In the constantly evolving digital marketing landscape, businesses seek innovative ways to reach their potential customers. With growing concerns about signal privacy and tightening regulations, marketers face an increasingly challenging task of obtaining and leveraging consumer signals.
This issue, known as ‘signal loss,’ has made it difficult for brands to target their ads effectively.
However, with its treasure trove of reach signals, Amazon Ads is emerging as a game changer, particularly for non-product brands. This post dives into how non-endemic brands can tap into this signal-rich platform and bypass the hurdles presented by signal loss to craft highly effective ad campaigns.
Signal loss is a pressing issue for marketers to solve
Using the right signals is vital for all aspects of contemporary digital advertising, influencing every stage of a marketer’s process — from research and planning, audience reach, and ad experimentation to personalization, measurement, and enhancement.
However, due to consumer privacy concerns and self-regulation by significant internet properties, the number of signals marketers now can collect and act upon—compared to just five years ago—has been extremely limited.
How big is this problem?
A recent Data & Marketing Association survey found that 85% of marketers are concerned about signal loss. This concern is only likely to grow as more and more regulations limit and restrict the signals available to advertisers.
The State of Retail Media 2023 provides a valuable snapshot of the current thinking and challenges that are on the minds of today’s marketing decision-makers.
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Amazon Ads are resilient to ongoing signal challenges
As brands seek alternative ways to run their advanced campaigns, Amazon Ads’ combination of rich first-party signals and broad consumer adoption is the opportunity they seek. Already garnering 1 in 8 digital ad dollars, experts expect it to account for 14.6% of the market in 2023 as it narrows the gap with Google and Facebook. Amazon advertisers know this logged-in user base offers some sanctuary for signal deprecation issues.
This message resonates with the market. In TD Cowen’s recent 10th Annual Ad Buyers Survey, senior US ad buyers responsible for over $31BN in U.S. advertising spend reported that privacy updates will likely be minimal on Amazon, making it one of the platforms most shielded from these changes.
And, in a report last year from Ascend2 and Oracle, when asked which first-party signals sources would be most valuable to address the loss of third-party cookies, customer purchase signals ranked highest—the sweet spot of Amazon Ads.
But aren’t Amazon Ads only for product brands? Not anymore!
Amazon, the ecommerce titan, is continuously adapting and expanding its advertising strategies to cater to a broader range of businesses. While CPGs and other product brands have been increasing their investments in Amazon Ads over the last several years, Amazon has recently opened its doors to non-endemic retail media advertising. This innovative move provides an engaging platform for brands that don’t sell physical products on Amazon yet want to utilize the company’s robust advertising signals and ecosystem.
But the value goes beyond just signals. Amazon Ads offers access to a massive audience across not just Amazon.com but its entire online footprint, including Twitch, IMDB, Zappos, and many other heavily trafficked sites.
This strategy presents multiple unique advantages for non-endemic brands. With Amazon’s comprehensive understanding of customer buying behaviors and preferences, these brands can access a diversified and potentially highly responsive audience. For instance, a user researching baby products could be presented with ads related to life insurance policies, providing a novel opportunity for non-endemic brands to interact with potential customers.
Additionally, these brands can combine their sales signals with signals on ad impressions, providing greater insight into customer purchase paths and enabling more knowledgeable advertising decisions.
Amazon Ads signals that non-product brands can now use to reach consumers
The following are some of the highly valuable options available through Amazon Ads:
Active Consumer Segment. By advertising to individuals who habitually purchase from specific categories, such as consumer electronics, kitchen goods, or women’s clothing, your non-product brand can reach an audience already engaged in regular online shopping, even if they aren’t necessarily looking for your service or product not sold on Amazon.
Life Stage Focus. By focusing on consumers experiencing major life stages such as college, home ownership, or pregnancy, you can reach audiences likely to be open to new services. These life events often come with a need for new, non-product solutions that your brand might offer.
Activity-Based Reach. This strategy uses consumers’ past online activities, including browsing and clicking, to inform ad buying. If your service is complex and requires explanatory videos, this tool could target individuals who have shown an interest in understanding intricate offerings.
Demographic Orientation. By reaching consumers within specific demographic groups, such as age, gender, household income, or education level, your brand can reach those most likely to be interested in your service or product not sold on Amazon based on demographic trends.
Device-Specific Approach. While this approach seems more pertinent to product sellers, reaching users based on their devices could benefit non-endemic brands. For instance, a brand offering digital tools or online services could target tech-savvy individuals who use specific advanced devices.
Context Signals. This method reaches consumers based on the content they view when the ad is served. For instance, if a user reads about retirement planning, an ad for a related financial service could be served.
Re-engagement Advertising. This method targets users who have interacted with, searched for, or purchased related products or services. This strategy can help your brand reach an audience interested in your solutions.
Advertiser-provided Audiences. Using your first-party signals, Amazon allows you to create custom audiences by uploading your customer lists. Even if you aren’t selling a product on Amazon, this tool can help you reach an audience that has shown an interest in your brand or services elsewhere.
Similar Audience Outreach. This feature allows you to extend your reach beyond your existing audience by creating ‘lookalike’ audiences on the platform. These audiences share affinities with your chosen audience, so even if your brand doesn’t sell products, you can reach potential customers who will likely be interested in your solutions.
Learn from history: get moving quickly before your competitors
In the first wave of Amazon Ads, product brands that were late to adopt the channel lost substantial market share and customers to faster-moving competitors. Today, retail media, spearheaded by Amazon Ads, is not merely an optional strategy but a critical marketing tactic. Amazon’s vast advertising capabilities are essential in the marketer’s arsenal, providing a crucial resource amidst increased privacy concerns and tightening regulations.
Now, non-endemic brands face a similar crossroads as Amazon expands its scope to include non-endemic retail media advertising. Learning from the past, non-product brands must seize this opportunity promptly to gain a competitive advantage, similar to early adopters during the first wave of Amazon Ads. Hesitation could lead to a familiar scenario—losing potential market share and customers.
In the constantly evolving digital marketing landscape, businesses continually search for innovative ways to reach potential customers. The challenge of obtaining consumer signals, termed ‘signal loss,’ has grown, but Amazon Ads and its rich signals have emerged as a solution, especially for non-endemic brands. By harnessing this signals-rich platform, non-endemic brands can navigate the hurdles of signal loss, crafting highly effective, targeted ad campaigns.
The time to act is now—history has shown us the cost of delay.
Welcome to the future of digital marketing with Skai!
Learn more about how Skai can boost your retail media programs with our tried-and-true AI technology. As part of Skai’s omnichannel marketing platform, our Retail Media solution empowers brands to plan, execute, and measure digital campaigns that meet consumers when and where they shop. Equipped with best-in-class automation and optimization capabilities, our unified platform allows you to manage campaigns on 100+ retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Instacart, all in one place.
For more information, we invite you to schedule a quick demo at your convenience to see our retail media innovation firsthand.