By Jonathan Wilner, Commerce Media Associate Director, Transact
In October 2023, Amazon announced they will be shutting down their native ad server in Q4 2024. Formerly referred to as Sizmek Ad Suite, the Amazon Ad Server platform has been Amazon’s solution for ad serving, creative authoring, and dynamic creative optimization (DCO) since Amazon acquired ad serving and DCO capabilities from Sizmek in June 2019. Advertisers have been utilizing Amazon Ad Server for building engaging creatives, creative analytics, cross-media analytics, campaign tagging, and leveraging Amazon’s native DCO provider.
Excerpt Amazon’s official Announcement October 2023:
“At Amazon, we’re always evaluating the potential of our products and services to deliver customer value, and we regularly make adjustments based on those assessments…We’ve made the decision to sunset Amazon Ad Server in the fourth quarter of 2024.”
One of the challenges brands have faced while using Amazon Ad Server is Amazon’s requirement to use their native service to tag custom-built audiences within the Amazon DSP. Custom-built audiences are a necessity in today’s media landscape, and they allow for granular and fine-tuned audience targeting and creative messaging. However, Amazon requires advertisers to use Amazon Ad Server despite other third-party services being available, such as Google and Double-Click. This has required advertisers to make difficult decisions around ad serving partner relationships as well as limited their visibility into impression quality. Amazon has not yet confirmed what this will look like post-sunset, but absent any announcement of a subsequent product to replace Amazon Ad Server, our assumption is that Amazon will start allowing third-party providers to provide tags for custom-built audiences. This will allow brands to gain increased visibility into their media performance and data validity without being limited to services provided by Amazon. In the meantime, the services and limitations will remain in place until Q4, 2024.
The role of ad servers within the current media landscape is always changing, but they are a staple in many advertisers’ toolkits currently. Ad servers enable advertisers to build and store omnichannel assets, activate targeted media campaigns as well as measure and report on cross-channel performance, all in one place. As more channels enter the scene, including but not limited to display, social, search, CTV, DOOH and audio, ad servers provide brands with insights into their holistic media performance, which is increasingly valuable within today’s walled gardens.
While Amazon has not provided any further details as of today, we believe this is an important move. Seeing this announcement come just 6 months after Amazon rebranded Sizmek to Amazon Ad Server marks a shift in Amazon’s interest in the space. It is possible that this shift will ultimately result in more cooperation with 3P ad servers within the Amazon DSP. An increase in ad server options will allow advertisers to gain additional data signals without being forced to use Amazon’s native solution.