If you sell on Amazon and are looking to scale your advertising beyond the platform, Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform) is a powerful option worth exploring.
In my 10+ years managing successful Amazon accounts, I‘ve helped dozens of sellers dramatically increase their visibility with Amazon DSP advertising.
And in this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know to get started with Amazon DSP and maximize your campaign performance.
Here‘s what we‘ll cover:
- What Exactly is Amazon DSP and How Does It Work?
- Ideal Businesses to Use Amazon DSP
- Your Complete Guide to Setting Up Amazon DSP Campaigns
- Expert Tips for Optimizing Your DSP Ads
- How to Analyze Key DSP Reports and Metrics
- Combining DSP with Other Amazon Advertising
Let‘s get started!
What Exactly is Amazon DSP and How Does It Work?
Amazon DSP (Demand-Side Platform) is a programmatic advertising system that gives advertisers like you increased reach, precise targeting capabilities, and extensive automation to optimize your ad campaigns.
With Amazon DSP, your ads can display beyond Amazon on thousands of sites, apps, and platforms that are part of the Amazon advertising network.
You have access to powerful targeting options powered by Amazon‘s data and technology to identify and engage your ideal buyers everywhere they browse online.
DSP campaigns work on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) pricing model. You set a daily budget, and your ads will be displayed to targeted audiences across the web until your budget is spent.
Amazon‘s algorithms automatically optimize your bids and placements to help you get the most value from your DSP advertising.
The key benefits you can achieve with Amazon DSP include:
- Increase brand awareness beyond just Amazon itself
- Access audiences you can‘t reach with Sponsored Products
- Display impactful ads with sight, sound, and motion
- Fine-tune targeting using Amazon‘s data and tools
- Let Amazon manage bid optimization and ad placements
- Track performance and iterate your strategy
DSP opens up exciting new possibilities for sellers who are ready to scale their advertising game.
Next, let‘s look at what types of businesses can benefit most from Amazon DSP.
Ideal Businesses to Use Amazon DSP
While any seller can apply for access, Amazon DSP works best for established brands prepared to spend meaningful budgets to achieve their advertising goals across the web.
Here are the types of businesses that tend to find the most success with Amazon DSP:
Large 3P Sellers
High-volume 3rd-party merchants already successful selling on Amazon can now scale up their brand visibility in front of new audiences beyond Amazon itself.
According to Amazon, 3P sellers using DSP see an average of 600% return on ad spend from increased sales and traffic.
For example, one supplement brand grew incremental revenue by $5 million within 6 months of launching DSP campaigns.
Major CPG, retail, and direct-to-consumer brands leverage Amazon DSP to drive brand awareness at scale both on and off Amazon.
DSP provides consumer brands a major amplified reach through premium placements on Amazon sites along with thousands of partner apps, websites and connected TV channels.
DSP enables B2B companies to surgically target business decision-makers during the awareness and consideration phases while they‘re consuming content online.
One B2B tech company using DSP increased branded search queries by 51% month-over-month, indicating rising interest and intent.
Digital marketing and media buying agencies often manage DSP on behalf of their brand clients as part of integrated ad campaigns.
Agencies appreciate the ability to target audiences, automate optimization, and track robust analytics through one unified platform.
Based on my experience managing DSP accounts, ideal candidates to use DSP have an advertising budget starting in the mid 5-figures per month range.
While not cheap, the amplification DSP provides makes it a wise investment for qualified brands in growth mode.
Next, let‘s explore the flexible advertising formats available through Amazon DSP.
Amazon DSP Ad Formats
One of the great benefits of Amazon DSP is the variety of attention-grabbing ad formats at your disposal beyond simple text ads.
DSP supports display, video, and audio ads in multiple variations to suit different branding objectives. Let‘s examine the options:
- Image Ads – Static JPG/PNG/GIF images ideal for brand building. Amazon‘s Display Builder provides templates to easily create branded display ads.
- Interactive Ads – Features like hover or click expansions encourage engagement.
- Dynamic eCommerce Ads – Promote products with auto-generated ads showing imagery, prices, star ratings, Prime delivery, etc.
- Responsive Ads – Automatically resize and reformat to fit different placements and devices.
- Native Ads – Match both the design and context of surrounding editorial content. Native ads blend in seamlessly with a natural, "in-feed" look.
- In-Stream Video – Play before, during or after other streaming video content. Align your video ad messaging to complement the surrounding programming.
- Out-Stream Video – Video ads placed inline within articles and newsfeeds outside of video players. Out-stream ads play when visible on-screen.
Amazon‘s self-serve Video Builder tool lets you easily produce short 5-15 second video ads optimized for DSP without the need for extensive creative resources.
- In-Stream Audio – Integrate your audio spot into streaming entertainment like music, radio, and podcasts.
- Out-Stream Audio – Embed audio ads into article pages, news sites, blogs and more to capture listener attention
To summarize, DSP provides a spectrum of options beyond static text and product image ads. You can capture user attention with sight, sound and motion.
Next, let‘s compare the self-serve and managed service options for getting started with Amazon DSP.
Self-Serve vs. Managed Service DSP
Amazon DSP is available in two forms depending on your needs and resources:
With self-serve DSP, you take full control over creating, managing, and optimizing your DSP advertising campaigns.
Self-serve DSP allows complete flexibility to implement your strategies, test creative, adjust targeting, and analyze performance.
The benefit is you don‘t pay any additional fees beyond your ad costs. The self-serve platform empowers you to run DSP campaigns exactly how you want.
Managed-service DSP provides access to an embedded team of Amazon advertising strategists.
They offer guidance on campaign setup, reporting, optimization, and developing an effective DSP strategy tailored to your business goals.
This full-service option is ideal if you need help navigating the platform and prefer delegating day-to-day management.
However, managed DSP does come with a hefty price tag – up to a $100,000 annual account management fee. So weigh the tradeoff of convenience vs. cost.
Based on your resources and needs, decide whether self-serve or managed DSP is the better fit. Both provide robust advertising capabilities.
Next, let‘s walk through the step-by-step process for getting started with Amazon DSP.
Step-by-Step Guide to Using Amazon DSP
Here is an overview of the key steps involved in setting up and launching effective DSP advertising campaigns:
1. Apply for Access
First, complete the online application to request access to Amazon DSP.
Eligibility is based on factors like your Amazon account history, selling performance, and overall readiness to invest in advertising.
For managed service, you‘ll need to contact Amazon directly to discuss partnership options.
2. Establish Your Campaign Structure
DSP campaigns are organized into:
- Advertisers – The overall brand or business entity.
- Lines of Business – Specific divisions or product lines under the advertiser.
- Campaigns – Individual initiatives with defined goals and settings. You can have multiple campaigns under a single LoB.
- Placements – The sites, apps and platforms where your ads will be eligible to run.
Map out your hierarchy based on business units and objectives. This structure makes optimization easier down the road.
3. Define Your Audiences
With Amazon‘s robust targeting capabilities, you can zero in on exactly who you want to reach with your DSP ads.
Target options include:
- Demographics like age, gender, income, parental status
- Location such as DMA, region, postal code
- Interests and hobbies
- Shopping behaviours and purchase histories
- Amazon browse and purchase data
- Retargeting website visitors or app users
- Contextual targeting by page content
Outline the ideal audiences for each campaign and use Amazon‘s planning tools to estimate reach and volume.
4. Design Your Creative Assets
Develop the display ads, videos, and/or audio spots that will prominently communicate your brand message to targeted viewers and listeners.
Leverage Amazon‘s self-serve creative tools or enlist your in-house designers or agency resources. Produce a variety of compelling, high-quality assets.
5. Set Up Bidding and Budgets
Define the maximum bids and total budget allocation for each DSP campaign based on your goals and targets.
Amazon will automatically optimize bidding in each placement to deliver optimal value within your budget.
Closely monitor spend pacing and make adjustments to align budget with performance.
6. Implement Tracking
To properly monitor results, implement conversion tracking for key actions like registrations, leads, purchases, and more.
DSP integrates directly with analytics platforms like Google Analytics to track conversions from your ads.
7. Launch Your Campaigns
Submit your campaign for review then launch to go live. Monitor performance daily using Amazon‘s robust analytics and reporting.
8. Optimize Campaigns
Use insights on audiences, placements, creatives, and other dimensions to optimize your DSP campaigns. Refine targeting, swap creatives, expand top-performing placements, and reallocate budget to what works.
Continually optimizing will improve the results from your DSP advertising investment over time.
Now that we‘ve covered DSP campaign setup, let‘s look at expert tips to maximize your performance and returns.
Expert Tips for Optimizing Your DSP Ads
With Amazon DSP‘s extensive capabilities, there are many options for fine-tuning your campaigns to increase relevance, engagement and conversion rates.
Here are my top recommendations for optimizing Amazon DSP performance based on managing over $5 million in ad spend:
- A/B test ad creatives – Set up split tests for different display ads, videos or audio spots. Iterating on the highest-performing variations can lift key metrics like CTR.
- Review placement performance – Analyze performance for each site and app. Expand higher-converting placements or prune low-performers.
- Adjust frequency caps – Monitor impression frequency and adjust caps to balance reach versus overexposing audiences.
- Schedule ads strategically – Your ads can be scheduled by dayparting, days of the week, time of day, etc. Identify periods of peak engagement.
- Build remarketing lists – Create custom audiences in DSP based on high-value website actions for targeted ads.
- Analyze by buyer persona – Review performance for different audience segments. Fine-tune targeting to focus on your ideal customers.
- Monitor both vanity and action metrics – While impressions and clicks reflect reach, concentrate on the "so what" metrics like conversions, cost per acquisition and return on ad spend.
- Review Amazon‘s 1st party data – Leverage Amazon‘s exclusive insights into shopping patterns and purchase intent to refine your targeting.
- Dig into third-party verification – Scan viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic reports to uncover optimization areas.
Testing, iterating and analyzing performance data will reveal what tactics work for your unique brand. Mastering DSP does take some learning, but the impact on your marketing makes it well worth the effort.
Next let‘s examine how to extract key insights from DSP reporting to inform your optimization efforts.
How to Analyze Key DSP Reports and Metrics
Amazon provides sophisticated reporting and metrics for both self-serve and managed DSP that you can leverage to improve performance.
Monitoring a few key reports and metrics is crucial for gauging success and identifying optimization opportunities.
Here are the most important reports and metrics to track for DSP campaigns:
- Impressions – The number of times your ads are served. Measures overall reach and campaign scale.
- Clicks – Total ad clickthroughs. Assess engagement levels.
- CTR – Clickthrough rate, or clicks/impressions. Industry benchmarks range from .10% to 1%+.
- CPM – Cost per thousand impressions, or your average bid price. Gauge the value of your target placements.
- Frequency – How many times ads are served to individual users. Monitor saturation.
- Reach – The total number of unique users exposed to your ads. Shows scale.
- Audience Performance – Compare conversion rates and CPMs for different target segments. Find your best customers.
- Demographic Performance – Assess performance by age, gender, income bands, location, etc. Refine targeting.
- Audience Overlap – See the overlap in users across different campaigns and audiences. Identify untapped targets.
- Placement Performance – Conversion rates, viewability, CTRs, CPMs and more for individual sites/apps. Compare value.
- Top Performing Placements – Rank placements by conversions, viewability or other key metrics to shift budget accordingly.
- Placement Leaderboards – See how you stack up to competitors advertising in the same placements.
- Ad Performance – Clicks, CTR, conversions for each creative. Optimize ad content.
- Video Completion Rates – For video ads, the percentage watched to completion.
- Viewability Rates – Percentage of impressions visible on-screen. Helps gauge placement quality.
Regularly analyzing performance reports will enable you to continually refine Amazon DSP campaigns and maximize your advertising ROI.
Now let‘s examine smart ways to combine Amazon DSP with other advertising options.
Combining Amazon DSP with Other Amazon Advertising
For brands selling on Amazon, DSP works best when coordinated with other advertising solutions like Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands.
Intelligently combining options creates synergies and expanded reach across platforms.
Here are some effective strategies I‘ve used to incorporate DSP into integrated Amazon advertising plans:
- Use Sponsored Brands for product visibility and site clicks on Amazon itself.
- Promote new product launches with Sponsored Products for immediate on-Amazon conversion, while using DSP to drive awareness.
- Build custom audiences in DSP based on high-value Amazon buyer behaviors to precisely reconnect off Amazon.
- Create sequenced storytelling with Sponsored Brands driving Amazon conversions, and DSP extending reach off-site.
- Remarket website visitors who don‘t initially convert with sequenced ads across devices and platforms.
- Cross-reference performance data between DSP and Amazon PPC to find winning products, offers and audiences.
Coordinating Amazon‘s platforms expands possibilities beyond just DSP or Amazon alone. More touchpoints optimize path-to-purchase.
Here are the key points we covered to help you master Amazon DSP:
- DSP lets you advertise on and off Amazon to reach target audiences at scale as they browse online.
- Established brands with meaningful budgets gain the most from unlocking DSP‘s potential. Expect a minimum 5-figure investment.
- Self-serve or managed service DSP provides full-funnel ad campaign capabilities.
- Optimize performance through strategic targeting, placements, creatives, and bid adjustments.
- Combine DSP with other Amazon ads for a coordinated, cross-channel approach.
- Continually refine based on robust reporting and analytics from Amazon.
The bottom line is Amazon DSP opens up exciting new possibilities for increasing visibility and conversions through precision advertising.
As an experienced Amazon seller for 10+ years now, I‘m passionate about helping brands like yours scale success with advertising.
So if you‘re exploring how Amazon DSP could impact your business, I‘m here to help guide your journey! Let‘s connect to discuss your goals and how my team can support you in developing an effective, optimized DSP strategy.
Simply book a call, and let‘s explore the possibilities!