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Sponsored Display: An Overview of One of Amazon’s Newest Ad Options

In mid-September Amazon launched Sponsored Display, empowering advertisers to retarget shoppers off-Amazon without using the Amazon DSP. This is the first opportunity offered to non-DSP customers that reaches audiences beyond those actively shopping on Amazon. Limited time and effort are required for setup - once advertisers create a campaign and add products, Amazon auto-generates ad creative and dynamically optimizes to show products with the highest expected likelihood of converting. Advertisers set bids and daily budgets to help guide Amazon’s automation.

Amazon display ad

There are a few key differences that separate Sponsored Display from advertising on the DSP:

  • Cost model: Sponsored Display is charged on a cost-per-click basis while the DSP charges on a CPM model.
  • Creative: Ad creative on Sponsored Display can not be customized and is all generated by Amazon. This is intentional, helping to keep Sponsored Display as a low-effort ad format. On the DSP, ad design is customizable.
  • Targeting: All audiences for Sponsored Display campaigns are automatically created based on users’ Amazon shopping activities – again, this is part of the value proposition of Sponsored Display and keeps management simpler. On the DSP, advertisers have access to a variety of audience types, including lookalikes, demographics, and in-market segments, and have more control over which audiences they leverage.

Given these differences and the easy setup process, this ad opportunity is ideal for smaller brands that want to dip into ASIN (product) retargeting, but don’t have the resources to run display through the Amazon DSP. The level of effort required for launch is low, with no need for self-made creatives, and a lot of automation is handled by Amazon. Additionally, all management and reporting lives within the same interface as Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, so time is not spent navigating to different platforms.

There are also use cases for advertisers on the Amazon DSP to leverage Sponsored Display effectively, though to a lesser degree. Top-performing and proven products should continue to be pushed through DSP advertising, while Sponsored Display can be used to check the viability of new or less popular product lines. The quick-to-market nature of Sponsored Display lends itself well to being a testing environment before investing resources to build new ads on DSP.

Since this program is pretty new we expect it to continue evolving over the coming months and growing in volume, which has been relatively small thus far. If you’d like to get this rolling ahead of holiday, make sure you set campaigns up ASAP!

Check out our Amazon Holiday Checklist here.