Amazon Prime Day is officially slated for July 15th and 16th, giving advertisers and others just a few weeks to prepare. If trends from years past hold, Amazon will likely break all its sales records once again and further cement Prime Day as the most important non-holiday holiday of the year. So, what does that mean for advertisers? It means you need to have a plan and you need to start preparing now if you haven’t already - we’re going to help you do both of those things right now whether you sell on Amazon or not.
I covered a lot of basics in my blog post ahead of last year’s Prime Day event that are still relevant this year, and you should check that out if you haven’t already, as well as our Amazon Playbook. We’ll dive into a few of those points in greater detail this year as well as introduce some new tips and insights we’ve figured out over the last year in the ever-changing world of Amazon Advertising.
Don’t Take Yourself Out of The Game by Not Allocating Enough Dollars to Prime Day
If you’ve paid attention to Prime Day the last couple of years, you know that Amazon site traffic is no joke, and there hasn’t been a Prime Day yet that didn’t at least temporarily crash the site, despite what is likely an immense amount of preparation from Amazon. That being said, if advertisers don’t budget for the inevitable increase in click traffic (which will likely come even if you don’t run a promotion), you will be leaving money on the table for your business. Here’s what ad click traffic and sales per click looked like during last year’s event.
If your program is budget constrained, we strongly recommend prioritizing dollars for the Prime Day timeframe. Giving yourself some flexibility to either shift funding to the back half of the month or to reduce advertising investment post-Prime Day will also help ease the shock of Prime Day advertising spend.
Button Up and Refine Your Brand’s Presence on Amazon
Now is the time to get your ducks in a row. You should be looking through your advertising campaigns and making sure all the Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) that you are advertising on are retail ready, which means they’re winning the Buy Box, have robust product detail page images and bullets (image below), have 3.5+ stars and 15+ reviews, have healthy stock levels, and are using all available enhanced content on their product detail pages. This will help make sure you’re providing an optimal customer experience while also avoiding issues with inventory or Buy Box ownership that can cause you to lose out on sales.
Once you know your ASINs are retail ready, consider updating your Amazon Stores page (or build one if you don’t have one) if you are a vendor or brand owner. Sellers that aren’t brand owners are out of luck – Amazon Store Pages aren’t available to them. Build out new subpages where possible to improve organization or to feature best sellers or complementary products. Take advantage of the dynamic deal tile feature to highlight sale products on various pages as well.
Review performance for advertising campaigns that were running during Prime Day last year to better understand what to expect in terms of changes to CPCs, volume, and conversion rates. Apply those learnings by adjusting product mix, budget allocations, and tactics where necessary. For instance, most Merkle clients did not see a significant rise in CPCs on Prime Day compared to the days leading up to the event in both previous iterations of the event, despite significant bid pushes in light of higher expected sales per click. That leads us to believe the elevated click traffic and costs are more a function of a larger pool of customers and searches than an increase in competition. That very well could change this year as more advertisers become savvy and place greater emphasis on this pseudo-holiday, but that remains to be seen.
You can also now feature product bundles in Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, so if you have a high-volume bundle of ASINs in your inventory already or are planning to create one specifically for Prime Day, make sure you either launch a new campaign with those bundles (the sooner the better so you have enough data to confidently adjust bids) or add them into existing campaigns. These could be especially impactful if the bundle results in cost savings for the customer, even if the discount isn’t specific to Prime Day.
Understand How You Want to Leverage Amazon (and Prime Day) As Part of Your Larger Marketing Strategy
Planning out your business’s approach to Prime Day (and Amazon as a whole) will go a long way in determining what success looks like for you and your business during this year’s iteration. If Amazon is your sole means of generating revenue, then maximizing sales or return may be your primary objective.
However, it is also worth considering the branding and exposure opportunities that Prime Day present that won’t necessarily result in immediate return. Prime Day will more than likely be the highest traffic day for Amazon of 2019, so there will be excellent opportunities to fill display remarketing pools, increase brand discovery and awareness, and test new tactics. Deciding on your focus now will paint a cleaner picture for the run-up to the event itself.
Not only does Prime Day drive record numbers of shoppers to Amazon.com, but it also tends to drive up shopping interest across the internet. If you are a retailer who also sells on your own site off Amazon, it is also worth considering cross-channel tactics like using paid search text ads to drive traffic to your Amazon Stores pages on Prime Day. Regardless of whether you take advantage of tactics like the one above, you should be thinking about how any active promotions on your site match up with your offering on Amazon.
Brands (especially those that aren’t on Amazon) have started to take advantage of increased browsing behavior by hosting their own sales on the same day to try to entice customers away from Amazon. If you are not on Amazon and it fits with your promotional approach, you should absolutely consider following suit and running an offer on your site during this time frame.
Lean into Your Display Program to Grow Your ASIN Remarketing Pool & Leverage In-Market Audiences
A few well-defined advantages that the Amazon Display offering has over Amazon Search are the extensive audience offerings as well as the ability to utilize ASIN remarketing, which allows advertisers to retarget customers based on products viewed on Amazon. Since a “Prime subscriber” audience doesn’t exist, leveraging ASIN targeting is one way you can continue to engage with this segment of buyers in the weeks following Prime Day given that an even higher percentage of shoppers will be Prime members. You should also pull audience overlap reports after Prime Day to better understand which audience overlap buckets Prime Day purchasers are falling into and consider putting that information to use in future campaigns to gain more traction with that subset of Amazon shoppers.
New to Amazon Display this year are a variety of in-market audience segments that advertisers can take advantage of in their campaigns. These have the potential to be especially impactful on Prime Day given that their intent is to show display ads to customers that are actively searching for products in a given category. There is a good chance that return and engagement for these audiences will be even higher than normal during the Prime Day event.
The majority of preparation for Prime Day doesn’t look all that different from following and implementing Merkle best practices for the platform, but given the sales implications, programs deserve greater scrutiny to uncover any potential needle-moving adjustments that will be magnified during a high-impact event like Prime Day. If you budget and bid appropriately, continue to provide a good customer experience, and know what your goals are, you’ll likely find that you had a pretty good day when you look at your dashboards the next morning.
There isn’t a need to overthink Prime Day this close to the actual holiday, but it serves as a great opportunity for advertisers to take a step back and consider how Amazon fits into their broader marketing mix, whether as a primary sales driver or one channel among a large portfolio. We’re excited to see what unfolds in the 2019 edition of this artificial holiday and it will definitely be interesting to see how it evolves this time around.
Note: The image at the top of this post was taken by Mein Deal.