Top 3 Amazon DSP Ad Audiences

Amazon DSP Ads are white hot right now.

Fortune 500 advertisers and up-and-coming Amazon-based brands alike are jumping on the Amazon DSP band wagon. One of the most exciting parts about Amazon DSP ads is the robust targeting options available. Advertisers can let their creativity run wild as they decide who they want to target with their display ads. Amazon DSP ads offer targeting options that you just can’t find with other ad platforms. 


For the uninitiated, Amazon DSP stands for Demand Side Platform. It allows you to run display ads on and off Amazon.com using Amazon’s shopper data for targeting purposes. No other site has a greater understanding of your purchase behavior than Amazon. Now you can target people based on their recent Amazon shopping behavior to deliver your message at just the right time. In this blog post, I want to break down the top 3 DSP audiences for you so you know where to start. For a more detailed look at the platform, take a look at this post that outlines 5 Ways to Grow with Amazon DSP Ads or our Amazon DSP Roadmap Guide.

What makes DSP Different?

Before we discuss audiences, let’s first tackle a few key points that make Amazon DSP different from other online ad platforms.

  • With Amazon DSP, you’re paying for impressions, not clicks. Rather than paying each time someone clicks your ad like you would with sponsored product ads on Amazon, with Amazon DSP ads, you’re paying every time your ad is shown to a shopper. Rather than bidding on a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) basis, you’re bidding on a maximum cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis. Just like the name implies, cost-per-thousand is the price you pay to show your ad to 1,000 people. When you bid at a $5 CPM, as an example, that means you’re paying up to $5 to have your ad shown 1,000 times to shoppers. You pay that CPM regardless of whether 100 people click the ad, or 5 people click the ad or nobody clicks the ad. This can be very affordable if your targeting is set up properly and you’re getting clicks from eager shoppers. It can get really expensive if you’re paying to show your ads to the wrong people or paying to show your ad too many times. Which leads us to our next point. 
  • Frequency caps are important. It’s important to understand how many times, on average, your audience sees your ads. The cost per 1,000 impressions doesn’t mean you’re reaching 1,000 unique people 1 time each. It could mean you’re reaching 500 people with 2 impressions each, or even just 20 people with 50 ad impressions each. If you reach people with too few ad impressions they might not even notice you. Reach them with too many impressions and they will likely get sick of you. Showing your address too many times to the same user, will definitely increase your costs, but not necessarily your return on ad spend. The point of diminishing return is really important to watch with retargeting or loyalty campaigns on Amazon DSP. This is true with any form of retargeting ads, but even more true with Amazon DSP. With click-based retargeting campaigns like you might run with the Google Display Network, it isn’t likely that an individual shopper will click your retargeting ad 5 or 10 times before converting. It happens, but it’s not the norm. We’ve audited Amazon DSP campaigns and found that sometimes merchants are paying for 50-100 ad impressions per shopper on their list! Not only is this annoying for shoppers, but it’s unnecessarily expensive for you as an advertiser. This is where frequency caps come into play. When building or updating your DSP campaigns, you can put a cap on how many impressions an individual user can have of your ad. 
  • Audiences are updated in almost real time. Whether you’re building an audience of people who have purchased a particular product, or who have NOT purchased a particular product or who have only viewed a particular product, know that audiences are updated in near real time. This is important if you’re trying to exclude buyers, which you should be doing with your standard retargeting or cart abandoner campaigns. Knowing that audiences are updated in almost real time helps you know that you aren’t paying to show a retargeting ad to someone who just purchased your product. 

With that context in mind, let’s dive into the top audiences you should consider for Amazon DSP.

Audience #1 - ASIN Retargeting.

This audience is made up of shoppers who’ve visited your product pages on Amazon, but haven’t purchased. Getting to a product detail page usually indicates that a shopper is getting closer to making a purchasing decision. Likely if someone has viewed your product, they’ve also viewed one or more of your competitor’s products. If no purchase has been made yet, then the shopper is still weighing their options. This is where your retargeting ad comes in. For our clients that we manage DSP ads for, all of them are running ads to ASIN retargeting. ASIN retargeting is the audience most likely to convert that you can target. That’s why it’s the number one audience we recommend. If your product pages are like most on Amazon, then 90% of the people who view your products leave the page without buying. ASIN retargeting helps you convert more of those shoppers who don’t purchase on their first visit to your product detail pages. You can also get pretty segmented here by only retargeting people who’ve viewed your products in the last 30 days or even just the last 7 days. You can also target people who’ve viewed a few different ASINs rather than just one. Basically, we can get pretty granular here to maximize our results.

Audience #2 - Repurchasing/Loyalty Audiences.

 If you sell a consumable, or something that people need more than one of, then people who have purchased in the past are often the most likely to purchase again. Past purchaser audiences can be really powerful. It’s usually easier to sell more products, more often to existing customers than it is to just sell products to more new customers. We like to use repurchasing audiences to get people to reorder a consumable product if it’s time to reorder. We also use repurchasing audiences to cross promote related products. Let’s say you sell supplements. You could target shoppers who’ve purchased your protein powder who haven’t purchased your digestive enzyme and show them why they should buy your digestive enzyme. If they love your protein powder, they’re likely to love some of your other products too. There is so much you can do with past purchaser audiences, but you do need to be careful. This is an audience that you could easily over spend on. It’s really important to look at frequency caps so you aren’t bombarding your buyers with an unnecessary amount of ads. 

The next audience is a targeting option that is truly unique to Amazon DSP ads. I wish Google or Facebook offered targeting like this, but they don’t.  You might think this sounds like this targeting option gives you an unfair advantage.  As a longtime marketer, when I first heard about this audience type, I definitely felt like a kid who’d been handed the keys to the candy store.  I do want to underscore that you should start with the first two audiences first before dipping your toes into the next audience...

Audience #3: Competitor Conquesting.

What if you could build an audience of people who’ve visited your competitor’s products on Amazon, but haven’t purchased? What if you could target people who have purchased from your competitor in the past? This is a great Top of Funnel Audience and, while these audiences don’t convert like retargeting audiences do, they still offer a great opportunity to sell more products to very targeted audiences. Once you have your remarketing audiences and campaigns dialed in, we recommend testing some competitor conquesting campaigns as these audiences feed your retargeting audiences. 

These 3 audiences are definitely the place to start when running DSP ads. Just be aware of the KPI’s for each strategy as they are different and will help you track the success of your campaigns. Properly structured, campaigns targeting these audiences can go a long way to help you sell more products. 


Want to learn more about Amazon DSP ads? Check out our free Amazon DSP Roadmap guide.


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