Amazon Publisher Services Guide

Written by publift2019

26 Aug, 2020

What is Amazon Publisher Services?

Amazon Publisher Services is a suite of tools and services developed by Amazon. Its design allows for a single call to Amazon’s cloud-based marketplace providing for reduced latency for publishers while optimizing their revenue. The revenue increase is due to a large, competitive field of bidding as well as superior transparency to publishers, so through the APS service, they can better understand what marketing strategies yield superior results. On the latency side, having a single call out to an external system greatly reduces the time to negotiate and display ads on websites in real-time.

Response times are also improved through its server-side header bidding taking place within the Amazon cloud and not on the publisher’s side, using Amazon’s bandwidth to manage auctions. Amazon is far better geared to handle bandwidth-intensive negotiations between various advertisers from multiple sources.

Amazon Publisher Services offers two different products, depending largely on the size of a publisher. While there are specific differences between the two, they both rely on header bidding services. Header bidding is a technology that allows a publisher to offer its inventory of available ad spots to many ad exchanges, simultaneously, so they can bid on spots. This high-speed, digital bidding technique allows advertisers to compete for highly specific (therefore coveted) ad spots, while helping publishers more effectively monetize their content.

How do Publishers Get Into Amazon Programmatic Advertising? What Services is Amazon Offering for Publishers?

Publishers can enter into Amazon’s program through two different programs – the Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM) or the Universal Ad Marketplace (UAM). Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The TAM services are targeted towards larger, enterprise publishers, while UAM is for small and mid-level publishers.

The main difference between Amazon UAM and TAM revolves around how each handles SSPs for publishers. An SSP, or supply-side platform, is a software solution for the automated selling of ad space. Publishers use SSPs to sell ad space in a variety of mediums, including text and video ads.

The automated nature of selling space with an SSP partner allows for a publisher to receive competitive bids within an ad marketplace, thereby increasing monetization of their site without having to increase the actual number of ads being run.

With TAM, Amazon Publisher Services assumes the publisher is large and established enough to already have individual relationships with SSPs and simply seeks to centralize bidding programmatically in their ad marketplace. By contrast, users of UAM get access to both Amazon add for publishers and a host of SSPs who work with Amazon, allowing Amazon to manage all the relationships between the SSPs and the publisher.

Amazon UAM

Amazon UAM serves small to midsize businesses well because they do not necessarily already have personal relationships with SSPs. As noted, more SSPs means more bids so, in theory, more revenue for publishers. Using Amazon UAM, publishers not only have access to Amazon dsp, but also access to a list of established SSPs including – district m, Oath, OpenX, Pubmatic, RhythmOne, and Rubicon. Overall, this allows for extremely competitive bidding for smaller publishers without the need for businesses to develop individual relationships with the SSPs.

UAM also allows for convenient, centralized billing. Amazon releases a single payment on a 60-day basis. However, there are some fees involved. UAM charges a 10% transaction fee from any SSP’s prices.

Users of UAM also have a robust set of reporting tools at their disposal. Amazon services include reporting bid requests, impressions, and earnings. Additionally, there are a host of filters for more granular reporting such as devices, sites, and price points.

Amazon TAM

Amazon TAM is the preferred Amazon advertising platform for larger publishers. Typically, larger publishers already have affiliates they work with within the digital ad marketplace. They are more likely seeking to use Amazon Publisher Services in order to leverage access to Amazon-specific services and the unique Amazon ad marketplace to combine with other header bidding services as an additional monetization effort.

As mentioned, users of TAM will need to have existing contractual relationships with all their demand bid partners, Amazon simply acts as a centralized system for these header bidding services. As to what partners they work with, Amazon boasts over 20, including such popular ones as AppNexus, Facebook Audience Network, OpenX, RubiconProject, Smaatom, and SpotX. TAM users can also turn off any bidders they wish in real-time.

For transparency, Amazon TAM users have access to all auction records, allowing them to review bidders for each impression, bid CPMs, as well as the winner of each.

What Are Some Other Advantages of Using Amazon Publisher Services?

Setting up a new digital account with APS allows for one, swift call to the Amazon cloud for all bidding to take place. Not only does a single call speed up the bidding process, but using the Amazon cloud also frees up a publisher’s bandwidth, further reducing latency.

Access to Amazon as a Bidder

However, the larger benefit of the service is access to Amazon itself, bringing in Amazon as a fellow bidder on your published offerings. As the fifth most visited site in the US, Amazon boasts monthly traffic of approximately half a million visits per month. Amazon is also first among e-commerce sites in the US. This makes access to their bids extremely valuable.

Access to Amazon Shopping Insights

As part of the service, users of APS also gain access to Amazon Shopping Insights. This tool allows you to understand how your audience engages with Amazon, analysing aggregate data that can be parsed and examined using different types of customizable criteria.

Data from Shopping Insights will give you an excellent window into your visitors’ shopping habits so you can, in turn, more granularly tune your content to take advantage of your readers’ interests. In addition, you can form reports to give advertisers a better understanding of your readership and their shopping habits.

Data for Shopping Insights is gathered from Amazon’s first-party audience segment and is collected on any domains with at least 5000 unique visits per day. Shopping Insights is only available for users of Amazon’s TAM.

What Type of Publishers Would Suit Amazon Publisher Services?

APS is suitable for large to mid-sized publishers only. Within those two broad categories, each has its own requirements and expectations. For reasons illustrated below, APS is a best fit for large publishers as their penetration into the midsize publisher market is rather limited. However, midsized publishers can benefit from APS if they manage to qualify.

Large Scale Publishers

For large scale publishers, TAM is an ideal solution for those who already have and maintain their own contractual relationships with demand partners. TAM offers server-side multislot header bidding. It’s single-call, cloud-based architecture allows for reduced latency and access to Amazon as a bidder. It also offers a superior, centralized system for reporting and analysis and works smoothly with most major demand partners.

Midsize Publishers

While Amazon does offer some access to its APS platform to midsized publishers, the most important thing to know is that UAM is by invitation only. So, access to their ad marketplace may not even be possible.

Per Amazon, UAM is primarily designed for publishers who represent their site using Google Ad Manager as their ad server. Assuming digital publishers qualify, UAM offers a wealth of reporting features, simplified billing, and access to both Amazon ads and several SSPs. It should also be noted that UAM has a processing fee of 10% when of bid prices from participating SSPs.

Small Scale Publishers

Simply put, Amazon does not work with small scale publishers, nor have they expressed any interest in doing so in the future. Small publishers are recommended to search elsewhere for monetization of their web content.

How To Get Started on Amazon Publisher Service

If you’re one of the large scale publishers, getting into the APS is fairly straightforward. If you’re set up for multi-header bidding and you have a current relationship set up with your demand partners, you’re ready to go. For smaller, mid-size publishers, as noted, you’ll need a personal invitation from Amazon to take part in APS.

What To Do If You Don’t Qualify For APS

If your small business does not qualify for entry into APS, there are other routes to choose from to monetize your web content.

Google AdSense – Google AdSense has a far lower bar of entry and has a good, near 100% fill rate for advertising. Moreover, it’s payout is fairly competitive. Google AI is also excellent at targeting your reader demographic with relevant ads. If you;’re not sold, check out our guide to best Adsense alternatives.

Xandr – Xandr, owned by AT&T, has one of the largest collections of digital, film, and TV properties. I 2019, Xander launched Community, a video marketplace launched to connect video advertisers and publishers to achieve better yields on inventory for publishers in general.

Index Exchange – Index Exchange differentiates itself, not by volume, but by quality. They are extremely selective about what advertisers they let into their system, meaning advertisers have been meaningfully vetted before allowed entry into auctions.

Verizon Media – Verizon Media represents what was once AOL. They are known for good return CPMs and vetting for quality advertisers. They also offer several forms of video units for advertisers.

OpenX – OpenX is truly an open platform. It boasts 1.5 trillion bid transactions per day. That is working with 1,500 publishers and 34,000 advertisers. Again, that is per day. This makes OpenX one of the uncontested heavies in the bidding market.

APS For Your Publishing Needs

APS is an ideal solution for mid to large scale publishers. That being said, there is precious little support for smaller sale publishers and they should be realistic in their expectations regarding what Amazon can do for them.

By contrast, large scale publishers will find APS customer designed for them. Publishers need not change their relationship with demand partners. APS only simplified this relationship by providing a centralized platform for managing their service.

In short, APS is an ideal solution for large scale businesses. It is also a decent choice for mid-scale. However, it should be noted that mid-scale businesses can take advantage of APS by invitation only. While it may be advantageous for mid-scale businesses, Amazon is not actively courting them. Therefore, mid-scale and smaller businesses should consider alternatives for their advertising needs. Companies, including Google, have shown they are far more willing to work with smaller companies and offer plenty of chances to take advantage of server-side ad bidding. However, if a company can qualify for APS, it is certainly economically worth considering.

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