Amazon Ads 2023 Digital Upfront: What we learnt

Posted on Thursday 28 September 2023 | IAB UK

Read our top five takeouts from Amazon Ads 2023 Digital Upfront, with speakers including Alice Levine and a performance from the Kaiser Chiefs

“At Amazon, we’re customer obsessed… and that obsession is at the heart of every decision we make”, explained Piers Heaton-Armstrong, VP of EU Advertising, opening Amazon Ads’ 2023 Digital Upfront. The next hour and a half gave delegates a fast-paced tour through Amazon’s portfolio of media solutions - from Twitch to Freevee - with some exciting announcements along the way. The evening rounded up with an exclusive performance from Kaiser Chiefs. Here’s what we learnt beforehand:

1. Advertising is coming to Amazon Prime Video in 2024

Starting in early 2024, Amazon will introduce advertising on Prime Video, according to Chris Bird, Managing Director of Prime Video UK. He added that it will allow advertisers to reach over 15 million Prime Video viewers in the UK on a monthly basis. “I’m sure I don’t need to explain to anyone in this room what this kind of scale means, but it provides real opportunity to meet an incredibly broad, diverse, mainstream and active UK customer base who love to shop, love to watch content online, and are incredibly engaged in video."

Audience and stage of Amazon Ads Upfronts


2. Brands are smashing benchmarks

Josh McCarthy, Brand Director at Pernod Ricard UK, shared results from a recent campaign for Jameson Black Barrel which utilised Amazon’s suite of media solutions. By leveraging big screen opportunities like the rugby on Prime “we can get in front of the eyeballs of people that really want to see that product”. As he put it: “We were managing to beat benchmarks left, right and centre.”

Josh McCarthy

3. Authentic creators are crucial 

Amazon took the opportunity to spotlight the quality of the creators on their platforms, such as Alice Levine, co-host of podcast “British Scandal”. On what makes the podcast so compelling, she said: “I just love that the format allows us to do such a breadth of stories - we can talk about kings and we can talk about weird men who faked his death in a canoe.” Meanwhile, Twitch influencer Koji said he has forged a loyal following by being open and authentic on the platform; sharing his ADHD and ASD diagnosis with his audience has “connected people in ways that I could never imagine”.

Alice Levine

4. Amazon is a destination for sports fans

 “One in four of all Premier League fans are watching only on Prime Video”, said John-Paul James, Senior GTM Lead of Live Sports EU at Amazon Ads. He and Marta Norton, Senior Program Manager of Ads Brand Products, discussed why Prime Video has become a destination for live sports, with deals such as exclusively broadcasting the Tuesday top-pick match of the UEFA Champions League in the UK from next season. The appeal for advertisers is spotlighted in new study ‘The Anatomy of Hype‘, which shows “two thirds of people surveyed feel positively towards brands that lean into their favourite sports”. Find out more via The IAB UK Podcast


5. A new sponsorship programme is coming to Freevee 

With 89% of Freevee customers shopping on Amazon, there is a huge opportunity to reach engaged audiences via the platform. Shahina O’Mahoney, Head of Licensed Content of Freevee in the UK, took to the stage to launch Freevee’s new sponsorship programme - starting with the reboot of Neighbours, which is exclusively streaming on the channel.


Find out more about this year’s Digital Upfronts here.  

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