The Amazon Demand Side Platform, or DSP, is emerging as the most strategic way to programmatically purchase ad space and squeeze the most value out of digital advertising investments. The DSP is driven by data, ensuring that your ads are delivered to only the most relevant audiences, giving you more bang for your buck.
There are many incredible features available to Amazon DSP users that give them more control than ever over who’s seeing their ads and where they’re seeing them.
However, there’s one feature especially that’s worth exploring further: Audience Builder.
What is ‘Audience Builder’?
Initially rolled out in 2019, Audience Builder helps DSP users pool together groups of potential customers who share similar traits or interests and are therefore statistically most likely to see the same sorts of advertisements. These groups are built using Amazon’s own first-party retail data and are based on actual customer behaviours.
Retail data used to create these audience pools includes:
- Keyword searches
- Product views
- Actual sales
And perhaps best of all, Amazon restricts who DSP users can add to these pools. Only shoppers deemed ‘active’ are eligible, which means you’re not wasting resources displaying ads to customers who rarely interact with Amazon’s platform.
In 2021, the Amazon DSP Audience Builder feature was significantly updated, elevating the tool into a must-have for DSP users. There have been three major updates so far:
- Prime Video: Users can now create audiences based on viewing behaviours on Amazon Prime Video, displaying specific ASINs to people who watch certain genres.
- Twitch: Users can also create audiences based on Twitch interactions over 30 days, displaying specific ASINs to people streaming certain games or gaming genres.
- Whole Foods: Available exclusively in the US, users can now create audiences based on purchases made in physical Whole Foods stores over a 360-day historical period.
These changes sent Amazon DSP’s Audience Builder into top-level territory. It means that users aren’t limited to creating audiences just from the platform’s retail side. They can also use Prime Video and other Amazon subsidiaries to get the most from the feature.
How are DSP Audiences Different from Display Audiences?
As most Amazon Advertising users already know, Sponsored Display campaigns also feature an audience builder. So what’s the difference between the two features?
First off, Sponsored Display audiences are excellent and are well worth using. There are three options for creating audiences depending on what you want to achieve:
- Product targeting: Using product purchase data to build audience groups
- Views remarketing: Using browsing history to build audience groups
- Audience interest: Using platform interactions to build audience groups
However, there are limitations to Display audiences, and one of the biggest is the inability of advertisers to create their custom pools. This is where the Amazon DSP comes in. There are many more ways to build audiences on the DSP using demographics, activity data, and data you’ve collected yourself about your leads. With access to these additional data sets, targeting can become even more specific.
For those using the Amazon DSP and selling through the platform, there are benefits to combining the two—for example, by collecting specific ASIN performance through Sponsored Display ads and using this to optimise DSP audience building.
However, it’s not a requirement for users to sell through the Amazon platform to use the DSP, so combining the two won’t always be relevant. Many larger businesses especially are using the DSP without signing up for a Seller Central account because DSP is the easiest way to access Amazon’s data goldmine without being an Amazon seller.
What Types of Audience Groups Can I Build?
Amazon knows your customers. Sometimes, perhaps even better than you do. And so the DSP provides a range of pre-built audience options that can be advantageous:
● Lifestyle Audiences – These groups are based on the interests that potential customers display through their online behaviours across Amazon’s owned channels. This has become an even richer group now with the addition of Prime Video within the Audience Builder.
● In-Market Audiences – These groups are based on the search behaviours of potential customers. The algorithm states that if a user is searching for a particular product or browsing a specific category, they may be ‘in the market’ for related products within that niche.
● Similar ASIN Audiences – These groups are based on whether or not potential customers have already shown an interest in similar products. It takes the stance that should a shopper visit an ASIN but not make a purchase; they may be interested in seeing similar ASINs.
● Competitor ASIN Audiences – These groups are based on whether potential customers have visited ASINs belonging to a competing business AND if they’ve bought from that business or not. It allows you to specifically target leads already in a competitor’s sales funnel.
● Remarketing Audiences – These groups are based on potential customers who have visited your product pages but failed to take the next step in the buyer journey. You can display relevant ads specifically to these groups, encouraging and motivating them to return to the page.
● Loyalty Audiences – These groups are based on those users that have already made a purchase. It allows for specific products such as consumables to be displayed again to those who have previously purchased them and for ads for associated products to show.
However, while these audience pools can be beneficial, they are not the only options available to you. Users can create their own custom audiences using the Audience Builder feature within the Amazon DSP.
How to Create Custom Audiences
When creating custom audiences on the Amazon DSP, the first and perhaps most crucial step is to understand your reasons for doing so. What do you want to achieve from targeting specific groups of people? What outcomes do you want to see?
Having clarity on this at the very start will help shape your entire strategy and ensure you’re displaying the right ads, to the right people to achieve those goals.
While the goals will be different for each business, there are typically three primary reasons why brands build custom audiences on the DSP:
1. To acquire new customers
If you’re looking to acquire new customers, it’s essential to build awareness amongst audiences that may be interested in what you have to offer but don’t yet know that you or your solutions exist. Data like impressions, clicks, and page views can be used here.
2. To secure a larger market share
If your competitors dominate the market, creating custom audiences based on both category browsing and product views can help divert traffic to your ASINs. In addition, this can help better solidify your brand as a leader within its particular field or niche.
3. To encourage repeat purchases
It’s often said that it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, so many businesses are starting to focus more on retention and nurturing. With that in mind, groups composed of customers and competitor customers can help improve loyalty.
The way to create any of these audiences – or others – is simple. You’ll find the ‘Audiences’ tab on the first page when you log into your Amazon DSP account.
Select New Audience > Products > Next
This will take you to a screen where you can add specific ASINs that you want to use to build up this particular audience. You can add as many as 1000 ASINs to each group.
When prompted, select the marketplace you want to use data from, and choose all the different interactions and behaviour types you wish to use for ad targeting.
Afterwards, you can enter a name for each group to ensure you’re keeping track of all your custom audiences. Don’t worry if your groups don’t show up straight away; they should appear within 24 hours, and you can get to work delivering targeted ads.
Why Use The DSP Audience Builder?
Quite simply, the Audience Builder tool gives Amazon’s DSP the edge over all other demand-side platforms. Why? Because programmatic advertising is firmly rooted in data.
Businesses need accurate, authentic, and real-time data to make the most strategic purchases for their ads. Without access to this high-quality data, demand-side platforms cannot make the most impactful decisions.
It all comes down to data. And Amazon remains unrivalled in this area. Unlike other DSPs, Amazon’s demand-side platform is powered by real browsing and shopping data from the retail platform, Prime Video, Twitch, and even physical stores in the US.
By leveraging Amazon’s data goldmine, businesses can create specific audience groups that take the guesswork out of building advertising segments. As a result, it ensures that every ad is displayed to the right people, at the right time, in the right place, ultimately increasing the chance of conversions to get more ROI from ad investments.