Why should brands participate in Amazon Prime Day?
Since its inception in 2015, Amazon Prime Day has grown to become one of the biggest eCommerce shopping days of the year; in 2019 nearly 20% of Americans shopping Amazon Prime Day planned to spend over $300. Not only has there been an increase in Amazon shoppers, but also the potential to increase new-to-brand customers by as much as 57%. This creates an opportunity to drive brand awareness and adoption during the annual shopping event, which will be held this year on October 13th and 14th.
Furthermore, while Prime Day deals may create a spike in sales during their promotional period, that spike can extend beyond the deal timeframe through a “halo effect” with some vendors experiencing sales growth the month after running a deal for both the featured product and the rest of their brand catalog.
What’s different about Prime Day This Year?
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven shoppers from traditional brick and mortar buying experiences to eCommerce. As a result, Prime Day 2020 will likely see more first time Amazon customers than in previous years. It’s important that brands make it easy for these new customers to find their products through optimized Detail Pages that drive search relevance on high volume keywords. Conversion to sales can be achieved through concise and informative titles, imagery, bullet points, A+ content, and descriptions.
The transition of customers to eCommerce has brought a willingness to try new brands out of necessity and the sudden availability of alternate options. This has led to 61 % of US consumers having changed brands during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many brands moving to Amazon to replace brick and mortar losses, competition for share of the digital shelf has become fiercer than ever. It’s important for all brands to implement a robust Amazon marketing strategy that focuses on both protecting their own brand keywords and gaining market share through targeting competitive brand keywords.
Throughout Q2 many brands found their products were deemed non-essential by Amazon. This transitioned 2-day Prime delivery promises to up to 30 days. As a result, inventory turnover slowed leading to low capacity in Amazon Fulfillment Centers as we approach Prime Day. In response, Amazon has introduced Q4 inventory restrictions based upon inventory performance. This will limit many brands from sending new inventory to Amazon in preparation of Prime Day deals. Brands facing this challenge should turn to their items currently in Amazon Fulfillment Centers with high volumes of inventory as top candidates for Prime Day Deals. Alternatively, if the infrastructure is in place for Direct Fulfillment brands should consider dual listing in which Amazon will pay shipping costs to fulfill orders directly from the vendor’s warehouse or 3PL.
Prime Day’s proximity to Black Friday and Cyber Monday creates several key considerations for brands. Some may decide not to participate in Prime Day in order to focus more budget and bandwidth on holiday shopping campaigns and promotions. This creates an opportunity for competition to run compelling Prime Day deals and gain market share. However, it is unknown if brands will be allowed to run the same deals for Prime Day and Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It’s important for brands to proactively create backup plans for the holiday shopping season in case they are not able to repeat the same deal or ship inventory to Amazon in time.
Retail has faced many challenges throughout 2020 that make a strong eCommerce presence more important than ever. However, a strong Q4 strategy and flawless execution present the opportunity to recover from Q1-Q3 declines in sales. Consumer conversion will be driven by brands’ focus on value, availability, and convenience.
Jamaal Hackett-Cook is a Sr. eCommerce Strategist at Ideoclick, where he drives the creation of innovative strategies for brands to own more of the digital shelf. A 5 year former employee of Amazon, he worked on the launch of Amazon Home Services, innovations to the Vendor Contact Support Process, and has partnered with dozens of brands to improve their marketing and supply chain strategies.
With a unique Prime Day landing in early October this year and only a short break before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, preparing for Q4 advertising on Amazon has never been more important. A comprehensive and powerful strategy should now include an Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform) advertising campaign.
Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, ad types within Amazon Advertising’s Sponsored Ads Console, have traditionally been advertisers’ starting place for Prime Day preparation – and with good reason. These PPC ads are primarily triggered by keyword targeting and appear alongside organic search results on Amazon. By targeting a surge of highly relevant Prime Day shoppers, while they are actively browsing for products in Amazon’s digital shopping aisles, Sponsored Ads are highly effective at driving towards immediate performance advertising goals.
Sponsored Ads should be the foundation of most Prime Day and Holiday advertising strategies; these ads target the lowest hanging fruit on Amazon and play an important role in defending your brand’s share of search.
However, Sponsored Ads have a few limitations:
Due to creative constraints, Sponsored Ads have a limited capacity to drive towards upper funnel consideration and awareness goals.
Regardless of your campaign goals, scale can also be a limitation as this ad type is only served on Amazon itself (Amazon.com and Amazon Mobile App) and shoppers must be searching for the term you are bidding on.
Even when targeting the highest trafficked keywords, advertisers trying to scale their Sponsored Ads campaigns can eventually face diminishing marginal returns as ever-increasing competition drives up CPCs.
Despite the limitations, successful vendors and sellers alike understand the power of Sponsored Ads. But once your Sponsored Ads are in place, how can you take the next step in your Amazon Advertising strategy for Prime Day and beyond?
Amazon DSPis the next step in developing a comprehensive, full-funnel advertising strategy on Amazon. Adding display advertising on top of Amazon Sponsored Ads broadens an advertiser’s ability to drive towards goals throughout the shopping journey, from brand awareness to consideration and purchase.
How Amazon DSP Works
Amazon DSP ads use Amazon’s first party shopping data to programmatically reach highly relevant shoppers on thousands of websites via Amazon’s owned and operated properties (Amazon.com, Amazon Mobile App, IMDb, etc.), Amazon Publisher Services, and major digital ad exchanges. Depending on your specific campaign goal, you can retarget shoppers that have visited the Amazon detail pages of your products and your competitor’s products, target larger audience that have shown habitual shopping behavior over time, or target a variety of other unique-to-Amazon audiences based on contextual targeting.
Implementing an Amazon DSP Campaign
Once you have determined your campaign goal and identified the product that you want to promote with Amazon DSP, it’s important to consider the necessary steps leading up to your campaign launch – especially for a campaign focused around Prime Day.
Unlike Sponsored Ads, Amazon DSP does not have a self-service console available to your typical vendor or seller. Campaigns are either run internally by Amazon Advertising or by a complete managed services agency like Ideoclick, so it’s essential to ensure that you have plenty of lead time prior to Prime Day for a successful DSP launch.
For anyone who is new to DSP, it’s important to understand the additional steps that need to take place prior to getting your campaign off the ground. First, DSP campaigns use a CPM pricing model and require advertisers to have an insertion order in place ahead of launching a campaign. Once an insertion order is signed, there are additional approvals required for creative assets and custom targeting segments. We recommend having a couple of weeks to get all of your ducks in a row prior to your projected campaign launch date.
Proper Timing for an Amazon DSP Campaign
When building a DSP campaign around a major tentpole event like Prime Day, we recommend launching the campaign well ahead of the event itself. Amazon DSP’s myriad optimization levers are part of what makes it such a powerful tool for advertisers. Through both machine learning and manual optimizations, everything from the targeting segments, to creative formats, bids, and frequency caps can be adjusted toward better performance through the campaign flight. However, meaningful optimizations require a sufficient amount of data and time. Giving your campaign a few weeks to work out the kinks will ensure that everything is precisely dialed in for the rush of shoppers on Prime Day itself.
Whether you are launching your first DSP campaign to coincide with Prime Day, or ramping up an existing DSP budget for the event, the increased traffic to Amazon during 2020’s unique Q4 shopping season opens the door to even more opportunities involving Amazon DSP: One of the most effective DSP strategies is in retargeting shoppers that have landed on your product’s detail page. These custom targeting segments can deliver impressive sales and RoAS (return on ad spend) results but rely on shoppers finding their way to your detail page ahead of time, which can limit scale.
Prime Day, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the Q4 holiday season are great opportunities to leverage increased traffic and larger audiences with DSP retargeting to provide an “always-on” display strategy that can be maintained into 2021 and beyond.
Preparation is Key
The busiest season on Amazon is upon us and the competition will be greater than ever. In preparation for Prime Day, make sure that you are retail ready, have your Sponsored Ads ramped up for increased traffic and bids, and set yourself up for a deeper level of success by implementing a comprehensive display advertising strategy starting with Amazon DSP.