Amazon to Test New Ground for Its Sponsored Products Ads: the Rest of the Internet

Amazon to Test New Ground for Its Sponsored Products Ads: the Rest of the Internet

“This brings the ad unit off Amazon and retargets users when they’re on other sites,” says one of the agency executives. People who click on the ads will be delivered to brands’ storefronts back on Amazon. “This is a direct shot at Google, because what Amazon has that Google doesn’t is the ability for the consumer to click through to purchase on Amazon.com,” the agency executive says. Another format, units called Headline Search that appear atop search results, comprises the rest. Amazon’s ad business is growing rapidly, starting to compete more intensely with Google and Facebook, though those two still make up two-thirds of digital ad revenue in the U.S., according to eMarketer. Amazon has been making deep changes to how it runs its ad business, building out its platform and marketplace. People familiar with its strategy have said it is changing how it works with most brands, encouraging smaller advertisers to work through agencies to plan their ad buying, instead of needing Amazon’s in-house managed services specialists. The Sponsored Products ads are expected to start running on sites outside Amazon in the coming weeks. One advertiser who was considering trying the new ads says they could be a more powerful search resource. “Like if you search for sneakers on Amazon, [the ads] will appear on other sites.

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In its latest bid to close the gap with Google and Facebook in digital ad sales, Amazon plans to dramatically increase the available space for one of its most important formats, Sponsored Products: It could let brands run them across the internet, not just within its own properties.

Amazon is talking with top agencies and brands about participating in a test that would expand the scope of product ads, delivering them to outside websites by retargeting consumers who visit Amazon, according to ad industry executives familiar with the strategy. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the details publicly.

“This brings the ad unit off Amazon and retargets users when they’re on other sites,” says one of the agency executives. “The ads click back to Amazona shoppable format outside the Amazon ecosystem.”

Sponsored Products is one of the main ad formats on Amazon’s platform. It lets brands run campaigns pegged to the terms that consumers search for, similar to the search ads that made Google fantastically rich in the open web. Brands target the ads based on keywords that reveal exactly what Amazon users are in the market to buy. They appear sprinkled within search results and individual product listings.

Now, those ads will also appear on websites within Amazon’s advertising marketplace, which connects to top publishers. People who click on the ads will be delivered to brands’ storefronts back on Amazon.

“This is a direct shot at Google, because what Amazon has that Google doesn’t is the ability for the consumer to click through to purchase on Amazon.com,” the agency executive says.

Sponsored Products accounts…

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