Amazon DSP 201: The Updated Guide to Understanding Amazon’s Demand-side Platform

In 2019, Acadia's retail media team experts published their first Amazon DSP guide to current and prospective clients with Amazon DSP 101: Beginner's Guide to Understanding Amazon's Demand-Side Platform. While this information is all still relevant, the topic merits a bit of expanding upon. The last two years have seen a fair number of changes to Amazon DSP as well as the ways in which clients interact with ad services. However, I have noticed that many brands are still not leveraging DSP to reach their full potential - and that leads them to miss out on a lot of creative options.

Since so many parts of DSP are essential to any brand’s eCommerce strategies on Amazon, it is imperative that sellers utilize its fundamental aspects in a way that can help them target virtually any kind of audience. I want to make sure brands gain a deeper level of understanding of the Amazon DSP process in order to recognize its true power in brand messaging and bottom-line growth.

The Many Functions of DSP

Formerly called AAP, or Amazon Advertising Platform, Amazon DSP (Demand-Side Platform) is a dynamic system that allows brand advertisers to reach audiences on and off Amazon in a customizable way. This feature is essential to helping brands capture new leads on apps and third-party sites along with Amazon’s own storefront.

In this intermediate-level review, I want to reiterate the principal functions of Amazon DSP that our brands should be aware of:

  • Amazon DSP allows you to tailor your own advertising strategy based on your brand’s most pressing needs.
  • You have the freedom to explore a variety of options, each with differing creative formats.
  • You can streamline your budgeting and bid management needs through some of DSP’s best features.

Let’s go over each of these functions individually and discover whether the use of these features can help improve the results of your advertising campaigns moving forward. You’ll be able to get a clearer image of what you can hope to achieve through Amazon DSP and how we at Acadia leverage different creative resources to convey our brands’ cohesive messages.

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Tailoring Your Own Advertising Strategy

You can reach a great deal of potential new customers at different stages of your marketing funnel when you fine-tune your advertising strategy through DSP.  One great way to do this is to leverage the giant data pool gathered by Amazon regarding shopper habits, awareness, purchases, loyalty, and much more.

The Early Funnel 

If you are looking to increase the purchases of your products overall, you can employ the common tactic of view remarketing. Using this method, you can create a custom audience through DSP made of users who have viewed your products and pages. This makes it so much easier to target them with DSP advertising, stimulating conversion rates - especially on product pages that the customers may have already visited in the past.

Another similar strategy is purchase remarketing. Using this method, you can set up ads that target people who have already bought from you in the past but haven’t bought anything in a long while. If you have certain consumable products that need to be repurchased over time in order to maintain their profit value, you might want to set up ads this way. It helps you make certain that you will be on the minds (and recommended pages) of your buyers.

Learn more about DSP retargeting and the different possibilities of Amazon with Amazon DSP Retargeting: The First 30 Days

Mid-Funnel Tactics

Once you start moving up in the funnel, you can start leveraging your in-market audiences for certain products and pages. In-market audiences are typically made up of people whose shopping activities can help you indicate whether they want to purchase products similar to yours. Amazon can give you data on certain searches or browsing behaviors to help you hone in on the right type of audience.

Top of the Funnel

At the top of the funnel, your main focus is awareness. You can set up ads through DSP that target only the people whose Amazon activity indicates that they are interested in your type of product. You can fine-tune this ad search by niche (baby supplies, for example), refining it further by searching for the audience’s location or age.

There are a seemingly endless array of possibilities offered through the Amazon DSP system, only limited by creativity. It’s important to deeply analyze the characteristics of your buyers at all stages of the marketing funnel, and Amazon’s audience data will make it so much easier to reach those same kinds of consumers.

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Enjoying a Multitude of Creative Format Options

One of the great advantages our brands enjoy about Amazon DSP is the ability to customize every type of creative that brands want to use in their advertising. DSP offers really amazing insights into the performance of each type of creative, as well as the correct format for creatives that will reap the biggest rewards. Here are a few creative formats that I recommend:

1. Responsive eCommerce

Responsive eCommerce is pretty straightforward when it comes to setup. You don’t need custom imagery to get started, making it a good option for brands looking to set up a DSP order for the first time. All that’s required is an ASIN, and Amazon will do the rest. An image will be pulled from Amazon’s database and it will be used as the main image for your new ad creative. It comes in all default sizes that are suitable for DSP, although you can manually create sizes as well. Feel free to also customize the headline that will be shown on your ad alongside the product image.

2. Image

The Image creative is exactly as it sounds: a creative that consists of an image that includes preset dimensions. All you need to do is upload the right kind of image to Amazon DSP and then you’ll have complete control over the look, design, and messaging of your ads. As long as you follow Amazon’s guidelines, you can do just about anything you want. This gives you quite a bit more freedom and plenty more possibilities than what is currently available through the Sponsored Display page.

3. Video

The Video creative format has the potential to increase the click-through rate of each of your ads. You can either upload your own video just like you can with the image format, or you can use Amazon’s built-in creative maker to build a simple video based on your ASIN. It will pull the information listed on that ASIN and generate content for your video. You can use this responsive creative format to start out with, but over time I recommend that you also test the efficacy of other creative format options not listed here.

Fine-Tuning Budgets and Bid Management

It might go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: it is paramount that you keep a close eye on your budgets and bids at all times. Your overall budget is set at the order level, where you can add daily caps and other limits. In addition, you can refine your budget further at the line item level. Amazon will do all of the heavy lifting for you, constantly optimizing your budgets based on past and projected performance.

However, if you are looking for a greater degree of control over your budget and overall ad spend, you should always adjust line item budgets manually rather than just relying on an automated Amazon system.

Amazon DSP lets you set two different types of bids:

  • Base supply bids, denote the ideal amount you would like to pay per 1000 impressions. Amazon will do its best to optimize delivery solutions in order to meet your goal - but that does not mean that your ideal budget will be guaranteed.
  • Maximum supply bids, which let you put in the maximum amount you are willing to spend for 1000 impressions. This works in a similar manner as base supply bids.

Again, it is really important that you monitor your performance and make sure you are focusing on optimization at the bidding level of your funnel. This will ensure that you are bidding aggressively enough on the line item budgets that count while reducing your spend on the line items with lower performance.

How Acadia's Retail Team Helps Clients Choose the Best Targeting Options

Like many ad campaign systems across eCommerce channels, Amazon DSP continues to grow and evolve. It will get even better as it gives access to so many more audiences, making targeting efforts all the more accurate (and easy). There are different targeting options depending on which stage of the funnel a brand is currently in.

We started taking a full-funnel approach with one of our clients when creating new orders for them on Amazon DSP. By using interests for awareness, targeting in-market audiences for consideration, and views retargeting to stimulate new purchases, we were able to drive repurchase rates higher.

Every targeting option offers different results for your ROAS but serves well for the overall strategy. Awareness campaigns, for example, bring a lot more people into the funnel. Those people are then immediately targeted by the other various Amazon DSP orders that we already set up. Ultimately, this makes for a much more precise and efficient funnel that drives better results in this new era of eCommerce marketing.

Boost your ad performance on Amazon and learn more about DSP by scheduling a consultation with Acadia experts today!

Ross Walker