Amazon unveiled Monday what looks to be the first step in rolling out its mobile ad network, with the launch of an ad API for developers.
Opinion on this will be divided, no doubt. On the one hand, it brings to market a mobile ad solution that enables marketers to (presumably) better target their audience at scale. It seems the API is not just confined to Kindle devices, but certain Android devices too. For app owners, the major sell is, “We’re Amazon. We know more about your app users than you do. So run our ads, as it will yield greater performance and ultimately higher yields for you”. This could even go some way to cleaning up the reputation that the mobile app advertising ecosystem has earned, rightly or wrongly. More relevant targeting brings greater results, which ultimately attracts more established, premium advertisers. A win for all?
On the other hand, it is yet another API, within a walled (if not potentially large) garden. Another workflow, another buying point. Not a wholly unexpected move from one of the ‘Big 4’ but in an age where marketers are moving the majority of their spend into buying platforms, mobile needs to adopt some openess and consistency, versus what happens in desktop, if mobile is to stand a chance of capturing media spend in the regions it should be.
ExchangeWire reached out to some of the leading mobile ad tech figures to get their perspective on what this move from Amazon means and what it represents for the future.
Wes Biggs, CTO, Adfonic:
“Developers, advertisers and agencies already face a baffling array of mobile advertising platform choices, whether in the form of multiple SDKs to embed in their applications, or multiple, disparate buying points to manage from trading desks. Surely what the industry needs is open platforms that can further the goals of transparency, efficiency and control.
We’re cautiously optimistic that Amazon, Facebook, Apple and others that have created their own mobile advertising walled gardens will embrace the exchange model, programmatic buying and Real-time Bidding (as Facebook has done for its non-mobile exchange). This will enable advertisers and agencies to consolidate their buying points and leverage a combination of first-, second- and third-party data so they can maximise advertising budgets. Given the rich data and strong reputation Amazon has with mobile developers, yet another separate (and initially at least, US-only) advertising ecosystem, while sure to attract some spend, doesn’t seem like the smarter route forward.”
Gareth Davies, CEO & Co-Founder, Adbrain:
“The launch of Amazon’s Mobile Ads API can be seen as powerful validation of the role of mobile in the consumer purchase funnel. With mobile accounting for 11% of US retail e-commerce in 2012, representing a cool $25bn and set to double to $52bn next year, there is no denying the tectonic shifts at play as consumers vote with their fingers and shift both discovery and purchase to the smaller screen.
The real beauty behind Amazon’s emerging advertising strategy will be, in theory at least, their ability to leverage a vast database of global consumer intent and – most importantly – action to help advertisers reach consumers and drive conversions. The fact that this is an Android-only play is of note, as Amazon’s kindle devices may well open up access to a complete conversion feedback loop. Think about it, as an advertiser, I buy a rich e-commerce audience profile on the Amazon mobile ad network, serve my ads to Kindle-powered Android devices, and then seamlessly drive conversions. Whether we’re talking digital downloads via the Amazon app store or physical goods conversions via the Amazon mobile marketplace, this is clearly a compelling proposition, and one that Facebook and Google will no doubt be watching extremely closely.
For advertisers, the real value behind the proposition should be transparency and data. As a multi-screen, real-time audience buying platform, we see cross-device convergence at the heart of the marketer’s holy grail. This means tying consumer behaviour and intent across screens, and providing marketers with the tools to transparently buy their audiences at scale. Amazon has made a bold move affirming their belief in the mobile channel, let’s only hope this evolves beyond a pure network offering, and into a larger, transparent data-driven mobile exchange play. If they pull this off, then Google, Facebook and co. should really start to worry!”
Paul Gubbins, UK Sales Director, StrikeAd:
“This makes a lot of sense for a device owner that also owns the customer buying relationship. All the data they own is not deemed intrusive in the Amazon shopping experience and we would think their shopper goodwill would extend to using that data for more targeted advertising. It is newsworthy because they are now taking on Apple in this sphere – and many would say Amazon’s data is far richer for an advertiser than Apple’s.
Dependent on their strategy, the market will be keen to see them open up their vast amount of first-party data and enable the buy side to enrich their mobile buys with this across the Amazon network. The big question everybody will be asking is will Amazon offer a cross-screen solution that will enable the buying of their desktop inventory and then synch/attribute across mobile? They could do this easily. It is, after all, a logged-in purchase funnel.
Whatever they decide, it is great news to see a premium publisher enter the market and acknowledge first hand that as both a publisher & media owner audiences are migrating quicker than ever in history away from desktop and to mobile devices.”
It could be argued that Amazon have been, up to now, chasing the likes of Google when it comes to their ad business. Whilst on desktop they still seem somewhat behind the rest of the pack, but when it comes to mobile, this could be a move that accelerates them getting a march on the rest of the Big 4.Global Desk Editor