Throughout this year, industry thought leader eMarketer has been calling the rise of retail media, the third wave of digital advertising. Trailing very closely behind just paid search and paid social, retail media is certainly no longer an emerging channel. If forecasts hold true, nearly 1 in 5 digital advertising dollars will go to retail media by the end of 2023.
Unless you’ve been hiding (in an actual box) this week, it will have been difficult to miss the buzz coming out of Amazon Ad’s flagship event in New York. Hundreds of brand advertisers, agencies, and tech partners gathered at unBoxed to hear what exciting new solutions and innovation Amazon has planned. And they didn’t disappoint.
Key announcements from unBoxed 2022
A number of exciting announcements were shared—38 in total—all centering around four key themes:
- Measurement & Optimization
Here are just a few of the top takeaways from the biggest retail media event of the year:
Reach announcements from unBoxed 2022
Reach is such an important part of media planning. A channel might offer great ROI, but if the audience isn’t there at scale, it can limit investments. Amazon is taking steps to widen its reach to build up the available opportunities for marketers.
More opportunities for non-endemic advertisers. We’ve been introducing this concept for some time. Given that just a small percentage of companies sell on Amazon, it makes sense to open its audience to more non-CPG advertisers. So, while Amazon Ads is a no-brainer for brands selling on Amazon, at unBoxed, it introduced Sponsored Display for brands that do not sell in Amazon’s stores. (Note – currently this is only in beta on Twitch.)
Physical in-store advertising. Digital Signage Ads in Amazon DSP, which will be available in November to eligible U.S. advertisers via managed service, make it easier for brands to advertise within Amazon Fresh stores. With 85% of retail happening in brick-and-mortar stores, it makes sense to expand into the physical domain. Amazon Fresh stores could be just the tip of the iceberg—one day, biddable retail media via digital signs may replace current in-store (aka shopper marketing) advertising.
Addressability announcements from unBoxed 2022
With all of the issues swirling around consumer data tracking in the new era of privacy, marketers need to find new ways to power advanced tactics like targeting and personalization. Walled garden publishers such as Amazon—with their massive set of logged-in users—can enable addressability at scale.
Incentives for clicking ads. Rewarded Sponsored Display is coming soon to U.S. advertisers in closed beta. Brands will be able to add an Amazon shopping credit directly to the Sponsored Display creative, and customers receive the reward by clicking on the ad and purchasing the featured product.
Get campaigns up faster. With Sponsored Products campaigns with presets, Amazon Ads recommends campaign settings, including daily budgets and bidding strategies. Amazon Ads reported that campaigns launched with presets observed a 77% increase in clicks, and a 29% increase in conversions compared to campaigns that did not utilize presets.
Creative announcements from unBoxed 2022
In a world of automation and optimization, creative can often be forgotten. Amazon knows what works on its platform and is offering retail media marketers new ways to impact and influence users on their purchase journeys.
Easier video campaigns. Advertisers can deliver immersive video ads, such as tutorials, demos, unboxing, and testimonials, and measure campaign performance with new video metrics.
Video builder. Amazon Ads also announced an expanded public beta program for Video Builder, which makes it easy for brands to create videos for their Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display campaigns through ready-to-use customizable templates.
Find creative partners. Amazon creative services, which is now available in eight countries, is a new offering that helps advertisers discover, compare, and directly book with trusted service providers for the creation of impactful Sponsored Brands, Streaming TV, and Sponsored Display videos, as well as other creative assets.
Measurement announcements from unBoxed 2022
Earlier this year, Skai surveyed more than 100 retail media marketers who were all in agreement that their top 3 challenges with retail media were all measurement related. So, it’s no surprise that Amazon is placing an increasing focus on addressing this.
Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) enhancements are a major area of measurement upgrades: The number of active AMC customers quadrupled in the past year so Amazon is focused on building out AMC capabilities across four areas—signal coverage, ease of use, actionable insights, and Partner programs:
- Signal coverage: Greater visibility into the total and incremental impact of different Amazon Ads formats, more comprehensive cross-media attribution, and a deeper understanding of the customer journey.
- Ease of Use: AMC Instructional Queries serve as simple playbooks that help advertisers get started. The library has increased from 10 pre-built queries to more than 50.
- Actionable Insights: Amazon Ads will begin rolling out the ability for brands to manage their Amazon DSP audiences within AMC later this year.
- Partner Programs: Certified partners make it easy for advertisers to find potential partners based on their business needs.
Automated suggestions. Performance recommendations are in-console, actionable best practices for Sponsored Products campaigns giving advertisers in-the-moment feedback to improve campaign performance based on rigorously tested and validated best practices.
Better TV measurement. At unBoxed, Amazon Ads also introduced Amazon Streaming TV incremental household reach (beta), a post-campaign reporting solution that helps brands measure the unique, incremental audience reached through Amazon Streaming TV Ads campaigns, above and beyond their linear TV campaigns.=
The biggest impact of unBoxed 2022: raising the bar for other retailer publishers
While the announcements from unBoxed will undoubtedly excite every Amazon Ads practitioner, the real impact of this week’s news may extend even beyond the walls of Amazon’s massive footprint.
Every other major retailer either already has a retail media offering or is in the stages of planning/building its own. As they continue to try to attract increased advertising investment, many will look at what Amazon is building and realize they will have to double down in order to keep up.
This week’s unBoxed announcements are game-changing for retail media and set a new benchmark for what marketers will expect moving forward from their retailer partners. They will at least want parity in these areas—reach, addressability, creative, measurement/optimization—for them to even consider moving budget from Amazon to the dozens of other market players.
If other retailers are inspired as I imagine they will be to accelerate their development, we may look back at unBoxed 2022 and realize this was a watershed moment in the channel’s short history.
Skai’s Retail Media solution as your Amazon Ads technology foundation
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. Built with best-in-class automation and optimization capabilities, our unified platform allows you to manage campaigns on 30+ retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Instacart all in one place.
For more information or to schedule a brief demo to check out all of our cutting-edge innovations for yourself, please reach out today.