Expect to See (Lots) More Programmatic Ads from Amazon

Amazon has just made it much easier for brands and ad agencies to serve us more ads, everywhere we go online.

“Agency execs say Amazon is opening up and evolving self-service for Amazon Media Group, its advertising arm that works similarly to programmatic advertising to serve ads to people off Amazon.com,” explains Shareen Pathak in Digiday.

Previously, agencies or brands that wanted to tap into Amazon’s programmatic ad program had to go through Amazon’s own managed services. Agencies will now have a self-service platform, so they can directly manage their own campaigns.

Ultimately, according to Pathak, Amazon’s long-run goal is to make all of their ad platforms available in self-serve mode. Agencies will probably love this.

For consumers, it means we’ll likely be seeing more ads for Amazon merchandise wherever we go online.

I know…you can’t wait, right? 

According to Amazon’s AAP page, this will allow a brand to be “programmatically reaching Amazon shoppers, at scale, wherever they are.” In other words, on your social channels, your search page, in the apps you use and on the web pages you visit.

“Self-serve means more ads, and more ads means more revenue. It’s attractive to agencies because it lets agencies impose their own margins or mark-ups. That inevitably reduces friction and also means more ad options and, therefore, more revenue,” Pathak continues. And Amazon is reportedly incentivizing brands and agencies to try the service, with coupons and other gimmes.

Look, we get it. Brands need to advertise. And Amazon claims their campaign safety controls will help protect brand reputations, a critical concern in light of the YouTube/Google programmatic meltdown.

We still wonder if “at scale, wherever they are” is the right approach. Is saturating an already soaked online experience truly the way to invest your ad budget? I guess it depends on your KPIs – if “reach” is the thing, then maybe. But for true ROI, brands like Chase have learned that more isn’t more when it comes to programmatic.

The good news is that the industry is painfully aware of digital ad fraud and waste. And there are some dedicated people working really hard to curb it. But overall, the digital ad industry still has some growing pains to get past.