This blog was updated on February 8, 2024.
By now, most brand owners have heard of Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC). Launched in 2021, AMC is a secure, privacy-safe, and cloud-based clean room solution that helps advertisers perform analytics and build audiences across pseudonymized signals. This is how Amazon defines AMC. If you don’t quite understand it, you’re not alone. Many marketers still need clarification about what exactly AMC is or what it can do for their business. This blog discusses AMC in ordinary language and gives actual examples of how brands can use this powerful platform to fine-tune their advertising strategy.
What is Amazon Marketing Cloud?
AMC is an advanced, customizable reporting platform that can provide detailed answers to questions not available through the reporting options in Amazon DSP or the Amazon Ads console. AMC is designed to help brands gain a deeper insight into customer behavior and truly understand the impact of their full-funnel marketing strategies (more on this later). For now, the high-level benefits of AMC include the following:
- Holistic Measurement
Built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), AMC can help advertisers with campaign measurement, audience analysis, media optimization, and more.
- Flexible Analytics
Structure custom queries to explore unique measurement questions and address top business priorities. Use instructional queries to build queries faster.
- Cross-Media Insights
Conduct analysis with event-level data sets across video, audio, display, and search to gain a holistic and in-depth understanding of the customer journey.
- Custom audiences
Utilize ad engagement and conversion signals across channels and sources to build bespoke audiences for direct activation via Amazon DSP.
- Insight expansion
Subscribe to Paid Features (beta) powered by Amazon Ads and third-party providers to expand the scope and depth of insights.
- Privacy-Safe Environment
AMC only accepts pseudonymized information. All information in an advertiser’s AMC instance is handled in strict accordance with Amazon’s privacy policies, and your own data sets cannot be exported or accessed by Amazon. Advertisers can only access aggregated, anonymous outputs from AMC.
What is a Data Clean Room?
To fully understand the scope of AMC’s capabilities, it helps to discuss the concept of a data clean room. This secure environment allows brands to combine first-party and third-party data for more accurate consumer targeting and deeper customer insights.
In a clean room, data is anonymized or pseudonymized before being shared, and strict controls are put in place to prevent unauthorized access or misuse. This ensures that advertisers can derive insights from aggregated data without accessing personally identifiable information about specific individuals.
Data clean rooms have become increasingly important as the digital advertising industry shifts toward a cookie-less future. They offer a way for brands to follow regulations about data protection and user privacy while still collecting data for targeted advertising campaigns.
What makes AMC a particularly powerful clean room is that it aggregates Amazon’s massive and ever-expanding collection of customer data. This includes not only media and retail property data (including the Amazon website and app, Twitch, Fire TV, Kindle, and the Sizmek ad network, etc.), but also offline data from brick-and-mortar stores like Whole Foods.
It’s equally important to note that clean rooms like AMC enable brands to import their own data, such as emails, phone numbers, and customer actions like website visits and newsletter subscriptions. The entire purpose of a clean room is to aggregate as much customer data as possible to better analyze your full-funnel advertising efforts.
Who Can Use Amazon Marketing Cloud?
Getting started with AMC can be tricky. You can’t simply log in to Seller Central and begin importing data into a clean room. AMC is only available via a web-based UI or an API, which is set up by Amazon. Before this can happen, you need to meet the following prerequisites:
- Have an executed Amazon DSP Master Service Agreement (MSA)
- Have planned campaigns or campaigns live on Amazon DSP in the last 28 days
- Have someone who has knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL)
SQL is a programming language used to make database queries. You need a basic understanding of SQL to configure your AMC clean room and customize data imports. You can also use the Instructional Query Library to fast-track query building instead of writing them from scratch.
Either way, AMC is an advanced reporting platform with a considerable learning curve. For this reason, many brands choose to partner with a trusted agency to manage their AMC clean room.
How Brands Can Use Amazon Marketing Cloud
Now that you have a basic understanding of AMC let’s explore how a brand might use this platform. Below are six specific capabilities of AMC, followed by an example of how each can help a brand learn more about their customers and campaigns.
- Campaign Deep-Dive: Inspect campaign reach, frequency, and total impact across the marketing funnel. Example: A pillow brand launches advertising campaigns targeting customers interested in bedding, home decor, and sleep-related products. The ad creatives highlight the comfort and quality of their pillows. AMC’s audience insights help the brand discover that their pillows are popular among young adults looking for affordable yet comfortable bedding options. With this information, the brand refines ad creative and reallocates budget to channels targeting customers ages 18-24.
- Media Mix Analysis: Understand a media channel’s incremental value and the effectiveness of different media combinations. Example: A water filter manufacturer uses AMC’s attribution modeling to track conversions and sales attributed to Sponsored Ads, display ads, and social media ads. By conducting A/B tests and controlled experiments, the brand discovers that running display ads in combination with Sponsored Products on Amazon yields a 50% increase in conversions compared with running standalone campaigns on social media platforms.
- Audience Insights: Learn about the composition of ad-exposed audiences and attributes of engaging audience groups. Example: A brand that sells rugs uses AMC to identify key demographic segments within their ad-exposed audiences. They discover that young professionals living in urban areas are a highly engaged audience segment, showing a strong interest in their modern rug designs and sustainable materials. Using these insights, the brand creates campaigns targeting young professionals with campaigns that promote the catalog’s most contemporary, environmentally friendly rugs with real-life imagery based on common high-rise apartment floorplans in metropolitan zip codes.
- Journey Assessment: Analyze the sequence, frequency, and types of audience interactions on the path to conversion. Example: A toy brand uses AMC to examine how often customers in each audience segment engage with their products. They discover that parents of preschoolers visit the DTC website often to browse new arrivals, while parents of school-age children tend to make less frequent but higher-value purchases. The brand also analyzes interaction types to pinpoint which types of content drive engagement and conversion. They find that interactive product videos are particularly effective for showcasing toys for toddlers, while customer reviews play a crucial role in influencing purchase decisions for educational toys.
- Custom Attribution: Tailor how you credit different touchpoints to understand the full contribution of different media and campaigns. Example: A brand that sells dog treats uses AMC to get a better understanding of its most effective paths to conversion. Given the nature of the pet care market, where customers often conduct extensive research before making a purchase, the brand uses customized attribution rules to prioritize certain touchpoints, such as product searches, reviews, and interactions with educational content on pet nutrition and health benefits. By leveraging AMC’s offline to online attribution capabilities, the brand learns that many customers discover its products in veterinary clinics and later make a purchase on Amazon.
- Omni-Channel Impact: Evaluate how Amazon Ads campaigns drive engagement and sales wherever customers spend their time. Example: A school supplies brand integrates AMC with their Amazon seller account to aggregate data Amazon DSP campaigns, Amazon Ads campaigns, and its DTC website activity. They also collect data from product pages, search queries, and customer interactions on the Amazon platform. Using AMC’s analytics tools, the brand discovers that many high-value customers learn about the brand from Amazon DSP, then search specific products on Amazon, then visit the website to learn more about the company, and finally go to the brand’s Amazon Store to make a purchase.
Channel Key Takeaway
For many years, the primary method of measuring the success of an advertising campaign was through last-touch attribution. For example, suppose a customer bought a pair of slippers on your Amazon Store. Through the Amazon Ads console, you learn that the customer landed on the product detail page after clicking on a Sponsored Products ad. Does this mean your SP campaign should get total credit for the conversion? Not necessarily. In today’s increasingly dynamic and connected world, this costumer likely took multiple actions before seeing your SP ad. They might have discovered the product in a brick-and-mortar location, then saw a display ad while reading a news article, and then searched the item on Amazon where they finally saw your ad. AMC offers granular insight that helps you better understand your customer’s entire journey from discovery to purchase. This valuable data makes it much easier to create full-funnel advertising campaigns that target customers at the most effective touchpoints and convert them into sales.