Unboxing Amazon unBoxed 2023

Amazon unBoxed brought thousands to the Javits center in NYC last week to share the latest and greatest for manufacturers and they didn’t disappoint. Pros of all types - those who know AMC (Flywheelers stand up) and those who break trick shot records (Dude Perfect was in the house) took the stage to share how they’re helping brands win.

Written by
November 1, 2023
Unboxing Amazon unBoxed 2023

Table of contents

Table of contents










Key Themes: 

  1. Accessibility: Brands have access like they’ve never had before; to NFL ads via Thursday Night Football; to more creative via AI tools and to insights with new dashboards that will help them and their agencies be more strategic than ever. 
  2. Diversity: There are now so many solutions to reach any segment or type of potential customer across their journey accessible to all brands, at every budget and objective. Tools that enable those with disabilities (Alexa product recognition) to shop easier or those who care about sustainability (climate pledge friendly badges) make reaching the right customer at the right time with the right message easier than ever. 
  3. Integration: By building features that can work together (e.g. lookalike models that will sit on top of AMC) they are enabling marketers to make more efficient, faster decisions. 
  4. Personalization: Personalization and Optionality were key. Sponsored Brand AI image generation enables brands to produce multiple versions of creative and add to PDP, and update images with seasonality. TNF ads allowed customers to have streaming options, personalizing their experience and increasing relevance of brands during the game.  

Key Launches:

Throughout the 2 day event, Amazon unveiled multiple new ad products and marketing insights to drive brands growth. Flywheel works closely with Amazon ads to test and co-develop new features; by leaning in early we are able to better understand the upside and build products to be first to market. Here’s a quick run-down of what was announced:

  • TV: Sponsored TV, Prime TV Ads
  • Ad Tech Capabilities: Strategic Campaign Planning - DSP
  • Impactful Campaign Activation and Optimization: Expanded NTB Metrics Suite, AMC lookalikes, DSP Events Manager
  • AI: Image Generation 
  • Amazon Publisher Cloud

Flywheel Hot Takes 

AI Content Creation: As AI continues to dominate industry headlines and executive headspace, Amazon highlighted the way their tools can act as a “co-pilot” or “co-collaborator” for advertisers to get content live, faster. By entering copy from PDP, packaging, etc., lifestyle images can be quickly generated. 

Our take: We’re excited about the future potential of generative AI and its ability to help us be more efficient. AI tools learn as they are provided with new inputs, so continued testing and education of these tools will get them closer to a human output every day. In the meantime, we know additional touch will be required to ensure the quality is consumer ready, so we will adapt our ways of working to make this process as seamless as possible. 

Ad Tech Innovations Galore: Connected customer journeys are not a new concept, but now a true reality with the breadth of tactics and tools now available to advertisers (strategic campaign planning, expanded NTB metrics, AMC lookalikes, etc.). Insights can be used to close gaps where we see connections, but no translation to sales (e.g. consumers buying t-shirts for a movie franchise, but not the movie tickets themselves). This will allow for more targeted, optimized activations that lead to higher conversions.   

Our take: We’ve talked about the use of AMC to include media mix analysis to help guide decisions on budget allocations across ad products for some time now. We’ll be using our dashboards including NTB and P2P to continue our work to make spend as efficient as possible.

Ads For The Win: Rumors of the death of ads in streaming TV were highly exaggerated. While not new news, Amazon spoke extensively about new ads on Prime Video. While several years ago this was unthinkable, the moves of Netflix and Disney+ to ad-supported models has opened the door to consumer acceptance of ads in their streaming experiences. 

Our take: Shout out for the Opt Out. Amazon has taken a very smart approach in launching ads by making the ad tier opt-out for $2.99, thus immediately becoming the largest premium ad-supported service, with an estimated 115 million viewers in the U.S. monthly. This will immediately address the challenges Netflix has had in terms of scale and reach. This is a huge win for advertisers and Amazon. Additionally, our Flywheel Customer Long Term Value (CLTV) dashboard utilizes AMC to measure streaming TV over a longer window, up to 12 months, helping advertisers further analyze impact. 

Everyone Gets A Cloud: The beta launch of Amazon Publisher Cloud (APC) was announced, which allows publishers to maintain control of their first-party signals while analyzing them alongside Amazon Ads insights, creating customized and more effective deals for advertisers in the Amazon DSP. This is very important for publishers who are challenged by the coming death of the cookie. With APC they can create custom deals for their advertisers combining their valuable data such as contextual signals with Amazon Ads audiences and package a deal to reach exactly who an advertiser wants to address. In an early test, Amazon ran a Prime Video campaign which reached more than 3.5x the desired audience than an unoptimized campaign. 

Our take: We are cautiously optimistic. Theoretically this is a win for all involved (advertisers, publishers and Amazon) but we want to experience the complexity of implementation and scalability of these deals, particularly when many advertisers and publishers involved will be smaller scale than Prime Video and NBC Universal, the example touted in the press release 

The Small Budget Revolution Will Actually Be Televised - Amazon announced the launch of Sponsored TV, which combines the self-service tools provided by Sponsored Ads with the incredible reach of television. Sponsored TV was built to allow smaller advertisers to have access to advertising on Television. Amazon removes TV’s barriers by having no minimum spending levels, no upfront commitment and by helping adapt their creative or create entirely new ones.

Our take: While it is still early and there are some hurdles (for example, smaller advertisers learning how to properly evaluate performance of TV advertising) to overcome, with time, this is a win. Flywheel’s CLTV Dashboard captures Sponsored TV campaigns to measure their downstream sales impacts. Amazon and its partners will also need to move fast to develop the right features and tools to effectively run TV campaigns at the scale smaller advertisers can afford.

The Commerce Collective Podcast episodes recorded live from unBoxed

Amazon hosted its first-ever “Partner Podcast Junket,” giving Flywheel the opportunity to interview 5 Amazon execs while at the event. Listen in for discussion around product launches,  the process of product development & innovation, partnerships, AMC, & DSP.

Amazon unBoxed Podcast Junket (Part 1) - Product Launch Overview, Partner Development & Product Innovation: Featuring Jeff Cohen, (Tech Evangelist, Amazon Ads, Teresa Uthurral, ( Director Partner Development, Amazon Ads,), &  Ruslana Zbagerska (VP of Technology and Product Development, Amazon Ads).

Amazon unBoxed Podcast Junket (Part 2) - Innovation in DSP & AMC Growth: Featuring Kelly McLean (VP Amazon DSP) & Miranda Chen (Director of AMC Monetization & Growth).

Flywheel’s Big Announcements

Entering a new era

In case you missed it, while we were at unBoxed, we announced a new chapter. The brands of Ascential Digital Commerce have come together to create a greater, more powerful Flywheel.

This allows us to simplify digital commerce solutions for an increasingly complex world. We have deep marketplace partnerships that grant us early access to innovation and fuel our intuitive, advanced technology. Our goal and focus remain the same, driving unparalleled growth for clients.

We hope you share our excitement in bringing together the best of our businesses to create an industry-leading suite of solutions under one brand.

Click here to read the full article explaining the benefits of partnering with our new, single, global brand.

The recommended sale of Flywheel to Omnicom

Additionally, this week we announced another big milestone for Flywheel. The board of Ascential plc has recommended the sale of its Digital Commerce business, Flywheel to Omnicom.

“By connecting Flywheel Commerce Cloud’s product and transaction data with Omni’s audience and behavioral data, we are poised to offer an end-to-end set of services that outpaces the competition.” Duncan Painter, Chief Executive

Head over to the Wall Street Journal to learn more about the recommended sale.


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