Amazon takes Indian ad innovation to hold global market

Amazon is investing heavily in its advertising business in India, and it has a dedicated team in Bengaluru creating innovative products for advertising. The company is seeing good growth in the number of Indian sellers advertising on Amazon, said Colleen Aubrey, global vice-president of performance advertising. She said that a number of India-first and India-focused features are being launched to get more sellers to advertise on the marketplace.

“We have a really strong team focused on India’s advertising business. Some of the India-focused features will be rolled out globally later. For instance, we enabled prepayment in India first, where sellers can set aside funds upfront for advertising,” she said. Prepayment was developed because collecting payments later is sometimes challenging in India.

Aubrey, who works at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and has been with the company since 2005, said the platform was also experimenting to enable brands that don’t sell directly on it to still advertise, as part of their brand building. The brand would be present on the platform through third-party sellers. Under this project, Amazon has run a campaign with Samsung. The product is ready for aglobal rollout, Aubrey said.

One of the division’s first products was implemented in India back in 2007 at its Indian subsidiary Junglee. Advertising at the time did not have much value for Amazon as the US platform was then an inventory-based one, and the advertisements sometimes took Amazon customers outside the website to rivals like Walmart.

However, with a marketplace model now emerging strongly within Amazon, advertising holds much significance. Amazon currently has a 2.5% share of the display advertising market in the US. The company’s self-service advertising products are available in 10 countries. Aubrey had led the global product and engineering team that built Amazon’s cost-perclick model in display advertising. “Cost-per-click works on the basis of the sellers expressing their willingness to pay for every click on their product page,” she said.

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