Retail Marketers Plan to Shift More Ad Spend to Amazon

In terms of US digital ad spending, Amazon has slowly but steadily risen to third place. This year, we forecast that US advertisers will spend $4.61 billion on Amazon, equaling 4.1% of all digital ad spending in the country.

That's not exactly a major threat to the Google-Facebook duopoly with far larger shares. Even so, retail, an industry that already dominates digital ad spending, is shifting spend and increasing Amazon ad budgets. 

According to a September 2018 survey from Third Door Media, 34.2% of US ecommerce-focused marketers currently spend 10% to 25% of their digital ad budget on Amazon. Future intentions are strong: 80% plan to increase their Amazon ad budgets next year and nearly one in five (19.5%) plan to increase budgets by 50% or more. 

While Amazon offers multiple ad products, most marketers (86.5%) are spending on pay-per-click search ads via Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), specifically sponsored product (79.8%), headline search ads (72.5%) and product display ads (66.8%). Note that in September, Amazon announced it would be consolidating and renaming a number of these products under an “Amazon Advertising” umbrella. 

Amazon facilitates buying and selling so it makes sense that 61.7% of advertisers in this study also had an Amazon Stores page to act as a digital storefront to showcase a brand and feature products. An additional 35.7% plan to have a Stores page within a year. 

Amazon isn't the only marketplace for retail advertisers, though; 68% said they also sell on other marketplaces. eBay was the No. 1 competitor (43.0%) but taking Walmart (29.8%) and Jet (19.8%) in combination equals an even more formidable competitor (49.6%). 

Most marketers see their ad budgets for Walmart (69%) and Jet (73%) staying the same over the next six to 12 months. Roughly one-quarter plans to increase budgets for each, which pales in comparison to the 80% above-mentioned figure for Amazon. 

Retail advertisers have a more positive view of Amazon's digital ad options than other industries, according to an April 2018 survey by Marin Software. A majority (56.5%) see advertising on Amazon as a growth opportunity compared with financial services (49.2%), auto (41.1%) or travel (35.3%). Retail advertisers are also less likely than others to view Amazon as a competitor (17.0%).

Increasingly, retailers are partnering with Amazon instead of fighting against the ecommerce giant. However, ad placement is getting more competitive as Amazon's marketplace gets more crowded. It's also becoming increasingly harder to drive sales with display ads on the online retailer's platform.