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The Definitive Guide to Prime Day Marketing & Advertising

Ryan Faist

Ryan Faist, Channel Key

April 25, 2024

It’s official: Prime Day 2024 will take place July 16 – 17. After months of anticipation, Amazon finally released the dates in a press release on June 25.

By now, brands should have their Prime Day marketing strategy in place. If not, don’t worry. There are still things you can do to prepare for the biggest online shopping event of the summer.

This blog outlines a comprehensive strategy that covers every hurdle in your path to Prime Day success, including optimization, deals and promotions, inventory planning, marketing and advertising, reporting and analytics, and more.

Should Your Brand Invest in Prime Day?

Before we get to the details, let’s address an important question that few people ask: is Prime Day worth it for your brand?

On the surface, the answer is obvious. Prime Day is clearly one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. In 2023, the 48-hour sale generated a whopping $12.7 billion in revenue worldwide. Much of this went to small businesses.

Amazon reported that sales growth for independent sellers during Prime Day 2023 outpaced their own retail business. If the year-to-year trajectory continues as it has in the past, Prime Day 2024 will be even bigger.

Naturally, brands that sell on Amazon often feel obligated to compete during Prime Day. Who would want to sit out on a sale that is expected to generate over $13 billion? As tempting as it is, there is more to consider before throwing your brand’s hat into the ring.

Understanding the Risks of Prime Day

  • Competition
    Prime Day has become fiercely competitive. Some of the most iconic brands in the world sell on Amazon – and they have big budgets. If you plan on advertising during Prime Day, be prepared to spend heavily. Otherwise, your ads will lose to higher bids.
  • High Fees and Low Margins
    It’s expensive to compete on Prime Day. The best deals and steepest discounts always win. When you factor in the cost of increased inventory, fulfillment and referral fees, promotions, and advertising, Prime Day can quickly diminish your profits.
  • Overstocking and Underselling
    Inventory planning is its own animal during Prime Day. You need inventory to support the deals and advertising you’re running. However, if your marketing underperforms and you undersell, not only will you lose money but your storage fees will climb due to excess inventory.

Don’t get us wrong. If you sell on Amazon, then you should absolutely take part in Prime Day. However, there’s a difference between participating and investing. The latter is for brands that want to go head-to-head with the heavyweights – and reap the rewards.

Luckily, Amazon is set up so that smaller brands can compete with larger brands if they have the resources. Above all, you will need a healthy advertising budget. When it comes to investing in Prime Day, either go big or go home. Anything in the middle will be lost.

How to Optimize for Prime Day Conversions

The first step in any Prime Day marketing strategy is to optimize your Amazon product listings. While it might seem basic, retail readiness is one of the most important concepts on Amazon.

As an agency that manages over $500M in GMV, we can’t tell you how often we see brands miss out on sales simply because their product detail pages are under-optimized.

When your product is considered retail ready, the detail page includes all the necessary information that a customer needs to make a purchase.

Before Prime Day, carefully review your entire Amazon catalog to ensure they are fully optimized – especially the products you plan to promote.

It makes no sense to waste money advertising products that have little chance of converting sales. Pay special attention to the following:

  • Include the most important keywords in your product titles
  • Utilize all available bullet points and include additional keywords and phrases
  • Utilize all available product image slots with high-resolution imagery
  • Include a product video if possible
  • Include up-to-date A+ content
  • Take advantage of Amazon’s Brand Story feature

Download our Essential Retail Readiness Checklist to make sure your product listings are fully optimized for Prime Day.

How to Promote Your Products During Prime Day

Prime Day is like Black Friday for the summer. Shoppers are looking for the deals, and they know they’ll find them. This means brands need to have a strong Prime Day promotions strategy to stand out from the competition.

Unfortunately, brands often make the mistake of not being selective about which products to promote. Not every ASIN is a good candidate. Remember, the steepest discounts drive the most sales.

Keep in mind that you also need to advertise your deals (more on this later). These added costs can quickly eat into your profit margin.

To maximize revenue and profit potential during Prime Day, promote top-selling products with high search volume, high profit margin, and plenty of 5-star reviews. Prime Day can also be a good event to clear out specific inventory, but for the most part, stick with your bestsellers.

Now, it’s time to determine how you want to promote your products. There are five main Amazon promotions that work well during Prime Day.

Some of these have submission deadlines. If this date has passed, don’t worry. You can still run Prime Exclusive Discounts and Coupons. Whichever promotions you choose, remember to be generous with your offer. Discounts of 40% or higher will see the best results.

  • Prime Exclusive Discount
    Prime Exclusive Discounts are price reductions available only to Prime members. These display a prominent badge on your product listing during Prime Day and BFCM only, which helps distinguish it from surrounding listings. Product offers with a Prime Exclusive Discount will show a discounted price with the regular price crossed out. Shoppers will also see a savings summary in search results and on product detail pages. Prime Exclusive Discounts are free to run. No deadline to submit for Prime Day

    Prime Exclusive Discounts on Amazon.

  • Prime Exclusive Top Deals (formerly called Deal of the Day)
    A Deal of the Day is an item that is discounted for one day only. These are displayed on the Today’s Deals page (and receive the highest placement) and receive a red “Deal of the Day” symbol above the discounted price. Deadline to submit for Prime Day: April 12, 2024
  • Prime Exclusive Best Deals
    A Best Deal is like a Deal of the Day, except the promotion runs for up to two weeks and receives a red “Best Deal” symbol. Best Deals are free to run. Deadline to submit for Prime Day: May 3, 2024
  • Prime Exclusive Lightning Deals
    A Lightning Deal is a promotion in which a limited number of discounts are offered on an item for a brief period (usually six hours). Lightning Deals display a countdown ticker establishing a sense of urgency. Unlike Prime Exclusive Deals, Top Deals, and Best Deals, Amazon charges a fee to run a Lightning Deal. Deadline to submit for Prime Day: May 3, 2024

Prime Exclusive Lightning Deal on Amazon.

  • Coupons
    Like the coupons you receive in the mail, Amazon coupons provide a discount on select items. Coupons are displayed on the product listing with a green badge that shows the discount offered. It’s important to note that Amazon has incorporated a new pricing validation process for Coupons effective March 12, 2024. Products are required to have a sales history before they are eligible to run a Coupon, along with a promotion price lower than either the “was price” or the recent lowest price. No deadline to submit for Prime Day.

Screenshot of a Coupon on Amazon.

PRO TIP: Channel Key recommends using Sponsored Products to help drive traffic to these listings. If customers can’t find your promotions, you won’t generate sales. Raising your bids and/or daily budgets for ad campaigns that drive traffic to your deals is a powerful way to boost sales during Amazon. View our Best Prime Day Marketing Strategy for Sponsored Products further down in this blog.

How to Forecast Your Prime Day Inventory

Inbound inventory for Prime Day was due by June 20. This was a very important date. If you didn’t send your inventory in time, you likely won’t have any products to sell.

That’s why it’s important to start planning your Prime Day strategy early. You won’t know what inventory to send until you know what products you plan to promote.

Next, you need to determine how much inventory to ship. This can get a little tricky, especially with Amazon’s new FBA inbound placement and low-inventory fees.

The goal is to send just enough inventory to cover your sales spike. If you send too much, you’ll face steeper storage fees. Send too little and you’ll not only fall short on your sales forecast, but you might face low-inventory fees.

If you’ve invested in Prime Day before, historical data will be your best guide to deciding how much extra inventory you will need. Analyze your past Prime Day sales data to understand the surge in demand compared to regular sales periods. Look for patterns and trends to estimate the increase in sales volume.

Also, factor in your Prime Day advertising spend. If you plan to increase your daily budget by 3X while offering competitive discounts, you’ll likely need 3X as much inventory for that ASIN.

How to Optimize Your Brand Store for Prime Day

Desktop and mobile screenshot of an online storefront.

Every brand on Amazon should have a Brand Store. This is a dedicated space on Amazon to introduce new products, showcase bestsellers, and even provide personalized recommendations for customers.

Think of it as your brand’s Amazon real estate. It’s essentially a mini website for your business. You even get your own Amazon.com web address to use in marketing campaigns (amazon.com/yourbrand).

Having a Brand Store is particularly helpful during big events like Prime Day. When shoppers visit your Brand Store, they see only your products. Unlike product detail pages, your competitors can’t advertise on your Store.

Naturally, you should curate your Brand Store to feature your Prime Day offers and promotions right at the top. This allows customers to see all your best offers at once, which can result in more sales.

You can drive traffic to your Store from your brand website, social media channels, or sponsored advertising – both on and off Amazon. If you promote your Store in external marketing activities, you can even add a tag to the URL to analyze traffic sources.

PRO TIP: If you’re running several deals during Prime Day, Channel Key recommends setting up a deals page in your Store and driving traffic to that page with Sponsored Brands.

Learn more about how to create and optimize your Amazon Brand Storefront.

Use External Marketing to Drive Traffic to Your Listings During Prime Day

This strategy might seem like a no-brainer, but most brands don’t take advantage of it, resulting in missed sales.

In addition to your on-Amazon marketing efforts, use every weapon in your arsenal to drive external traffic to your Store and product listings. Let your customers know in advance about the amazing deals you’ll offer during Prime Day.

Amazon prohibits Prime Day messaging in ads running on Amazon, but you can use it on ads that run off the platform if they include an official Prime Day deal linking back to Amazon.

Tease your upcoming Prime Day deals on your website, email marketing, and social media channels. The more external traffic you drive to your Prime Day offers, the more sales you will generate.

Get Your Amazon Small Business Badge(s)

Amazon Small and Black-Owned Business Badges.

Anything you can do to distinguish your product listings will help drive sales during Prime Day. One of the most overlooked opportunities is the Small Business Badge.

This little icon shows up on all your product listings, indicating to customers that you are a small business. If your brand employs fewer than 100 people and generates under $50 million a year in revenue, you are eligible to apply for the Small Business Badge.

The application process is free and only takes about 10 days. The Small Business Badge won’t change your business, but it will allow your products to show up in more places, including special events and promotions in the Amazon store.

Black-owned Businesses can also apply for a badge that shows their products are sold by a certified Black-owned business. Eligible businesses must hold a valid minority-owned business registration or certification demonstrating that the business Is Black-owned. Amazon is currently testing this badge on a subset of eligible offers in search results and product detail pages.

Learn more about Amazon’s small and Black-owned business badges.

The Essential 3-Phase Prime Day Advertising Strategy

Once you know what products you will promote, it’s time to execute the three-phase advertising strategy designed to maximize traffic and conversions during each phase of Prime Day. This is a general approach that Amazon recommends for all brands offering deals and promotions.

  • Phase One: Promote Your Deals & Brand to Customers Researching Products
    The lead-up to Prime Day is the time to highlight the value of your promoted products and brand to customers who are actively researching products. This will help make your promoted products and deals even more discoverable and increase conversions on event day. You can also use this time to optimize your campaign inputs, such as audiences and keyword strategies so that your campaigns are running at maximum performance on Prime Day.
  • Phase Two: Convert Brand-Aware Shoppers Who Are Ready to Purchase
    Customers are ready to purchase on Prime Day because they know the event doesn’t last long. This is the time to utilize additional marketing levers to help maximize conversions among audiences that have already seen your ads. For example, you can remarket to audiences that visited your product detail pages before Prime Day to stay top of mind on the day of the event.
  • Phase Three: Re-Engage Your Audiences at Scale to Maximize Sales
    Brands often enjoy a “halo effect” after Prime Day ends. According to Adobe Digital Insights, retailers experienced up to a 50% increase in sales in the days following previous Prime Day events. To maximize sales during this time, promote complementary products to your existing audiences or reach new audiences who did not buy your products during Prime Day through retargeting.

The Best Sponsored Products Strategy for Prime Day

A strong advertising strategy incorporates all of Amazon’s advertising levers. For most brands, Amazon recommends the following mix: 70% Sponsored Products, 20% Sponsored Brands, and 10% Sponsored Display.

The reason Sponsored Products take up the bulk of your ad budget is because they drive the most sales. After all, these are sponsored product listings that show up in the Amazon search results. According to Feed Advisor, 70% of Prime Day sales come from Sponsored Products.

The following tips will help you create and run Sponsored Products that drive traffic to your Prime Day promotions before, during, and after Prime Day.

Before Prime Day

Start advertising the products you plan to promote during Prime Day a couple of weeks early, but save the discounts for the sale. According to Amazon surveys, 75% of shoppers are very likely to buy a product during Prime Day that they have already discovered in the lead-up to the event.

If they’ve seen your product several times by the time Prime Day arrives, your deal will make it much easier to convert them. Also, advertising campaigns need at least 2 weeks to collect enough data for PPC optimization. Starting your Sponsored Products campaigns early will make it easier to fine-tune them during Prime Day.

Consider these recommendations before you launch your Sponsored Products campaign this Prime Day:

  • Know What Products to Advertise
    Create Sponsored Products campaigns for every product you plan to promote during Prime Day with a Prime Exclusive Discount, Top Deal, Best Deal, Lightning Deal, or Coupon.
  • Prepare Your Budget
    Advertising during Prime Day can be expensive. More competition means higher CPCs. To ensure your products receive ideal placement, Channel Key recommends doubling your daily ad budget for Prime Day. You should also increase bids against your top-performing keywords and targets by at least 15% during Prime Day. Ensure your campaigns have enough budget to keep running so you can engage customers throughout the entire event.
  • Choose How to Allocate Your Budget in Your Bidding Strategy
    You only pay when customers click your ad, and you decide how much you’re willing to pay. This is your bid. For Prime Day, set your bids to the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a click. You can always lower your bids at any time. When you create a Sponsored Products campaign, you can choose from three bidding strategies: dynamic bids (down only; up and down), fixed bids, and rule-based bidding. Pick the strategy that works best for your campaign’s objective. For Prime Day, take advantage of the dynamic up and down bidding feature where Amazon Ads can adjust your bid (by a maximum of 100%) when it is more or less likely to lead to a sale. Dynamic bidding can also reduce your bids for impressions that are less likely to convert to a sale, which can reduce spend on less impactful placements while focusing on quality clicks.
  • Select your targeting and add keywords
    Select your targeting and add your top keywords and products to show your ads on shopping results and detail pages to relevant shoppers. You can use automatic campaigns or manual campaigns – which you can choose to target keywords or products. In the weeks leading up to Prime Day, optimize your keyword match type strategy by monitoring your campaign for high-performing keywords. Ensure you’re serving on your most relevant queries by reviewing impression share for them. If impression share is low, now is the time to get aggressive on them before everyone else raises their bids.

PRO TIP: Channel Key recommends both a defensive and offensive bidding strategy for Sponsored Products campaigns. The defensive strategy involves bidding on your branded product keywords to ensure your products appear at the top of the search results when shoppers look for your deals. Conversely, you may want to bid on your competitors’ keywords to siphon customers from their search traffic.

During Prime Day

Use the following tips to monitor the performance of your campaigns with Prime Day shoppers:

  • Review Your Bids and Budgets
    If your active campaigns are going out of budget, try adjusting bids or your budget upwards. When your campaigns go out of budget during the day, your ads will be paused until midnight of the next day, and you could lose impressions and sales.
  • Know Your Top-Selling Products
    Not all your Sponsored Products campaigns will perform the same. By the end of Day 1, adjust your budget to increase exposure for the products that are selling the most.
  • Don’t Measure Your ROAS Right Away
    Hold off on measuring success based on ROAS. Sponsored Products ads have an attribution window of 7 days. This means purchases made by customers up to a week after clicking on your ads could be accounted for in your sales attributed to advertising. Amazon recommends waiting at least this long to review your campaigns in full.

How to Harness the Prime Day Halo Effect

Brands often make the mistake of thinking Prime Day is a 48-hour event. In reality, sellers often see a continued rise in sales for 7 – 14 days afterward. This is known as the Halo Effect (Phase 3 of the Essential Prime Day Advertising Strategy).

According to Adobe, the Halo Effect can boost sales by as much as 50%. The key to leveraging the Halo Effect is to maximize sales momentum.

If you run an offer that outperforms similar ones from your competitors, continue to promote this item immediately after Prime Day. Here’s why: the success of your offer shows Amazon’s algorithm that customers are interested in your product.

By pumping advertising dollars into this item right after Prime Day, you’ll accelerate the momentum of the flywheel and maximize sales during the Halo period.

Another way to take advantage of the Halo Effect is to retarget customers. Consider using Brand Tailored Promotions to reengage with shoppers who visited your product detail page but didn’t make a purchase. Brand Tailored Promotions are discounts on products that you can tailor to specific audience segments, including cart-abandoners.

Learn more about how to create Brand Tailored Promotions for cart abandoners.

Channel Key Takeaway

Prime Day can be a double-edged sword for brands. On the one hand, it’s the biggest online sales event of the summer. Millions of shoppers will be searching for the best deals. If Prime Day continues to outperform itself as it has since 2017, this year’s event will generate over $13 billion in sales.

On the other hand, competition on Prime Day is fierce and well-funded. Brands that don’t take the proper precautions can easily get lost in the noise and end up losing money. Fortunately, even smaller brands can outperform enterprise competitors by following the steps outlined in this guide. On behalf of all of us at Channel Key, we wish your brand a successful and profitable Prime Day.

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