What Is Amazon DSP and How It Works

February 26, 2022

As you probably are well-aware of, today Amazon is one of the most dominant players not just in e-commerce, but also across a number of technological niches such as cloud services. Given that Amazon owns the most popular on-demand cloud computing platform in the world (AWS), the fact that it is also active in the programmatic advertising field shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. 


In fact, owning an online platform with more than five million marketplace sellers, Amazon has been active on the digital advertising market for quite awhile now. Modern-day programmatic solution by Amazon is called Amazon DSP. And today we are going to talk about this demand-side platform for advertisers by the online retail giant in detail. 


Brief history of Amazon DSP 


Originally, Amazon had two major digital advertising offers. First, Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), was designed as a solution for small online merchants that allowed them to advertise on Amazon.com. Second was Amazon Media Group (AMG), focused on providing programmatic advertising services for large brands and vendors. 


Eventually, the company also released Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP), designed as a demand-side platform for advertisers who wanted to target Amazon’s audience off the Amazon.com platform. 


In 2018, Amazon decided to unite all three above-mentioned platforms under the same hood, rebranding them as Amazon Advertising, also renaming its demand-side platform from AAP to Amazon DSP.


What is Amazon DSP? 


Amazon DSP (obviously, DSP stands for demand-side platform) is a programmatic advertising solution for advertisers that allows them to buy both display and video ads on Amazon.com. As well as on other websites and mobile apps that are either owned and operated by Amazon or belong to its partner network. 


Naturally, the main distinctive feature and advantage of Amazon DSP platform for advertisers is the ability to buy highly targeted ads. Owning a huge portfolio of web properties, Amazon DSP allows advertisers to leverage its first-party user data to target users both on Amazon’s platform and outside. 


The platform provides advertisers with the ability to target users not just based on their demographics and other common metrics, but also using their online shopping behavior and other sophisticated data collected by Amazon across its web properties. 


Amazon DSP ad types 


When it comes to ad types offered by Amazon DSP, the platform divides them into the following four categories: 


Static ads 


Specific predetermined display advertisement (static banners).  


Dynamic ads


Dynamic ads (they can only link to a product page on Amazon.com) can include various elements and are able to automatically change depending on user targeting settings. Dynamic ads may include images, CTAs, and other elements. 


Video ads 


Video ads in the Amazon DSP network can run out-stream, as a display ad, or in-stream, as part of video content.


OTT video ads


Amazon DSP also provides OTT video ads that run in videos across Amazon’s web properties, such as MDB, Twitch, PrimeVideo, and other online platforms. Check our article about OTT and CTV programmatic ads if you are not familiar with the concept. 


Amazon DSP ad formats 


Amazon DSP also has quite a wide selection of specific digital advertising formats to offer. Here they are: 


  • Desktop banners;


  • Desktop video ads;


  • Mobile banners;


  • Mobile interstitial ads;


  • Image and text context ads;


  • In-stream video ads.


Amazon DSP ads targeting options 


As we said already, audience targeting is one of the key benefits of using Amazon DSP if you are an advertiser. And soon you will see why. When it comes to targeting options, Amazon DSP indeed gets very interesting compared to most other programmatic advertising solutions. It offers customers six types of audience segmentation and targeting. 


  • Online shopping behavior 


Segments audience based on different types of their behaviors during online shopping on Amazon.com, such as types of goods they are buying or demonstrating buying intent towards. 


  • Lifestyle segmentation 


This option allows advertisers to focus ad targeting based on lifestyle segments users most commonly search products in, such as kitchen utensils or fitness, for example. 


  • Audience with buying intent re-marketing 


Another interesting option is the ability to target users who already viewed or searched for products sold by this vendor on Amazon, as well as similar products by competitors. 


  • Audience lookalike 


Amazon DSP also provides an option to segment the audience based on buyer behavior that is most similar to those users who already made purchases from the vendor. 


  • Contextual ads 


Shows contextual ads based on the content of the page that users are viewing in real time.


  • Advertiser audience retargeting 


Finally, there’s an option that allows Amazon DSP customers to retarget visitors of their corporate websites. As well as to integrate other third-party data into the platform that could be used for audience retargeting. 


Amazon DSP vs. Amazon Sponsored Display Ads


Reading about Amazon DSP, you might confuse it with another Amazon’s digital ads offering designed for the users of its e-commerce platform: Sponsored Display Ads. 


They are not the same thing. In fact, Amazon Sponsored Display Ads is an example of a self serve programmatic advertising solution. It allows independent Amazon vendors to run self-managed contextual ads, showing them to online shoppers at Amazon.com. Unlike its DSP platform, Amazon Sponsored Display Ads is limited to simplest context ads and very basic user targeting options. 


Final thoughts


Don’t have time to sort through different programmatic advertising solutions and test multiple related tools to find the one that will allow your web properties to deliver highest ad revenues? Outsource this headache along with all the other challenging aspects of your ad operations to professionals with proven expertise in the ad tech field. 


This is us! The pubGENIUS team consists of highly experienced specialists who are well-versed in the best practices and trends of the industry. We know how to utilize innovative technologies and ad unit types to optimize websites for individual publishers. We will make sure that your web properties are using the most relevant monetization methods and your ad inventory is set up and operating with maximum capacity at all times. 


Get in touch with pubGENIUS Team to get free consultation 🙂