Amazon is bulking up on headcount to service its Amazon Web Services (AWS) and ad sales divisions, as revenue for the "other" category – which combines advertising with all supplementary revenue like co-branded credit cards – increased 51% to $945 million YoY in Q2.
Amazon noted accelerated growth in hiring for software engineers and sales reps both for AWS and advertising services, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said during the company’s Q2 earnings call on Thursday.
Moreover, the growth in headcount for these two categories is exceeding the average growth rate of 42% across the company as a whole, Olsavsky said.
But what effect will Amazon’s launch of new self-serve platforms like Amazon Advertiser Audiences have on its plans to hire more sales reps?
“We built self-service tools and obviously we want to make those as efficient as possible for customers and advertisers, but we realize that we will need actual sales contact with the accounts as well,” Olsavsky said. “So it's a mix.”
Although Amazon never provides too much detail on its ads business, one analyst estimates ad sales revenue will grow from $3.5 billion this year to $5.7 billion in 2018.
A rough estimate of Amazon’s “other” category shows combined revenue reached nearly $2.9 billion in 2016.
Although that figure is not representative of ad services alone, Olsavsky added, “I would say that advertising revenue growth has been strong and fairly consistent over the past three quarters.”