Skai’s Senior Director of Marketing Research, Chris ‘Coz’ Costello, comments on the news that Amazon is testing a program that lets advertisers use search queries to retarget across the web.
Just in time for Halloween—and with apologies to the Scream movie franchise—the ads had been coming from inside the store, but in the sequel, they may have broken free. And if we’ve learned anything about horror movie sequels in the last couple of weeks, it’s that they can be even more successful than the original, especially if they focus on the right things.
AdExchanger is reporting that Amazon is testing search retargeting outside of its own walled garden, which would mark a significant expansion of the ecommerce giant’s footprint in the digital advertising ecosystem. It may be the case that someone read a passage from an ancient cursed eBook and released this capability into our world. Or, more likely, it’s being rolled out to selected advertisers.
As the primary player in the broader field that we are calling ecommerce channel advertising (ECA), the meteoric growth of digital advertising on Amazon has been a huge story over the last year. In their latest earnings call, the company declared nearly $2.5 billion in “other revenue,” which is perceived as being primarily the ecommerce giant’s ad business.
In our most recent Quarterly Trends Report, we reported that monthly spending from ecommerce advertisers using the Skai platform to manage their campaigns tripled from January through July of this year. And next year, Third Door Media reports that 4 out of 5 advertisers on the platform plan to increase their spending levels.
One of the big and obvious appeals of advertising directly in an ecommerce channel is that advertisers can get in front of consumers when they are at their highest levels of purchase intent. There is a good reason that ECA ads are frequently compared to valuable real estate such as the end-cap placement of products in a physical store.
That still presupposes getting said consumers to said store. While Amazon does currently offer retargeting based on explicit product views or purchases, this potential next step expands the range of intent signals advertisers can use to lure victims into their web…er, attract shoppers to their products. It also moves Amazon towards audiences with broader signals of intent than just that traditional end-of-funnel behavior, which has the potential to vastly expand how many relevant shoppers these ads can reach across the Internet.
Most marketers would agree that a product search on an ecommerce site is a stronger intent signal than one on a search engine. So, while the simple view of this change might be to challenge search engines on the topic, it’s really more targeted. Any teenager can search for lake house camping supplies, and those searches are still important. But the teenagers that did it on an actual ecommerce site in the last 24 hours are the ones that any supernatural killer worth his (or her) salt should really focus their otherworldly energy on.
Our goal as marketers is always to reach customers at the right time with the right message, and we don’t need witchcraft to make that happen. As marketing channels and publishers offer more and more sophisticated targeting capabilities, advertisers will be the one making a killing.