The world's largest online retailer is taking its first steps toward becoming a true Internet advertising network, according to Reuters - and it's armed with data that could give Google and Facebook a run for their money.
Amazon has data that search engines and even social networks lack. For example, Google may know your search history and Facebook may know what you like -- but Amazon knows what you shop for, and what you've bought recently.
That's the kind of solid information that gives Amazon a leg up on the competition, when it comes to targeted advertising.
Six years ago, Amazon began quietly putting product ads on its own sites, and late last year the company launched an Amazon mobile ad network, pushing ads to smartphones and tablets.
On Thursday, when Amazon reports its quarterly earnings results, analysts will be looking for signs of growth in higher-margin businesses, such as advertising and cloud-computing.
According to The Guardian, the only targeting opportunities available on the Amazon mobile network right now are by gender and location.
However -- if it began offering targeting of advertising directly to those people whose previous purchase habits prove their likely interest in the promoted product, Amazon could become a serious competitor in the ad network space.