The (Complicated) History of Amazon Ads 2012 to 2021

If you’re trying to search for information about Amazon, prepare to be hit with a barrage of acronyms that include the letter A. 

On top of that, a lot of the information you’ll find online is out-of-date and not relevant to advertisers in 2021. Amazon has renamed dashboards, merged certain features, shifted stuff around, and has little to no documentation. 

To help you keep everything straight—we put together The History of Amazon Ads as a complete guide to demystifying Amazon Advertising. (With timelines to help you navigate any older content you encounter across the web!

Overview of Amazon Ads 2021 

Amazon Ads was previously known as Amazon Media Group (AMG) until 2018 when they rebranded as Amazon Ads.

Under Amazon Ads there are two different platforms: Amazon Ad Console and Amazon DSP. Outside these two platforms, there are two separate dashboards Seller Central and Vendor Central. These two dashboards are used to manage everything except ads on Amazon. 

Let’s dive in to the differences between Amazon Ad Console and Amazon DSP. 

What is Amazon Ads Console in 2021? 

Amazon Ad Console is Amazon’s PPC advertising offering. It is a platform that seller and vendor advertisers can use to run advertisements on Amazon. Previously only vendors had access to Advertising Console (while sellers used Seller Central for Advertising). However, in March 2020 Amazon moved all advertising management to Amazon Ad Console.  Amazon Ad Console has three different PPC ad types: 
  • Sponsored Products: Appear in search results and on product pages.
  • Sponsored Brands: Appear at the top of search results and within search results; feature a logo and products in a banner.
  • Sponsored Display: Display ads that appear both on and off Amazon. They can appear on the home page, product detail pages, in search results on Amazon, and also on third-party websites and apps.  
Right now, the Amazon Ad Console is the go-to dashboard for managing ads for both vendors and sellers, but it wasn’t always that way. Let’s take a look at a brief timeline of how Amazon Ad Console has evolved over the years.
The History of Amazon Ads Console 

2012—Amazon launches Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) exclusively for first-party (1P) vendors. AMS initially included the following ad types:

  • Product Ads (Now called Sponsored Products) 
  • Amazon Text Ads (Discontinued) 
  • eCommerce Ads (Now called Sponsored Display)

Later these ads were changed to: 

  • Amazon Pages 
  • Product Display Ads (Now called Sponsored Display) 
  • Headline Search Ads (Now called Sponsored Brands) 
  • Sponsored Products 

2018—The campaign manager is combined with AMS and rebranded as Amazon Ads Console. This iteration of the console only allows vendors and first-party (1P) brands to build Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and display ads.

Third-party (3P) sellers use the Seller Central Dashboard to manage Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display. 

2020— Amazon Ads management for 3P accounts moves from Seller Central to Amazon Ads Console (which was previously only used by 1P vendors).

What Ad Types are Available on Amazon Ads Console in 2021?

Currently, there are three ad types available on the Amazon Ads console: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display. Here’s a quick recap of how those ad types have changed over time.

  • Product Ads > Sponsored Products 
  • eCommerce Ads > Product Display Ads > Sponsored Display 
  • Headline Search Ads > Sponsored Brands

What is Amazon DSP in 2021? 

Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP) is Amazon’s cost per impression (CPM) advertising option. Formerly known as Amazon Ads Platform (AAP), this platform lets retailers buy display, video, and audio ads both on and off Amazon. Advertisers who sell on Amazon and also advertisers who do not sell on Amazon can use Amazon DSP.

How is Amazon DSP Different from Sponsored Display? 

Both Sponsored Display and Amazon DSP let advertisers purchase ad space both on and off Amazon. However, these two ad types differ when it comes to eligibility, cost, and control. Overall, Amazon DPS is a more expensive, but more robust option for Amazon display ads.   Learn more in our blog: Amazon DSP vs Sponsored Display.
Timeline of Amazon DSP

2012—Amazon Ads Platform (AAP) is released.

This programmatic solution lets brands target shoppers both on and off Amazon using display and video ads. 

2014Amazon introduces a self-service option—where advertisers can manage their own AAP ads. 

2018 Amazon rebrands AAP as Amazon DSP. Amazon DSP offers an Amazon Managed Service as well as a self-service option for advertisers.

The History of Amazon Ads FAQ: 

That’s it for Amazon Ads Console and Amazon DSP, but we thought you might still have some burning questions about Amazon Ads. We put together this short FAQ to answer any follow-up questions you might have.


Does Amazon Marketing Services still exist? No. In 2018, AMS combined with the campaign manager to become the Amazon Ads Console. 


Does the Vendor Central campaign manager still exist? Yes. Vendor Central still exists, but the advertising management features were moved to the Amazon Ads Console in 2018. 


Does the Seller Central campaign manager still exist? Yes. Seller Central still exists, but the advertising management features were moved to the Amazon Ads Console in 2020. 


Do headline search ads still exist? Yes, but they are now called Sponsored Brands. 


What are AMG, AAP, and AMS?
In order, they are Amazon Media Group, Amazon Ads Platform, and Amazon Marketing Services. The name for Amazon’s overall advertising platform changed from Amazon Media Group (AMG) to Amazon Ads.

Amazon’s CPM offering, Amazon Ads Platform (AAP) changed to Amazon DSP. Amazon’s CPC offering, Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) changed to Amazon Ads Console.

What’s the difference between Seller Central and Amazon Ads Console?
Currently, Amazon Seller Central is only used by 3P sellers to manage merchandise. Amazon Ads Console, on the other hand, is used by both 3P sellers and 1P vendors to manage ads.

Previously, 3P Sellers would use Seller central to manage advertisements and manage merchandise. However, in 2020 Amazon merged all advertising management into Amazon Ads Console.

Does that Make Sense Now? 

We know, the history of Amazon Ads is still really confusing. Use this resource when you’re searching for Amazon Ads information! You can double-check to make sure the information is relevant in 2021. 


We will keep this document updated if Amazon makes any further changes to its dashboards and advertising platforms. To stay updated on the latest Amazon news, subscribe to our blog. We’ll let you know if anything changes!

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