Amazon Fire TV intros new options for advertisers, including contextual sponsored tiles

Amazon is building out offerings for advertisers on Fire TV, introducing five new options Wednesday that span buying, CTV advertising bundles, display ad placements and contextual opportunities.

With the new offerings, Amazon said advertisers will be able to reach an average of 155 million unduplicated monthly viewers, or six out of every 10 U.S. adults, across the company’s ad-supported solutions.

Expanding advertising products also comes on the back of Fire TV growing its free content offering, Fire TV Channels, which debuted earlier this year and aims to serve as a complement to viewers’ other streaming subscriptions. Fire TV Channels features short-form content and has expanded into categories across sports, news, entertainment, gaming, cooking, travel and music videos. From January through September 2023 Amazon has seen Fire TV Channels customers grow 788%, or 8x, and monthly hours streamed grow 285%, or 3x, over that time.

Amazon’s Charlotte Maines, director of Fire TV Advertising, Monetization and Engagement, spoke to StreamTV Insider to share details on the new options for advertisers, as more eyeballs represent more opportunity for brands.

Fire TV device and Fire TV Channels direct deal options

First up, Fire TV is promising more flexible streaming TV ad buying options with the ability for managed-service advertisers to request access to Amazon exclusive inventory across Fire TV for the first time. 

This includes two new deal offerings, one of which is exclusive Fire TV Device deals. With this, advertisers can get in front of viewers across Fire TV Sticks, Fire TV Cubes and Fire TV smart TVs, or third-party such as TCL TVs that run the Fire OS. Advertisers can now purchase specifically that supply and surface messages exclusively to Fire TV customers across any ad-supported streaming content.

In terms of reaching audience, Maines highlighted the uniqueness of Fire TV customers, noting over 200 million devices sold globally. She also pointed to reach, citing Nielsen data that found the Fire TV audience has only 23% overlap with Samsung, 10% overlap with LG and 8% overlap with Roku users, among viewers 18 and older.

The second is for exclusive direct buys across Fire TV Channels, giving advertisers a run-of-service placement on the free ad-supported video content service.

Maines said the new options offer advertisers “continued flexibility to buy across streaming TV in a way that aligns as close as possible to their ad buying strategy.”

Prominent homescreen placements

The second new option sees Fire TV opening up prime connected TV real estate to non-media and entertainment brands for the first time. Advertisers can now buy placement as the first slot in the hero placement, the Feature Rotator, on Fire TV homescreen –which is the first thing customers see when they turn on their TV.

“It's the highest impact native ad placement option we have. And it's right at the top of Fire TV’s home screen, takes up half the screen. It’s persistent, so as a customer browses around the UI…they continue to see it,” Maines explained.

She also noted that Fire TV native ads offer unique audiences for advertisers when compared with streaming TV, saying on-device ad placements provide 125% greater incremental reach when added to a streaming TV ad campaign.

Maines explained how with on-device ads, even if viewers ultimately choose to watch something that’s not ad-supported, brand advertisers still have the opportunity to get their message in front of viewers and talk to them as they browse and decide what to watch.

American Airlines was an early partner who Maines said was able to reach Fire TV users “with our most prominent large format placement.”

When users powered on their Fire TV they saw and could interact with an American Airlines ad, as the feature rotator includes a video that automatically plays when a customer engages with the placement.

“It’s basically like getting your video commercial in front of the Fire TV user the minute they turn on the TV, no matter what they go on to watch,” she commented.

CTV advertising bundles

Taking the new options for streaming TV ads and Fire TV native ads like the feature rotator together, Amazon introduced a new connected TV advertising bundle option – where brands can add native display ads to a streaming TV video campaign.

According to Maines, it also layers in features and functionality like retargeting, where for example, Amazon can ensure that a viewer who saw a brand’s in-stream video ad subsequently sees a display placement in the Fire TV UI.

She said this allows advertisers to reach audiences at scale both as they’re browsing and when they watch content. The combination helps drive incremental reach and brand impact, as Maines cited an increase of 153% year-over-year in retail brand awareness growth and over 100% lift in add-to-cart yoy growth when streaming TV and display ads are combined compared to streaming video campaigns alone.

Enabling Fire TV Seach Ads

Fourth, Amazon is looking to expand user functionalities, specifically the introduction of generative AI-powered voice search, to advertisers.

Before the end of the year an enhanced search functionality that let’s viewers find content using conversational prompts is rolling out to Fire TV users. For example, saying “Alexa, play the TV show with the guy who plays the lawyer for Breaking Bad” would surface TV shows results like Lucky Hank or Better Call Saul without having to remember the actor’s name, Maines explained.

Now advertisers will be able to take advantage of the AI-powered search functionality to serve relevant display ads to viewers as they look for content. If a user searches for a TV show or movie title within the comedy genre, or simply searches for a genre like horror, advertisers that target the genre can have a sponsored tile appear as part of viewer’s search results.

It’s a feature Maines said advertisers have been asking for.

“It just makes sense to expand our existing sponsor tile offering to show advertisements on the search screen with no extra effort or cost for the advertiser,” she commented.

Contextual sponsored tiles

The fifth option also ties into Amazon’s sponsored tiles programs, with the launch of contextual sponsored tiles that help advertisers reach Fire TV viewers based on the content genres they’re browsing.

Similar to the search functionality, advertisers can either zero in on specific genres they want to target or they can leverage Amazon’s machine learning service to auto-contextualize on their behalf. Maines described how display ads are then delivered in the most relevant locations as viewers browse the Fire TV user interface or when they queue up specific searches.

For example, if advertisers pick the horror genre to target, ads will appear when users search for horror movies or scroll through curated content rows on Fire TV like “Nightmares Guaranteed” or “Halloween Favorites.”

Maines said she thinks Fire TV is the first in the industry to market a contextual offering for display ads, where it leverages its own ML and catalog.

“We’re really leapfrogging competition in the space to improve advertiser outcomes, and of course, the end customer experience,” she said.