That Amazon is a powerful advertising platform is undeniable at this point, but many brands are still not tapping into its full force. And that might be Amazon’s fault; it has a chaotic ecosystem of e-commerce and media that would be tough for even the most brilliant brands to navigate—but help is on the way.
Amazon advertising partners say that changes are in store within Amazon that will make it easier for brands at a time when e-commerce marketing has become a vital lifeline for businesses in the COVID-19 economy. One of the most anticipated changes just dropped when Amazon released a DSP API. (That’s a lot of acronym—it stands for Amazon's demand-side platform application programming interface—and it’s basically a new component within Amazon Advertising to help run campaigns on and off Amazon.com.)
“It’s an exciting update,” says Todd Bowman, VP of e-commerce at Reprise, an Amazon advertising partner. APIs are part of the basic infrastructure which companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook and others use to foster innovation. They are open to ad partners to build software that uses machine learning, ad creation tools, reporting and analysis to enable large-scale, online marketing.
Amazon released its DSP API quietly last week in the same fashion it releases so many of its ad updates—with a simple blog post on its ads website. And the company has been making similar incremental changes this year that are giving partners new powers on Amazon’s website, the mobile app, over-the-top TV, audio, and off site. The Amazon DSP is designed to run programmatic ad campaigns—display, video and audio ads—on Amazon and publisher websites outside Amazon.
Amazon ad opportunities are expansive and the advertising partner program can be confusing, so with that in mind, here is a look at where Amazon advertising stands:
What does Amazon say?
Ad Age spoke with Colleen Aubrey, Amazon’s VP of performance advertising, to get the latest on Amazon’s ad technology and how the online retail giant views its responsibility to build ad services.
“Let’s take all of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop for display advertising over the last decade and let’s find a way to make that available to a company of any size,” Aubrey says. “That, of course, requires the product to be available in self-service; the product to be able to scale through APIs; the product to be something that agencies can understand; can represent well to their customers; and to be something they’re able to incorporate into their marketing plans.”
Aside from new APIs, Amazon also runs an advertising partner program, and that is changing, too. The website that promotes the partners is becoming easier to navigate, and partners say Amazon will become stricter about making sure the agencies are expert in all the categories they claim, categories that include running DSP campaigns, measurement services, all the different search ad products, and all the regions they support.