How to Prepare for Prime Day 2018

Prime Day is coming up again in July, giving brands a golden opportunity to take advantage of increased sales during Amazon’s summer shopping holiday. In 2017, Prime Day was Amazon’s single highest sales day of all time, with more items sold than the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Prime Day

Since its inception in 2015 as a celebration of Amazon’s 20th anniversary, each successive Prime Day has significantly outperformed the previous year, and there’s no reason to believe 2018 will be any different. Prime Day is now a legitimate shopping holiday for millions of people around the world, and through other online retailers can try to compete, there’s not much more they can do than stand by and watch.

Amazon was more strategic in its selection of featured products and categories in 2017 than previous years, grouping items by “most-shopped themes” that made it easier for people to find products they were interested in. Themes aimed at chefs, techies, and items “for the home” were the biggest winners, with grocery sales falling surprisingly flat.

Advertising During Prime Day

As the old adage goes, “You need to spend money to make money,” and this applies double to Prime Day. Brands apply for their products to be eligible as “Lightning Deals” during regular weeks of the year and pay a fee. That fee is nearly twice as much during Prime Day. In addition, the product must be on sale by at least 20% of the original price, brands must be able to meet Prime fulfillment and delivery times, and on top of that, there’s a category-based commission rate that ranges from 6-20 percent. Despite this, many brands are happy to pay this exorbitant markup for the opportunity it presents.

But it’s not only Lightning Deals that see increased traffic during Prime Day. In 2016, our Amazon Advertising campaigns saw a general 125% – 175% lift in ad-attributed sales on Prime Day compared to the previous day, so even brands that don’t invest in Lightning Deals can see increased conversions.

Here are 5 tips for brands looking to strategically adjust their Amazon Advertising strategy ahead of Prime Day:

  1. Get Started Early. Set up your campaigns in advance with a minimum $100 budget and let them run for at least 2 weeks before Prime Day to allow you to optimize for performance.
  2. Choose the Right Products. Only advertise products with ratings above 3.5 stars, as well as any product that has a Prime Day deal.
  3. Structure Your Campaigns Strategically. To make campaigns easier to monitor and adjust, organize them based on product type, brand, or product price. Also, make sure your campaign names include something like “PrimeDay” to help monitor the performance of your Prime Day campaigns.
  4. Diversify Ad Types. Use Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Product Display ads at the same time to help maximize your product visibility on Amazon.com and help reach more customers during the week of Prime Day.
  5. Ensure Your Content Is Up to Date. Update your product detail page with updated images, product descriptions, and product titles in time for Prime Day.

Once Prime Day begins, set daily budgets for your Prime Day campaigns to at least 200% higher than the daily campaign spends you typically see. You can re-adjust the daily budget at any time after Prime Day. If your campaign is out of daily budget, increase your budget to help reach shoppers all day. Throughout Prime Day, monitor your sales and impressions by keyword. If impressions are low, increase the bid to maximize your reach, and if a keyword is performing well, consider increasing the bid to help you maintain or win additional impressions on that keyword.

Don’t Ignore the Importance of Good Content

Increasing ad spend doesn’t do a whole lot of good it the ads lead to sub-par content. Make sure the pages for the products you’re advertising have informative and compelling content, otherwise customers may not feel confident enough to buy.

At the bare minimum, ensure your product title, bullets, and single-paragraph product descriptions clearly and concisely describe what the product is and what the product does. Do not stuff this basic content with unnecessary keywords – customers hate it and it makes it harder to learn about what a product’s actual features and benefits are. Instead, focus on inserting keywords that improve your Amazon Advertising campaigns.

Now that standard A+ Content is free for all vendors, there really isn’t much of an excuse for brands not to take advantage of the service. A+ Content gives brands the ability to describe their product in detail with enlargeable imagery, creating a better digital shopping experience for customers while boosting discoverability on Amazon. Brands who want to create a slicker, more branded shopping experience can pay the premium price tag for Premium A+ modules. Regardless of which option A+ option you choose, customers expect to find the information they need on your product page, and if it’s not there, they’ll go somewhere else. Prime Day virtually guarantees extra eyeballs on your page, but if your content isn’t compelling, there’s no guarantee you’ll convert.

Editor’s Note: On September 5, 2018, Amazon rebranded its advertising platform. Amazon Marketing Services changed to Amazon Advertising and Amazon Advertising Platform changed to Amazon DSP, among other changes. This blog post was changed on October 5, 2018 to reflect those changes.