Digital advertising evolves at an entirely different pace than traditional marketing. If the all-invasive threat of pop-ups are (thankfully) a thing of the past, just consider that it wasn’t long ago that radio and TV spots were considered the only game in town.
Digital advertising spending is now expected to top $191 Billion in the US by the end of 2021, with future predictions estimating an 11.3 percent growth in the next four years. And that’s largely the result of the evolution in digital platforms. But it’s also the result of more sophisticated and dynamic forms of advertising content.
Video advertising will always be the golden egg of digital content. Consumers relate to nuance, depth and real life situations much more directly than a static image. And while many marketers once viewed over-the-top (OTT) ads as a risky gamble, Amazon has proven them wrong. 138 percent wrong.
IMDb, OTT and the Amazon Shuffle
Earlier in May, Amazon held their first ever NewFronts presentation for advertisers, inviting them to “to drive discovery and connect with customers in meaningful ways.” But driving discovery and forging meaningful connections has always the standard goal of any advertising platform, both traditional and digital.
Amazon is based on a different foundation, however: one of customer-centricity. Online consumers demand more innovation, more choices and a greater sense of evolution. And they can be fickle in those choices.
That wasn’t the case in May. During the presentation, Amazon announced that their combined OTT business was now reaching a staggering 120 million viewers per month in the US alone—largely driven by the success of IMDb TV, which saw a 138 percent increase in viewership from the previous year.
Amazon’s OTT business isn’t entirely limited to IMDb TV, which provides streaming original content free of charge to Prime customers. But it represents a large portion of it. So large that Amazon recently announced that IMDb TV was now available via its own app, expanding its potential viewership to mobile and tablet customers in the US.
Why Did Amazon’s OTT Gamble Pay Off?
One of the benefits of OTT is leveraging streaming content to engage and connect with audiences even if they’re not actively searching for products. More specifically, it’s a programmatic form of advertising, informed by a user’s history and preferences. And with 80 percent of US households using some form of connected device, the capacity of intelligently hyper-targeting customers through data-driven content is enormous.
But historically, the market has been dominated by Roku. That’s largely because Roku isn’t a retail storefront. It’s an entertainment hub, and customers have come to expect advertising along with entertainment.
Yet Amazon is no longer just a retailer. It’s now an entertainment platform, as well. And a largely successful one. Some 200 million global customers now have the ability to access content on Prime, leading to an estimated 19 percent growth in Fire TV app users between Q1 and Q3 of 2020. And with their 2014 acquisition of popular gaming app Twitch and their recently announced partnership with the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” franchise, IMDb Tv’s 62 percent grasp on audiences between the ages of 18 and 49 has even more of an advantage for OTT advertisers.
New Solutions for Amazon OTT
Amazon Advertising also revealed a new solution allowing viewers to interact with brands on the IMDb TV app by taking actionable steps, such as “add to cart,” “add to Alexa shopping list,” or “shop now” using their voice or Fire TV remote. However, this solution is currently in beta and limited to a small number of participants.
Self-service advertisers, however, can now purchase campaigns through a new feature on Amazon DSP called OTT Audience Guaranteed. Similar to PPC, it allows users to create OTT campaigns with fixed pricing, paying only for each impressions that reach their audiences. Campaigns can be managed through self-service Amazon DSP accounts and can begin broadcasting in less than 30 minutes.
As Amazon moves to become the premier force in retail by 2025, businesses will have to realize that it's always been one of the premier forces in digital advertising. Its expansion hasn’t been without failures. But its status as a streaming content hub is here to stay.
So is digital advertising.
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