Sponsored Display Ads: Now available in Perpetua

By Adam Epstein on November 19, 2019

Earlier this summer, Amazon introduced Sponsored Display Ads.

The launch of Sponsored Display brought retargeting capabilities to both vendors and sellers, without minimums.

For Vendors, Product Display campaigns and targeting options were neatly rolled up under the new Sponsored Display Ads umbrella. Vendors can still access the audience and product targeting they are used to with one important new addition - retargeting (shown in the image below as views in AMS).

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In theory the ad unit had tremendous promise: a self-serve ad unit that allowed smaller Sellers and Brands (for whom DSP ads are too costly) to run display advertising on or off Amazon directing consumers to product pages. For that matter, anyone familiar with the laborious and manual nature of Amazon's DSP ads, should have been excited by the potential of Sponsored Display as well.

Two aspects were particularly intriguing:

  1. Unlike DSP ads, Sponsored Display as would be pay-per-click (DSP ads are pay per impression). Which means the costs of using this ad, relative to the sales attributed to these ads could be easily controlled.

  2. Creative would be auto-generated using Amazon's dynamic creative (see example below). Through our work on the DSP, we've found that Amazon's dynamic creative is actually more effective that custom creative for retargeting ads on Amazon properties (rather than 3rd party websites).

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Given this, and knowing that our customers should employ a full funnel advertising strategy, we made it a priority to bring Perpetua's optimization capabilities for Sponsored Display — and today we're proud to offer it to all of our customers.

We do so with a disclaimer: Temper your expectations.

Over the past several months, we've been running tests on a number of clients and the early results have been less than encouraging.

Here's why:

Limited to Re-Targeting Our tests were limited to Retargeting. This means ads only showed for people that have been to your product page, but have not purchased your product. Retargeting ads are undoubtedly very powerful. For these ads to be effective at scale, you'll need a fair bit of impression on your product page. However, if you have tons of impressions on your product pages then DSP ads should be considered in favour of Sponsored Display. With DSP ads, you have much more control over your audience selection, which we've seen drive significant results. In short, for this to be effective, you need some scale (but not too much).

Limited Attribution Window It seems as though the attribution window for Sponsored Display ads is only 7 days, which is roughly half of the attribution window for Sponsored Products Ads (15 days). We're not entirely sure why such an inconsistency was created but the result of this means metrics on these ads won't appear promising. In our testing of this ad unit, we did however find that Sponsored Product Ads saw a lift in performance when Sponsored Display ads were concurrently running - which suggests that Sponsored Product ads saw the benefits of the attribution window gap.

Sponsored Display Ads occur on Display Ad Inventory While our endorsement for Sponsored Display ads may appear lukewarm at the moment, we remain extremely bullish on the potential for this ad unit.

The API has already become more robust and now offers more nuanced targeting capabilities (beyond retargeting) such as identifying audience segments for true top of funnel ads. We will be building support in Perpetua for these additional targeting types imminently.

Further, in the not too distant future, we'll start to recommend which products in a portfolio our data suggests would be effective for Sponsored Display ads.

Activating a retargeting campaign via Sponsored Display Ads is easy.

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Here's our advice: If you spend $2,000 - $6,000 in Sponsored Ads and have a number of products that get a fair bit of impressions then it's worth giving Sponsored Display ads a shot. Monitor the spend closely, because it is easy to spend money with limited results.

If you spend less that $2,000 these ads will be ineffective and not worth your resources. If you spend more than $6,000 on Sponsored Ads, we strongly encourage you to leverage the Amazon DSP - results have simply been better.

If you want to learn more or if we can help support your full funnel advertising strategy in any way, reach out to us at hello@perpetua.io and we would be happy to present you with our recommendations.