The Basics of Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform) and the difference between Sponsored Display Ads

6 July, 2023
4 minute read
ECN Blog The basics of Amazon DSP

Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform) is something that a lot of advertisers have probably heard of but may not necessarily fully understand what it is and how to use it. This article will help you better understand exactly what DSP is, the features available and the ad types within DSP and help you to decide if Amazon DSP is something you should start to implement in your advertising strategy.

What is Amazon DSP?

Amazon describes a Demand Side Platform as ‘software that provides automated, centralised media buying from multiple sources’. This means that you can use a DSP platform as your software for automatically buying digital advertising space. This digital advertising space is the space on websites that the owner of these sites will sell for advertising. This automated buying and selling of digital advertising space through DSP is known as programmatic advertising.

What is the difference between Sponsored Display ads and DSP?

The first key difference between Sponsored Display and DSP ads are who they are available to. Sponsored Display ads are only available on Amazon and to advertisers that sell products on Amazon. DSP is available to advertisers regardless of whether they sell on Amazon or not. As Sponsored Display ads are only available on Amazon, this means they will always link to Amazon and the product detail page when a customer clicks on the ads whereas a DSP ad can lead a customer to Amazon or to the brand’s website.

The other key difference is the investment required for each. With Sponsored Display you can get started with as little as $1 whereas with DSP, it can be a minimum of $35,000 investment to get started with DSP through Amazon.

Another difference is the cost structure for each. For Sponsored Display ads you can choose a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) structure depending on your goals whereas DSP uses CPM and does not have a CPC structure.

What ad Types are Available Through DSP?

One of the most important ad types available through DSP is video ads. There are two main types of video ads available. The first type is Over-the-Top (OTT) video ads. These are non-skippable video ads that are displayed before, during and after streaming content on sites such as Freevee and Twitch. The other type of video ad that is available through DSP are Online video ads (OLV). These are video ads that appear across different websites on desktop, tablet and mobile. Unlike OTT video ads, they are skippable, and they can be clicked on by the customer to lead them to an Amazon product detail page or a company’s website.

Another ad type available with DSP are audio ads. These are played during audio content that is available through Amazon music ad supported tier and other third-party Amazon publisher services for audio content. Audio ads are typically short ads (maximum 30 seconds) and are used to increase brand awareness.

The third type of ad available to purchase through DSP is display ads. The display ads through Amazon DSP can include customisable display ads with the ability to add your own image, brand logo, a headline and branding text. Responsive eCommerce Creative (REC) ads means you can add up to 20 different ASINs with 10 different ad sizes that will automatically be applied.

The benefits and Drawbacks of using Amazon DSP

The first key benefit of DSP is that it is available to advertisers who don’t sell on Amazon. This is unlike Sponsored ads that are only available to advertisers who sell on Amazon. This is a big benefit to any business who wants to advertise but doesn’t offer goods or services that can’t be sold on Amazon or any business that chooses not to sell on Amazon.

Another benefit to Amazon’s DSP is how targeted you can make your ads as there is so much data available from Amazon. As Amazon has a large amount of data on customers based of their search and purchasing history on Amazon as well as data from their other owned platforms such as Prime Video, advertisers can leverage this data to get their ads appearing to the right kind of customer.

An advantage of using Amazon’s DSP over other DSP platforms is the unique supply. This refers to the unique ad inventory that is only available through Amazon’s DSP as they are owned by Amazon. This ad inventory that is exclusive to Amazon’s DSP includes Audible, Twitch and IMDb.

ECN Blog The basics of Amazon DSP 1 - screenshot from

As mentioned above, DSP can be expensive to get started if you want to start with DSP directly through Amazon. This is the main drawback to DSP as it can be limiting to who can get use it if some brands don’t have the budget to get started. Amazon says that the managed service option for DSP typically requires a minimum spend of $50,000 and the self-service option is typically a minimum investment of $35,000. This is a significant amount and unlike sponsored ads where you can get started with as little investment as you like. Luckily, there are agencies that you can work with for DSP where there are no minimums or a much smaller minimum than Amazon requires to get started with DSP.

Data and Reporting – Using Amazon Marketing Cloud with DSP

While data and reporting are available in the Amazon DSP platform, the ability to use Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) with Amazon DSP is a huge plus for DSP advertisers. Amazon Marketing Cloud allows advertisers to use customised analytics to track exactly what they need across their DSP campaigns. AMC allows you to track the customer journey to generating the sale so you can see exactly how customers are discovering your brand and ultimately making a purchase. This allows you to better understand the impact of each campaign type.

Amazon DSP won’t be for everyone but for any brand that is looking to scale and grow using digital advertising and has the budget to do so, Amazon DSP is something that most definitely should be considered. With the numerous ad and targeting types available as well as the amount of data that is available from Amazon, DSP has the potential to be extremely effective for advertisers.

If you need some expert help with your Sponsored Product, Brand, Brand Video and Display ads on Amazon, please contact us.

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Nathan Gault

Nathan Gault

Nathan Gault is the Associate PPC Manager at eCommerce Nurse. He has experience in creating and managing Amazon sponsored ad campaigns for a wide range of clients across different categories and marketplaces to help them achieve their business goals on Amazon with advertising.

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