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Amazon is poised to become a major force in the media business, thanks in large part to its deep trove of customer buying data.

But for now, Amazon’s actually weak in metrics, according to Tod Harrick, vp of product at Marketplace Ignition, who spoke at the Digiday Media Buying Summit earlier this month.

“[Amazon’s] metrics are terrible,” he said. “Build your own metrics tool or find someone who has their tool. Amazon is never going to support us. Our tool gives us a trend of what the return on ad spend is, what our budget is, how things are playing out with ad types. We used this to implement a strategic approach.”

Edited highlights from Harrick’s session appear below:

Amazon is more than just an e-commerce channel
“It’s dominating e-commerce. Ninety-four percent of customers research online before making a purchase in store. It’s not just an e-commerce play — it’s an overall sales play. It’s enormous in terms of reach. They have visitors coming back over and over again. They have 6.9 million unique visitors, about whom they know everything.”

Approaching advertising on Amazon holistically
“When you think about advertising on Amazon, you have to think about it holistically. You can’t just think about paid search and AMG. You have to think about the entire universe of placements, and spots, and channel and methods that your client can use to promote their presence. How are they buying search, digital and programmatic? How does that integrate with pricing actions, being in the gift shop or funding subscription products?”

Metrics fall short
“[Amazon] is never going to give you the support you desire or what you get from other channels. They run lean, and their goal is to automate and to make everything self-service for their clients. Everything about their success is predicated on the idea that they can build tools and move their responsibility of managing their platforms over to their platforms. They show signs of it with pricing and inventory, and we see it already.”

Carve out an Amazon-and-your-client strategy
“Own the strategic approach. Do not count on Amazon to understand your client and develop a strategic approach. Understand what your client is trying to accomplish. Realize that each of these placements, types of campaigns, platforms is going to serve a specific client need.”

Providing data is not on Amazon’s to-do list
“There is data; Amazon is not going to serve it up to you. It means building your own capability to own your data or finding someone who can do it. You can’t rely on Amazon; you won’t get what you want. All the time you’re buying media, you’re driving owned media and conversions. Amazon allocates impressions based on maximum bids, but it adjusts them on conversions and downstream purchases.”

The big giant
“Paid search, any advertising on Amazon can’t exist in a vacuum. Trying to buy advertising on Amazon or any e-commerce marketplace is like trying to run on one foot. There are too many things of which you are not cognizant or can’t control. You can’t control it.”

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