Amazon’s global head of ad sales Seth Dallaire tells M&M Global that the ecommerce giant is boosting its investment in ad tech.
With an ad sales business believed to be worth in excess of $1bn, Amazon is by no means a minnow in the media world. However, in the context of the ecommerce giant’s $100bn-plus global revenues, Amazon is determined to grow that number to challenge the very biggest beasts in digital media.
Last week’s Dmexco in Cologne provided a useful opportunity to spread the word about what advertisers can expect from the platform. This year’s event was Amazon’s fifth official visit, and staff could be found in by far its biggest booth to date.
The message? “We’re making big investments.”
Seth Dallaire, vice president of global advertising sales at the Amazon Media Group, is the man charged with leading that growth across the world. He joined M&M Global for a conversation shortly after a conference session with Mercedes-Benz, detailing a marketing collaboration between the two brands – an unusual category for Amazon, given that it does not sell automobiles.
Like many senior US visitors to the show, Dallaire finds the business-like atmosphere in the Koelnmesse a pleasant contrast to the laid-back networking to be founds in locations such as Cannes: “Dmexco is a great event for us. We find the quality of the meetings we have here to be quite high. Many of the ad tech companies are here, many of the clients and agencies are here as well. It is an efficient way for us to talk to a number of people.”
‘Unique data story’
With the focus on ad tech and marketing innovation, Dmexco feels a natural home for Amazon. However, Dallaire insists that the firm has much to do to raise awareness of its advertising products and services.
“Some marketers don’t intuitively think of Amazon to being that programmatic ad platform, but we’re making big investments in ad tech. An event like this is a great opportunity for us to really articulate that. We have a great and unique customer data story, and we believe those things are interesting to the people at this show,” he says.
“Data and storytelling are two themes that tend to be resonant here throughout the floor. People want more data; they want transparency around events that are happening. Those are two very top-of-mind topics for all of the marketers and clients and agencies that we speak to on a daily basis. This is an important conference for us.”
“We have made a lot of progress in terms of the types of data outputs that we share with the marketers that invest with us”
Amazon’s data offering has long been the envy of rivals – Google and Facebook can only dream of its ability to predict purchase intent. To complement its rich seam of data, the company is looking to bolster its ad tech offering, particularly in the area of attribution and measurement.
Given Amazon’s pioneering reputation in commerce, it is vital the firm keep up with developments in ad tech, according to Dallaire: “You will continue to see us invest in advertising technology. Amazon is a technology company, and our customers demand that we be innovative, both on the retail side of the business, but also on devices, and our advertising customers demand the same.
“We have made a lot of progress in terms of the types of data outputs that we share with the marketers that invest with us. They want more transparency into data, they want to understand and get in front of customer trends. They want to understand customer behaviours, and influence their marketing investments, whether they are happening on our platform or not.”
The growing number of ecommerce specialists was a notable trend at this year’s Dmexco. Brands are increasingly keen to “join the dots” and invest in media that can directly lead to consumer purchasing.
Dallaire agrees that ecommerce as marketing discipline is a burgeoning area – and one Amazon is intent upon leading.
“Alongside the more traditional categorisations of media, ecommerce is starting to emerge as a practice and discipline that more marketers want to understand, and Amazon is uniquely situated to help explain that and activate in ways that drive business, both transactionally and from a brand perspective as well,” he says.
“We will continue to tell that story while we’re here.”