What Does Custom Audience Creation Mean for Brands Using Amazon Marketing Cloud?

Ross Walker is a Senior Retail Media Manager at Acadia

The ability to create custom audiences was announced by Amazon on Monday this week, the latest in an escalating cadence of enhancements to Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC). What will this feature enable brands to do, and how do we plan on using it with our Amazon advertising clients at Acadia?

First of all, we are huge fans of AMC at Acadia. We have been using it aggressively for the past year to build a better picture of the customer journey on Amazon and get beyond last-click attribution. The findings from AMC are sometimes counterintuitive for our clients. One example is a beauty client who found that one fairly unassuming product in their assortment was acting as a gateway product for their wider assortment. With this insight in hand, we invested more in promoting that SKU, and have seen total brand sales lift as a result.  

So naturally we hang on to every word about updates to Amazon Marketing Cloud. And this latest enhancement is a big deal. 

In short, we can now build real advertising funnels and serve different ads to groups of customers based on their past ad exposure and behavior. In the example of the “gateway” product I mentioned earlier, this means I could serve unique ads to customers who engaged with one of my ads but didn’t convert on that product. If they liked the outcome of that product, they will love the other products in the rest of the assortment. 

That’s a simple example - we can get a lot fancier! Here are two other ways we’re excited about using this capability. 

1. Targeting based on exposure

We can now target audiences by exposure, not just past activity. So people who've been exposed to ‘ad A’ can later be served ‘ad B’. People who are exposed to ‘ad B’ but don't purchase are exposed to ‘ad C’. So you could really bring someone down the funnel from an awareness-type ad to another based on ad exposure alone, not just behavior on site. This is huge for custom performance creative optimization. 

In the past, it has only been possible to segment advertising delivery based on whether someone has visited a product detail page, purchased a product, was viewing a competitor product, or their activity suggested they were in-market in a general category. But now we can serve ads to customers based on previous ad delivery. 

2. Including your own customer data for even more precise targeting

Another way we’ll use this enhancement is by uploading data from a brand’s CRM and serving ads to them as a custom audience within AMC.  For example, we could add all the people from our online store CRM that haven't converted on our site, and we can serve ads to them using Amazon DSP. 

This is going to be particularly helpful for brands that have very high-ticket items. These are brands that tend to have a longer purchasing period, it takes longer for them to convert.

And so we can now serve ads to them in a more measured way based on whether or not they engaged with one ad or another.

In the near future, we expect that Amazon will expand the capability here to include the ability to link out to your own store. Or for a non-endemic brand, link out to your website with another type of offer. That functionality is not here yet but on the roadmap. 

In closing: run, don’t walk

If these use cases alone won’t get you jazzed about using AMC, here’s a final carrot. I believe that brands will see higher ROAS using this tool. That’s because with smarter targeting, and serving the right messages for the right cohort, we can be more precise. And that leads to better acquisition costs.  

At Acadia, we use AMC with many of our Amazon DSP advertising clients. 

Here’s what one of our clients has said about their work with us in this area on the Ecommerce Braintrust podcast:

"We have been working with Acadia (formerly Bobsled), and analyzing the AMC data - it's exciting to look at it. How does the shopper engage with us, when do they disengage, and what's turning them off? Ad units and how they compare to one another, and then in addition to that, a lift in incrementally? What are we doing on our DTCs that's impacting a shopper who's looking at us on Amazon or vice versa? We've never had any understanding of what the journey is, so even beginning to look at some of that data, has been really fascinating."

Katie Buzcek, Totes Isotoner

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Ross Walker