Amazon Ads unBoxed News: Features & Capabilities to Influence Amazon Strategy
The Amazon Ads unBoxed conference never ceases to provide brands and sellers nonstop excitement; with keynote speakers, a chance to connect with others, and likely the most exciting, announcements of new solutions and innovations directly from Amazon. Code3 Strategists are on-site at unBoxed, learning about the new features and how they influence Amazon strategy firsthand.
Amazon states these updates are “designed to help brands solve evolving ad addressability and media fragmentation challenges, specifically focused on how it is building agile solutions that help advertisers with more effective campaign planning, measurement, and optimization.”
Keep reading to learn more about the exciting new capabilities announced at unBoxed 2022, plus what Code3 Strategists say are the most important innovations.
Amazon Marketing Cloud Updates
Amazon Ads used direct customer feedback from those using Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) over the past year. They focused on additional AMC capabilities across four different areas: signal coverage, ease of use, actionable insights, and Partner programs.
To increase signal coverage, Amazon added Sponsored Display and digital subscription events, which gives advertisers greater visibility into the total and incremental impact of a variety of Amazon Ad formats. This is achieved through integration with Sizmek Ad Suite (beta) and allows advertisers to build queries to analyze bidding efficacy, cross-publisher attribution, and total reach. In early 2023, Sponsored Brands signals will be added.
As Sponsored Brand ads and DSP continue to evolve, this update is critical, as it can help measure the effectiveness of each. “This is the missing piece in fully understanding the customer journey through all of Amazon’s ad products,” says Ben LeMaster, Director, Programmatic. “Up until now, any analysis of the interactions between DSP and Sponsored Ads has always been incomplete. This is a massive, incredibly useful update.”
Code3 DSP Strategists have found that one of the largest issues with the adaptation of AMC is the time it takes to learn and understand the platform, queries, and data sets. Now, Amazon has increased their Instructional Queries - simple playbooks to help advertisers get started - to more than 50 available. “AMC is an incredibly valuable tool, but is very time-consuming to learn,” says Emma Rickus, Programmatic Search Strategist II. “Anything to simplify the process will be extremely beneficial.”
To help provide actionable insights, later this year, Amazon Ads will begin rolling out the ability for brands to manage their Amazon DSP audiences within AMC. This enables audience creation via a SQL statement and allows for increased customization based on campaign goals. For example, currently, in AMC, brands are able to specifically report on Baby Registry adds. However, in DSP, the closest brands can get is an Add to List metric that includes baby registries, but also wedding registries, gift lists, wish lists, and more. With this new feature, moving forward, brands can go beyond simply measuring this behavior and can now create an audience around it. Then, they can target the newly created audience to cross-sell throughout a brand’s catalog to increase their presence within baby registries.
And finally, Amazon Ads has begun rolling out AMC partner certifications across agencies, tool providers, system integrators, and software vendors.
Additional Amazon DSP Updates
Brands in the US now have the ability to programmatically purchase ads in Amazon Fresh stores. These ads are within physical locations and are available to be scheduled by geo-location, signage locations, and via dayparting. To begin, it will only be available through Amazon Managed Services and eligible to US advertisers beginning in November.
Code3 Strategists recommend this new service for CPG clients, as this can begin to bridge the gap of capabilities between Amazon DSP and other DSPs that programmatically buy billboard space, street signs, and more. With this new addition, Amazon DSP is beginning to better reach audiences wherever they are, with a step in the direction of more digital out-of-home capabilities.
A Focus on Video
Moving into Amazon Search Advertising, the marketplace announced several new features that highlight their continued investment in video formats within product types. “Amazon is looking to expand how advertisers can utilize their product, and they have identified video as the next frontier to expand into,” says Ashley Long, Director, Search. “Brands should take note, and can begin testing video as soon as during the holiday shopping season.”
First, Sponsored Display now supports video for self-service ad campaigns, both on and off Amazon. The ability to not only utilize video on the Amazon platform but also offsite is a critical development that allows Sponsored Ads to continue to look similar to DSP. Additionally, brands are now able to increase their reach significantly with educational and brand-awareness videos.
When brands are looking to leverage video ads, a common roadblock is securing quality, usable creative assets. A new feature, Video Builder, is making it easier than ever for advertisers to create videos in less than 10 minutes - at no additional cost. This new development will allow agencies and brands of any size to create usable video content, giving them more ability and reason to invest in Sponsored Brand Video and Sponsored Display Video.
“This self-service video creation feature will allow brands and advertisers the ability to create highly valuable assets in a timely manner at no cost,” says Chandler Walnsch, Senior Search Strategist. “This expansion to use video in Sponsored Display campaigns is an exciting development, with the ability to expand the reach of informative and educational content to shoppers.”
From the addition of Thursday Night Football to the Streaming TV experience, along with IMDB What to Watch App, and the new customer experience for interactive videos, allowing shoppers to add to cart or list, it’s clear Amazon has been focusing on expanding their Streaming TV footprint.
Now, Streaming TV Ads include incremental household reach, which helps advertisers measure the unique, incremental reach of Streaming TV campaigns, above and beyond linear TV campaigns. This announcement tackles one of the biggest hurdles for brands looking to invest in OTT/STV: the lack of data available after the campaigns are completed. Brands who are hesitant in OTT/STV can now lean into the more segmented and specific reach.
Amazon Sponsored Display Updates
Amazon Ads is continuing its evolution and announced several new features and capabilities that allow brands more opportunities for advertising, more control over campaign management, and a variety of ways to be more flexible and nimble with advertising planning, execution, and optimization.
Available in a closed beta, coming soon, is Rewarded Sponsored Display. Only US advertisers will be able to add an Amazon shopping credit directly into the Sponsored Display creative. In turn, customers will receive the reward by clicking on the ad and purchasing the featured product. While it’s unclear if Amazon or brands will be funding the shopping credit, Code3 Search Strategists anticipate the immediate incentive in the ad unit should help capture shoppers on the spot, boosting campaign conversion rates.
Another notable step for the Sponsored Ads portfolio is the new capability for non-endemic brands and advertisers to run Sponsored Display ads on Twitch. While the placement is limited to the Twitch platform, for now, it’s a way for digital marketing agencies to allow their non-ecommerce clients to tap into a highly leveraged and engaging platform, while gaining brand exposure to relevant Amazon shopper audiences in the process. Furthermore, the new capability takes a significant step in mirroring capabilities currently found in Amazon DSP.
And finally, while new and innovative features are the star of the show at unBoxed, there were a few notable announcements of existing elements within the ad console. These include:
- Sponsored Product Campaign Presets - This feature will allow advertisers to launch campaigns much quicker, with campaign settings like daily budgets and bidding strategies already set at recommended levels.
- Performance Recommendations - This capability will offer self-service users the ability to implement Amazon system recommendations at the click of a button, including adding new keywords or bid recommendations.
All of the exciting updates coming from unBoxed 2022 are sure to mean adjustments to your Amazon strategy are forthcoming. If you could use a strategic partner to help navigate where to start, contact us today.
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