Amazon Marketing: Sponsored Display & Amazon DSP: These are the differences and synergies

The advertising opportunities on the Amazon platform are constantly changing. Most recently, sponsored display ads have been expanded to include new functions that open up great potential for advertisers. However, they are not yet used by many because there is often uncertainty about the application, says etailment expert Markus Caspari. In this article he explains the differences and similarities between Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP and shows how both can be complemented in a meaningful way.

Amazon Advertising essentially consists – apart from individual advertising solutions, for example – of the two core areas “Amazon Sponsored Ads” (aka Amazon Search) and “Amazon DSP” (“Demand Side Platform”, aka Amazon Display & Video). Within Sponsored Ads there are three advertising formats: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display.

Questions regarding the differentiation between Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP keep coming up in day-to-day consulting. The differences and similarities are therefore briefly explained below to make it easier to get started.

© / lutsenko

Through Sponsored Ads and DSP, sellers and vendors can address potential customers inside and outside of Amazon’s own platform.

“Retail-Centricity” versus “Interoperability”

Sponsored Display is designed specifically for e-commerce. Potential customers are reached when they are on Amazon themselves. Therefore, this advertising product is particularly suitable for performance objectives.

The Amazon DSP, on the other hand, reaches target groups both on and outside of Amazon and is particularly well suited for “awareness” and “consideration” goals, but in combination with remarketing it is also very well suited for performance marketing goals.

The main difference between the two products lies in the concepts behind them: “Retail-Centricity” versus “Interoperability”. Sponsored Display (as part of Amazon Sponsored Ads) is retail-centric and aims to help advertisers grow on Amazon itself. The product is aimed at so-called “endemic” advertisers, ie those companies whose products are offered on Amazon.

With its interoperability technology suite, Amazon DSP offers not only its own data but also third-party insights in order to achieve the respective marketing goals. The Amazon DSP competes with other DSPs, such as Google’s DV360 or AdForm, but has numerous advantages in terms of sales on Amazon.

DSP allows promotion of individual ASINS outside of Amazon

A full description of the Amazon DSP would go beyond the scope here, this article is primarily about the differentiation from Amazon Sponsored Display. The Amazon DSP makes it possible to reach special target groups on a scale both on Amazon websites and apps (Amazon Owned & Operated) and outside of Amazon (Amazon Partner Sites, Third Party Exchange Inventory).

An advantage of the Amazon DSP over Amazon Sponsored Ads is the ability to link to wherever you want. The Amazon DSP remarketing in particular is very functional because you can advertise individual ASINS outside of Amazon.

Key differences between Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP

© Amazon information, adapted by Markus Caspari

Key differences between Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP


Both solutions can and should also be used together to achieve different goals and to leverage synergies. Amazon analyzed more than 900 brands across nine categories in 2021 and came to the conclusion that the simultaneous use of Amazon DSP and Sponsored Display generated more “new-to-brand customers” (+15%) and absolutely more sales (+7%). than compared to just one of the two products.

Of course, these statements are difficult to verify objectively, since they are Amazon’s own figures, but they largely coincide with the experiences of various customers at dentsu & iProspect.

With such relative comparative values, it is of course always necessary to evaluate how high the respective advertising budgets were. Because more advertising helps more, of course – but it also costs more. This is often forgotten in such comparisons. This means that the respective opportunity costs are decisive for efficiency.

Sponsored Display im Detail

Sponsored Display is available through both the self-service ad console and the Amazon Ads API. The format was primarily intended to reach target groups on Amazon, but this advertising solution now also works outside of Amazon, for example on Twitch.

When optimizing, paying by “Cost per click (CPC)” you can choose between “Optimizations to increase page visits” or “Optimizations to improve conversions”. The ads can then be delivered on Amazon or outside of Amazon. Sales will be made after the Post-click method attributed.

When paying according to “Viewable CPM (vCPM)”, only visible impressions (MRC Standard 50% visible for at least 1 second) are paid for, but the advertising is then only delivered on Amazon itself. The last control is particularly suitable for setting awareness goals. Sales are attributed in the post-view process.

Example of a Sponsored Display ad on Amazon

© Screenshot

Example of a Sponsored Display ad on Amazon

Targeting can be based on products or target groups

Sponsored Display checks whether the advertised products are out-of-stock and whether you own the Buy Box. When it comes to targeting, there is contextual targeting and audience targeting. With contextual targeting, a distinction is made between product targeting (individual ASINs) and category targeting (complete Amazon categories that match your own product).

In audience targeting, a distinction is made between interest targeting (users who were interested in the respective product categories) and view remarketing (users who have accessed their own product detail page or similar pages).

For audience targeting there are now different “lookback windows” (= attribution window, ie the period to be taken into account for the causal assignment of an order) for 7, 14 or 30 days. That means you can decide individually which users you want to target and how long ago their product detail page was viewed or the product was purchased.

Great potential by narrowing down target groups

The “views remarketing” (in Germany it is called “further marketing after views”) within the audience targeting of Sponsored Display is relatively new. This makes it possible to reach users who have accessed a specific product detail page of an advertised product in the last 30 days but have not yet bought the product.

Furthermore, users can be addressed who have viewed similar products to the advertised product or products in the same category in the last 30 days.

The target group can also be further narrowed down by brand, price structure, prime status or star rating using product attributes. An example illustrates the great potential: people can be reached in a very targeted manner who have looked at men’s running shoes under €120 with more than 4 stars in the last 30 days, which can be delivered via Prime.

However, people are left out who have already bought the product to be sold – which is advertised with a previously precisely selected targeting – in the last 30 days. Up to 10,000 ASINS can be promoted in one campaign.


The possibilities presented by both Amazon Sponsored Display and the Amazon DSP show that the complexity quickly becomes very high and that there is potential in the combination of the two solutions. Therefore, holistic strategies should be pursued, which should then be consistently planned and implemented.


Online marketing is being rethought by marketplaces and platforms.  And with brand analysis as a tool, Amazon has opened the door to previously unimagined depths of data for everyone.

© IMAGO / Panthermedia

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