With a unique Prime Day landing in early October this year and only a short break before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, preparing for Q4 advertising on Amazon has never been more important. A comprehensive and powerful strategy should now include an Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform) advertising campaign.
Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, ad types within Amazon Advertising’s Sponsored Ads Console, have traditionally been advertisers’ starting place for Prime Day preparation – and with good reason. These PPC ads are primarily triggered by keyword targeting and appear alongside organic search results on Amazon. By targeting a surge of highly relevant Prime Day shoppers, while they are actively browsing for products in Amazon’s digital shopping aisles, Sponsored Ads are highly effective at driving towards immediate performance advertising goals.
Sponsored Ads should be the foundation of most Prime Day and Holiday advertising strategies; these ads target the lowest hanging fruit on Amazon and play an important role in defending your brand’s share of search.
However, Sponsored Ads have a few limitations:
- Due to creative constraints, Sponsored Ads have a limited capacity to drive towards upper funnel consideration and awareness goals.
- Regardless of your campaign goals, scale can also be a limitation as this ad type is only served on Amazon itself (Amazon.com and Amazon Mobile App) and shoppers must be searching for the term you are bidding on.
- Even when targeting the highest trafficked keywords, advertisers trying to scale their Sponsored Ads campaigns can eventually face diminishing marginal returns as ever-increasing competition drives up CPCs.
Despite the limitations, successful vendors and sellers alike understand the power of Sponsored Ads. But once your Sponsored Ads are in place, how can you take the next step in your Amazon Advertising strategy for Prime Day and beyond?
Amazon DSP is the next step in developing a comprehensive, full-funnel advertising strategy on Amazon. Adding display advertising on top of Amazon Sponsored Ads broadens an advertiser’s ability to drive towards goals throughout the shopping journey, from brand awareness to consideration and purchase.
How Amazon DSP Works
Amazon DSP ads use Amazon’s first party shopping data to programmatically reach highly relevant shoppers on thousands of websites via Amazon’s owned and operated properties (Amazon.com, Amazon Mobile App, IMDb, etc.), Amazon Publisher Services, and major digital ad exchanges. Depending on your specific campaign goal, you can retarget shoppers that have visited the Amazon detail pages of your products and your competitor’s products, target larger audience that have shown habitual shopping behavior over time, or target a variety of other unique-to-Amazon audiences based on contextual targeting.
Implementing an Amazon DSP Campaign
Once you have determined your campaign goal and identified the product that you want to promote with Amazon DSP, it’s important to consider the necessary steps leading up to your campaign launch – especially for a campaign focused around Prime Day.
Unlike Sponsored Ads, Amazon DSP does not have a self-service console available to your typical vendor or seller. Campaigns are either run internally by Amazon Advertising or by a complete managed services agency like Ideoclick, so it’s essential to ensure that you have plenty of lead time prior to Prime Day for a successful DSP launch.
For anyone who is new to DSP, it’s important to understand the additional steps that need to take place prior to getting your campaign off the ground. First, DSP campaigns use a CPM pricing model and require advertisers to have an insertion order in place ahead of launching a campaign. Once an insertion order is signed, there are additional approvals required for creative assets and custom targeting segments. We recommend having a couple of weeks to get all of your ducks in a row prior to your projected campaign launch date.
Proper Timing for an Amazon DSP Campaign
When building a DSP campaign around a major tentpole event like Prime Day, we recommend launching the campaign well ahead of the event itself. Amazon DSP’s myriad optimization levers are part of what makes it such a powerful tool for advertisers. Through both machine learning and manual optimizations, everything from the targeting segments, to creative formats, bids, and frequency caps can be adjusted toward better performance through the campaign flight. However, meaningful optimizations require a sufficient amount of data and time. Giving your campaign a few weeks to work out the kinks will ensure that everything is precisely dialed in for the rush of shoppers on Prime Day itself.
Whether you are launching your first DSP campaign to coincide with Prime Day, or ramping up an existing DSP budget for the event, the increased traffic to Amazon during 2020’s unique Q4 shopping season opens the door to even more opportunities involving Amazon DSP: One of the most effective DSP strategies is in retargeting shoppers that have landed on your product’s detail page. These custom targeting segments can deliver impressive sales and RoAS (return on ad spend) results but rely on shoppers finding their way to your detail page ahead of time, which can limit scale.
Prime Day, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the Q4 holiday season are great opportunities to leverage increased traffic and larger audiences with DSP retargeting to provide an “always-on” display strategy that can be maintained into 2021 and beyond.
Preparation is Key
The busiest season on Amazon is upon us and the competition will be greater than ever. In preparation for Prime Day, make sure that you are retail ready, have your Sponsored Ads ramped up for increased traffic and bids, and set yourself up for a deeper level of success by implementing a comprehensive display advertising strategy starting with Amazon DSP.
About the Author: Grant Arnold is an ex-Amazonian, digital marketer, and e-Commerce expert helping Ideoclick’s clients develop and implement search and display advertising strategies.