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Preparing to Win Amazon Prime Day in 2018

Prime Day is fast approaching and Amazon advertisers should begin preparation now if they want to be ready for what is sure to be a very busy week. We’ll break down six keys to success to help you get a leg up on the competition and hopefully have a sales day for the record books.

What is Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a day of deals Amazon started three years ago to celebrate its 20th birthday. They have since turned it into an annual holiday that occurs every summer in the first few weeks of July, and even expanded it to have deals occur during the week surrounding the actual day.

Sales volume for the event is similar to, if not greater than, the busiest days of the holiday season for many retailers which makes it a can’t-miss opportunity. A 2018 date hasn’t been officially announced yet, but is expected to fall on July 17 based on a recently discovered Prime Day-themed display banner.

Tip #1: Audit Your Amazon Account

In the weeks leading up to Prime Day, dig into your account and make sure all your ducks are in a row on both the advertising and product data fronts.

Advertising

  • Read through search term reports showing performance of the queries driving ad traffic to discover new keywords and negatives to add to your campaigns.
  • Check your current ad copy on Headline Search Ads and consider using these next few weeks to test any potential changes. Is existing ad copy relevant for the time of year? Is there a strong call to action?
  • Use this time to do a little summer cleaning; pause or bid down poor performing keywords and retire outdated or unused campaigns.
  • Take a deep dive into CPC and traffic trends for your top campaigns and keywords to understand what has been driving sales for your product offering. This data will give you a good idea of where your sales are likely to come from on Prime Day. If you databased your campaign performance data for the time frame surrounding Prime Day 2017, that will give you an even better idea of how CPCs and traffic might behave this year.

Product Data

  • Check your current inventory levels and what products will be available during the first few weeks of July. You’ll want to have as much inventory on hand as possible, especially for top sellers or any product you plan to push during Prime Week. If you sell multiple variations of a particular product, consider adjusting your product page to include all child SKUs on the same page. This will create the best customer experience as they won’t have to bounce from page to page to see different sizes, colors, etc.
  • Buyers will be poring over search results pages and using titles and product photos to decide which product to click on. Clean up titles and make sure your images are high-resolution and up to date. Additionally, use search term reports to ensure that your titles reflect verbiage that your customers use most frequently to search for your products.
  • If you are a vendor or ASIN owner, take the time to flesh out your bullet points. After quality product images and titles, these bullets are arguably the most important part of your product detail page. They appear just below the main image on product pages and are best used to highlight features of your products and the benefits these features provide. Each product can have up to five bullet points. If you have extra space, consider adding information about your company or brand; this is especially helpful for lesser-known or newer brands. Search term reports can also be helpful for crafting bullet point language that resonates with your customers. If you can provide all the details a customer needs to make an informed purchase, their chances of converting undoubtedly increase.
Amazon Bullet Points
  • Consider creating an Amazon Store page for your brand. The page will act as a storefront for your entire product offering and allows customers to browse your entire product selection and learn more about your business. Amazon Store pages can also be used externally to drive customers from other channels like e-mail or paid search to your Amazon offering.
  • If you are an ASIN owner, add informational A+ content to the “below the fold” portion of your product page (such as in the example below) to enhance a customer’s experience and remove possible barriers to purchase by preemptively answering common questions. If you already have A+ content in place, take this time to look it over and make sure no information is missing or out of date.
Amazon A+ Content

Tip #2: Budget, budget, budget

A lot of people will visit Amazon.com for Prime Day, so you will see traffic levels rise considerably. You should be prepared to increase daily budgets to meet the increase in traffic. An increase in competition, and thus an increase in CPCs, will accompany those increased traffic levels so plan on increasing bids and paying more to show on high traffic terms.

If you have a strict monthly budget, allocate a higher percentage of your budget to the days leading up to Prime Day and Prime Day itself. Deals start rolling out before the big day, so allowing yourself more flexibility leading up to Prime Day will give you the chance to capture those extra sales.

Tip #3: Align Your Product Offerings and Advertising with Planned Deals

Prime Day is a great opportunity to put enticing deals in front of customers. You might be trying to clear out the last of your inventory, giving customers an opportunity to get their hands on a new product, or just cutting prices on one of your company’s staples.

Whatever the reason, you’ll want to make sure your advertising efforts are as supportive as possible of these initiatives. You may want to consider driving relevant top traffic keywords to your sale products for Sponsored Products and pausing those keywords in other campaigns so as to not draw customers away from your deals. You should also use Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads to display core sale items as well as complementary products.

For example, if you are an electronics store running a deal on 55-inch 4K televisions, you may want to pause or pull back bids on Sponsored Products campaign keywords for 55 inch TVs and other TVs in similar sizes (50in or 60in for example) that are not on sale. You’ll also want to run Headline Search Ads with the TV on sale, along with products like a home audio system and Blu-ray player, with copy calling customers to build the home theater setup they deserve.

If you are a vendor, showing those same home audio or Blu-ray player ASINs in Product Display Ads on the TV product detail page will complete your advertising coverage. If you are looking to further supplement your search program, consider Amazon’s high CTR Display ad formats.

Tip #4: Use Lightning Deals and Prime Day-Specific Ad Formats to Stand Out Against the Competition

A great way to get a leg up on the competition during Prime Day is to utilize Amazon’s Lightning Deals. These are limited-time offers on products with great sale prices. Sellers pay a fee to list their Lightning Deal and have to meet a few additional requirements from Amazon, but if you have a good offer, Lightning Deals can be well worth the investment as these are some of the most eye-catching and high traffic parts of Prime Day.

Amazon Lightning Deals

These are perfect for new products or products from your offering that have a lot of competition from similar items (think tech, clothing, and kitchenware). You can learn all you need to know about set-up and pricing in our recent blog post found here. While the submission deadline for 2018 passed in May this is something to definitely keep in mind for future Prime Day events.

Another option to consider for next year is the variety of high impact display and video ad formats that are unique to Prime Day. These include Prime Day event page banners on both mobile and desktop, as well as Prime Day specific SOV packages across Fire TV, Fire Tablet, and Prime Day pages. The deadline for submitting these formats for use on Prime Day was June 15.

Tip #5: Don’t Wait Until Prime Day to Launch New Campaigns or Make Big Changes

If you plan to advertise on products for the first time or make significant changes to ad copy or product mix on Headline Search, it is pivotal that you don’t wait until Prime Day to launch new campaigns. Amazon relies in part on a campaign’s history to understand how to value sellers’ ASINs and thus decide what search terms to serve on and when.

Since this is the case, you will want to start any new campaigns a few weeks out from Prime Day to allow Amazon to gather as much data as possible. This also gives you the chance to troubleshoot any conversion rate issues and establish a CPC baseline. The more history your campaigns can garner, the better. 

Tip #6: Use Prime Day as an Opportunity to Understand the Value of an Amazon Prime Shopper

While Display and Video have some fantastic audience targeting options, Prime shoppers are unfortunately one group that’s not available for advertisers to specifically target. However, since Prime user shopping and purchases skyrocket on Prime Day, advertisers can continue to reach these customers via increased investment in ASIN retargeting across their display line items for the weeks following Prime Day.

Savvy advertisers can go one step further and consider running an Audience Segmentation report the day following Prime Day to understand the top performing overlap audiences to augment future audience-based targeting. Prime Day is one day of the year that you know a very high percentage of Amazon sales/shopping is going to be from Prime users, so you can compare the top performing audiences in Amazon’s tool pre- and post- Prime Day to help build insights around how to better hone in on Prime shoppers for the remainder of the year.

Conclusion

Prime Day is perhaps the largest sales event outside of the November/December holiday season when it comes to eRetail. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to put in the work now to make sure you are prepared.

Take time to thoroughly audit your accounts so you’re fully optimized. Prepare your budgets and spending plan to maximize your exposure to customers via Lightning Deals and Amazon’s advertising offerings. Launch advertising efforts well in advance of Prime Day if possible to allow your campaigns to garner as much history as possible. Lastly, use Prime Day as a chance to learn more about the ever-valuable Prime member audience if you support your Amazon business with display ads. Opportunity will be abundant over the next couple of weeks, will you be ready to capitalize?

Like what you see? Check out Merkle’s Amazon Ads Playbook for more great Amazon tips and tricks on everything from set-up to campaign management.

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