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Amazon's advertising growth: industry analysis

Amazon's advertising growth: industry analysis

Amazon is predicted to overtake Oath and Microsoft in the US advertising market this year - placing it in third position behind heavyweights Facebook and Google. Here, industry experts share their views on the significance of the news.

Theo Johnson, Digital Director, MediaSense

If you’re looking for a third player to break up the duopoly, Amazon makes sense. The ability to facilitate every step of the journey, from delivery of ad impressions to conversion, makes them an appealing proposition for advertisers. Their engagement in the CPC and voice-activated search spaces means they are challengers in both existing, and emerging spaces.

Agencies are also excited about the quality of their first party transactional data in a post-GDPR world, with the ability to link valuable data to the same Amazon profile, including (amongst other things) location, mobile, credit card and broader interests e.g. Audible audiobook listens, Prime viewing habits.

It is undeniable that their share of voice will grow, but Facebook and Google have a stronger offering for a broader range of clients - namely brand awareness and activation. There are also limitations if working alongside brands who do not sell their product via the Amazon platform, or even the brands who own a competing transactional website.

However, these limitations should be treated as opportunities for growth. If Amazon invest well and take oncoming challenges ‘head-on’ we could see one of the duopoly replaced, but not in the near future.

Stephen Broderick, CEO, FirmDecisions

The timing couldn’t be better for Amazon’s adversaries. One minute European competition authorities are lambasting its dominant market position, describing Jeff Bezo’s empire as a ‘God in a universe of its own creation’. The next we find out that Amazon is America’s third biggest seller of advertising space. Perhaps they have a point?

Amazon taking bronze is emblematic of the maturity of parts of the digital market. Unlike Facebook’s business model, which is exclusively reliant on ad dollars, by comparison, advertising is almost an afterthought for Amazon. It has built the world’s largest eCommerce platform - after web services, that’s the money maker.

The fact Amazon can advertise on said platform is almost happenstance, but leveraging that is a no-brainer. Major publishers must eye what Amazon has built with envy.

It will be interesting to see whether the hierarchy shifts. Amazon is a country mile behind the so-called duopoly in terms of ad selling, but it will be interesting to see whether the gorge closes to a gap. Consumers will always need the service Amazon provides - its growth is insurmountable.

But social media is driven by trend, and Facebook has already peaked. As fewer people, especially the young, operate within its walled garden, Facebook’s big earner will be Instagram.

If the parent company messes with Instagram further, even that could start to lag. To hazard a guess, ‘triopoly’ is a word that could enter marketing lexicon in the coming years.

James Cragg, Managing Director, Tug

It is no surprise to read that Amazon is now the third wheel in the media owner triopoly. As a dynamic marketplace, offering customers unique services such as ‘Prime’, there are numerous commercial and marketing opportunities that Google and Facebook are unable offer.

In light of this news, marketers should reappraise the Amazon ecosystem and consider how to make the most of this unique environment and loyalist customer base.

The brands who develop a real-time strategy recognising the ‘I want it now’ customer behaviour and trends, as well as understanding the site technology, will be the ones who profit in Q4.

Gareth Davies, VP, Digital Strategy, MWWPR

For some time, PR agencies have been driving awareness for a new product or service for their clients using early stage funnel ads with Google and Facebook, relying on data mined through these platforms to reach customers they believe will have a greater propensity to buy a product based on pre-defined or past behaviours. However, Amazon is a different ball game.

With most people on Amazon ready to buy and in a heightened state of product consideration, being able to tap into this audience and direct sales and PR messages at the point of purchase can be a game changer.

One of the primary behaviours in the final stages of purchase are to read customer reviews – and this is a vital component of PRs and product marketers’ toolkits – so being able to target customers with a positive review of your client’s product can either push them over the line to buy or steer them away from a competing product.

By leveraging Amazon ads, PR agencies can elevate their roles in the overall marketing mix as well as providing themselves with the ability to control the product message all the way to the point of sale.

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NickDrew, CEO, Fuse Insights on 21 Sep 2018
“The trend is incredibly significant, and Amazon's ability to position itself at the centre of the consumer path to purchase (whether for the purchase itself, or in the research process) will mean it will only continue to grow in importance in ad terms.
A minor quibble and not to discount the headline by any means, but it's worth noting that the source of the data behind this week's headlines seems to be eMarketer's estimates. And it's also worth noting that eMarketer has revised this figure upwards by *60%* in 6 months, suggesting that their figures in either March or September (or both) were way off base. They do have form at making significant revisions to their figures, so some scepticism in the exact numbers is merited, even though awareness of the trend is vital”