A laptop computer and mobile device showing a Sponsored Display ad.

Amazon Improves Audience Targeting for Sponsored Display Advertising

Ryan Faist

Ryan Faist, Channel Key

December 21, 2021

As the world’s most powerful and popular online marketplace, Amazon is continually improving its already robust suite of tools designed to help brands better target and convert customers. The latest expansion, announced in April 2021, are new audience targeting features for Sponsored Display ads. To help keep your brand at the forefront of Amazon’s ever-evolving marketplace, we’ve detailed what Sponsored Display ads are, how they work, why they are important, and what has changed.

What are Sponsored Display Ads?

Sponsored Display is a self-service display advertising solution that helps you grow your brand on Amazon by engaging shoppers across the purchase journey – both on and off Amazon. Launched in 2019, Sponsored Display is one of the newest types of Amazon PPC (pay per click) advertising tools and is available for vendors and sellers registered in Amazon Brand Registry. While still relatively new compared to well-established Amazon Advertising tools like Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display ads are growing in popularity as more brands discover their effectiveness.

Depending on your targeting selection (explained later), Sponsored Display ads can appear on the Amazon homepage, on product detail pages, or shopping results on desktop, mobile, and app, and on third-party websites and apps. Sponsored Display ads can provide the following key benefits:

  • Help grow your on-Amazon business: Reach relevant audiences who are browsing, discovering, or purchasing products on or off Amazon
  • Access self-service display advertising: Simple campaign creation and automatically generated creatives help you quickly and easily create display ads that deliver results
  • Control costs with retail-aware CPC ads: Sponsored Display ads only show when your products are in stock and the Featured Offer, and you only pay when customers click on your ads

How do Sponsored Display Ads work?

Unlike Sponsored Products, Sponsored Display ads allow brands to reach customers at scale both on and off the Amazon platform – including highly visible placements on the Amazon home page. This tool utilizes a targeting strategy powered by first-party shopping signals that helps brands reach relevant customers throughout their shopping journey. According to Amazon, only 4% of shoppers complete their purchase during their initial product search. Sponsored Display advertising can help you reach the remaining 96%.

Sponsored Display offers both product-based and audience-based targeting options. If you’re looking to drive consideration, product targeting can help you promote or cross-sell your product among audiences who are actively browsing your product or similar products and categories. Target specific products or categories with ads that may appear on product detail pages on Amazon. Product targeting allows you to target products within your advertised product’s category as well as complementary categories. You can refine targeting by price, star rating, brand name, and Prime eligibility.

If you are interested in engaging new customers or re-engaging those who have viewed your product, audiences can help you reach relevant shoppers both on and off Amazon. Custom-built audiences, such as views remarketing, allow you to reach high-intent shoppers or engage new customers using customizable controls, such as star rating refinements. Amazon audiences, including interests, lifestyle, in-market, and life stage audiences, allow you to reach audiences with pre-built segments based on a variety of first-party shopping and streaming signals from Amazon, Twitch, IMDb, and Prime Video.

How have Sponsored Display Ads improved?

In November 2020, Amazon introduced views remarketing, a subset of Sponsored Display audiences that enables you to reengage audiences who have viewed specific product detail pages but haven’t purchased your advertised product(s) in the past 30 days.

Most recently, Amazon has expanded targeting options for creating audiences within Sponsored Display campaigns. Brands can now select audiences in a similar way to how you would describe your brand’s core customer. For example, if your brand manufactures outdoor clothing, you can create an audience based on descriptions like “Outdoor Enthusiasts” or “Hiking Enthusiasts”. You can then connect the language used in your overall brand marketing strategy to your Sponsored Display campaigns. You can also mix and match Amazon audience segments with custom-built-views remarketing audiences within your ad group.

With these improvements, Amazon audiences makes it even easier to reach new prospective audiences through awareness and consideration campaigns. These audiences fit into the following four segments (each informed by billions of first-party shopping and streaming signals):

  • In-market: In-market audiences allow advertisers to engage audiences who are “in-the-aisle” and have been recently shopping for products in each category. To achieve share-of-mind, advertisers can reach audiences in the same category as their advertised products to drive consideration, as well as try out entirely new audience segments to help drive product awareness.
  • Lifestyle: Positioned for awareness campaigns, these audiences reflect a variety of shopping and viewing signals, including shopping on Amazon, browsing on IMDb, streaming on Prime Video, or streaming on Twitch. These behaviors reflect shared preferences and map to lifestyle segments such as “Foodies”, “Sports Enthusiasts”, “Tech Enthusiasts”, and more.
  • Interests: Interest-based audiences allow advertisers to help raise awareness with prospective buyers based on what they frequently browse and buy. Examples of these audiences include “Interested in Canadian History” and “Interested in Interior Design”.
  • Life Events: Life Events audiences give brands the opportunity to drive awareness and consideration for relevant products based around life moments, such as “Traveling Soon” for shoppers going on vacation.

Channel Key Takeaway:

Sponsored Display ads are a great complement for brands who are already using display advertising. For example, if you are using a DSP to reach new audiences with programmatic display, you can extend your reach to specific Amazon product detail pages by using Sponsored Display product targeting. According to Amazon, 64% of shoppers use multiple channels to make a single purchase. Sponsored Display ads can help increase your presence in multiple channels to keep your brand and products top of mind for shoppers looking to buy.

From a broader perspective, the latest enhancements to Sponsored Display ads provide greater control over how brands reach customers. With Amazon growing at an unprecedented rate – for both shoppers and sellers – brands need to utilize every tool available to stand out from their competitors. It can be difficult to stay up-to-date with Amazon’s ever-changing advertising ecosystem. As a proven agency that works closely with Amazon every day to help brands across all industries develop best-in-class Amazon sales channels, Channel Key is devoted to bringing you the most recent developments in Amazon Advertising to help your brand stay competitive. Be sure to check back soon for the latest Amazon announcements.

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