How Amazon is priming its ad business for the next year

Amazon’s brutal efficiency, obsession with automation and ruthless pricing tactics have helped it disrupt or conquer market after market, starting with books in 1997. Now it’s bringing those tactics to bear on the company’s latest target: the ad business.

To shoulder its way into an industry overwhelmingly dominated by Facebook and Google, Amazon is making bold new moves into self-serve programmatic advertising. It plans to spend the next year aggressively expanding the infrastructure that it hopes will get more brands buying ad space on its websites and through its ad platform, according to people familiar with the matter. (They and other unnamed sources quoted in this article spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that Amazon has not publicly disclosed.) To do so, it will work with ad-tech companies, agencies and media companies to create platforms that make buying Amazon ads as easy as filling up an online shopping cart.

“The biggest game changer is the ability to programmatically buy ads on Amazon,” says Eric Heller, CEO of Marketplace Ignition, an agency owned by WPP that focuses on building Amazon sales for its clients. “That’s where the fastest change is happening [in Amazon’s ad business]. This is going to move tons of dollars there.”

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