How The Ad Breaks Of Amazon’s Black Friday NFL Game Will Be Different

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Today, Amazon
AMZN
will air the first Black Friday NFL game in history.

Back in 2021, Amazon paid $11 billion to broadcast Thursday Night Football for 11 seasons. At 17 games per season, that’s a per-game cost of $58.8M.

For the Black Friday game however, Amazon paid $100M for the rights. So the company is betting big that today’s game will pay off. But how, exactly?

Here’s five things we can expect.

1. ‘Audience Based Creative’ will be in effect.

Amazon will leverage its new ad capability, “audience-based creative.” This allows brands to target different audience segments with different messages and actions – all in the same time slot.

For example, according to Ad Age, Bose will show three different ads using Amazon’s ad technology. One version has been created specifically for non-Prime members, while the other two will be shown to Prime members, displaying different products based on their past Amazon shopping behaviors.

This is a unique advantage that Amazon can bring to advertisers – its enormous pile of first party customer data. Amazon knows far more about you and your household than you may think – what type of pets you have, the ages of your children, what genres of TV you like, your dietary habits, your dress size, and much more.

Despite having arguably the most intimate picture of households across America, in past Thursday Night Football games I have noted an overall lack of customization with the ads. During the first game, myself and 5 other colleagues (all geographically- and demographically-dispersed) dutifully tracked all the advertisers in each ad slot in the first half of the game. The only difference we saw was some of us were served ads for Claritin, while the other saw ads for Atepro or Lotrimin Ultra (all brands from the same company).

Knowing just how much behavioral data Amazon is sitting on, so far I believe there’s been a missed opportunity to truly target audiences in a dynamic way. I am curious to see if today’s game brings something new to the table.

2. It may attract a new breed of advertisers.

Melissa Burdick, Co-founder and President of retail ad-tech solution Pacvue, says that while traditional superbowl and football game advertising is very costly, Amazon’s offering is cheaper and can be tied to actual sales.

“In our environment where every advertising dollar is scrutinized, this will be a highly measurable win for brands,” she says. “ What’s most impressive is Amazon’s ability to hyper target – their ability to show different creatives in the same ad slot to for example Prime members vs non-prime members, and show ads based on a customer’s search history is truly a marketer’s dream.”

This ability to tie ad spend back to actual sales may mean that Amazon may be able to attract advertisers beyond the typical enterprise-size CPG brands, automakers and financial services companies. The latter two categories are known as non-endemic advertisers since they do not sell physical items on Amazon.

There’s also the addition of different streaming channels, such as the Dude Perfect broadcast and Amazon’s Espanol broadcast, in addition to the main broadcast. These streams offer unique audiences and opportunities for more advertising inventory, which may drive the cost-to-serve down for some smaller advertisers looking for an entry point to major broadcast advertising.

3. Prime membership signups will be the wild card.

Amazon’s foray into sports has two main benefits for the company. The first is advertising revenue, which is a lucrative revenue stream for the company. The second is attracting new Prime members, which are stickier in the Amazon ecosystem than non-Prime members.

After its first Thursday Night Football game, Amazon boasted that it had its “biggest three hours of signups ever”, demonstrating an immediate payoff of their investment to Wall Street.

But today’s Black Friday game won’t require viewers to be members, and Amazon says that shoppers “don’t need a Prime membership to take advantage of deals, anyone with an Amazon account will be able to shop for Black Friday deals.”

So it appears that today’s event either does not have a specific goal to drive Prime signups; or Amazon has a different master plan that will prompt non-Prime-members to take action. That master plan may just include plenty of ads promoting Amazon Prime and all its benefits.

4. The un-measurable: digitally-influenced sales.

Todd Hassenfelt, Global Digital Commerce Sr Director, Strategy & Execution at Colgate-Palmolive
CL
, , says that while most people are assuming that the game will be watched at home, it is also a game from a provider that is a streaming format primarily, not ‘secondarily’ like the FOX, CBS, and NBC games, who all adopted streaming out of necessity.

“This Black Friday game could be huge for digitally influenced sales,” Hassenfelt says. “Shoppers in stores are watching the NFL game as they shop and might be influenced in real time to buy things they see as ads on the Amazon Black Friday broadcast. This game could in fact have a halo impact for other retailers.”


Amazon’s Black Friday football game is highly anticipated – not only by football fans, but by advertising pundits. We will learn today if it will actually usher in a new era of dynamic advertising.

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