For years, the trend for holiday shopping has been moving away from in-store purchases and toward e-commerce. According to Deloitte, 2021 e-commerce sales increased 11% compared with 2020 and 64.1% compared with 2019, the last holiday season in the books before COVID-19 sent online shopping numbers skyrocketing.
At the heart of these rising online sales, as always, is Amazon. The online behemoth now ships out billions of items worldwide during the holiday season, and there is no sign that they will be slowing down any time soon.
Getting the Most from Amazon Holiday Advertising
Amazon holiday advertising has proven to be worthwhile for vendors, so brands need to have a campaign strategy in place going into the holiday season. Is your team set up on Amazon Ads and Amazon DSP while strategizing to get the most out of your campaigns? Here is our advice for planning ahead to maximize your holiday sales campaigns:
#1 – Set Priorities
First things first: decide what products to prioritize for the holidays. Not every product you sell needs its own Amazon Ads campaign, but your top sellers do. These items should make sense for holiday shopping and their product pages should be entirely retail ready, meaning they should have a high number of product reviews, a 3.5-star rating or higher, reliable inventory, and high-quality content, from images to bullet points.
Both Amazon search and display ads direct customers to product pages when clicked. Make sure your product page has everything on it a customer could want.
#2 – Start Running Your Campaigns Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to try and set up your campaigns for Black Friday. Aside from the fact that Amazon Ads campaigns perform better the longer they run, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals must be set up in advance. Aim to get your campaigns ready months ahead of time, which also helps you connect with customers earlier in their shopping journey—a reliable way to increase conversions.
#3 – Closely Manage Your Campaigns
When using Amazon Ads, brands can set their campaigns on autopilot, but this is a mistake. We have found that managed campaigns returned roughly three times the revenue of automated campaigns during the same period. Successful holiday campaigns require close monitoring and optimization to maximize holiday sales.
Amazon DSP does not give brands the ability to run their own campaigns. Brands must either have Amazon run their display campaigns (which is tantamount to putting search ads on autopilot) or use an agency that has been certified in the platform. The best way to ensure display ads are performing well and complementing search campaigns is to use a single agency that can manage both simultaneously.
#4 – Increase Daily Spends and Bids During Important Sales Periods
It’s important to make sure your daily spends during the holidays are high enough to take advantage of raised sales numbers. A general rule of thumb is to double your daily spends during the holiday period.
Optimizing your Amazon holiday advertising also means upping the price of your bids. Though there’s a chance this may negatively affect your total return on advertising spend (ROAS), it should significantly boost impressions.
#5 Run Amazon Search and Display Ads Concurrently
Amazon offers two types of advertising, and it makes sense for most brands to use both of these services together. While search advertising is the more direct, higher-yield option that deserves the most TLC, it’s important to remember the impact that display advertising with Amazon DSP can add to a brand’s advertising strategy.
Search ads target potential customers on the Amazon retail site, making them an invaluable tool for converting at the point of sale. But display ads can target potential customers on external sites and mobile devices using remarketing techniques that can remind people of products they looked at but didn’t buy.
Amazon DSP ads act as a gentle nudge: “Are you still interested in buying that Bluetooth speaker you were researching last week?” Display ads specialize in impressions; search ads specialize in clicks. Together, they get products in front of the largest number of high-intent shoppers.
Properly managed display ad campaigns see increases in ROAS, organic impressions, branded search volume, and average daily sales. Run display ads simultaneously with your search campaigns to get the most bang out of your Amazon advertising buck.
#6 – Start Planning Your Holiday Lightning Deal Strategy Now
If you plan on running any Lightning Deal Promo Ads during the holiday season, now is the time to start planning your strategy. First, you need to identify what products you plan on promoting with Lightning Deals. Submit your Lightning Deal proposal to Amazon early to avoid the rush that will inevitably happen later in Q4.
Secondly, you need to identify what the most effective Product Display targeting strategies are for your selected Lightning Deal product. Experiment with different Product Display targeting strategies such as targeting competitors, in-brand ASINs, basket-building strategy targeting complementary ASINs, related category targeting. and interest-based targeting. Test all these different targeting strategies early and only use the most effective strategies for your Lightning Deal Promo campaigns.
#7 – Incorporate Content Into Your Strategy
A click to a product page is less likely to result in a sale when that page doesn’t include the information a customer is looking for. When content26 combines Amazon search and display ad management with essential and A+ content services, our clients have seen their Amazon ad revenue increase by more than 700%.
#8 – Improve Future Campaigns with What You’ve Learned
Taking what you learn from holiday advertising campaigns and applying that knowledge to future campaigns better equips your brand to succeed during the next big sales period. These holiday metrics are invaluable for learning and calculating a more refined approach for Prime Day, seasonal marketing campaigns, and new product launches.
Just as it’s never too early to start buying presents for loved ones to lessen the holiday load, it’s never too early to start getting your Amazon holiday campaigns in order. With a smart strategy and some forward thinking, you can maximize your Amazon holiday advertising for big returns.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 22, 2018, and updated on October 17, 2022.