Digital Conference

Amazon's Ad Platform Being Shaped by Utility and Speed

Retail Giant Embeds Reviews, Coupons, Purchasing Options in Ads

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Amazon has been quietly building out its ad platform for the last six years -- and it's finding utility and speed key to getting consumers to act. At Ad Age's Digital Conference, Lisa Utzschneider, VP-global advertising sales at Amazon, shed some light on the retail giant's efforts.

Lisa Utzschneider, VP-global advertising sales at Amazon.
Lisa Utzschneider, VP-global advertising sales at Amazon. Credit: Photo by Patrick Butler

A "new normal" has evolved, where customers expect relevant experiences across devices. The expectation is that the consumer can buy whatever she needs whenever she wants to on any device. Consumers expect to go from wanting to purchasing in 30 seconds or less, Ms. Utzschneider said.

That expectation is shaping Amazon's ad platform. It is embedding ratings and reviews, coupons and click-to-buy functionality in ads. Consumers who view those ads are 20% to 30% more likely to take action than the average customer who reviews e-commerce ads. Likewise, multi-screen campaigns, when compared to campaigns that have run on one screen, are performing 18% better.

Amazon is also able to impact offline sales through its online ads, Ms. Utzschneider said. Kimberly-Clark's Huggies brand saw $4.2 million in incremental offline sales of a new diapering product, thanks to an Amazon campaign, she said, without offering further details. The brand also saw a 14% lift in the perception of Huggies as a trusted brand, and an 11% increase in the perception of Huggies' products as high quality.

Amazon is also looking for ways to incorporate more robust content into its advertising platform. One ad unit now running on the Thank You page allows a DVD partner, for example, to showcase a trailer within the ad, as well as the ability to purchase within the ad. "We're pulling partners' content into the ad, but we're also creating a call to action," Ms. Utzschneider explained.

"At Amazon we start with the customer and work backwards. We work really hard to innovate to anticipate their needs before they know they need them," Ms. Utzschneider said. "We aspire to create shopping experiences or advertising experiences that never interrupt, always enhance. We aspire to create experiences that are meaningful, relevant and effective."

In addition to advertising products sold on Amazon, the retail giant is seeing increased interest from advertisers who are more interested in branding plays. The auto and travel categories are two areas that Ms. Utzschneider said are showing interest in Amazon's ad platform, even though Amazon doesn't sell cars or vacations.

She offered Lexus, which ran a campaign during Black Friday last year, as an example. The carmaker saw how engaged and loyal Amazon customers are, she said, and wanted the chance to put their brand in front of those customers.

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