Amazon Launches Sponsored Display Ads In U.S. As Stand-Alone Self-Service Platform

Amazon Sponsored Display ads launched in beta late last week as a self-service advertising platform that targets consumers off and on Amazon, filling a gap in the company’s pay-per-click advertising offers.

The display retargeting tool allows advertisers to reach consumers beyond those shopping on Amazon. Previously, the tool was only available to those using Amazon’s demand-side platform.

"They seem to have improved it as a self-service platform, so any individual could use the service, rather than just agencies and larger brands," said Matthew Mierzejewski, SVP of search capability lead at the agency Merkle. 

Rocco & Roxie Supply Co., a family-owned business that makes small-batch pet treats, collars, leashes, shampoos, and more, has already tested the Sponsored Display ads in relation to Amazon DSP. The company originally began by using the Amazon DSP programmatic platform to target consumers who never heard of the brand.

With this launch, advertisers in the U.S. can access Product Display Ads audience and product targeting features within Sponsored Display. It uses browsing and buying signals to automatically retarget promoted products.

The ads are purchased on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, so advertisers only get charged when a customer clicks the ad. Advertisers choose their daily bid and budget with no minimum required.

Ad creation takes only minutes, according to Lynly Schambers-Lenox, senior product marketing manager at Amazon.

Advertisers select their target audience and product, set a bid and a daily budget, and choose the products to promote. The ad will automatically appear on or off Amazon, depending on the targeting strategy.

The ads serve up on and off Amazon on desktop, mobile sites and in apps. They will retarget consumers who viewed the detail pages of the advertised products or similar products within the last 28 days, but have not made a purchase.

Consumers who have shown interest in product categories might also see the ads on product detail pages, search results pages, or other product-related pages.

Some agencies are familiar with the product. “While testing the beta version of the program with a couple of clients, my agency found that Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS) was generally higher than the account average,” wrote Kiri Masters, a contributor to Forbes and founder of Bobsled Marketing, in a column. “This is expected since it targets people browsing off Amazon as well as those who are actively navigating the site.”

Masters explain there’s still a downside—a lack of customization for audience targeting.

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