Amazon's advertising platform may only account for a small proportion of the global digital ad market—a scant 0.75 percent in terms of revenue share according to eMarketer—but the e-commerce giant has ambitions to make advertising across the web a better experience for consumers.
Amazon has three advertising areas: Across its own sites, across its mobile devices such as the Kindle and Fire tablet, and the Amazon ad platform which extends Amazon ads to other websites. Speaking to Business Insider at Advertising Week Europe in London, Amazon Media Group's European director Dan Wright said the company is actively working to build "centers of excellence" with advertising agencies in the region to help produce the kind of advertising consumers actually enjoy and find useful.
The net result won't just be more advertising revenue flowing into Amazon, but that consumers will feel like advertising on the Web is getting better. Wright thinks the "potential is untapped" in terms of the design and utility of ads—particularly in the area of e-commerce, which he described as a "trillion dollar industry." The ambition is to create a set of guidelines and rules that will hopefully develop best practice across the entire ad industry.
He said: "On this trip [to Ad Week Europe] I'm spending a lot of time with media agency partners to discuss center of excellence capabilities to develop a greater experience for consumers, because when we do that we create revenues for advertisers."
It's a big ambition. And it's also quite a big ask. Agency staff are constantly being pulled in different directions from different advertising partners. Facebook holds "Publishing Garages," assembling agencies with their clients to develop Facebook campaigns in-house; trade associations are constantly looking to create advertising standards which involves numerous meetings and working groups; and their clients, the advertisers themselves, are more demanding than ever when it comes to getting more bang for their buck.
Wright acknowledges that Amazon is asking for a big-time investment, but he thinks it's one that will pay off. "In the end it's about what value we are creating as a partnership. If the value is great enough they will invest their time and they can come to a place that's worthwhile," he added.
In its mission to be "customer obsessed," as Wright calls it, Amazon isn't seeking to build out an ad tech stack like rivals Google and Facebook, which are constantly rolling out new adtech products or acquiring adtech companies so they can own every bit of the ecosystem—from the supply side to the demand side.
"We don't think about a stack," he said. "We think about things we can implement for the ecosystem that's for the benefit of the customer experience. It doesn't have be big and bold, it's about how advertising serves for a good customer experience. For us a simple area is creative consumers will appreciate. E-commerce ads [an Amazon ad format where brands can display their products and consumers can see ratings, review, and click to buy] are ads that customers appreciate."
Amazon's real sweet spot, though, is its data. It may only have a small slice of the digital advertising market, but with 370 million active accounts, it has a wealth of data for advertisers to tap into. And that is probably what will get agencies and advertisers interested in signing up to its center of excellence plan.