What’s new with online marketplaces?


Amardeep Notey

Marketplaces Account Manager


The world in January 2021 looks a lot different compared to this time last year, and the world of marketplaces is no different.

With global lockdowns in effect over much of 2020, online sales and visibility figures for brands grew from strength to strength. With further local and national lockdowns possible in 2021, it looks like ecommerce is set to have an exceptionally strong year once again.

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and it is important brands keep on top of new industry developments if they are to adapt their strategy and make the most of new technologies. This blog is the start of a regular series that aims to share quarterly updates on what is new in marketplaces: here, we look at what was new in Q4 of 2020.

CitrusAd gains Sainsbury’s


One of the major entrants into ecommerce last quarter was CitrusAd. While Citrus has been around for a while, they have added Sainsbury’s to its retailer list – giving brands who use Citrus the opportunity to serve ads on a site with over 15% grocery market share.

Sainsbury’s is one of the ‘big four supermarkets’ and adding them to their portfolio opens up significant avenues for FMCG clients and the like. It is rumoured that in 2021 Citrus will be adding another one of the ‘big four supermarkets’ to its retailer list, giving the platform significant reach in the industry.


What Citrus gained, Criteo lost; advertising on Sainsbury’s is no longer available through Criteo. The ad platform had a relatively quiet Q4 but is looking to make some significant developments during 2021, including greater transparency with reporting and flexibility with attribution. These are crucial issues in the industry and we are looking forward to seeing how these pan out.

Amazon releases two new updates


Amazon registered its most profitable quarter in Q3 of 2020 at $6.3 billion, with the pandemic playing a huge part in these additional online sales. It is likely that these sales figures could even be surpassed by Q4, as this quarter is traditionally the busiest part of the year for Amazon.

Typically, Amazon doesn’t make big releases to its advertising console during Q4 but they have released two important developments in the last Q4:


Sponsored Brand Video


The latest format to join Amazon’s repertoire of marketplace adverts is Sponsored Brand Video. You might have noticed the use of video ads when scrolling through the Amazon marketplace; they are most notable in search results. These videos can be up to 30 seconds long and must meet a few conditions before they are approved by Amazon. A big advantage with the new video ad is it works on a CPC basis rather than CPM.

Although released in Q4 of 2020, the ad type is expected to be fully dialled up in Q1 2021 which will give these ads greater exposure on the marketplace. We also expect to see the reporting around these ads to improve, including allowing advertisers to see what proportion of users watch the full video.

Negative ASIN match


Advertisers are able to target keywords and individual ASINs in campaigns within the Amazon Advertising Console. While the ability to negative match keywords has been available for some time, the ability to negative match ASINs was introduced in 2020 Q4. This is very useful as it gives greater control for ad targeting, which helps to ensure incremental investment.

With marketplaces giving consumers the ability to make contact-free purchases at ever more competitive prices they look set to see their strong demand continue and we look forward to seeing the industry continue to develop in 2021.

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