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What We Learned From Amazon Prime Day

5 MINUTE READ | August 1, 2018

What We Learned From Amazon Prime Day

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Lauren Resnick

Lauren Resnick has written this article. More details coming soon.

And that’s a wrap! As the 14-day attribution window on Amazon Prime Day 2018 comes to a close, let’s look back on what went down. Amazon Prime Day 2018 was the largest recorded shopping day in Amazon history, beating out 2017’s Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Prime Day, respectively. This year, Prime shoppers didn’t hold back, purchasing over 100 million products!

Amazon rang in Prime Day with a site outage, from an influx of consumer’s logging into the site. According to Fortune, “While the site’s issues lasted several hours, it doesn’t appear as though the outage had much of an impact on the company’s sales for the day.” By Monday afternoon, Prime Day outage was a trending topic with over 4500+ social posts. Despite the outage, advertisers kept their search and display campaigns active, hoping to yield success from those that were able to access the event. It is unknown how widespread the issue was, but based on the success of this year’s event, we’d venture a guess to say it only had a minor impact.

Some hot ticket items this year were the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Echo Dot, and Alexa Voice Remote. To put it bluntly, Amazon sold a lot of Amazon products; however, that’s not all they sold.

Before Prime Day, brands were expected to see a 380%-390% lift in ad attributed sales and a 120% lift in impressions. As an agency, we sought to measure a few things. Do our results fall in line with what Amazon predicted? Do we see a lift in attributed conversions 14-days later? Is Prime Day worth the heavy investment?

In our Prime Day primer, we pointed out that advertisers of all types could benefit from the event. While Amazon was wildly successful selling through their own products, PMG brands reaped the benefits of the Prime Day frenzy as well, despite not having exclusive deals. Looking at an aggregated view of metrics for the agency, here’s how performance stacked up compared to Amazon’s benchmarks.

(Lift is Prime Day event vs. The 36hr window during previous week)

  • +188% lift in traffic

  • +198% lift in impressions (vs 120% benchmark)

  • +217% lift in ad attributed sales (vs 380% benchmark)

  • Roughly 3x as many products sold (vs daily average)

Overall, it’s easy to see that investing in Prime Day is a worthwhile cause. You may be saying to yourself, but Amazon projected a nearly 400% lift in sales, what gives!? Nice catch, however, it’s important to note that our brands didn’t actively participate with Prime Day specific deals, yet still achieved strong results due to the influx of shoppers ready to spend their hard-earned money.

Judging by the number of screens across the agency loaded with Prime Day tabs, you can bet that the annual event is here to stay. No matter if consumers are actively seeking deals, or just browsing to find the most outlandish items to share with their friends, it all adds up to an extreme amount of potential exposure for brands.

Prime Day operations weren’t without hiccups though, as you might expect. Here are a few things we’re keeping in mind for the next go-round.

  • Leverage nonbrand campaigns to increase consumer consideration ahead of the big day.

    • Grab the attention of consumers researching early, but don’t expect high returns.

  • Brand keyword campaigns were far more efficient at converting customers.

  • Run your campaigns early!

    • Amazon is similar to other platforms where optimizations and relevancy can impact a “quality score” for your ads.

    • Interestingly enough, despite many advertisers tapping into the event, average CPCs declined throughout July.

  • Plan on the heaviest activity occurring during the first 12 hours of the event.

    • For us, on the first day, Brand campaigns drove more sales but with higher CPCs. The 2nd day, nonbrand campaigns drove more sales.

      • Our guess is that maybe the first day we saw top performance for brand because a) people cashing in earlier from their previous research, and b) the second-day shoppers were the last minute purchases/people researched products.

To have the most impactful Prime Day, it’s key to have a buttoned-up strategy two weeks prior to the event while also keeping the specific vertical of your brand in mind. Know your competition in the space, we recommend driving awareness through nonbrand initiatives prior to the event for efficiencies and to have a backup plan for potential issues. While it’s important to boost during the event, make sure you’re boosting in a way that makes sense for your brand. Overall, participation is a must for Prime Day. With a 200% lift in sales week-over-week, you don’t want to miss out on one of the most popular online “holidays”.

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Until next year, Prime Day.

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