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Buckle up, Marketers: Amazon Gets Real about Remarketing

Published: May 16, 2018

Author: Alex Funk

Monday, news broke that Amazon is releasing new ad capabilities soon to brands and marketers who want to retarget based on product browsing behavior. This sounds a lot like something we’re pretty familiar with; the retargeting space is occupied with ad products from Google, Criteo, Steelhouse, and AdRoll, to name a few.
Amazon has never been bullish about its ad business, preferring to take the slow and steady route in a crowded and mature marketplace dominated by well-known entities like Google and Facebook. Its emphasis has always been on being an ecommerce platform first, and the ad product development has demonstrated that to be true, with a slow release cycle and too few features for expert marketers’ needs.
But even a tortoise can finish a long race, and Amazon’s recent quarterly earnings announcement showed that their little ad business is now a $2 billion-per-quarter enterprise, besting some major advertising platforms including Microsoft and Twitter.
Amazon’s DSP (Amazon Advertising Platform, or AAP) added branding and performance options across Amazon’s network and 3rd-party exchanges and paired well with what marketers were already able to do with the trio of ad formats available through the AMS platform (headline ads, sponsored products, and product display ads). This week’s announcement that they are releasing new ad units that enable remarketing to users who have viewed specific products or similar ones on the Amazon.com ecommerce website brings even more media scalability. Think Criteo product ads or Google Display Remarketing, but with Amazon’s vast wealth of data on consumer purchase behavior.
It’s an evolution that makes sense for the platform, and with the help of AAP we’ll likely see these ad formats take the shape of familiar display ads, native ad units, in-app ads, and video ads across the internet. It’s a powerful re-engagement-driven, close-the-sale type of media buy performance marketers love, and interestingly it can also drive awareness of new products based what customers also likely buy or are interested in.

Amazon has quickly become a must-have part of most marketers’ media plans and these announcements bring more power tools to their tool box. If your brand is a business that sells on Amazon, you are going to want to buy this one.

Steps to prepare

  1. Start researching the product and talking to the Amazon account reps about roll-out and support.
  2. Evaluate your current remarketing strategies for ecomm clients. What is working; what is not? What have you wanted to do but could not on the Amazon platform that you may be able to take advantage of now?
  3. Look across your customer behavior, product sets, and business data. Start to mine it for additional ideas about how to not only remarket to close the sale but also build new audiences to raise awareness and develop cross sell/upsell opportunities.

Lastly, if you’re in an agency, start some conversations with your retail clients about what this could mean for them. Get them prepared to jump when there’s an opportunity and help them stay in front of the competition.

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