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The future of Retail Media unfolds with Amazon Ads ‘Horizons’ event in Dubai


Credits: Amazon Ads

Amazon Ads made its mark with the debut of its ‘Horizons’ event, Sponsored Ads edition, in Dubai last month. Hosted at the spectacular Theater of Digital Arts, Madinat Jumeirah, this milestone event brought together a diverse group of industry professionals, offering new insights into the world of retail media and  one of it’s key advertising solutions – Sponsored Ads.

The event kicked off with an opening note from Mohmmad Itani, Head of Agency Development, highlighting the growth and trajectory of retail media globally and locally. This was followed by a keynote session by Anthony Bou Akel, Sponsored Ads Specialist, showcasing the importance of a long-term strategy for endemic advertisers with Amazon Ads.

Itani mentioned, “Amazon Ads’ retail media solutions are full-funnel marketing solutions for endemic and non-endemic advertisers to reach and engage with relevant audiences, fueled by first-party insights from over 300+ million global active customer accounts at any given moment. All brands can build a retail media strategy no matter their industry or size.”


Diving into the essence of Horizons, the event looked into the strategic depth of the long-term game with Sponsored Ads. The paradigm of an ‘Infinite Game’, illustrating a crucial long-term perspective for advertisers and brands to help excel in the retail media landscape.

The theory of Infinite and Finite Games was popularized by Simon Sinek, who said, “In a Finite Game; one is playing to win. While, in an Infinite Game; one is playing to continue the game. Infinite players act according to their vision, finite players act in favor of their interests.” This contrast between finite and infinite gameplay provides a lens through which we can view Sponsored Ads strategies and their potential pitfalls or opportunities.

The ‘Finite Game’ approach can often lead to a blinkered focus on the “3-Metrics”, Return-On-Ad-Spend (ROAS), Investment, and Sales/Revenue. Each of these metrics has its limitations, with ROAS often being misunderstood, limiting advertisers from seeking long-term success. Investment is often viewed from a fixed perspective, rather than adopting an agile approach that responds to a category’s evolving dynamics. Sales/Revenue, while a scalable metric, relies on a multitude of factors that go beyond Amazon, such as brand equity, product selection, and retail readiness. Interestingly, the intersection of these “3-Metrics” doesn’t result in a positive correlation, hinting at a need for strategic realignment.

The Horizons event presented a compelling case for an ‘Infinite Game’ approach, advising brands to extend their gaze beyond immediate gains and focus on longevity and adaptability in their strategies. For instance, a balanced advertising portfolio tactic incorporating Sponsored Products (SP), Sponsored Brands (SB), and Sponsored Display (SD) products, was highlighted as a proven strategy for achieving higher year-on-year sales. Advertisers using this comprehensive approach outperformed their counterparts who only utilized SP and SB, leading to significantly increased YoY sales and overall return on ad spend.

The event also hosted an engaging fireside chat by Manoshi Bhattacharjee, Industry Head for Hardlines & Softlines, with Publicis Commerce and Samsung MENA where guests discussed the shift and growth their businesses have experienced in incorporating Sponsored Ads as part of their long-term brand and business strategy. A panel discussion followed, led by Sophia Stahn, CPG Ad Sales Manager, hosting partners from Unilever, HP, Phillips and Colgate-Palmolive who shared customer success stories on cross product adoption and key tactics applied for always-on campaigns and high-traffic events.

The takeaway lessons from Horizons helped advertisers and agencies achieve a fresh perspective on their metrics, a reassessment of their strategies, and an in-depth understanding of retail media as part of the media and marketing mix. This event was not just a window into the future, but also a call to action: to play the long game, to act according to a vision, and to keep the game in play.