Amazon’s new offering could position the company as a threat to Google and companies like Criteo SA, which generated $2.3 billion in revenue last year with its retargeting offering that lets companies track and serve ads to consumers that have shown interest about a product in the past.
While Amazon doesn’t specifically break down its advertising revenue, the company’s CFO Brian Olsavsky calling the ad business a multi-billion dollar program and the majority of its other revenue makes it clear that ad sales are growing quickly.
Brands and advertising agencies are waking up to the fact that a growing piece of Amazon’s business impinges on turf now controlled by two other tech titans, Google and Facebook.
All of this could give Amazon an edge over Google and Facebook, but for it to scale that business, it will have to look beyond ads targeted at consumers who are already shopping on its sites.
Google has rapidly pursued Amazon with its Home and Mini products enjoys a decade lead on Amazon in terms of understanding how to build an ad business and engage with brands and agencies.
So the big question is; can the pivot to voice provide the foundation for Amazon to beat Google at their own game, much like Apple beat Microsoft and Nokia in the race from feature phone to smartphone? Will Google’s expertise and focus on being an ad business give it the advantage or does the end-to-end marketplace and commerce proposition that Amazon has, favour them?
So Amazon is already on track to become the third largest scaled digital ad platform, but could it trouble Google and Facebook further? As marketing continues its direction of travel towards being a more data driven, and systematic discipline focused on outcomes, Amazon is arguably best placed.
None of the five ad buyers Digiday spoke with for this story know how Amazon’s client services teams are structured or how many people each has.
Even PMG, with its eight contacts and several Amazon campaigns under its belt, has trouble navigating Amazon’s internal client services teams.
Ad buyers said Amazon is following the playbooks of other ad platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, which were slow to make their client services teams available to agencies and ad tech providers while developing ad offerings.