Amazon DSP vs Sponsored Display: When & Why to Use Different Amazon Ads types?

Elise Jackson

Post details

  • AUTHOR: Elise Jackson
  • CATEGORY: Amazon Advertising
  • DATE: 04/05/2023

There are multiple Amazon Ads solutions that help brands reach, connect and engage with target audiences: Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform) and Sponsored Display are two advertising solutions that help you do just that.

While they both serve a similar purpose, there are some key differences between the two you should be aware of in order to make an informed decision about which platform is best for you.

Before we get into the details, here is a little reminder of what each ad solution is, even if you have used them before it’s great to get a refresh.

What is Sponsored Display?

Sponsored Display is a self-service advertising tool, accessible via Seller and Vendor Central, that allows brand owners on Amazon to use display advertising both on-platform and off-platform.

Using Sponsored Display, brands can create ads that appear on Amazon product detail pages, search results pages, and other relevant places on Amazon.  The ad format allows businesses to reach customers who are already interested in their products, which can help drive more sales to an audience that is highly engaged.

You can purchase ads on a Cost-per-click (CPM) or Cost-per-millie (vCPM is cost per a thousand impressions) basis.


What is Amazon DSP?

Amazon DSP is a demand-side platform that allows brands to programmatically buy ads at scale. DSP ads can either send traffic to a product listing on Amazon or send them to an external website and can either be operated as a managed service by Amazon or self-service:

  • Amazon-Managed: Amazon provides a direct managed service option with consultative support. A great option for those with limited programmatic advertising experience. Brands are required to spend a minimum of $35,000 to access this.
  • Managed Self-Service: Available exclusively to Amazon Agency Partners (such as This is Unicorn) brands can have a greater degree of campaign control. You can bypass the minimum ad spend when you work with an Amazon Ads Partner like us.

With DSP, Amazon sellers can reach a wider audience by targeting their ads to specific audiences based on factors such as demographics, interests, and browsing history.


What do Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP have in common?

While they are different solutions, Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP do share some commonalities.

  • The ads can both be displayed on and off Amazon.
  • They can utilise display ads with e-commerce creatives.


How do Amazon DSP and Sponsored Display differ?

Take note! There are some key differences between the two ad solutions:

  • Sponsored Display is exclusive to Sellers and Vendors on Amazon whereas Amazon DSP can be used by advertisers both on and off Amazon.
  • Traffic can go to another site when using Amazon DSP but Sponsored Display advertisers can only send traffic to their Amazon product listings.
  • Sponsored Display has a minimum investment of $1 and DSP varies between regions.
  • You can bid on specific user groups (based on their behaviours) when using Amazon DSP but Sponsored Display works by targeting keywords and individual ASINS.


What Targeting Options are Available?

The targeting options are a little different for each solution. Find out more below.

Sponsored Display – Targeting Options

  • Product Targeting: Great for product consideration or cross-selling. This target option allows you to promote your product to audiences that are actively searching for your product or similar products and categories.
  • Audiences – Views Remarketing: Perfect for remarketing to high-intent audiences. Views target options help you reengage audiences who have viewed your products or similar products and categories.
  • Audiences – Purchases Remarketing:  Great for driving repurchase rates and consumer loyalty, this targeting option is similar to Views Remarketing (above), but instead of targeting customers who already viewed the product, you can target customers who have already purchased the same product, products related or complementary to your advertised products as well as customers who have purchased products within a specific category on Amazon.
  • Audiences – Interests: You would use this for the brand awareness stage. You can introduce your products to audiences based on their shopping interests that are similar to your products: such as Lifestyle, Life Events, In-Market, etc.

Running Sponsored Display ads is great for improving sales and brand awareness of an Amazon listing but they only go so far.

When you want to reach a wider audience off of Amazon, strategic Amazon DSP campaigns can scale your marketing and advertising by reaching customers at all stages of the customer journey on and off Amazon.


Amazon DSP – Targeting Options

  • Contextual: Great for brand awareness. You can target shoppers that are actively looking at products related to your brand.
  • Lifestyle: Another great targeting option for brand awareness and product consideration. You can target shoppers that have shown search and purchasing habits related to lifestyle groups (think fitness or pet lovers!)
  • In-Market: You can target shoppers who have shown intent in the past 30 days to purchase a product within one of Amazon’s subcategories.
  • Audience Lookalike: Great for awareness of your products. You can target audiences that have similar demographics and shopping behaviours as your current customers.
  • Remarketing: Perfect for remarketing to high-intent audiences. You can reengage shoppers who have previously engaged with a product.
  • Advertiser Audiences: Great for increasing campaign relevance for existing or interested customers. This target option allows advertisers to add their existing audiences to their Amazon ads campaigns.


Top tip: Use the two tools together

You don’t need to use one or the other, you can use both tools at the same time! Here are a few ways brands can fire up their strategy by using them together.

For brand awareness

You can use Sponsored Display to promote all ASINS and identify the top performers within your campaigns. You can then take these top performers across to DSP.

For retargeting

Imagine you’ve just ended Cyber Week and you want to retarget shoppers who view your product listings, if you move this list over to DSP, you can extend momentum by targeting them off Amazon.


Our Strategic Take on Amazon DSP and Sponsored Display

Completely self-service, Sponsored Display is quick and easy to set up and with the minimum spend being low, advertisers can test audiences, budgets, and which products perform well with display ads for a low cost.

Amazon DSP is an advanced media solution, therefore it’s easier to start with Sponsored Display advertising, then expand to DSP when budget and objectives allow.

As part of an advanced Amazon Ads strategy, brands looking to leverage all parts of the purchase journey should consider using DSP and Sponsored Display in tandem. However, it’s important to ensure that the objectives for each campaign type are clearly defined in your marketing strategy, so you can measure the performance effectively.

Are you looking for an Amazon Advertising Partner to drive sales through Amazon’s advertising tools? Look no further!



Ready to discover your selling potential?

We’re here to help you leap over the hurdles and make your brand stand out.

Please fill in our form.X close

    How we store your data privacy