Amazon Launches Ad Network


As a for (gadget) profit entity, we’re often on the lookout for new methods of delivering relevant yet minimally intrusive advertising. And, one effective tool has been Amazon Associates. As Amazon sells just about everything, we can hopefully maintain a certain level of editorial neutrality by spiking the occasional post or tweet with an affiliate link to whatever product we happen to be discussing (and only endorse products worthy of endorsement).

Well, beyond Amazon sales, select Associates have been granted early access to a whole new program of banner advertising – beyond Amazon inventory and paid per impression, versus a sales commission.

Amazon CPM Ads feature display ads from Amazon and other high-quality advertisers. Ads are tailored to the user using Amazon’s personalization technology. You will be paid for each ad impression you serve, and you can specify a target CPM minimum. If we can’t meet your CPM target, your ad request will be “passed back” to your specified ad network. 

If we can’t meet your CPM target, your ad request will be “passed back” to your specified ad network. You get:

  • A guaranteed amount for every ad impression
  • Attractive ads from Amazon and other brand-name advertisers
  • Easy set-up and management
  • Ads matched to your users based on Amazon’s personalization technology
  • A program designed to work with your existing ad network or ad server


Ad units are offered in four sizes (728×90, 300×250, 300×600, 160×600) and I took the 728×90 leaderboard for a spin yesterday. In a couple hours of testing, Amazon didn’t appear to honor my target CPM ($2) and I had a few periodic rendering issues where my logo didn’t show or ad font settings were inherited by other areas of a page, like our Comments section. I assume these issues will eventually be sorted. But implementation and accessibility is dead simple. And, unlike Google Adsense which is primarily pay-per-click, Amazon CPM Ads are impression-based – an approach that hasn’t always been readily available to smaller sites.

24 thoughts on “Amazon Launches Ad Network”

  1. So the way Amazon affiliate links work, if you click one and purchase anything during a given number of hours, we’ll see a % commission. The way Google Ads generally work, for each click on the banner we are paid. Whereas impression-based advertising, payment is based on how many times a webpage is loaded and CPM refers to cost per thousand views – so for a $2 CPM, I’d expect $2 for every 1000 page views. Of course, not all page impressions will meet certain geographical restrictions and the like. But that’s the basics. (“High quality” presumably means no animated gifs, weight loss bs, gambling, and the like.)

    The best advertising rates are seen via deals worked directly, but that requires a lot of effort, the sort of traffic we don’t have, or a willingness to sell out – so we generally work with intermediary ad networks like this, as it requires limited energy and once again maintains editorial independence since we have no idea what’s going to show.

    In other “business of blogging” news, it appears Reuters wants to take stories without compensation, without contract, without ethics, unless the target site specifically declines in a given number of days. Wonder if I can use that in reverse?

  2. Do you have a sign up page for publishers to apply? I’ve been looking for a better ad network. We’re on right now and it’s pretty weak.

  3. There was no specific sign up area, it just appeared within my Amazon Associates a day or so ago. So you’d sign up for that, if not already registered. I pulled the unit down for now, but frequently flip networks/units looking for the right mix.

  4. Hey Dave, great post! Two questions I’d love to know is what kind of fill rate were you seeing at $2 cpm? Or by not being honored do you mean Amazon didn’t fill any ads at that rate?

    Also, I’d love to know if Amazon plays well with DFP so that it can be layered in with other ad networks to maximize fill and rates for one ad slot.

  5. I set a CPM rate of $2, which I thought meant if they couldn’t hit the number they would then roll into my passback tag. Based on a couple hour experiment, the Amazon earnings widget says I had a 48% fill rate with a CPM of $1.22. Amazon provides a “server guide” for DFP integration, but I haven’t reviewed it.

  6. But, wait, it gets better! The online version of WSJ obviously isn’t hyphenated… but the link isn’t clickable. Ha? Ah well, Mom is proud. Got two more scoops in my back pocket for next week. One you might care about. :)

  7. “Got two more scoops in my back pocket for next week. One you might care about.”

    Hallelujah! This can only mean that you’ve decided to ditch your Actiontec router and replace it with a dd-wrt router and dumb MoCA bridge. Kudos. I’d expect pickup of your post in the NYT.

    Remember: friends don’t let friends run Actiontec routers.

  8. Thanks for this great post. We have been looking for ways to serve ads with more return on my blog pages. This Amazon program does sound interesting. But I am a little concerned about the rendering issues that you faced. Are you sure that it was cased by the Amazon tags? Will there be any way to prevent it from happening? Just curious. Thanks, man.

  9. Thanks for this garbled post. We have been looking for ways to serve roasted pig with more pork on my blog pages. This Amazon program does sound bacon. But I am a little concerned about the porcine issues you faced. Are you sure it was caused by prosciutto? Will there be any way to prevent it from Jamón serrano? Just curious. Thanks, piglet.

  10. FWIW, the thing with Actiontec routers is not WiFi range. The thing with Actiontec routers is that they are sucky routers. Simple things are difficult. Difficult things are impossible.

    Every time you try to do something worthwhile with your Actiontec router, you either waste lots of time working it out, or waste lots of time finding out it is impossible.

    And as the Internet of Things™ becomes a reality, and more and more things on your LAN end up EOL on security updates, leaving your LAN vulnerable, (the malware is calling from inside your LAN), the more and more it’s nice to have a competent router that you can easily DMZ such items and keep your LAN safe from the inside…

    (WiFI range is truly a canard. Highly competent WiFi access points are very cheap and very easy. With a competent router, such things are the very least of your worries.)

  11. I got 99 problems but an Actiontec ain’t one. :) Not yet, anyway. Let me get the blog moved, get my house regraded, review this backlog of gear, and maybe I’ll revisit the router situation later in the fall.

  12. “Let me … get my house regraded”

    FWIW, a competent router can regrade your house successfully with a few simple commands. If you try it with the Actiontec, however, your house will end up at a 45º angle…

    (Also, just so you know, replacing the Actiontec is not a complicated operation. Have Verizon remotely flip Ethernet on and MoCA off, and voila, you’re there. The trickiest part of the whole thing is remembering to tell the Actiontec to release your WAN connection before switching routers. I didn’t know about that part in advance, and it ended up costing me 20 minutes to research and do.)

  13. Not that simple as I have no Ethernet where I’d like to place a router nor near a TiVo, which I’d need for the MoCA bridge to feed the Minis.

  14. My experience in using ad networks has been really bad until I discovered adtomatik. The best ecpm and the highest fill rates

  15. Yes, you’re missing the part where you set the threshold. If you’re getting $3.50 from Google, set these to $4 – if Amazon can’t meet that target, they’d roll into your other unit. That’s the theory anyway, as I seemingly couldn’t get Amazon to honor my request. And lots of people don’t do as well as $2/1000, not to mention clicks are a crap shoot whereas this is guaranteed revenue based on impressions. Having said all that, I’m not running them at this time.

  16. As an ad-buyer, the smart solution now is to simply upload your ads to iCloud and wait. Free, plus massive exposure.

  17. As a (likely unintentional) sidebar of your PHP fiddling, you’ve managed to finally serve affiliate links to my non-Javascript self.

    I salute you, sir.

  18. I’ve been reading about Amazon CPM and it also seem’s like Amazon is setting up a PPC ad network called Amazon Sponsored Links – In the end I assume Amazon CPM and Amazon Sponsored Links will merge into one large ad network that will be rolled out to all Amazon Associates initially and then probably to other non Amazon associated third party websites.

    Looks like the clocks ticking on Google’s dominance within the online advertising sector…

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