How Much Is Amazon Advertising Business Worth?

In 2021 Amazon generated around $31 billion in advertising revenues. Becoming one of the key competitors of the Google and Facebook duopoly. 

The reshaping of the digital advertising industry 

Three core changes are impacting and reshaping the whole digital advertising industry: 

  • Cookieless web: the cookie has represented the enabler of the digital advertising industry, enabling tech companies to track the user journey across several platforms, thus making it possible to build the whole attribution machine. Indeed, without attribution (the ability to say how a lead was generated) there would not be a digital advertising industry, in the first place. Yet, the cookie is getting retired. In fact, Google has planned the retirement of the cookie to its Chrome browser, thus determining the end of an era. 
  • iOS privacy changes: Apple forced, in 2021, a privacy change policy, which makes the opt-in to advertising from third-party apps, like Facebook, explicit. This means Apple will ask users whether they want to be tracked. As you can imagine, this is already having a massive impact on Facebook’s business model, which had to rebrand as Meta and invest billions into VR. 
  • Privacy from regulation: regulators are also pushing for more and more privacy within various platforms. This makes it much harder to track users and thus makes the whole digital advertising machine lose efficacy. 

In this scenario, just in 2020, we still had a duopoly, between Google and Facebook, and the whole digital advertising industry is getting reshaped.

Amazon and Apple, coming up strong with their advertising businesses. 

Amazon for e-commerce and Apple through its store. 

In addition, new players, like TikTok are taking over.

TikTok is the Chinese creative social media platform driven by short-form video content enabling users to interact and generate content at scale. TikTok primarily makes money through advertising, and it generated $4.6 billion in advertising revenues in 2021, thus making it among the most popular attention-based business models or attention merchants.

Below is how the digital advertising industry looks like today: 

The hidden revenue generation model is among the most profitable patterns for business models built on advertising. In fact, businesses like Google and Facebook have managed to gain more than $290 billion in 2021 from advertising on their platform, even though many users might not be aware of the mechanisms that drive those platforms.

Amazon’s overall business model

Amazon has a diversified business model. In 2021 Amazon posted over $469 billion in revenues and over $33 billion in net profits. Online stores contributed to over 47% of Amazon revenues, Third-party Seller Services,  Amazon AWS, Subscription Services, Advertising revenues, and Physical Stores.

Google’s overall business model

Google (now Alphabet) primarily makes money through advertising. The Google search engine, while free, is monetized with paid advertising. In 2021 Google’s advertising generated over $209 billion (beyond Google Search, this comprises YouTube Ads and the Network Members Sites) compared to $257 billion in net sales. Advertising represented over 81% of net sales, followed by Google Cloud ($19 billion) and Google’s other revenue streams (Google Play, Pixel phones, and YouTube Premium).

Facebook’s overall business model


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Connected to Amazon Business Model

Amazon Business Model

Amazon has a diversified business model. In 2021 Amazon posted over $469 billion in revenues and over $33 billion in net profits. Online stores contributed to over 47% of Amazon revenues, Third-party Seller Services,  Amazon AWS, Subscription Services, Advertising revenues, and Physical Stores.

Amazon Mission Statement

amazon-vision-statement-mission-statement (1)
Amazon’s mission statement is to “serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.” Amazon’s vision statement is “to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” 

Customer Obsession

In the Amazon Shareholders’ Letter for 2018, Jeff Bezos analyzed the Amazon business model, and it also focused on a few key lessons that Amazon as a company has learned over the years. These lessons are fundamental for any entrepreneur, of small or large organization to understand the pitfalls to avoid to run a successful company!

Amazon Revenues

Amazon has a business model with many moving parts. With the e-commerce platform which generated over $222 billion in 2021, followed by third-party stores services which generated over $103 billion, Amazon AWS, which generated over $62 billion, Amazon advertising which generated over $31 billion and Amazon Prime which also generated over $31 billion, and physical stores which generated over $17 billion.

Amazon Cash Conversion


Working Backwards

The Amazon Working Backwards Method is a product development methodology that advocates building a product based on customer needs. The Amazon Working Backwards Method gained traction after notable Amazon employee Ian McAllister shared the company’s product development approach on Quora. McAllister noted that the method seeks “to work backwards from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product and trying to bolt customers onto it.”

Amazon Flywheel

The Amazon Flywheel or Amazon Virtuous Cycle is a strategy that leverages on customer experience to drive traffic to the platform and third-party sellers. That improves the selections of goods, and Amazon further improves its cost structure so it can decrease prices which spins the flywheel.

Jeff Bezos Day One

In the letter to shareholders in 2016, Jeff Bezos addressed a topic he had been thinking quite profoundly in the last decades as he led Amazon: Day 1. As Jeff Bezos put it “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

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