Amazon continues to make news around its ambitions to invade the ad space. Last week, news broke that Amazon stopped buying (and offering its sellers) Google Search ads. These are the ads that appear alongside Google search results when Google users search for products. Amazon already has a very similar product, Headline Search Ads, that show up at the top when someone searches for a product on Amazon.com. You've seen it – it looks like the following ad. So it’s not surprising that, on conviction alone, Amazon wouldn't want to run similar ads on Google search.
This week, Amazon announced a shot across the bow of another popular Google ad product, display ads. According to Bloomberg and other news sources, Amazon is working on a more robust display ad offering as well. Of course, none of this is surprising to anyone closely watching the ad space — Amazon’s ambitions in advertising have been well documented. Digital advertising is expected to encompass more than half of all global ad spend in the next two years, and Amazon wants a piece.
I'm personally interested to see how the Amazon Ad Platform, which is essentially a DSP (demand-side platform) for programmatic media buying, evolves in the future. Currently, it is set up to serve display and search ads across Amazon, as well as display ads on owned sites (like IMDB.com) and a few partner sites. But that list of partner sites is growing.
Right now, given all the purchase data that Amazon has and the self-service functionality around things like matched audiences, it is clearly a fast-growing ad platform for consumer companies that sell on Amazon. Amazon has purchase, location and intent data at a scale that in some areas even Google can’t match. But, for our B2B tech clients, the jury is still out on the Amazon ad platform.
The platform’s primary purpose today is to drive sales of products on Amazon.com, which isn’t really a primary use case for most B2B tech companies. However, as the Amazon network of partner sites grows, it could become interesting for B2B marketers who are much more concerned with hyper-targeting to reach buyers. At the same time, Amazon doesn’t just have retail data; it has a whole other, fast-growing side of its business where it sells enterprise cloud to thousands of businesses, large and small. If the data gets robust and integrated enough, and the Amazon ad platform continues to mature (like, for example, incorporating Alexa’s voice-based UI on the front-end, or continuing to hone its matching and optimization algorithms), it may end up becoming a serious challenger to Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital advertising — even for B2B companies.
We’re testing the platform and keeping a close eye on developments for our clients. And, if you want to have a chat about the future of Amazon in advertising (and what it means for you), we’re happy to talk. Just drop us an email to chat.