Amazon Unboxed 2022: Our takeaways
Product announcements with plenty of detail
I was lucky enough to attend the annual Amazon UnBoxed event last week in New York City. It’s an Amazon Advertising conference focused on new product announcements. What’s especially refreshing is that most of the Amazon folks attending and presenting were from Amazon’s product teams so there’s a level of detail that just doesn’t occur with more sales and business development focused conferences!
What’s immediately clear is that Amazon is really doubling down on the partner and API ecosystem. The latter is true to Amazon’s philosophy displayed throughout the company - Amazon Web Services was all about solving Amazon’s internal infrastructure needs first to scale the retail operations and then opening up the compute, memory and storage infrastructure to partners and developers and startups. The ads API team actually made a point of calling out that the API that partners use is the same as the one Amazon uses internally and that they’re very nearly at feature parity with the Amazon advertising console too.
Two overarching themes
Over the 37 or so product announcements, two major themes stood out to me:
- Amazon is serious about off-Amazon use cases and traffic. Although this has been the case for over a year with the referral fee and Buy With Prime schemes, there are now some important updates on the advertising side too:
- Both sponsored display and sponsored brands will be opened up to “non-endemics” (brands that don’t sell on Amazon). This means they’ll be able to drive traffic to a non-AMZ store. I do also expect the CPCs to increase for both SD and SB due to increased competition. Their DSP display product has already been available to non-endemics for some time. This means that it’s only sponsored products that’s only for brands that actually sell on Amazon.
- Speaking of the DSP product, it will now be able to show ads in-store in their physical retail locations too.
- Brand Building use cases are where most of the new product features are rolling out. Amazon is clearly shifting towards higher up the funnel ad products (“awareness” and “consideration” stages) as sponsored products which are at the bottom of the funnel, are pretty saturated. A few notable announcements:
- AMZ brand lift is available in the UK now. These are panel surveys carried out by AMZ on the brand’s behalf asking customers about product preferences and purchase intent
- Brand impression share (beta): This is basically a share of voice metrics for advertisers that focuses on branded terms.
- Stores can now be used as landing pages for Sponsored Brands.
- Sponsored Display now has a video creative capability.
Ad-focus for the foreseeable
It’s worth reminding you all that not all features are created equal. Amazon also has a reputation for launching too many new features too quickly. As a result, a lot of the new products and features can feel a little half-baked. However there’s no doubt about the general direction they’re headed as Amazon continues to pour ever more resources into scaling their ads proposition.
We’ll constantly be testing a lot of these new products and features as well as talking to others who are doing the same. I’ll be sure to report back in a few month’s time!
For a more granular rundown of all the announcements, check out Jeff Cohen’s summary here.