Amazon advertisers have historically relied on pull-based Amazon Ads API calls to monitor their intraday performance on the platform. In 2022, this manual process was given a literal reporting ‘push’ in the right direction with the beta release of Amazon Marketing Stream.
In this article, we’ll unpack what Amazon Marketing Stream is, how it functions, available data types, why it’s so important for advertisers, and examples and use cases for making the most of it in understanding and optimizing your campaigns.
What is Amazon Marketing Stream?
Amazon Marketing Stream is an advertising data streaming service that sends near real-time hourly metrics about campaign performance to advertisers’ AWS account. Advertisers are able to subscribe to different data sets they would like to regularly monitor for performance insights and budget concerns.
Amazon Marketing Stream’s push-based notifications eliminate the need to manually pull intraday insights from the API, solving for any throttling issues. AMS enables advertisers to improve efficiency in a number of ways, including:
- Use AWS services natively for receiving and processing performance data
- Improve data integration patterns
- Significantly reduce or eliminate the need for multiple daily API calls
As shared by Amazon in the AMS announcement:
“Once subscribed, Amazon Marketing Stream will deliver hourly performance metrics, with details such as targeting expression performance by placement and budget consumption messages in near real-time.”
Data Types Available in Amazon Marketing Stream
AMS provides advertisers with two categories of data—reporting data and messaging data.
AMS hourly reporting includes processed advertising performance data itself—traffic and conversions—and the necessary data dimensions for analytics. Retail data is not currently available in AMS.
Messaging data can be thought of more as alerts. These timely notifications are sent in near real-time so advertisers can act quickly and accordingly.
You can get this info for the following datasets: Sponsored Products traffic, Sponsored Products conversions, Sponsored ads budget usage.
Current messaging includes:
- Campaign changes
- Ad group changes
- Ad changes
- Targeting entity changes
- Budget usage updates (a notification is sent if a budget allotment is changed by 5% or more)
AMS also provides advertisers with optimization recommendations for existing campaigns, and suggestions for new ad campaigns.
Why is Amazon Marketing Stream Important for Advertisers?
If AMS was choosing a sorority, we have a feeling it would pledge Tri Delta! Rather than focusing on aggregate metrics, AMS pushes delta values to better illustrate performance fluctuations over time.
For example, if you wanted to see the delta of a given keyword’s performance during the 08:00 hour, your query might look something like the below.
In this hypothetical example, the tabular data you could expect that query to return is shown in the below snippet.
Being able to zone in on the parameters that can have a very real impact on your campaign strategy is essential to staying ahead in an increasingly busy marketplace.
“The more data you have, the smarter, more intentional and targeted you can be in your campaign optimization. Amazon Marketing Stream helps in uncovering the time blocks that are most active and least active for your brand and category, enabling you to efficiently amplify efforts during the chunks of the day that matter most.”
— Ben Gemkow, Commerce Media Manager at Tinuiti
New capabilities for campaign optimization
AMS doesn’t just make optimization insights easier to discover and digest; it brings new capabilities beyond what API-based reporting can deliver.
Advertisers using the reporting API are provided with a daily performance breakdown while AMS reporting provides summarized traffic and conversion data hourly. This level of granularity is essential for many advertisers, particularly those who want to zero in on the hours that matter most for consistently reaching their target audiences.
In addition to improved granular reporting, Amazon Marketing Stream provides a greater number of reporting dimensions.
API-based Reports: Show performance at the placement level or ad level
AMS: Show all available dimensions in a single dataset
API-based Reports: Show performance at the target ID, placement level, or ad level
AMS: Show data for all above dimensions together. This unlocks new granular data that isn’t available anywhere except AMS, to include keyword performance for a specific placement
Get timely data for campaign reporting
AMS gets advertisers as close to real-time data insights as possible. Hourly updates are automatically pushed to your AWS account, ready for review whenever you want or need them. This is especially valuable if you have clients who regularly request campaign performance and/or budgeting updates, enabling you to easily consider the most up-to-date information possible in what you provide.
Course-correct campaigns for operational efficiency
With AMS, busy advertisers are given the information they need when they need it, reliably delivered every hour. They don’t have to remember to do an API pull—or worry about potential throttling issues when they do! This makes it easier to more regularly monitor your campaigns for potential issues or opportunities you can address or leverage.
Who is Eligible for Amazon Marketing Stream?
Amazon Marketing Stream is available to Amazon sellers, vendors, tool providers, and agencies like Tinuiti, including integrated partners and self-service advertisers. AMS is accessible via the Amazon Ads API using your existing credentials; all regions supported by the Amazon Ads API have AMS access as of February 2023, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico in North America.
“Amazon will not charge advertisers any fees to use Amazon Marketing Stream or to store your data in an Amazon-managed service. However, you might incur costs associated with using AWS, depending on the scope of your data. Learn more about AWS pricing.”
Use Cases for Amazon Marketing Stream
Tinuiti’s team of Amazon advertising experts has been experimenting with AMS since its launch, evaluating the best ways to act upon the near real-time insights it provides. Below, we unpack two Amazon Marketing Stream success stories to consider in your own campaigns.
Soda Brand Sees Refreshing Results Through Strategic Intraday Bid Increases
In both the paid and organic search marketing space, improving visibility for high-value, single-keywords or short keyword phrases can be difficult. In addition to single keywords and short phrases having a greater variety of search intent, they also typically have significantly stiffer competition in both quantity and quality.
So what if you wanted to rank for “soda?” And how could Amazon Marketing Stream data help make it possible?
Our Amazon ads team recently set out to answer those questions for themselves during Prime Day 2023. With a goal of increasing visibility and market share for the keyword “soda” for a soda brand client, Tinuiti’s team increased bids during the highest traffic/highest conversion hours of the day.
To determine the best hours to make the most of a bid increase, they identified historical sales data by time of day through AMS.
After evaluating AMS data, the team built a strategic plan to increase bids by 40-55% during key shopping windows, considering both traffic and the likelihood of conversion. As they were simultaneously focused on scaling visibility and growing Share of Voice (SOV) in the account, they did not reduce bids throughout the day.
And now for the sparkling results…
- SOV doubled (+104%)
- Traffic and sales volume increased across the “soda” keyword overall, regardless of the specific test campaign
- The test campaigns were focused in Sponsored Products, and yet we saw stronger sales volume and new-to-brand (NTB) metrics through the corresponding Sponsored Brands
Overall Account Period over Period (PoP)
- Impressions: +34%
- Clicks: +73%
- Spend: +96%
- Sales: +273%
- NTB Units: +570%
Test Campaign PoP
- Impressions: +29%
- Clicks: +46%
- Spend: +74%
- Sales: +120%
“Optimizing based on AMS Time of Day Insights had a direct positive impact on both the focus keyword and the account overall as it allowed us to capitalize on high-conversion times of day and stand out when we knew the customer was most interested.”
— Jessi Shapp, Sr. Specialist, Marketplaces Search at Tinuiti
Intraday Bidding Helps Boost Book Sales for Author
Our Amazon ads team wanted to increase revenue for top evergreen titles written by a specific author for a publishing client. Using AMS data, the team was able to determine which specific days and times were likely to yield the best results.
After identifying the overall busiest days—and specific hourly windows on given days—the team built an intraday bidding plan that would increase bids by 15-30% during these heightened hours of opportunity. The additional percentage amount allotted to each boosted hour (between 15-30%) considered traffic, with bids never being decreased below their typical amount.
You don’t have to wait for the sequel to read all about the results…
- Impression Change: +73%
- Clicks Change: +56%
- aCPC Change: -6%
- Spend Change: +66%
- Sales Change: +72%
- ACOS Change: -2%
“I was really surprised by the results of this test. While I expected to see impressions and sales increase, the scale at which we immediately saw improvements was beyond what I had expected. This really emphasizes the importance of meeting your shoppers where they are at on Amazon and making sure you get your products front and center when you know they’re doing their browsing/shopping.”
— Nicole Cooper, Senior Specialist, Marketplaces Search at Tinuiti
The team plans to take their learnings from this campaign into the holiday season, expanding intraday bidding to more seasonal campaigns where bid adjustments would be happening much more frequently/at higher percentages—and overall Amazon competition is much more aggressive.
More Data is Better (over-optimization isn’t)
The greater granularity of data offered by Amazon Marketing Stream is undoubtedly advantageous for brands and advertisers. However, while it’s important to gather and analyze that data, you shouldn’t always rush to make changes based on it. Remember that you don’t have to act on every insight; some performance fluctuation is a natural part of advertising.
It’s also important to give the data collection enough time to offer statistically significant insights. AMS can be a crucial discovery tool whose findings help shape your campaign through different optimization levers.
Ben Gemkow, Commerce Media Manager at Tinuiti, explains:
“Our teams are primarily leveraging Amazon Marketing Stream to better understand when we should allocate more budget during certain periods of the day. Most of the time, this includes an overnight budget reduction and spend increase during the morning, day, and/or early evening, but it truly varies by client and category in ways we couldn’t as easily determine before AMS.
Other ways we’re utilizing AMS data in campaign optimization is through more strategic use of features like dynamic bidding. Through down-bidding we can be more conservative during times when a conversion is less likely, only increasing our bid in auctions where we’re confident we’re going to win. This is an especially helpful efficiency boost for clients who already have strong consumer awareness, or aren’t as concerned with new-to-brand growth in particular.
On the flip side—for brands who want to grow visibility even in instances where they might not win an auction—we can bid more aggressively through dynamic bidding to help get their name out there and in the running.
Or maybe you have a moderate mix? In any scenario, intraday bid adjustments are a valuable tool but aren’t always necessary if you’re savvy with your bid placements and are really in tune with your dynamic bidding model. In combination with bid rules, dynamic bidding, and top-of-search placements, intraday bidding can become another part of your overall bidding strategy, not a full replacement. Take time to digest and react strategically rather than overly responsively to the larger patterns and trends AMS data unlocks for you.”
Amazon Marketing Stream provides advertisers with near real-time performance and budgeting updates that facilitate making the most efficient, strategic optimizations possible on the platform. Rather than requiring an API pull, these updates are automatically pushed to the designated AWS account hourly.