- Amazon shared a flurry of advertising updates at its annual UnBoxed showcase last week, among them the news that Twitch livestreams will support sponsored display ads. Twitch started running the self-service format in its browse tab and directory pages earlier this year, but this is the first time display placements will appear around its core livestreaming offering that reaches 30 million average daily visitors.
- Other announcements included the reveal of a measurement solution called Brand Metrics — now available in beta to eligible sellers and vendors — that quantifies the value of different engagement tactics, and an Amazon Brand Lift tool — similarly in beta testing — that leverages the Amazon Shopper Panel to track marketing objectives such as awareness, purchase intent and ad recall.
- As retail media networks continue to proliferate, Amazon is turning its focus to reach, relevance and results. This includes expanding a Brand Follow function that lets customers follow their favorite brands across stores, posts and Amazon Live and see deals from those sellers. The feature is intended to help partners foster longer-term loyalty with consumers.
As marketers and their agencies contend with an increasingly fragmented media landscape and mounting omnichannel demands, Amazon prioritized three core areas at UnBoxed: reach, relevance and results. The event overall showed the e-commerce giant trying to bring a greater sense of unity and interoperability between its properties, including its core marketplace, Twitch and premium video platforms Amazon Prime Video and the ad-supported IMDb TV. New advertising and measurement products — eight in total — arrive ahead of the busy holiday period and as rivals from the traditional media sphere make similar pushes to build more robust media networks that rely on troves of first-party shopper data.
Regarding reach, Amazon is expanding where brands can appear and how customers can keep tabs on their favorite sellers. Bringing display ads to Twitch livestreams mirrors how rivals, including YouTube, have helped shore up their video dominance and attract a wider pool of advertisers. Twitch has been one of the major benefactors of the pandemic as more people turn to live video content, particularly in categories like gaming and esports, for entertainment. The display option is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Amazon is also integrating new interactive video capabilities to streaming TV ads on IMDb TV with a "Send Me More Info" voice request that lets viewers ask for product details via email or by scanning an on-screen QR code. The company introduced other call-to-action prompts at the NewFronts earlier this year.
Similarly, Amazon is trying to make its interactive audio ads feel more natural by giving customers the ability to ask Alexa prompts like "Remind me," "Send me more information" or "Add to cart" after hearing a brand message on Amazon Music's ad-supported tier. The audio ad product is currently only in limited beta testing in the U.S.
For the relevance portion, Amazon touted the Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) that rolled out in January and is built on Amazon Web Services' cloud-computing capabilities. Flexibility is a selling point, with Amazon stating advertisers can upload their own pseudonymized data sets to AMC to compare with data sets from their Amazon Ads campaigns. Part of the AMC expansion includes an Instructional Query Library that guides users on common measurement and analytics use cases and pushes them to explore new measurement topics.
Lastly, the results category narrowed in on richer measurement options. The Brand Metrics tool shares updated reports on a weekly basis, but the insights are meant to key marketers into the longer-term value of brand engagement and what strategies are actually driving sales. Amazon Brand Lift analyzes the impact of six different campaign objectives by drawing on opt-in Amazon shopper panel data. Survey results are typically available in about two weeks' time, Amazon said, and will provide insights on respondents in areas like brand awareness and likelihood to purchase.
Amazon's attempts to round out its advertising suite come as retail media and e-commerce continue to drive interest from brands contending with the looming deprecation of third-party cookies and a shift to online shopping spurred by the pandemic. The grocery chain Kroger recently revealed a private programmatic marketplace powered by its transactional data, while Walmart is scaling up a proprietary demand-side platform, Walmart DSP, that was developed with the help of The Trade Desk.
Along with the steeper competition, Amazon is contending with supply chain, inflation and labor-related pressures as it enters a busy fourth quarter. The company whiffed on earnings and revenue expectations in third-quarter earnings posted last week, while sharing holiday guidance that disappointed analysts. Sales for its "other" category that largely consists of advertising were up 49% year-on-year to $8.09 billion, marking a slower growth rate versus recent quarters.