Why agencies should incorporate DSP into their Amazon offerings, Amazon DSPbest practices, how to launch successful DSP campaigns from the start, and more.
For agencies looking to build out or improve their full-funnel advertising strategy, Amazon DSP is an efficient way to reach your clients new and existing customers across both Amazon-owned sites and leading publishers’ sites. It is also the only advertising platform that allows advertisers to run targeted display ads on and off Amazon, reaching Amazon shoppers who visited product detail pages but didn’t convert at the time. Watch this webinar recording to learn how to leverage Amazon DSP if you’re already managing DSP campaigns for your clients, or planning on offering DSP campaign management in the future.
Amazon DSP Tips for Agencies
- Test Early and Often: The advanced reporting features make DSP ideal for a Test & Learn strategy to continue to optimize and keep ahead of your client’s competition.
- Run Full-funnel Strategy: Make DSP part of your overall ad strategy by using ads to drive awareness and incrementality on and off Amazon.
- Leverage Video: Offering video ads can provide great conversion rates for your clients and Amazon DSP’s ad placements on partners such as IMDb, Freedive, and Kindle are ideal for this.
- Create Custom Reporting: Provide transparent reporting to allow clients to dig into the performance of their Amazon ads.
- Educate Your Clients: In order for your clients to understand the value of DSP and fully buy in to the strategy, constantly educate them about the best practices and opportunities of DSP ads.
Okay, thank you everyone for joining us today and happy Thursday. This is Pacvue’s webinar on how agencies should be leveraging Amazon DSP. As I’m sure you all know on the line, Amazon DSP has grown exponentially in the past three to four years or so, and has become an increasingly important part of your clients and your advertisers Amazon strategy. So today, we’re gonna walk you through just a quick lay of the land of Amazon DSP basics and then move on to some more robust insights into how agencies should be leveraging it and ways to work with your clients that we’ve had success with, and then some interesting Test and Learn opportunities or recommendations for you. So today myself, Matt McGrory, Account Director, Retail Media, at Pacvue, and we also have Zack Zaerr Senior Account Manager at Pacvue.
Really quick for those who are unfamiliar with Pacvue just a quick plug, Pacvue is an enterprise platform for both brand sellers and then you guys agencies on the line today to manage their E-Com advertising in one central holistic place. We are on Amazon and have expanded in the past year to Walmart, Instacart, Criteo, and a few more exciting announcements down the pike.
But we will be talking about Amazon DSP specifically today. Really quick agenda for you guys we’ll begin, like I said, with a quick DSP overview, just a quick background on what DSP is, how it works for those who may be new to Amazon DSP, and some few key differentiators that you need to be aware of when assessing Amazon DSP versus other retailers or platforms, we’ll then dive into DSP specifically for agencies, the main theme of today’s webinar. We’ll then move on into best practices, a unique Test and Learn opportunities or recommendations, and then one important thing here is the Q&A section at the end, we’re aiming to leave at least 10, if not 15 minutes or so for Q&A and questions at the end. In zoom, you do have a Q&A feature, at the top or the bottom of your screen, depending on your operating system, please feel free to drop in questions in that Q&A section as we’re going along. You don’t have to wait until that last 10 or 15 minutes, so please feel free to drop in as many questions as you’d like answered. There’s no question too big or too small, and then Zach and I will answer those at the end of today’s session.
Alright, lemme, pass it over to Zack for a DSP overview.
Great, thanks Matt. So I’m sure everyone on here at least has a base knowledge of what Amazon’s DSP is, but to start off, we’ll just start simple and orient ourselves here. So Amazon’s DSP, which stands for demand side platform, is how they connect buyers and sellers of ad placements across the web, as well as on Amazon O&O properties. This is done on a CPM model, which is Cost Per Thousand impressions versus paid search, which is done on a cost per click model. We go to the next slide, we show a little bit of the differences between those two, so as I mentioned, paid search, which is available via the Amazon ad console, depending on how old you are, in Amazon years, you may call this AMS like I do, that’s for us who’ve worked with Amazon for quite a while, or if you are newer to Amazon or you are somehow willing and able to accommodate Amazon’s frequent branding updates, you may call that sponsored ads, the capabilities of the two ad vehicles vary quite a bit, but generally speaking, we can say that search is lower funnel, closer to point of sale focused on driving increased engagement and conversion on site versus display, which it helps you re-engage or engage with shoppers for the first time, potential shoppers people who are exhibiting behaviors that makes them a likely target, as well as the customizable on the display side is much more robust versus search…
On the search side, you have a pretty rigid three types of ads, sponsored products, sponsored brand and sponsored display, there is some variation within those that you have some customizable features, but for the most part, you’re pretty stuck with what your ads can look like on the display side, you have much more customizability in terms of ad size, copy or creative and ability to adjust things, whether it’s very specific images, doesn’t just have to be product shots. A lot more that you can do there.
So Amazon’s DSP has ad placements available via Amazon properties such as Amazon.com, whether it’s desktop, mobile app or mobile web, or Twitch, IMDB, other placements that they own, as well as third-party placements, whether it’s the publishers or a bunch of different apps and websites that are very popular. Whether it’s CNN, ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo finance. It does seem like you’re pretty much able to get ad placement surface anywhere that you want, personally, as I use the internet, I basically only exist on places where Amazon can re-target me, each of those landing spots, whether it’s an app or a website, has different ad types and ad sizes that they support, it ranges from the auto-generated DEA, which is probably the most popular, it was most commonly seen, ad type to OLV or video ads, to custom creatives, and now the more recent and increasingly popular OTT over the-top video placements.
So some of the more popular interesting ad locations and placements are shown here. The point really of this slide is, there is a huge range of where and how you can re-engage, introduce or educate customers. It’s continuing to grow. If you look at the bottom three check marks of this list of the home page, the Homepage aka Amazon’s Gateway, the thank you page and the owner manual page for people who have purchased a specific product, these are new locations for ads previously not available. These are now available using specifically the REC ad type, this is the Amazons newest ad type and the most flexible of their ad types and that you can add multiple ASINs in and it really appears in any size or format, so it’s very flexible.
Alright, here’s the targeting capabilities for Amazon and the split into two main ways of building your audience segments, and then a couple of examples below, so the primary way people target on Amazon is by building audiences with Amazon’s first party data. This would be the three things on the left, on the right would be advertiser specific audiences or advertiser build audiences, these may come from a data management platform or a CRM database, whether you have a newsletter or an email list or some sort of community where you can re-target those people. You can combine that to augment your first party data that you do get from Amazon. On the left side, we’ll go with Amazon audience is a little bit more detail in that. So behavioral would be, what are people searching, what are they purchasing? How are they behaving on Amazon, that makes people think this is someone who is a good person to target, on the contextual side is what are they actively shopping for it right now and showing a strong purchase intent, this is very specific to a point in time, and last is based on demographics or geography, Amazon has multiple layers of data, and this one, unless you segment specifically by age, gender, location, income, really getting very granular with what type of person you’re looking to target. In addition to these, I think it’s super important and extremely useful that you have the ability to both positively and negatively target people, this is similar to a keyword, positive match and negative match keywords on the search side, we are able to build an audience. For example, that has browsed but not bought a product is a commonly used one. Or if you’re on the CPG side or someone who’s products are re-purchased frequently, you’re able to target someone who has purchased the product before, but only within a specific window of time, so there’s a lot of customizable and multi-variable levels of data you can get into here that make it really interesting targeting.
So where is Amazon’s DSP available? The answer is pretty much everywhere, anywhere that they have a marketplace, they also have Amazon DSP, except for a few of the newer locations, so Sweden and Poland don’t have Amazon DSP available. It’s very reasonable to assume that whenever Amazon launches a new platform, they try to get their advertising up to speed with it as soon as possible. The US is normally the gold standard for the most features, both on the search and display side, but I think it’s a pretty fair assumption that anywhere that they have Amazon, they’re gonna want to get the highly profitable and really engaging search and display capabilities caught up. There’s a little history of AMG, AMS, DSP, everything kind of rolled into one since the names have changed over time. We have to go all the way back to early 2012 when Amazon launched AMG, AMS and AAP. These are the original names, and at this time, Amazon AMG was fully managed and there was no self-service capability, at this time, AMS was competing with retail placements for a lot of the stuff on the PDPs, on the product detail pages, and as well as in search, I was at Amazon not too long after this, and we had this kind of contentious time frame when a lot of these placements were 50-50 with retail and search, and we were really, really unhappy because our vendors were mad that somebody else’s products were showing up on their page or they weren’t at the top of the specific keywords anymore, and they realized they actually had to kind of pay to play, this is really a major shift in how Amazon was engaging with each specific keyword, fast forward to 2017, and Amazon now has self-service capabilities for DSP, and this is really the first time the self-service functionality was very usable, then they added customized reports, bulk edits for self-service users, these are major, major changes that things were not extremely arduous to make changes. So this is when things became a little more scalable. Now, over the last six months, in December 2020, they released the Open Data read only API for self-service, Amazon DSP, major improvement. For those of us who are used to utilizing a tool for what we do on Amazon, I’m sure most of the attendees here are tool users, whether it’s Pacvue or something else that you guys have. From a reporting perspective, this release was really important. I have a case study later in the presentation where I’ll note the amount of clicks that I’ve saved and downloads that I saved for this, but I’ll save that for then. And then the most recent was Q1. This year, they released a data read + write API for Amazon tool providers. This is gonna be the future of DSP. The fact that how quickly they’ve been able to release the API and improve it is extremely impressive to me. Those of us who have worked with Amazon for a long time would recall that the product display ad was excluded from everything Search API-related for the longest time, and actually it wasn’t even included until they started morphing that into the sponsored display ad unit not too long ago. So really impressive last year and a half for Amazon in terms of the features that they’ve rolled out.
So here we get away from the history and into where and how can you use DSP? So the question that we get a lot from brands is, I guess not so much a question, more of a statement of what they feel is fact is I’m not sure DSP is right for my category or for my brand, and the retort to that is that that’s not necessarily true. Amazon’s DSP is useful for every brand, whether you… Even if you do not sell on Amazon, so Amazon does offer their DSP for endemic brands. Ones that sell on Amazon as well as non-endemic, those that do not sell on Amazon, whether it’s cars or insurance or a whole host of other things, banking institutions, all of them have relationships with Amazon or the DSP, and that’s due to the very, very high quality… First party data that they have, so I’ll run through a quick use case for each of these types of brands, just because there’s a very good reason for each of them to use Amazon DSP, so on the CPG side, you may have lower ASP items and may be difficult to stomach a really high advertising budget for a single purchase, something that Amazon’s DSP does provide is very robust reporting on the Subscribe and Save, so if you maybe have a lower ASP item, you can re-target folks, get them in your subscribe and save face and build a really sustainable long-term, high customer lifetime value business out of their targeting and reporting capabilities on the CE side, products are much higher ASP, there’s a longer purchase cycle, probably some maybe a week or so of consideration, maybe less in some cases, maybe more…
If you’re purchasing an expensive TV, your search may start on Amazon and go off-site and then come back for the purchase. There’s a lot of ways that you need to engage with customers who are in that pool for the specific type of TV that you offer, hitting them multiple times with the same ad or a similar ad to call specific features based on their search history, makes it… So much more likely that you’re gonna be top of mind when they do decide to convert on a TV. On the non-endemic side for automotive, I think a good example would be folks who are recently retired, they moved to Florida. Maybe they’re looking for a shiny new convertible, you’re gonna surface a different ad to those people based on Amazon’s geography, geo-targeting and demographic data such as age, maybe you’d wanna show a convertible ads to that family versus someone who’s living in Alaska, maybe not convertible the best to ad to surface to them, they may be more interested in a truck, so you don’t wanna waste your ad dollars by having inferior targeting, the quality of data on Amazon it makes it so you can spend your brand dollars much more wisely, and then on the insurance side, we again go on that first party data from Amazon, it’s very important for insurance to segment your audiences based on age, geography, there are certain life insurance plans, for example, that would be applicable to people of different ages, and wanna make sure, again, that you’re spending your brands dollars wisely and Amazon allows you to do this.
So here is a handful of different ways to target one generic group of parents. We start way upper funnel, like pregnancy or childbirth books, those people are… They haven’t yet had a child, they may be purchasing a book for a family member, but we can ensure a product that they’re gonna need to purchase in three to six months from now, that we are getting that brand in front of them early… Getting in front of somebody who is going to be starting to stock up on baby supplies, this is a really good opportunity to engage with them early, educate them on the quality of your products, or the value of your products and necessity. And then you can re-target them later and really do a good job of bringing them into your brand’s fold. In addition to that, you have demographic data, such as the presence of certain aged children at home, parents with specific incomes or location, for example, of parents in LA may have different interests versus parents in Maine, particularly if we’re talking winter, you’re not gonna target them with the same products or even the same, even the same copy in your ads, so we’ll get into that a little bit more later as well, but the customizability features are really nice, and to summarize, this is however your clients want to engage with shoppers Amazon’s DSP allows you to do that both on Amazon properties and off of them
So that was kind of grounding ourselves and what Amazon DSP is… Now, Matt’s gonna take us through how your agency should look at Amazon and DSP.
Awesome, thanks Zach. First and foremost, I’m sure if you’re on the line today, you probably either see a benefit or the benefit of DSP or you’re interested in conveying that message to your clients, so a couple of slides feel free to steal these and use these directly with your clients, but what we see as some of the three or three of the biggest benefits for using a DSP, adding it to your advertising strategy, first and foremost, growing discoverability, we consider paid search, which tends to be the majority of the conversation around Amazon advertising in a lot of cases, that tends to be lower funnel, you’re going after customers who have already feel a proven interest in a product, they are proactively coming to amazon.com, they’re going to the search bar, they’re searching toothpaste, or they’re searching dog food, that’s very… Fairly lower funnel, and you really can only capture finite out of that traffic on a daily basis, and it’s at the whim of what the impression polling is for those search terms for that day. However, with DSP since it does have both on-site, but especially offsite capabilities, you really are able to bring that traffic back to Amazon and boost your overall awareness and discoverability for your products.
Increasing sales, this is fairly straightforward, but given all of the wonderful, really robust data that just talked about, and the pretty much endless targeting options, it’s a really great way to drive sales, and it’s a lot more flexible in Paid Search, which does make it a pretty powerful sales driver. And then finally, audience data, I think Amazon is almost unmatched in this area in terms of retail and shopper data, especially in the US, but in the e-com space, they have some of the best customer data, if not the best in the world, and then matching that demographic that geographic data up against those actual customer shopping and purchase behavior, it makes it just so powerful that pretty much every brand in the world wants that Amazon audience data that you get through DSP. There’s a lot of text on this slide, I won’t go bullet by bullet here, or we’ll read the whole thing, but if you ever faced with a question from a customer on why DSP, why should I care here are five talking points that we use with our clients that I would encourage you to feel free to steal these and use these yourself, but first and foremost, DSP has a lot wider potential than paid search, meaning it does have on-site placements, but it also has off-site placements, so it has off-site, Amazon properties like Fire TV, Kindle, Twitch, IMDB.
But then it also opens up the opportunity to advertise and bring traffic back to Amazon on virtually every website across the internet. Next up is retargeting. A lot of times you hear DSP referred to as a mid-funnel or upper funnel tactic, and while that is accurate, DSP really does fit into every single part of your marketing funnel and marketing cycle. The key takeaway here is not only can it drive upper funnel awareness, but it’s actually really good at retargeting as well and boosting conversion rates for the both to advertise products in your overall business. Next up, creative freedom, you really do have a ton of ability here to either use custom static ads, to use their built-in dynamic ads that basically create themselves, and then of course, with the launch of video in the past year or two, you do have a lot more ability to be very brand conscientious and build out your brand image via Amazon advertising, number four, I talked about that on the last side, but just the really, really advanced reporting and insights that’s pretty invaluable to brand, so we really think that that’s a differentiator for Amazon DSP, and the number five, I’m sure you’ve probably all heard about the recent changes to third-party cookie tracking policies from both Google and Apple, just keeping customers data and privacy in mind, we’ve seen pretty widespread changes to how customers data and purchasing and searching behavior across the Internet has become a lot more restrictive, however, because Amazon does rely much more heavily on its own first-party data and audiences versus other competitors like a Google or an open media exchange, we do think that Amazon will be much less impacted than its competitors in terms of serving media ads to your customer.
So this is probably a great mitigation step if you have any clients that are concerned about potentially losing the ability to speak to the customers they wanna reach due to these new changes in cookie policies. There’s a quick fact that we like to throw into pretty much every DSP presentation, this stat is directly from Amazon advertising, so just take that with a great salt, but we did do a case study Zack will get into that does really back up this data and the main takeaway here is customers who are exposed to both a DSP and a paid search ad are five times more likely to purchase than someone who only saw a paid search ad. So if you ever have a client that says, Oh, my budget is finite, I really only have the money to focus on paid search plus DSP is so unproven I’m not really sure if it’s worth it, I would definitely encourage you to use the stat and it is sourced directly from Amazon, just to show how powerful it is when you do a DSP to your overall marketing strategy. To make sure that you’re not only speaking to customers at the final point of purchase, but you’re speaking to them through the entire consideration cycle, both on and off Amazon, then when you’re talking to clients that as an agency or as an agency partner, you definitely encourage or recommend that you speak to your clients from a full funnel approach, I’m sure everyone is familiar with the marketing funnel online here, but the main takeaway here is as Amazon is continuing to become faster pace, more competitive, more crowded, it really is important to be not only focusing on the bottom, one to three portions of this funnel here, which tend to be best served with your classic sponsor product or sponsor brand paid search campaign, but to be building the upper portion of the funnel, bring in customers into the funnel via tactics like a DSP and an OTT ad in market targeting or things like a sponsored brand campaign for a competitor’s terms, to make sure that you are leveraging every single tactic on the left side of the screen and every single tactic on the right side of this screen, especially DSP ads, to make sure that you have a very holistic, full funnel approach, when you do have your clients on board with the full final approach, it is also really important as an agency partner to make sure that you’re educating your clients and setting realistic expectations, mainly that search and display, they just behave very differently, they achieve different goals and they accomplish different tactics for you, so you should measure and manage them differently, so we’re just gonna go through a few different examples for both search and DSP in the three main buckets or portions of the marketing funnel here starting with awareness at the top of the funnel, if the goal is to drive brand awareness, when you’re assessing a paid search campaign, you may focus on impression growth and how many customers are seeing your ad, which is fantastic, from a DSP perspective, you may wanna focus on a metric that Amazon provides only for DSP called brand search index, and this brand search index metric is a measurement of how many customers saw your ad and then after the fact, they came to Amazon proactively and then searched for your brand’s terms, so that brand search index metric especially to change over time, is a really great way to match up your DSP activity against that brand search index, and prove to your clients that you’re driving incremental awareness via your DSP tactics.
Moving down into consideration, if the goal for your client or your brand is a new product launch from a search perspective, very straightforward, ASIN level sales of that new product isn’t growing quickly, how is it ramping over time from a DSP perspective, because it is slightly more Mid-to-upper funnel, you may wanna focus with your clients on total sales, and total purchases not just on that specific ASIN. And that total sales, total purchases metric is the sales within the same brand, not necessarily the same ASIN, so that may be a good metric to take back to your client to say, Hey, the new product is not ramping quite as quickly as we thought, because if it’s brand new, it has a few reviews or no reviews, but we are still driving your total overall business via this tactic. And the bottom portion of the funnel here in conversion, if your goal is competitor conquesting and going after some of your competitor’s terms from a search perspective, conversion on this competitor terms, but for DSP, new to brand sales, new to brand sales metrics tend to be a little bit more available and in my opinion, accurate for DSP versus paid search, but we do know that new to-brand data is available on the search side, response brands, they just announced yesterday that sponsor display campaigns will now provide new to brand sales from a paid search perspective, and don’t quote us on this, but we have also heard some rumblings that they will hopefully in the very near future have new to brand data for sponsor product campaigns as well.
I really quickly want to talk about DSP versus sponsor display and how you should not think of it as versus meaning a lot of times we hear brands or clients say, DSP and sponsored display campaigns, they can show up in the same place. They’re very similar. Why should I do both? We definitely encourage our clients and recommend that they think about it as a, not verses, but an incremental, collaborative strategy. Meaning DSP and sponsored display technically can show up in some of the same places, but they do accomplish different goals and their best when used together as part of that full final strategy. We put this slide together for a client recently, and it was really, really powerful, just showing them what they do best and how they’re different and why you should not use both, so pretty straightforward here, but DSP, is definitely best at bringing off-site traffic back to Amazon, whereas on the top right, for sponsored display is better for that more advanced onsite strategic, very granular targeting. A couple of top features, DSP is really, really great with video and dynamic ads, and then it’s endless audience and targeting options whereas sponsor display is much better in the product detail page and also with this new product and category targeting, and then proposal here that you could use for a client is use DSP to bring offsite traffic back via prospecting your retargeting tactics, and then go capture that traffic on the right side for sponsored display with competitor or the cross-selling product PDP placements.
Before we go into our use cases and test and learn recommendations, I wanted to talk about just more strategically, tactically for you as agency partners to brands or advertisers, some tips that we have for you when you’re working with a client in an agency capacity. So here’s kind of our top five tips, these are by no means exhaustive and they don’t apply to every single agency, but first and foremost, top left test early and often, really cannot stress this enough. And we’ll cover this in a few extra slides towards the back half of the presentation, but the main reason here is clients really look to you to be their DSP experts, that’s the reason they’ve chosen to partner with an agency and to let you manage their advertising on their behalf is because they don’t have the expertise in-house to know the right answer, to know what should I do, and so they really look to you to be that expert, and so when you get an email from a client to say, Hey, Amazon just launched REC responsive e-commerce creative, and it’s now required for that new homepage gateway placement, how do we launch? You really do have to stay on top of those trends and make sure that you’re testing early and often to make sure you have to answer for your clients.
Number two, full funnel strategy, I know we’ve harped on this quite a bit, but DSP is really so much more than just your separate retargeting, it is really, really powerful in driving awareness and then also incrementally, so we definitely encourage you to think of DSP as not only fitting only in the top part of the funnel, on the middle, but can flex into all three and should be part of the holistic strategy. Number three, leveraging video, I’m sure you guys have been hammered on this by Amazon, they are really, really pushing their OTT in video, but we have seen a pretty huge increase in engagement and awareness when we do add video to our client’s strategy. So this is one of the times where I think Amazon’s recommendation has been most accurate, in my personal opinion, is leveraging video ads and especially via OTT or sponsored bring video campaigns has had really huge benefits for our clients. Number four on the bottom there, create custom reporting, really can’t recommend this enough, whether that be Excel-based, whether it be in a platform like Tableau or Google Analytics, just creating custom reporting that’s really branded for your agency and specific to your clients, and then most importantly, in our opinion is allowing the client to really dive into that performance on a weekly basis and make sure that they over time, are starting to understand the data, it really just makes every conversation with your client so much easier when they both understand the data, but know how to access it and how to read it, and then five here educate your clients, constantly be teaching your clients about how to think about and leverage your DSP campaigns, even though you do want to obviously maintain their business and keep managing on their behalf, a well-educated client is a more collaborative client is in my opinion, a better client to work with, and then it also makes any future campaigns just that much stronger and better when you are working with a client that is up to speed on the latest and greatest for DSP.
Alright, I’ve a lot of text on this slide, so I’ll just run through the highlights here, but here are some operational best practices, these five are some of our top five recommendations that we have based on our experience with the DSP business on Amazon. I do wanna stress, this absolutely does not apply to every single agency in the world, so if this doesn’t fit for your specific agency, please do not worry, but those are definitely some recommendations that we tend to make when speaking to other agency partners. So first and foremost, whenever possible, assign clients to an account manager or someone on your team who can manage both their paid search and DSP, if possible, I’m sure a lot of agencies have a search team and a DSP team, totally understand and respect that, but whatever you do, have the same person with the ability to manage both, it really lets you take advantage of that integrated full-funnel approach, and it makes sure that the same person has that same intimate knowledge of the business for both tactics and the conviction that they’re complementary.
Number two, this is a bit of a controversial one, so bear with me here, but we definitely recommend that you consider managing campaigns out of a client-owned account and not your agency specific DSP account. Long story short, we have come to this realization after hearing from other agency partners in dealing with this internally, where it just essentially, it prevents you from being billed upfront for the client spend and then having to go back to that client and make sure that you’re paid after the fact for every single campaign, whether or not they’re happy with performance, but then it also prevents you for being held liable and getting the middle of between Amazon and the client for any potential late payments, performance or payment disputes, billing issues, things like that. So one thing that we’ve had some great success with is creating an internal email alias for your team to all share and then having the client’s own account send that email alias, a log in, so your whole team can log in with that login, you can all manage from that same alias, but then the account is owned by the client itself. Number three, something that we’ve really had to do this year that’s made a ton of difference is creating a standardized on-boarding process so creating a set of resources, whether it be PDF, Excel, Word doc, where you have a list of required information from the client that you know that you need before you can even touch their business and get started, and then also just make sure that you’re super clear upfront on timelines, asset list and launch milestones, we know that every client in the world wants to get started yesterday with DSP if they are ready to move forward to the campaign, so just make sure you really setting expectations it makes your life a lot easier.
Number four, constantly be testing and learning, and we’ve mentioned this about five times but I don’t have to tell you how fast Amazon changes and how many changes happen, but the main takeaway here is the last part of that bottom sentence, which is that earlier testing equals cheaper testing. In our experience, the earlier that you do test an opportunity or a new tactic, it tends to have a lower CPM, less competition, so the earlier that you can gain insights, you will not only be ahead of the competition, but you usually get to operate that test at a lower cost. And then number five, just ask Amazon to audit your performance. Amazon AEs even if they’re not managing the client’s business directly, they are still of course compensated based on their book of business spend and the growth in those clients spend, and so even if they’re not managing… They’re still highly motivated for you and the brand to drive high performance and continue to invest, so ask Amazon to audit, they’re almost always happy to do it for free, it’s not only a great way to tune up your performance and fill in any blind spots you may have, but it also shows your client that you’re constantly working with Amazon and staying on top of trends and best practices and committed to growing your business.
The next two slides here, DSP self-service with Pacvue, wouldn’t let you get away today without a quick plug for Pacvue. We did launch recently the ability to now plug in a clients or multiple clients DSP data directly into the Pacvue platform, and then take advantage of some of the automation software and settings and features that we’ve had on the page search side for about three or four years now, but we do now have the ability to manage your DSP, Amazon DSP for your clients directly in our platform, we’re building this out and make me a more robust by the day. So definitely get in touch with us, we’ll have some contact information at the end of this presentation, if you’d like to learn more, and then just a quick overview about what I’m talking about when I say additional features and functionality. Amazon’s DSP UI is very good. It’s better, it’s more robust than their page search UI, but we are making a pretty concerted effort to make sure that we’re providing our clients and brands and agencies with incremental features, additional functionality, things to just automate and make your life a lot easier, especially as an agency partner, if you’re managing tens or dozens of clients’ DSP campaigns.
Alright, so with that, I’m gonna pass it back over to Zach, we’re gonna walk through some use cases and Test and Learn recommendations.
Awesome, thank you, Matt. So here we have a couple of different tests and learns. I did three test and learns, and the summary of these would be that Amazon’s DSP allows you to go really deep with data, both on the retail, the search and display side, and we wanna understand how can we leverage learnings from display to improve the whole of our business? So some of these examples on the right here that you see is geo-targeting, learning how behavior is in certain areas based on changes in climate of the area, not weather, but the news climate. Second would be optimizing our PDP content with DSP data, so learning what people are clicking on and what they’re converting on without actually changing our detailed page content, and then last is using DSP tests to further improve the whole of the business really such as the Paid Search side. Alright, first here is geo-targeting, and the intention is to understand the conversion triggers for why people are purchasing… So this is specifically for the security camera category, so think ring and everything else that competes with them…
The top of there, I have a quote from safety.com. So the top two reasons that people say for purchasing a security camera are, one, I just wanted to… And two, I moved to… Or purchased a new home. Item two is very clear. We can target those people. I don’t know, I really believe that there’s definitely some underlying reason that people are wanting to purchase security, it could be out of fear if there is a surge in crime in the area, whether there’s a break-in in their area or not… Just in the general vicinity, or it could be curiosity, is it because they own a new house in a new location, the novelty, newness factor, they just wanna make sure that they kinda keep up with the Joneses… So to speak, personally, I love getting all the notifications from the neighbors when there’s a package theft or whatever, it’s really… It’s helpful to understand how things are around you, but in understanding what is the reason… And so here we wanna test specifically what role does crime rate play? So to do this, you could build out three different audience segments, this is the specific zip codes you’re targeting in the top 20 crime cities, you can do more than that, or fewer than that if you want to, this is obviously totally up to how granular or how general, you want your test to be, build out these three audience segments to the zip codes, plus in-market for security camera, the zip code negatively targeting in-market, and last of these zip codes plus recent movers, so this gives us two controls and one kind of test subject here, what we would do for this test is look at the click-through rate, the detail page views or detail page view rate either of those.
Add to cart or add to cart rate and conversion rate for these campaigns? So we wanna compare the behavior of those three audience segments and see how that goes over time, so this is really kind of a long-term, more reporting-focused data gathering, test and learn here, so you give yourselves three, six months, maybe even longer, and track the overlay of data with crime rate over time, whether it’s property crime or violent with the uptick in any of these metrics or all of these metrics for each of these three different segments based on how they interact, we will be able to tell is crime rate a major factor is crime rate not a major factor, or is it really just people who are moving or purchasing. The data that people will cite in a survey isn’t always exactly accurate, so this is a great way to go a little further in understanding what is causing people to buy these products.
Alright, next here is getting creative testing, product detail page images with DSP, so it kind of wanted to do two things with this test, one was we had launched a new product and we wanted to drive awareness of this new product, get some eyes on the page make people aware of the new features of this versus the base product, and how we did this was test five different images, we had our original existing image and then four variants, they had different call-outs for banners, whether there was a banner above that called out the pack size, or the type of product, or whether that banner was on the top or the right, whether it was showing a box shot or the item inside or whatever the case is, you could test any of these variables.
And this is kind of one of the benefits of DSP rather than trying to update your detail page is that there’s not really as many restrictions as Amazon proper has. So what we did was build out the campaigns targeting three audience segments, branded retargeting competitor retargeting, and then in-market for product, we split the impressions from on-site O&O and then non-O&O and wanted to compare performance between those. So we wanted to look at detail page rate and conversion rate by creative and by audience segments, so we kinda have the idea that a high detail page view rate indicates that you have intriguing copy or creative… We kept the same copy for all of these, so this is trying to isolate that creative and then a high conversion rate would indicate clarity, so when someone clicks through or when they see it, and then later navigate to the page, do they know what they saw? And are they able to actually go there and buy the thing that they thought, or did they think maybe it was a different variant of what it was, so maybe they thought it was a men’s shirt and it was actually a women’s shirt, and then you don’t convert whatever the case is.
Those would be kind of the main, I guess, high-level takeaways from those changes in those metrics, you see the results of this test below green indicates good red indicates bad, obviously. And so if we compare these results, I would say there’s a couple of things first you see, our recommendation was that one or three were the best for conversion, so these might be good images to make your main image on your detailed page, however, the detailed page view rate for one in particular, it was very bad, so we wouldn’t wanna use this one for search, you might think, Why don’t you just use three, it has the best detailed page you rate and the best conversion rate, at least the combination of those, and the reason is because it had a banner and Amazon cracked down on what we were allowed to use for this category in terms of on-site images, but the learning from this is invaluable in that we can use these customized images as part of our advertising, and don’t have to rely just on what Amazon allows us to do on-site is a really interesting way to kinda play around with the data is use a couple of different these and try to draw your conclusions, almost like a competition, is test a bunch and then narrow your focus down more and more until you can discern what is the right image for different placements or different use cases.
And then the last one here is the DSP impact on conversion. So this is kind of that better together story, and this is around the instance of a new product launch, it is really difficult sometimes to ramp up a new product, particularly if you have a successful established and ongoing product as your base of your business. So in this case, this was a premium product line that was launched 16 months prior to the pulling of this data, so we had about three months with a granular search strategy where we were not over-spending, focusing a lot on branded keywords, giving it time to get retail ready to get our orders up and make sure that we were not going to over-spend and kind of hurt the business in terms of selling through inventory that we weren’t gonna be able to replace. After that, we ramped up for three months AMS only with this full strategy, wanted to kind of get our learnings on what was making the business tick, and from there we started moving up our funnel, we launched our DSP campaigns at this time and you see from row 2 to 3, the immediate improvement in our conversion rate, that middle column, CVR, the third one, and then the two columns to left, these are all total retail metrics, the two on the right are an AMS… I know this is a DSP conversation, but how DSPs inclusion impacted those is what matters here. So you see that conversion rate increased from 17% six months post-launch, since we have three months where there’s no data here in the three months of data, all the way to literally doubling our conversion rate just a year later, this increase is driven by the way that we built our targeting out and getting customers familiar and excited about the improvements from the previous base product to this one, this is really an interesting use case because of the base product, it was already the most trusted product in the category, so we’re trying to upsell somebody from a product that they already trust and they already love to the more premium version of the already premium version. So at nine months, check-in time, if we look through the third row of data down, you think maybe this is not so sustainable of a business, we’re only converting at 25%.
We’ve grown our glances pretty significantly, but we kept at it with this strategy and really went with very precise messaging to the shoppers for the premium-ness of this product and the specific use cases and benefits of the product. And since then, we’ve been able to increase our conversion rate every period in here to get the business to a point now, or the brand, and I shared the same opinion that this is a very sustainable portion of the portfolio for the long term.
Awesome, alright, so I am gonna speed up a little bit through these last four or five slides, so we have time for a Q&A I see a lot of good questions in the Q&A section. Thank you for submitting those. So really quickly, I’m gonna move through this slide really quickly, and I’ll just go to the next slide to show you the results, but the thought process here in the test here was, we know that building the relevancy in the speed of the ramp of new products via paid search can take a long time due to the heavy reliance of reviews on a product performance within search placements, so the test here was since DSP is less reliant on the actual inclusion of reviews in the ad itself versus paid search. Can we use that to build the speed and the ramp up of a new product more quickly? A quick answer is yes here, so this chart is showing total Amazon ordered revenue for the new products, then it’s showing glance views in Orange matched up with our increase in DSP spend for the newly launched ASINs, and this is a relatively short timeline, I believe this is just a 10-week timeline here, but when we did increase our DSP spend and push traffic to those new ASINs, they made up only around ten to 5%-ish of total ordered revenue after only four of the five weeks of that increased DSP support, it drove a 15,100 bps gain in share of total revenue, and then they then accounted for over 17% of revenue for the total business, so really quickly main takeaway is, definitely encourage you and recommend leveraging DSP as a great tactic for speeding up the ramp of new products.
Awesome, I’m gonna do one more test and learn here or use case, and then Matt’s gonna take us on to the Q&A. So in this case here, we know that people purchase from brands that they recognize and trust, and how can we leverage that to… Around the highest performing DSP creatives, that’s really the question we’re all asking is how do we improve our creative and improve our performance on DSP? So our hypothesis was that static DSP ads with custom seasonally relevant, very pretty branding, We think those will outperform basic DEA ad our approach was to create those seasonally relevant images, control for eCPM, frequency caps, and targeted audiences, make sure we’re really comparing apples to apples and then run these images side by side for four weeks. These are two examples here on the left would be static ads, so you can see these are obviously way more custom versus the right, which is dynamic, DEA ads these look way more Amazon native, they include add to cart, it just looks very familiar to folks and… Next slide here is the results of this test is actually that we were wrong, and that’s not a bad thing, it’s actually fantastic to test these things out.
So the one on the left is DEA. It includes the custom image within DEA, but it still gives that Amazon native feeling. People really trust Amazon. They’re very comfortable with how Amazon looks on the right, prettier branding, this is a static image, and we saw a very significant decrease in every metric that was important, except you see the one that increased was eCPM, the reasoning is we didn’t have as much performance data on the static one, had to increase our activity there, increase our bids to make sure that we’re actually getting the learnings we wanted, and all of the metrics still were worse despite having theoretically better placement with that higher bid level, so make sure you run regular test for your clients, it’s surprising, it’s interesting, and they can learn a lot from it, you can improve a lot of things just from learning something didn’t work exactly how you thought it would.
On that same vein, in the second to last slide, in that same testing theme, we definitely recommend aiming to test one test per major category below per quarter. It’s something that you don’t see on the slide here that I really cannot recommend enough is working with your clients to maintain either a monthly or a quarterly testing calendar. I’m not sure about everyone on the line, but I sometimes find it difficult when you get bogged down in the day-to-day and you’re trying to manage execution plus strategy, plus reporting, to take a step back and make sure that you are proactively aligning on tests, so definitely slot these out with your clients, use a collaborative, shared Excel-based tracker, and then just make sure that you really stay on top of being proactive about identifying and then sticking to a test opportunities at least once per quarter.
Alright, before we head into Q&A here, and please feel free to keep dropping questions into that Q&A portion of Zoom. Key takeaways here are pretty straightforward. Amazon DSP has virtually endless targeting options, and then that robust audience data insights, if your clients a little bit hesitant, really, really push this fact that it just has so much great data that they wouldn’t get via paid search, that alone may be something to get them over the edge, number two, Amazon customers are five times more likely when they see both ads versus just paid search, that’s another great tactic to use with clients.
Number three, as Amazon becomes more competitive, and it most likely will continue to become more competitive forever, you really have to employ that full funnel strategy so make sure that you’re not just leaning on paid search, but you’re feeding that funnel via DSP, and the number four align best practices and then especially test really and often to make sure you’re staying ahead of the competition on behalf of your clients.
Alright, so thank you all for sticking with us for the last 53 minutes, we’re now gonna go ahead and open it up to Q&A, and we will just open up the Q&A section to Zach and I can see and we’ll read these out for you, but please feel free to keep adding these as we go through.
So the first question we have is, what are the ad placements where sponsored display and DSP will compete if you are running ads in both? This is a really good question, these are currently only on site, I believe Zach Please correct me if I’m wrong, where there’s a few different placements, I think most notably on the product detail pages, I know that that tends to be where the DSP and sponsor play ads tend to compete most.
I think Zach probably knows more about this than I do, but I think that there’s a banner placement right below the search bar above the PDP content, and then there’s also some placements right below the buy box or below the bullet points, where sponsored display and DSP can technically compete.
Correct, yeah. You’re targeting the same placements with those, they do have different capabilities though, one of the questions I did answer before in the chat as well as something that Matt mentioned in the presentation is the difference really is the customizability and how granular you can get with your targeting, from an audience perspective, so where you surface is gonna be similar, but who you surface to is what’s gonna be the difference between sponsored display versus DSP.
The next two questions we have are about spend minimums, first is, are there still minimum spend requirements in any of the regions? I’m assuming this may be regarding some of the international locations we’ve mentioned in that map, I do not believe that there are any spend requirements if you are working with a third party provider or a partner like Pacvue. One of the biggest benefits of working with someone, external like Pacvue versus directly with Amazon is that you are not held to that either 35000 a month or 50000 a month minimum spend level depending on the campaign type, so if you did work with an external partner, because Pacvue as an entity spends much more than that 50k per month, we get rid of that minimum spend requirement on your behalf, and so you would be able to test that with 5000 in Singapore and 10000 in Netherlands, and so on. And so we do allow you to get around that Amazon spend minimum in international locals, and the next one on that is if we’re going to use Pacvue’s self-service DSP, are we going to pay the minimum spend of 10k or is there a different payment or spend method, another really good question.
So you are not held to a minimum spend if you’re using Pacvue self-service DSP, but we do work with you on a percent of ad spend basis. In the next slide that I’ll go to after the Q&A, we have an email alias for our sales team that you can get in touch with if you are interested in Pacvue’s self-service DSP, but it is only a percent of ad spend, and you are not held to get to that Amazon minimum spend level.
I’ll add to that one, I think one of the important things to consider is how much time it’s gonna take you to build out the strategy for clients, so the spend minimum from an Amazon perspective is partially due to the amount of pre-work it takes to launch everything, so building out the strategy and launching them, physically launching your orders is going to take you a good amount of time up front, so the spend minimums that you wanna institute to your clients are gonna be important to protect you and your time as well. Spending a very small amount of dollars on Amazon’s DSP is not going to necessarily pay off for you from a you with your client perspective, you may wanna have your own minimum, not just anything.
Awesome, I have a question here from Miles. It says, I actually wasn’t aware that DSP was available to agencies other than Amazon’s own DSP team, the Amazon DSP team has been courting us, but their minimum campaign budgets are very high. Does partnering with an outside agency allow for smaller budgets? I think I already touched on this briefly, but just to answer that directly, Miles, yes. If you do work with an outside partner, you do get around the minimum spend, whether it be… It fluctuates between 35k a month and 50k a month. And so it would allow you to run smaller tests, either if the client has a smaller budget or if you don’t wanna be spending 50k every single month, it does allow you… When you work with someone like Pacvue or an external provider, it does get around those minimum spend levels.
Next up, this is one that I think might be a great one for Zach who is really plugged in with the Amazon team and his connections there is, as you mentioned, new inventory becoming available for targeting recently, have you heard of any other inventories on the horizon, for example, is Prime video available for the CTV targeting yet?
So Amazon’s video offerings from an ad perspective have increased a lot. I would say they now have Twitch, a whole host of iMDB and Fire TV, Prime video targeting that they’ve released in the last six months or so to self-service… This is a good question to follow up with our sales team for whatever your specific use case is, there’s a ton of stuff rolling out right now, including some data on how the OTT actually looks and surfaces, but there’s a lot of stuff going on, so I’m sure the use case is there.
Awesome, I have another question. What do you think is a good budget ratio for sponsored ads or paid search versus DSP? It’s a really good question. We get this pretty much daily, this is not the best answer, but it depends, and so we generally recommend starting with anywhere from a 70-30, meaning 70% paid search, 30% DSP to a 60-40, and then depending on your client, their goals, their product category, figuring out how, when you flex up or down on one of the other tactics, how that impacts their total Amazon business, but we generally recommend in that 70-30 to 60-40 split.
Really quick question on What do you suggest as a paid search or AMS person regarding how they should look at DSP data differently to evaluate ROI? I’ll go first Zach you can add anything I miss… This is a really good one. I still think sales and ROAS on DSP are still very important. It is accurate data, and they don’t double count sales or ROAS from paid search versus DSP, so they are separate and incremental to each other, but with DSP, you get so much better data, like new to brand sales, you get the brand search index metric, and then you can also assess not only ROI, but just engage with and performance, if it’s an upper funnel tactic you get things like your detailed page, or your ad to cart rate.
Yeah, just add to that, a lot of the similar metrics would be rolled in, you just need to view them in a more nuanced way, so metrics like ROAS or ACOS, obviously, those are gonna be your primary metrics on the search side, but just like on search how you view or you should view your return for a branded keyword versus a category keyword differently, the same is true on the display side as well, so understand that a lot of your… The sales attribution is gonna be last touch, so if you have display campaigns, you’re probably gonna have a very low ROAS that doesn’t compare favorably with search, and that’s gonna be because a lot of those sales are taken on the search side, so you’re driving traffic to your pages via display, and then those are captured on the search side, so think of them as working together better together, but you can’t view everything apples to apples between them, kind of view everything in tandem.
Awesome. Alright, well, we are at time here. I do apologize we did not get to a few of the questions here in the Q&A section, I do apologize that we did not get to everyone, but really quickly here on this slide, this is our sales at Pacvue email alias, if you also entered a question here and did not have it answered by either Zack or myself. My email is [email protected], and then Zach is [email protected] Please feel free to reach out to either [email protected]. Either of our email aliases and we’d be happy to answer those questions for you directly, but thank you all for joining. We really appreciate the time today, and I hope to talk to you all soon. Thanks everybody.