By Jordan Sagisi, The Mars Agency
Although the annual IAB NewFronts event generally tends to focus on upcoming digital programming, Amazon stayed connected to its roots in commerce this year by highlighting performance, leaving ad buyers in our connected commerce ecosystem with a lot to think about.
NewFronts traditionally gives media buyers a first look at the upcoming content slate on digital platforms. But while Amazon surely delivered some excitement with previews of their upcoming programming, it was notable that, before getting to that part of the agenda, they led with performance.
Colleen Aubrey, Amazon’s SVP of Ad Products and Tech (at right), kicked off the evening by talking about optimal customer experiences that produce business outcomes, industry concerns with media fragmentation, the need for stronger cross-channel measurement, and the importance of ensuring that ads across all channels are meaningful to viewers.
From a connected commerce perspective, this discussion spoke volumes about Amazon’s ability to offer a full-funnel media platform — from streaming TV to Amazon Search and DSP — that can measure results and deliver real business impact. From Amazon’s omnichannel metrics (currently available to CPGs in the U.S. but unveiled as coming soon to other categories and countries by the end of 2023) to the new AMC Audiences solution for DSP, Aubrey’s pitch focused on Amazon’s expanding ability to connect advertisers with highly engaged audiences.
So while the majority of the night was still focused on video and audio content, we advertisers must recognize the full potential of Amazon’s platform being powered by billions of first party browsing, streaming, and shopping signals and align our strategies to look across their entire ecosystem. Commerce media is media, and Aubrey’s opening comments made it clear that Amazon’s goal was to “hero” their commerce capabilities as a key differentiator from other streaming platforms that media buyers might consider.
When put into the context of connected commerce, here are my two big takeaways from the evening:
1. Black Friday NFL Streaming on Amazon Prime: The first ever Black Friday NFL game will stream on Amazon Prime this November, as announced by Marie Donoghue, VP Global Sports Video.
This is landmark programming that will give advertisers a huge opportunity to bring what should be a massive streaming audience further down the funnel. In fact, an event like this will present full-funnel opportunities — shoppable spots, DSP remarketing, custom audience generation — that will help advertisers guide shoppers through the full journey. That kind of opportunity can be critical during the ad-cluttered holiday season.
With this initiative, Amazon appears to be marrying a holiday that’s typically performance and shopper-focused with an entertainment property more often tailored to brand objectives — providing a full-funnel approach for advertisers and agencies that are looking to plan holistically.
2. Commerce-forward streaming opportunities: Amazon made three other distinct announcements across the platform that all deliver additional commerce-driving opportunities:
- Interactive video ads for Thursday Night Football, which can drive brand consideration and conversion.
- Amazon Live premium entertainment, which will facilitate shoppable ad ops.
- Amazon Prime content streaming on the Freevee ad-supported streaming platform, which will let advertisers leverage larger audiences for remarketing.
With efforts like these, it’s clear that Amazon is fashioning a commerce-forward future in the streaming space.
As I said at the beginning, Amazon’s NewFronts announcements gave brand advertisers plenty to think about regarding commerce media and the potential for driving measurable results. Here are three top-line actions brands should take:
- Consider the full impact of connected commerce in the Amazon ecosystem. Plan for shopper and brand activation holistically: consumers exposed to brand messaging in streaming TV or Thursday Night Football can be remarketed on other Amazon platforms to drive them further down the funnel.
- Amazon enables brands to reach large groups of shoppers with high purchase intent during Black Friday, so plan ahead to align your inventory needs and deals if you plan to advertise during this critical moment.
- For media placements in premium Amazon programming, create a seamless shopper experience through brand content that demonstrates the benefit, solves a problem, and inspires purchase.
As the preeminent experts in connected commerce with a specialty practice dedicated to maximizing brand performance across the Amazon ecosystem, The Mars Agency is ideally suited to help brands optimize these opportunities. To learn more, contact Melissa Wightman, VP-Ecommerce, at [email protected].
About the Author
Jordan Sagisi is Senior Director for Amazon Commerce at The Mars Agency, where he helps brands create winning strategies and activations across the Amazon media ecosystem. He has more than 15 years of experience in the digital media industry, leading agency teams in delivering both brand-building and commerce-driving objectives for CPG clients.
Jordan can be reached at [email protected].