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Amazon DSP and AMC Audiences – What is the Difference?

March 19, 2024
Xmars Team

Are you new to Amazon Demand Side Platform (DSP)? If the answer is yes, then its detailed options for audience targeting will likely be an eye-opener. Amazon DSP provides you with a set of pre-made audiences, while also enabling you to whip up your own custom audiences from scratch. With the DSP Audience Builder, you're able to zero in on shoppers through various lenses, including those who have shown interest or bought your products (or even peeked at what your competitors offer). You can also craft custom groups that mirror your current customer base or target those similar to your competitors. There's even the option to leverage your own data to build audiences that resemble your existing shoppers based on their emails. This level of targeting definition shows how DSP advertising can be as pinpointed or as broad as you need it to be. However, there are limitations when you try to create audiences directly in DSP. These are hurdles you can overcome by first creating a custom audience in Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) and then moving it to DSP.

So, what sets the audience-building capabilities of AMC apart from DSP? What can you achieve with AMC that you can't with DSP?

AMC for Deeper Behavioral Insights

AMC offers the unique ability to target shoppers based on specific actions and behaviors not available through DSP. This includes targeting those who were close to purchasing by adding items to their cart or wish list but didn't complete the purchase. AMC excels in identifying and targeting these near-miss customers, a direct targeting approach that DSP lacks.

Consider trying to grab the attention of shoppers who looked up your brand or certain keywords but didn't make a purchase. You could use Sponsored Ads, but you'd be competing for visibility. Alternatively, a strategically timed DSP ad right after a user’s search could lead them right to your product page, possibly leading to a purchase. Unlike DSP, AMC can create audiences based on specific keyword searches, allowing for sharper targeting based on search habits.

If you’re looking to target people based on brand encounters, like viewing multiple ads, AMC allows you to map out the entire customer journey thanks to its comprehensive view of the shopper's path. Additionally, AMC's Audience Segment Insights, available through the Amazon Insights paid subscription, dives deep into audience analysis. This tool provides valuable data on the size of Amazon's audience segments and their overlap with your customer base.

For example, targeting a broad category like “Lifestyle: Fitness Enthusiasts” might spread your resources too thin. With Audience Segment Insights, you might discover that a portion of this group is also interested in “In-Market: Health Supplements.” By analyzing your existing customers for overlap with the “In-Market: Health Supplements” segment, you could find a useful connection.

‍Adjusting Ad Frequency for Better Targeting

A key difference between the audience targeting capabilities of AMC and DSP is AMC's comprehensive approach to crafting audiences based on how often they've encountered your ads.

In DSP, the platform allows for short term frequency capping, such as daily or hourly limits to avoid overwhelming potential customers with repeated ad views—imagine preventing your ad from appearing to the same user six times in a single day. However, DSP doesn't support setting frequency caps over a longer span.

If your goal is to apply a more extended or even lifetime frequency cap, AMC is the solution. It enables the application of more comprehensive frequency caps, ensuring that people who have frequently seen your ads can be excluded from being targeted in future DSP campaigns, reducing the risk of ad fatigue and optimizing your advertising effectiveness.

Reaching Further Back with AMC

One of the standout features of AMC is its ability to target based on interactions that happened back in time—farther back than DSP's time limits allow (90 days). Whether it's engaging shoppers who looked at your product pages months ago or reconnecting with past purchasers beyond the typical year threshold, this extended reach is crucial for products with longer life cycles and helps ensure you're not missing out on potential repeat customers.

Only AMC offers the ability to retarget shoppers from beyond a year ago. The critical factor for success in this retroactive targeting is the ongoing collection of historical data. This diligent accumulation allows for a comprehensive view of customer interactions over extended periods, far beyond the typical one-year timeframe, ensuring your retargeting efforts are as effective as possible.

Final Thoughts

The advanced targeting capabilities of AMC complement those of DSP, offering a more rounded strategy for reaching your audience effectively. By setting up and running AMC, you're not just preparing for future campaigns; you're gathering valuable historical data that can sharpen your targeting and overall marketing strategy down the line. So, even if you're not fully diving into AMC just yet, it's worth getting the groundwork laid out now!  

If you’re aiming to refine their audience targeting with DSP and AMC, Xmars AMC Hub offers a user-friendly solution, allowing you to segment your audience without any coding required. You can now identify new customers, analyze the impact of your ads, and gauge the decision-making timeline for purchases effortlessly.  

For more information on how Xmars AMC Hub’s Custom Audience Creation tool can enhance your advertising, please go to What is Xmars AMC Hub’s Custom Audience Creation Tool? Optimizing Your Brand Messaging and Ad Strategy or Speak to our Team for a free consultation and demo!


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