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Why Non-Retailers Must Consider Advertising Through Amazon

Advertisers often talk about Amazon as a product-focused platform. That’s not surprising, given that Amazon’s greatest claim-to-fame, Prime shipping, is only relevant for physical goods. However, Amazon does offer a robust set of advertising opportunities for brands in financial services, travel, and other verticals that don’t include the physical exchange of products.

It’s critical that non-retail brands consider advertising through Amazon for two key reasons. The first is Amazon’s reach. Amazon has over 125 million Prime users, and interacts with customers on multiple platforms, including Amazon.com, Prime Video, Kindle, and more. The second reason is audience data. Amazon knows more about its customers than any other platform, and advertisers can use that rich data to reach the right people with their advertising.

From traditional display programs to more creative experiences, nearly every brand can find an opportunity that will fit within their performance goals and budgets.

In-home advertising: Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP) and Over-the-Top (OTT)

Amazon’s in-home advertising solutions are more traditional opportunities for non-product centric verticals. Through the DSP, advertisers can run display ads that appear on Amazon’s owned sites and apps, like IMBD, as well as placements across other sites across the web. Inventory on Amazon’s owned sites is exclusive to Amazon, making it a valuable addition to existing DSP programs for incremental reach. OTT, or connected TV, is a part of the DSP that reaches viewers while they’re watching content on IMDB TV or apps via Fire TV. Amazon OTT presents a much larger opportunity than many brands realize – in fact, it just surpassed Roku with its number of Video Service Users in the US at 96.5 million.

While these programs are different in format, a key attribute they share is targetability. Amazon knows a lot about its customers, which creates many targeting options for advertisers on these two platforms. In-market audiences allow brands to reach people currently in-market for a good related to their service. Lifestyle targeting helps brands talk to customers whose interests, demonstrated via their Amazon behavior, align with their offerings.

Beyond Amazon’s own audiences, advertisers can load CRM data directly into the DSP, allowing brands to engage with known individuals as they browse Amazon.com and Amazon’s owned sites. Advertisers can create custom audiences to engage with different groups of people in different ways. For example, brands can target only new customers by setting up a campaign that excludes their “existing customer” audience. To expand their reach, advertisers can use Amazon’s audience overlap report to find audiences with attributes or behaviors similar to the audiences they have set up. This pool of Amazon users is likely to be relevant to that brand since they share attributes with current customers.

Out-of-Home (OOH) Advertising

While less addressable, Amazon’s OOH programs offer unique, creative ways for advertisers to engage with consumers. The first opportunity, which is a natural extension of Amazon’s Prime subscription program, entails “owning the porch”, where brands can buy on-box advertising and Prime Now/fresh bags and inserts. This creative serves almost as a mini-billboard, reaching the person receiving the package along with any close neighbors. With an estimated 5 billion Amazon packages delivered per year in the U.S., there’s a lot of opportunity to capture eyeballs through this format.

Thinking more outside the box (pun intended), Amazon also sells advertising on its Lockers. Customers use Amazon Lockers in over 900 cities and towns across the US to pick up packages in a variety of locations, including campuses, office buildings, grocery stores, and more. Advertisers can pay for a ‘skin’ that essentially covers the locker unit.

While there aren’t many targeting options available for these out-of-home options, advertisers still get wide reach and meet customers in a way that’s not offered by other digitally-focused display platforms.

Where Should I Start?

If you’re not currently using any of Amazon’s display offerings, the in-home advertising opportunities are the best place to start for a more trackable, targetable display program. Between OTT and the DSP you can reach a really large audience of people and you’ll be better able to tailor campaigns based on performance. If brand awareness and new customer acquisition are key business goals and you’ve seen stagnation or declines through traditional display media, testing a Locker or on-box opportunity might make sense. Just remember that measuring the success of out-of-home campaigns is tricky, so you’ll need to approach them with a mindset akin to managing a traditional TV, radio, or newspaper buy.