Finding Your Audience in Amazon’s Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

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Introduction to The Amazon DSP

First of all, if you ask anyone at Amazon, you’ll soon learn that DSP and Amazon DSP are not the name of the platform. No, it’s THE Amazon DSP. Nevertheless, many sellers either aren’t aware of the platform or know very little about it, so here’s the five W’s for the Amazon DSP.

Who uses Amazon DSP?

Amazon’s DSP (Demand-Side Platform) has only been used by very large advertisers. We’re talking about companies that have an ad-spend of over $100,000 per month on Amazon. So why should you care? Companies like Ad Badger have found ways to let every seller access the platform, and we will be announcing that feature soon!

What is Amazon DSP?

Simply, Amazon DSP is a display advertising network, but there’s a little more going on. The most popular display ad network today is Google AdSense. Well, just think of Amazon DSP as a platform similar to Google’s but on steroids. We’re talking about Arnold levels of juice behind DSP. Amazon leverages its wide array of popular platforms (Prime Video, IMDB, Twitch etc.) and allows sellers to reach audiences on those platforms through the Amazon DSP.

Sponsored Display ads are different from Amazon DSP ads. Sponsored Display ads are auto-campaigns. You can’t change the creative or set an audience for a Sponsored Display ad. Amazon DSP ads give you more control and you can manually set the creative and audience for them.

When did Amazon DSP become available?

The Amazon DSP has been available for several years now, and it’s currently thriving. However, it’s been unavailable for most sellers.

Where does Amazon DSP display ads?

Sellers who use Amazon DSP have their ads populate on all kinds of pages across the interwebs, similar to Google AdSense, but DSP will also display your ad on Amazon and sites Amazon owns.

Why should you use Amazon DSP?

There’s a few reasons to use the Amazon DSP. For one, the reach of the platform is amazing and better than any other display network. Second, Amazon DSP can help sellers who want to reach a very specific, high-converting audience. 

Targeting in Amazon’s DSP

When we refer to targeting, we are talking about what is triggering your ad to appear in front of a website visitor. Generally you have an ad and a trigger. What triggers that ad to appear? Your targeting!

So much information

When you jump into the world of Amazon’s DSP, the first thing you’ll notice is just how much data Amazon has at its disposal. Amazon basically has everyone’s shopping behavior, and by extrapolating from that data Amazon can determine your lifestyle choices, interests, and demographics with relative ease.

Amazon also gathers data from sources like Prime Video and uses TV and movie choices to gain insights into a users behavior. 

That’s without factoring in everything Alexa hears you say.

In-Market and Lifestyle targeting

Being “in-market” essentially identifies people as being in the market for certain products or services. Let’s say you are a long-time vegan and have been in the vegan food market for awhile. Amazon DSP would identify you as “in-market” for a vegan food product.

Lifestyle targeting on Amazon’s DSP is nothing short of insane. Based on a person’s browsing history, shopping, and streaming habits Amazon determines what kind of lifestyle they fit into. Sure, large swaths of people like video game fans or movie lovers have been easy to identify before on other platforms, but Amazon DSP goes DEEP.

amazon dsp lifestyle targeting
With the Amazon DSP, there's almost no limit to how specific your audience can be.

Let’s say you are trying to find a very specific audience for your new Tom Hanks t-shirt. With Amazon DSP, you can serve your ad to people who have watched a Tom Hanks movie in the last thirty days on Prime Video. Crazy.

Automotive targeting (and what it tells us about Amazon DSP)

Through Amazon Garage and purchasing habits, Amazon can determine what kind of car you have. That’s pretty straightforward.

What’s surprising about automotive targeting is that it shows the true power of Amazon DSP for sellers who aren’t even on Amazon.

A local mechanic could use Amazon DSP to target car owners within a certain radius from their shop and further refine that search by narrowing down the make and model of the car. A truly invaluable tool for brick and mortar operations.

Demographics, Devices, and Education targeting

Demographic targeting on Amazon DSP is pretty straightforward. Age and Gender are the only two demographics tracked by Amazon, but it gives you a great place to start if your product only appeals to certain groups.

When looking at device targeting, Amazon DSP allows sellers to segment groups by the type of device they use (iPhone or Android and different operating systems for computers) and by the type of connection the user has. For a large mobile app, targeting people on a cellular connection wouldn’t be ideal, but a customer on WiFi could immediately start downloading the app.

Finally, Amazon DSP lets you target people with different education backgrounds. You can choose between people with high school degrees, bachelors degrees, and graduate degrees.

Custom Audiences

Creating custom audiences is a really cool feature in Amazon DSP that lets you take an ASIN or a group of ASINs and target people who have clicked on the product, purchased the product, or saw the product and similar options.

amazon dsp custom audiences
Using ASINs for custom audiences can be a huge help in snagging your competitor's customers.

Moreover, these custom audiences are based on Amazon users. You’re not just getting people who shop on Amazon, but you can also create custom audiences from Prime Video or any of Amazon’s other services. You can even upload your own data to create a custom audience!

With Amazon DSP, you can create audiences from a variety of sources.

Contextual Targeting

Another great tool on the Amazon DSP is contextual targeting. What the heck is that? Well, if someone looks at a lot of video game websites and reads articles and watches videos about video games, they must be interested in the topic somewhat. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them “in-market” in Amazon’s eyes, especially if they haven’t bought any video games.

With Amazon DSP, you can serve ads exclusively on articles and pages that mention a certain topic, such as video games, and reach people who haven’t bought anything yet. 

Key Takeaways

We’ve covered quite a bit about Amazon DSP and the ability it gives sellers to reach the right audience. With the reach of the platform and the unmatched targeting features, Amazon DSP is far and away the superior display ad network.

Along with these features, Amazon also has tons of data! The crazy thing is, as Amazon either acquires more companies in different sectors or branches out, that data set will continue to grow and give sellers an even better idea of who to target.

The only drawback of Amazon DSP is its exclusivity, but Ad Badger has an answer for that too and we can’t wait to get more people started with this amazing platform.


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If you enjoy supplementing your long reads with audio, we cover this topic on our podcast as well. 

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