Amazon brings sponsored product ads to third-party apps, si…

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon is expanding its cost-per-click Sponsored Products ads to include placements on select third-party apps and websites, per a company announcement.
  • Advertisers using Sponsored Products ads will now have the opportunity for content to be placed across partner sites including Pinterest, BuzzFeed, Hearst Newspapers, Raptive and Ziff Davis brands like Mashable and Lifehacker.
  • Ad placement is determined by relevant page context and existing cost-per-click parameters. The move follows efforts by Amazon to bolster its decade-old Sponsored Products ads offering and arrives as the e-commerce giant’s ads business continues to grow.

Dive Insight:

Amazon is looking to give brands more bang for their buck with an expanded footprint for its Sponsored Products ads. The new capability is part of Amazon’s ongoing efforts to keep its over 10-year-old ads product fresh in a rapidly evolving digital landscape that’s seen more retailers stand up advertising businesses. 

“Sponsored Products has always been about helping customers discover products they may love,” said Colleen Aubrey, senior vice president of Amazon Ads Products and Technology, in a statement. “We are excited to now apply what we’ve learned about connecting customers and products in meaningful ways to a range of great websites and apps.”

Similar to how Sponsored Products ads already function, placements on third-party pages will be determined by the likelihood of appealing to the consumer, relevant page context and the brand’s already determined cost-per-click parameters. No additional action is required from advertisers, per the announcement. Also holding true to current functionality, the ads will only appear when advertised items are in-stock and will link directly to the Amazon product page, where consumers can find additional info including ratings, Amazon Prime status and pricing.

Only a handful of third-party sites and apps are available for Sponsored Products ads at launch, though the list includes major players like BuzzFeed and Pinterest — the latter of which Amazon struck a partnership with earlier this year. In terms of future additions, Amazon said it plans to start small, learn along the way and expand accordingly. Amazon has been in the process of revamping its ads infrastructure, including through the addition of machine learning algorithms to boost relevancy, upgraded advertiser bidding controls and broadened campaign targeting parameters to be inclusive of product attributes in addition to keywords.

“Customers today are exploring products across a range of apps and websites, and we’re seeing advertisers successfully plan and execute digital advertising strategies by shifting their focus and success metrics to the customer,” said Guy Cohen, chief product officer at advertising intelligence agency Skai. “Amazon’s latest innovation of its Sponsored Products ads enables our clients to achieve exactly that.” 

The extension of Amazon’s Sponsored Products ads comes at a high point for the company’s advertising bets. The company in the second quarter saw advertising sales grow 22% year over year to $10.7 billion, a boost partially credited to the implementation of more sophisticated machine-learning models to help brands engage previously unaddressable audiences. The growth is a likely indicator that Amazon is shoring up a dominant position in the booming retail media category, a space in which it already holds major weight. 

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