dynamic ads can only link to a product detail page.
Thanks to machine learning, Amazon can offer up the following:
- If a customer is likely to read reviews before purchasing a product, they’ll serve a dynamic ecommerce ad with a review
- If a customer is more of an Impulse buyer and they will show them a dynamic e-commerce ad with an add to cart button
2. Static ads
Static ads don’t have any dynamic elements, so they need specific calls-to-action, like “Shop Now.” We recommend using these ads as mid- and upper-funnel tactics to draw shoppers in and help grow brand awareness. These ads lead back to an Amazon storefront, product detail page, or custom landing page.
3. Video ads through DSP
Video is a great way to tell your brand story and create an emotional connection with your audience. Video ads through DSP can run within video content (in-stream video) or as part of a display ad (out-stream video). You can link your video ads through DSP to a product detail page on Amazon or to your own site. Creating video ads through DSP also means you can leverage Amazon’s audiences to target the right shoppers.
4. Over-the-top video ads (OTT)
OTT ads also run on the DSP platform. These non-skippable, full-screen ads are a great way to reach millions of people on connected TV sources (like the Amazon Fire TV Stick). You can target specific Amazon audiences, but keep in mind that these ads are not clickable.
How to use Amazon DSP
Before you dive into the upper funnel strategies, make sure that your product is retail-ready:
- Your images are high-quality
- Your bullet points and descriptions are fully optimized
- You have at least a 3.5-star rating
We also recommend running Ad Console campaigns for branded searches at the same time. If your DSP efforts work, and you increase your brand awareness, you will also see an increase in branded searches.
Not every product has a budget for a full-funnel approach and not every product makes sense to run year-round, full-funnel strategy. That said, you need to make sure you have an always-on approach to retargeting, then layer in mid- to upper-funnel efforts as needed.
Leveraging customer data to target shoppers
Amazon offers audience insights to help advertisers understand their audience based on:
- Demographic trends
- Temporal trends
- Brand engagement
With this information, you can add demographic targeting into your upper-funnel strategies, such as targeting a specific age group. This can be especially helpful if you have a limited budget and need to limit your audience reach.
Prospecting with DSP audiences
There are two different ways to use audiences on DSP:
1. Advertiser Audience (aka using your company’s first-party data)
This is a great choice if you already have a lot of data on your customers and prospects. By using pixels, DMP audience transfers, and/or CRM data, you can reach Amazon customers who have already engaged with your brand.
For example, you can:
- Upload a list of customer or prospect emails into DSP
- Create a lookalike audience
- Run a targeting strategy off of that audience
If you place a pixel on your site for retargeting, you can also create a lookalike audience based off of that pixel.
2. Amazon Audiences
Amazon’s Audience Solutions let you reach audiences based on their:
- Interests and behaviors, such as specifically shopping for products in a certain category
- Demographics, such as age, income, or education level
Within the behavioral audience targeting, Amazon has three segments:
- Lifestyle segments that reflect broad interest groups (such as homeowners)
- In-market segments based on what customers have searched for or browsed
- Retargeting segments made up of Amazon shoppers who have viewed but not purchased your products
Amazon Audiences is one of the biggest benefits of using Amazon’s DSP. Using audience insights helps you understand how and when your audience shop, which in turn makes it easier for you to build out retargeting campaigns based on your audience’s data and behavior.
Amazon DSP success story: R+Co
When R+Co first launched on Amazon their products flew off the shelves. They were operationally healthy and had amazing reviews. But after a while, things began to slow down a bit.
The Tinuiti and R+Co teams had to go back to the drawing board and ask themselves:
- What is it that we’re not doing?
- What should we be folding into our advertising strategy to continue to see this growth on Amazon?
They began to invest more heavily in their branding to take full advantage of the real estate on Amazon where they could show their creativity and brand story.
The Tinuiti team designed and built out R+Co’s Amazon Store. Stores can act as microsites that allow brands to create a customized experience on Amazon.
R+Co made sure that they showed up on both branded and non-branded Amazon search engine result pages (SERPs). They had high brand awareness from selling across other platforms but wanted to make sure they showed up for the relevant searches — whether a shopper included their brand name or not.
With that buttoned-up, R+Co began to layer in a more full-funnel Amazon DSP strategy.
Want to learn more? Find out how Tinuiti implemented a success Amazon DSP strategy for R+Co to increase:
- Detail page views by 85%
- Units sold by 70%
- Total sales by 48%
- Return on ad spend (ROAS) by 36%
Now you’re ready to start using Amazon DSP to fill your marketing funnel and improve your customer acquisition.
As a reminder, here’s your order of operations:
- Set goals for your DSP ads
- Identify your audiences
- Choose strategic placements
- Build out and execute your campaign
- Analyze and optimize
- Do it all again!