"Amazon likes to talk about how 56 percent of product searches are coming through Amazon," said Diana Gordon, senior partner at media agency Mindshare. "It's definitely a stat that causes advertisers to stand up."
If you remove the buy box on Amazon's site, it would rank in the top five of daily trafficked sites online, Gordon explained. Amazon can not only drive sales, it's becoming a place for people to read reviews.
"We know that consumers are using Amazon not only as retail, but also using it as product discovery and research," Gordon said. "It could lead to making more purchases in brick-and-mortar stores."
Amazon also wants to expand video advertising business. In addition to allowing commercials on livestreamed content like it did on its Thursday Night Football streams this year, it's pitching companies on bespoke sponsored content. The branded videos would be created by established media publishers or by Amazon's own internal production team. Some ideas that are being floated around are creating infomercial-style videos for products with celebrity spokespeople.
"We have been having conversations of how do you take advantage of the video offering on Prime through digital advertising," said Sargi Mann, digital executive vice president at Havas Media Group. "Instead of having superfluous ads, how can a brand have a part of that dialogue that is not advertising in its traditional form? I am always open and like to discuss new and innovative ways in media where ads can be more of an organic insertion."
In addition, the company has aspirations to expand advertising opportunities past owned-and-operated products. In December 2016, it launched cloud-based ad technology Transparent Ad Marketplace as a way for companies to buy display advertising on sites across the web. Header bidding services such as Transparent Ad Marketplace allow media buyers to bid on available advertising inventory before Google's DoubleClick can. Amazon wants to do more in the programmatic ad tech space, according to sources.
The company is also looking to mobile ad technology partners to find ways to advertise across multiple devices. For example, it is in talks to work with Kargo to pair commercials with mobile ads, sources say. Theoretically, a sponsored product sold on Amazon would run during a TV show and then seconds later a viewer would be able to see a related ad on their mobile phone.
But Amazon has some disadvantages as it looks to take on pure-play advertisers Google and Facebook. In particular, working with Amazon causes conflict for some companies, since it is disrupting the way they traditionally sold products, forcing them to change strategies.
"The reality is Amazon makes a lot of brands and companies nervous, and presence on Amazon is a necessary evil," said Thomas Choi, RPA chief product officer of media. "For others in categories like automotive, it's going to replace the existing sales and purchase process. It's a little bit of a mixed bag about how brands perceive them."