If you’re reading this, you’re likely already familiar with Amazon’s “bottom of funnel” pay-per-click (PPC) advertising options, like their Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. While these PPC options are often the foundation of your Amazon brand growth, there’s a whole other world of “top of funnel” Amazon advertising that allows you to target more finely and to express your message in more robust ways.

Amazon’s demand-side platform (DSP) allows advertisers to programmatically buy creatively rich ad formats (display, video, etc.) across a diverse media inventory. This includes not only Amazon.com itself, but other Amazon-owned properties—like IMDb—and 3rd party publishers. Brands can even directly place “Over-The-Top” (OTT) ads into the streams of popular TV shows and use Amazon purchase data to achieve narrow targeting on Prime Video and beyond.

In the past, Amazon DSP was available solely through Amazon-managed services for advertisers with a minimum ad spend of $35,000 per month. Recently Amazon opened DSP for broader use through qualified partners. BOLD, for example, is an Amazon-Accredited partner, and as a result, we can help brands leverage the DSP with almost any budget (contact us to learn how).

Choosing a partner for Amazon DSP services comes down to more than price. As you begin your search and start having conversations, keep these things in mind.

How to Choose the Right Partner for Amazon DSP Services

Find a partner that understands your audience and shopper.

Companies and brands can reach a wide range of potential audiences through Amazon DSP. But there’s a lot to consider: should you target based on behavior or based on content consumption? What demographic groups hold the highest potential for your brand? Which related purchases can help to identify your specific prospect?

To answer these questions, you need a partner with platform and category understanding. As you speak to potential partners, make sure you gauge their category experience and their ability to understand your strategic focus. The better they understand your brand, category, and strategies, the better your campaigns will perform.

Find a partner that YOU can understand.

Amazon DSP is incredibly complicated, but your partner should be able to make it simple for you. As you interview potential partners, ask a lot of questions and have them take you through some campaigns from their other clients. If you don’t understand what they’re telling you, that’s not a good sign. You will need a partner that can make their craft and approach understandable to you, or you will never have the alignment you need.

Find a partner that understands DSP but can also deliver great ads.

Amazon DSP is just a platform. How well you do will be driven, in a very large part, by the ideas behind your ads and the quality of the ads themselves. No amount of optimization will be able to fix an inferior idea.

Make sure that your partner has strong strategic creative capability, design, and copywriting. Ask them to see examples of the ads that they’ve developed in your space so you can see how all of this comes together.

Find a partner that’s fast and flexible.

Amazon DSP lets you test ads against one another, but you may not get it right on the first try. Goals and targets change over time as your business grows. A good partner helps guide you to a winning solution through strategic planning, A/B testing, retargeting, competitor assessments, and so on.

In the world of optimized campaigns, your partner needs to be able to create a campaign, read the data for a week or two, and then make adjustments based on what the data says. While this may sound expensive, your clicks and conversions will go up, and you will save in the long-term. Is your potential partner fast and agile enough for this?

Find a partner with the right pricing model for you.

Partners price their services differently, but most fall into one of three types of pricing models:

  • Percentage of ad spend: The cost of this pricing model depends on how much your ad spend budget is. Most partners price their services at 10-20 percent of your ad spend. The problem with this pricing model is that partners might focus more on growing your ad spend budget rather than on a campaign’s returns. Make sure to set your goals for each campaign early on. Some partners will also require a management fee to cover overhead costs for managing your campaigns.
  • Hourly pricing: This is the simplest pricing model. Hourly rates are usually charged on a monthly or quarterly basis. Paying for a fixed number of hours for services per month can be an easy way to track your budget and spending. 
  • Flat-rate pricing: Flat-rate pricing means that you’re paying the same fee no matter how many hours are spent on your campaigns every month. Partners that focus on flat-rate pricing are geared toward providing results for their clients and creating lasting relationships. When the scope of the project/campaign is defined and agreed upon by all parties, this pricing model is beneficial for both.

The Bottom Line

While these tips for finding the right partner are all important, it’s even more important that you get in the game and experiment. It’s still the early days for Amazon DSP and getting there faster can give you a significant advantage over your competitors, many of whom are only using basic PPC capability. A whole new world of advertising is waiting for you!

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