Since the beta launch of Amazon Sponsored Display, understanding the difference in nature and application between Sponsored Display and Amazon’s Demand-Side Platform (DSP) ads has become an extremely hot topic.
“When Covid hit, traffic on Amazon increased dramatically,” Bobsled Advertising Director Stefan Jordev says. “Brands are now looking for ways to capitalize on this additional traffic without breaking their advertising budgets. Considering the current landscape, driving online growth by leveraging display ads is a no-brainer for many brands at the moment.”
In today’s article Stefan breaks down the fundamentals of both ad types and why brands should consider folding them into their Amazon advertising strategy.
Sponsored Display is a self-service display advertising solution that can be accessed through the AMS advertising console or Seller Central. You can reach audiences both on and off Amazon. In terms of appearance, you can choose from standard ecommerce creative, or ecommerce creative with a custom headline.
On the left: Example of a Sponsored Display ad with standard ecommerce creative
On the right: Example of Sponsored Display ad with ecommerce creative and a custom headline
“The key difference with Sponsored Display and other internal Amazon Advertising tools is that you are able to target Audiences,” Stefan explains. “You can filter by Searches, Views or Purchases. There is still the option to focus on individual ASINs with your Sponsored Display ads, but the Audiences targeting adds a lot more sophistication, and can help you acquire valuable customer data.”
Above: Screenshot of the various Targeting options for Sponsored Display ads
The Amazon DSP is a demand side platform that enables advertisers to programmatically buy display and video campaigns that reach audiences both on and off Amazon. In terms of DSP display ads, you can choose from standard ecommerce creative, or image-based creative.
Above: Example of a DSP ad with standard ecommerce creative
To learn more about Amazon DSP, download Bobsled’s free checklist.
Similarities Between Amazon Sponsored Display & DSP
“Even though Sponsored Display ads and Amazon DSP ads are generated via completely separate platforms, they share many similarities,” Stefan says. “I’ve outlined all or the main commonalities in the table below.”
|Can utilize display ads with
Displayed on and off Amazon?
Use default brand safety rules?
Are self served?
|Yes||Yes (with minimum DSP spend commitment)|
“The ‘default brand safety rules’ are AI-powered mechanisms to ensure that ads are only delivered to real humans, not bots, via legitimate sources, which ensures ads don’t appear anywhere they shouldn’t, such as overtly political or adult websites,” Stefan explains.
“As for self-service on Amazon DSP, brands can manage their own DSP presence if they commit to Amazon’s minimum spend requirements, which I believe to be around $35,000 USD per month. Alternatively, you can partner with an Amazon-approved DSP provider such as Bobsled to manage DSP campaigns on your behalf. Opting for the agency partner solution can significantly lower the minimum spend threshold required to leverage DSP.”
DIFFERENCES Between Amazon Sponsored Display & DSP
“As for the main differences, it’s important to bear in mind that Sponsored Display ads can only facilitate conversions within the Amazon marketplace,” Stefan says, “whereas DSP ads can facilitate conversions on the Amazon marketplace and other channels.”
Advertisers that sell on Amazon
|Advertisers that do or don’t sell on Amazon|
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Cost Per Mille (CPM)
|Varies per region|
|Can traffic lead to a DTC website?||
|Can I block specific sites?||
“Broadly speaking, Sponsored Display ads help improve sales and brand awareness on the Amazon marketplace,” Stefan says. “Your ads may appear outside the marketplace, but all traffic will be directed to your Amazon listings.”
“On the other hand, DSP advertisers can choose exactly where the traffic goes. You don’t even need to be selling a product available on Amazon to tap into DSP traffic. For example, a college could advertise a new undergrad course via the DSP network, and direct all interested parties to a sign-up page on their own website.”
According to Stefan, there’s a way to utilize Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP in tandem.
“I would encourage brands to view Sponsored Display as ‘entry level’ display advertising,” he says. “What’s great is that there is essentially no minimum spend. These campaigns are fast and easy to set up. This allows every Amazon Advertising to dip their toes in the water and figure out what works from the perspective of budget, targeting, and which products get the most love from display ads. It also gives you valuable shopper data which you can harvest and utilize across all sales channels. Sponsored Display CPCs are typically higher than other Amazon PPC tools, but not by much, only 20% on average, so that’s definitely within reach for many brands out there.”
“Amazon DSP is the big leagues. The targeting options are way more advanced. You should definitely be analyzing the Sponsored Display shopper data and refining it for your DSP campaigns. But with DSP, brands can get more focused by utilizing lookalike audiences and in-market segments. You can also import data from your DTC website CRM in order to set up negative targeting – this is where you purposefully avoid customers that are already directly buying from your website. DSP requires deeper pockets, so it’s important brands have a clear display strategy in place to ensure they’re getting the most bang for their buck.”
Here are some simple ways brands should be considering using Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP together.
- Building your brand. Use Sponsored Display to promote all ASINS and identify top performers. Then move top performers across to DSP.
- Drive product discoverability. Target suggested or similar product categories.
- Extend momentum after key buying periods. Retarget product listing visitors after big holiday shopping events.
Need help managing Sponsored Display and DSP??
The Bobsled team would love to support your efforts!
Book a consultation today.