Advertising is one of Amazon’s biggest growth areas. Here’s everything to know about its ad business.

Andy Jassy
AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who is set to become Amazon CEO, helped oversee the cloud unit’s rise. Mike Blake/Reuters
E-commerce advertising has boomed as people shop more from home – with Amazon leading the pack.

EMarketer said Amazon claimed 10.3% of the US digital ad market in 2020, up from 7.8% in 2019 – competing with Google and Facebook for ad budgets. That growth has attracted Walmart, Instacart, Walgreens and other retailers that have joined Amazon in vying for a slice of the ad pie.

Here’s the latest on Amazon’s moves to grow its advertising business and the growing competition it faces.

Amazon’s ad business is big and growing

Amazon took in about $US21.5 ($AU29) billion from advertising in 2020, up from roughly $US9.3 ($AU13) billion in the year-ago period.

While that amount is a tiny sliver of Amazon’s revenue from retail sales and Amazon Web Services, its cloud business, advertising is one of its fastest-growing areas. The tech giant continues to cut into advertisers’ search budgets that mostly go to Google. It’s also ramping up its audio and video sales pitch.


Who runs Amazon’s ad business?

Amazon has built a team of execs to pitch advertisers on its ad business.

They include longtime Amazon employees like Colleen Aubrey, who is part of Amazon’s executive suite; and agency and brand vets who work directly with advertisers.

Amazon faces growing competition for ad dollars

Other big retailers and delivery companies like Walmart, CVS, and Instacart are trying to replicate Amazon’s playbook by building their own ad businesses, and hiring top talent to do so.

Amazon is tough for advertisers to navigate

Marketers have complained that Amazon is tough to navigate. Amazon said its complex approach is by design, but at the same time, it’s been rolling out tools to make it easier for marketers to buy and measure ads. Nonetheless, its complicated structure has rise to a cottage industry of firms that specialize in helping marketers navigate the site.

How to get a job at Amazon

Amazon is consistently looking for advertising talent, but its tough interviewing process and particular culture can make it hard for outsiders to break into the company.

We talked to insiders about how to ace the interview process.