Amazon to Make New Video Ads, Just for You

John Lister's picture

Amazon is testing video advertisements that are specifically created to meet the viewer's interests. They may prove effective, but will also raise privacy concerns.

The ads will appear on non-Amazon website and, as often happens with third-party ads, will be based on what the system knows about the user. This often involves using cookie files stored on a user's computer to track the websites they visit and deduce their interests.

Several companies already run video ads that are tailored to a user's interests, but this generally involves picking a subject and then selecting a pre-made video that's likely to be of interest.

Amazon Ads Custom Made

Amazon's system will work differently as it will create a completely new video ad specifically for the user. While the full details are under wraps, it appears a standard template will be overlaid with custom images and video clips of particular products that are most likely to be of interest to the viewer.

The BBC speculates that the videos might provoke a negative reaction in two ways. Firstly, they are more likely to attract attention as feeling creepy because website visitors are used to text ads meeting their interests, but expect videos to be more generic. (Source:

Secondly, creating videos in this way will draw more attention to the way that companies gather data on users, particularly when this involves websites sharing information or tracking users when they go elsewhere online.

Prime Day Sales Rise Significantly

The news comes in the same week Amazon announced that its recent 'Prime Day' proved the biggest day for sales in the company's history, ahead even of the so called 'Cyber Monday' events in November when online retailer start offering special deals for the holiday shopping season.

Prime Day involves a series of special one-day only price offers that are only available to customers in Amazon's membership scheme that also covers free delivery and online video access. According to Amazon, worldwide sales were 60 percent up on the equivalent day last year, with US sales rising by 50 percent. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Would you appreciate personally targeted video ads or would you find them intrusive? Do you think they are acceptable only in particular circumstances, such as Amazon only using data gathered from activity on its own site? Are you surprised Prime Day has been so successful given its not a natural peak shopping period?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I love Amazon and everything they've done to make the best possible shopping experience online - especially when it comes to comparing products and reading user reviews, though I understand many reviews are often fake. That said, I really, really dislike websites that offer up in-your-face-advertising based on tracking. I sincerely hope it will backfire and Amazon will step down from this sort of privacy invasion, however, I'm willing to bet that the money generated from the extra sales will outweigh any backlash or complaints from consumers.

S.Rost_4855's picture

While I agree with Dennis on the tracking issue, it's more that videos of a generic nature add Fluff or Bloat when considering that it would not be a detractor if they were not there. However, if it is a "Training" type of video, then these are not to be avoided if possible. There is a marked difference. Since Amazon is doing personalized "One of a kind"video, then it adds a bit of glitz and sparkle to most any site where this is a desired result can be achieved where a text ad or instructional manual would fall flat.

kitekrazy's picture

Most browsers allow you to change settings. Amazon probably wont be making videos but borrowing ones already made. I don't mind them unless they get like Hulu where they advertise social behavior.