Amazon upgrades ad suite with new data clean room, AI image generator

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Dive Brief:

  • Amazon unveiled a slew of advertising products as part of its annual UnBoxed conference, including a new data clean room tailored to publishers and a generative artificial intelligence (AI) solution for enhancing campaign assets. 
  • New campaign management features are also coming to Amazon DSP, Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) and the Amazon Ads API. A cross-channel media planner gauges audience reach and relevance by channel so marketers can adjust budgets accordingly.  
  • The generative AI push comes in the form of an image generator, now in beta, that can quickly create background images so brands can place products in a lifestyle context. These bells and whistles aim to keep up the momentum for Amazon’s booming ads business, which has risen to dominate the retail media category. 

Dive Insight:

UnBoxed typically brings a deluge of news around Amazon Ads, and this year is no different. Announcements trickling out of the 2023 show see the e-commerce giant jumping on trends related to generative AI and data clean rooms, while also trying to take its existing ad-tech offerings, including its DSP and marketing cloud, to the next level. 

One of the biggest developments is the rollout of Amazon Publisher Cloud, a clean room service that enables publishers to plan programmatic campaigns via the Amazon DSP by blending their first-party data sources with Amazon’s. The product was built on infrastructure from Amazon’s existing AWS Clean Rooms, which were introduced late last year. 

Publishers using the new clean room tool, which sits under Amazon Publisher Services, can weigh contextual ad signals from their side of the house against Amazon Ads audience data to uncover consumers that are in the market for goods like pet food or cookware. They can then leverage that information to devise a programmatic deal for brands eager to reach that type of in-market customer at scale, per an example highlighted by Amazon. 

Beta launch partners for Amazon Publisher Cloud include DirecTV, Dotdash Meredith, Fandom, NBCUniversal and TelevisaUnivision. An earlier test of the service by NBCUniversal on Amazon Prime reached more than triple the desired audience versus an unoptimized campaign, according to internal Amazon data. 

“Our collaboration enabled us to deliver significantly more effective advertising, specifically by reaching in-market viewers at scale, all in a privacy-minded way,” said Ryan McConville, executive vice president of advertising platforms and operations at NBCUniversal, in a press statement. “The performance of this initial work shows what’s possible when we have rich insights into our viewers and package our media accordingly.” 

Like other digital ad platforms, Amazon is also turning to generative AI to help brands spruce up their marketing. The company’s image generator feature, which purportedly requires “no technical expertise” and is currently available to a select number of advertisers, could assist small- and medium-sized brands that don’t have the time or resources to mock up reams of creative either in-house or through external agencies.

By going into the Amazon Ad Console, advertisers can input their product pages and click a Generate button to see potential image options in seconds, as well as add text prompts to refine the results. The solution addresses the samey white background images that accompany many campaigns. Amazon claims that more lifestyle-oriented backdrops — like a toaster on a kitchen counter with some seasonally appropriate fall decorations — can boost click-through rates on formats like mobile sponsored ads by up to 40%. 

Amazon’s bigger investments in its advertising suite come as the company’s ad sales segment rises to be one of its fastest-growing areas of business. More robust offerings for marketers also arrive ahead of the deprecation of third-party cookies next year, which has pushed more brands to invest in the retail media category and experiment with data clean rooms that promise a higher degree of privacy without sacrificing precision. Amazon reports its third-quarter earnings after the bell today (Oct. 26). 

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