Industry Preview: Colleen Aubrey On Amazon’s Huge 2020 – And What It Has Planned For 2021

Industry Preview is a special, limited-run audio series, featuring interviews with key leaders in marketing, media and technology who share their predictions and key priorities for 2021. This podcast is sponsored by IBM Watson Advertising.

When the global pandemic shut down the world, ecommerce and streaming video surged. Amazon plays prominently in both spaces.

But with a year of massive transformation under its belt, how will Amazon maintain that momentum in 2021 – and what will it offer to its advertiser clients? In this episode, Colleen Aubrey, Amazon’s VP of performance advertising, discusses the company’s plans for the new year.

In recent years, Amazon has beefed up its advertising API and worked more closely with partners and agencies. “2020 was a breakout year in terms of the pace of adding features to our API and getting it into the hands of partners and advertisers,” Aubrey says. “As an example, we launched four times as many features to our advertising API in 2020 as 2019.”


When it comes to developing new features, Aubrey explains how Amazon starts with common business needs. That’s what gives partners working through the Amazon API the ability to offer more specific, verticalized services.

Amazon is also zeroing in on how it can enhance the advertiser opportunities associated with its video inventory, including IMDb TV, Fire TV and Twitch. (Prime Video is under the purview of a different team). Specifically, Aubrey’s team is examining how it can combine new signals to help bolster advertiser campaigns.

“We’re looking to see how we can use shopping and viewing signals, in addition to demographics, to help brands create effective campaigns,” she says.

Check out this episode to learn more about how Amazon hopes to combine different signals: both to message specific audiences, as well as to measure how it’s thinking about ad loads and unique ad units across its different surfaces from digital storefronts to its physical boxes and how mega ecommerce events such as Prime Day relate to live streaming.

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