How a CPG brand saw a 20x return on ad spend without relying on cookies or mobile ad IDs

January 12, 2023 | By Ahmad Anvari, Head of Product, Amazon Contextual Advertising

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Contextual Targeting (beta), one of the latest Amazon Ads products, is helping redefine one of the industry’s oldest ad formats. Now in beta, our new contextual product goes far beyond “yacht in a boat magazine”: A brand that sells digital watches, for instance, might see more advertising conversions on car review websites—and not sites specializing in apparel.

This is all possible thanks to our “signal-based marketing.” This means that for the first time brands can leverage Amazon Ads Contextual Targeting with active signals rooted in our current retail, entertainment, and digital experiences, all without relying on cookies or mobile ad IDs, at scale.

And in another first, marketers can also tap into the Amazon Ads taxonomy, which comprises more than 40,000 product categories and allows brands to reach customers in the Amazon store, as well as on third-party websites. This gives brands more precise control when running their ad campaigns, as they can pair categories such as “digital watches” with a specific product type, such as “watch wristbands,” for example.


45% increase in reaching previously unaddressable customers, or those who do not have mobile ad IDs or third-party cookies


66% increase in the CPG brand's new audiences, including customers who had never been exposed to the ad campaign


20x ROAS (59¢ to $12) for the CPG brand, when compared to cookie-dependent legacy marketing strategies

Solving for the future

Amazon Ads Contextual Targeting aims to solve for a changing media landscape, where brands are grappling with the phaseout of third-party cookies, as well as changes being made by operating systems such as iOS. While the beta product is still in its early days, the results show that brands might not need to depend on mobile ad IDs, or cookies, to drive performance.

One consumer packaged goods (CPG) company that participated in the beta program, for instance, said that the Amazon Ads Contextual Targeting product has outperformed its own legacy marketing strategies, or those that involve cookies. The brand saw a more than 65% increase when reaching previously non-addressable audiences (or audiences who did not have mobile ad IDs or third-party cookies). According to the company, the increase in reach contributed to a 20x return on ad spend (ROAS) for the brand, from 59¢ to $12. It also saw a 45% uptick in reaching customers who were running Firefox, Safari, or the iOS operating system.

The results underscore that brands can solve for the future of addressability with products they are already familiar with, all while prioritizing customer trust and without sacrificing relevancy or ad performance.

Our Contextual Targeting is also focused on actions customers are actively taking in the present, distinguishing the product from legacy marketing strategies. Relying on the past can sometimes prove problematic for media buyers, as someone who had been shopping for a table lamp, for example, may have already made their purchase. Amazon Ads Contextual Targeting, however, is focused on actions customers are actively taking in the present. And all of this is paired with our signal-based marketing.