Ross Walker is a Senior PPC Manager at Acadia.
Many brands I speak with at Bobsled recently have been asking about the ‘holy grail’ of advertising measurement: tracking incremental sales from advertising. Brands are trying to figure out how big of an influence their ads have had on final sales, wanting to know more about the first and last touch of the sales process.
Recently, Amazon has introduced a way to link together overall business activities to prove the first touch and last touch for any brand. Amazon Marketing Cloud provides better insight into how DSP and PPC advertising work together and how all of your ad strategies are faring down the shopping funnel. While this feature was originally announced in Q1 2021, ad tech that makes it more accessible was just recently rolled out to market in the last couple of months.
Recently, I have started to use it with some of my larger clients at Bobsled, an Acadia company. I want to talk about what it is and how it can be used to dig into important data that will help incremental profits soar.
What is Amazon Marketing Cloud?
Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) is more than just a cloud-based data service. It offers the ability for advertisers to perform different types of analytics and use custom data sets like never before. This is an exciting feature because it shows that Amazon is finally loosening its grip on coveted customer data. This will help advertisers and individual brands determine how valuable Amazon advertising really is at all stages of the customer buying journey.
Brands may have their own customer data sets that they can leverage to build queries around too, as other first-party data can be ingested into AMC. Then brands can learn if their Amazon advertising strategies also influenced sales off of Amazon.
With AMC, Amazon has opened the gate by a few inches to allow a lot more visibility on previously hidden stored data.
A New Big Benefit to Advertisers
Being able to see the inner workings of the hows and whys of Amazon’s advertising services is incredibly valuable. This is something that we are most excited about.
In the past, customer and advertising data were filtered only through the ad console or different reports generated by Amazon in Seller Central or Vendor Central. We could only search by specific parameters, without being able to search through other important filters like hourly data or 60-day activity. There was no way to see the real connection between Amazon DSP (Amazon Demand Side Platform) and PPC ad performance. Now, it’s as if the huge database with all of those links has been made available to advertisers, making it easy to track performances across the board.
What Can You Do with AMC?
Insights are accessed through AMC by writing SQL queries on the database. You can try to access certain points within the database to learn what is available and what kind of info will be helpful for you to pull. While this still leaves you with a bit of distance between your brand and the core database, you now have the ability to ask specific questions to get new data in a way that you never could before. It’s easier to ask more efficient questions to get your hands on more valuable data.
My Top Queries (so far)
I have started experimenting with many different types of queries and I have explored a few of my favorites with my clients. Here are some that I have started to use on a more regular basis:
1. What is the First Touch?
The first touch is the first advertising product that a customer saw on their starting journey down the purchasing funnel. This is a great way to start tracking the path to purchase from DSP display ad campaigns, through to other mid- and bottom-funnel PPC ads.
2. What is the Last Touch?
It is similarly valuable to know what the last advertising product was that the customer looked at or interacted with in some way. This can also provide additional insight into the conversion rate for the different sales paths that a customer took, and learn which is the highest-ROI advertising journey.
Want to learn more about Amazon DSP? Check out our blog articles on the topic.
AMC and DSP
Brands have never been able to see how DSP campaigns have directly contributed to other advertising efforts and how they work well in combination. We've always been able to see the overall sales - just not the relationship between DSP and PPC. This allows brands to be so much smarter with their advertising investments, using more tailored data to find out what will make advertising more effective, and at what part of the sales journey these changes should be applied.
The Future of AMC
Since this tool is still so new and gives limited access to brands, we are still testing it out to determine its true promise moving forward. But we already know that it creates real value by offering a clean room to collect specific data about advertising and customers from both Amazon and off-platform eCommerce channels. Being able to track traffic and conversions in this way can unify the impact of ads and change the way you connect DSP with sponsored ads.
Pro Tip: You can also add your own first-party data to the clean room, being able to leverage it with these new insights to get ahead in the game. You’ll be able to track the percentage of customers who first interacted with your Amazon ads and purchased elsewhere, and vice versa: customers who interacted with your website first and then made a purchase on Amazon. Only this type of combined data can give you a true calculation of advertising-influenced sales.
AMC surfaces Twitch as a high-ROI advertising destination
Any gamers out there? Twitch is a massive streaming platform that was recently purchased by Amazon. But not much has been done to maximize its full potential as an advertising platform - until now. Recently, Amazon has begun to overlay placements on Twitch for different types of sponsored display ads.
What used to be called OTT (Over-the-top advertising) is now known as streaming media, and it’s a great tool for any brand to add to their arsenal. Recently, one of our clients found out that their media that was streaming on Twitch was not only a great last touch, but pathways that included streaming media had some of the highest conversion rates. Customers that first were exposed to the brand with a DSP awareness campaign later interacted with sponsored product campaigns and were then prompted to make the sale after they were served a streaming media video advertisement.
Amazon already knows what types of people are shopping for the specific products or services a brand is selling, and will automatically place ads in front of them whenever they are watching content on Twitch. It doesn’t matter what type of content is being watched, as streaming ads will still be tailored to each person’s shopping habits and history. With AMC, we can track this path and see the impact of upper funnel media initiatives.
Can AMC Help with Other Branding Initiatives?
An incredibly helpful feature made available by AMC is the ability to connect linear media across all channels and devices to be uploaded as data into the clean room. This includes connected Amazon devices like a Fire Stick or a Fire Tablet or even partnered channels like the Discovery Channel and CNN.
So far, this proves that you can use biddable advertising products to help with off-channel branding initiatives, even giving you the opportunity to be slotted in for national TV advertising or really any type of linear media.
How Can Brands Access the Marketing Cloud?
AMC is not a self-serve, on-demand platform. Currently, access is restricted and there is a massive backlog of applicants. Here are a few requirements that we know of already:
- Brands must already have access to the Amazon DSP.
- Brands must be actively selling on Amazon.
- Access needs to be manually approved by an Amazon rep.
Agencies like Bobsled have the ability to connect brands to these new digital services that can truly revolutionize the way advertising data is gathered.
Learn More About AMC With Bobsled
As I mentioned, Bobsled has access to Amazon Marketing Cloud and we’ve been using it with some clients already. If you’re ready to go right away, feel free to reach out to us!
But AMC is not a self-serve tool that brands can easily set up on their own. It is important that brands are familiar with DSP and have access to different advertising tools to make sure that an advanced feature like Amazon Marketing Cloud will be worth it. We will release more information on this tool as it becomes available, so be sure to sign up to receive updates from Acadia!