How to prime for Prime Day: The power of pre-event advertising and brand building

Amazon just announced Prime Day, but for brands looking to create the biggest opportunities, the hard work of brand building and awareness started months ago.
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Amazon just announced Prime Day, but for brands looking to create the biggest opportunities, the hard work of brand building and awareness started months ago.

Prime Day week 2022 drove $22.4 billion in overall U.S. online sales including $11.9 billion during the 48-hour Prime Day period, per Adobe Analytics data. Sales during the two-day event in 2022 increased 8.5% year-over-year and accounted for nearly a third of July’s sales.

Prime Day is a huge driver of sales but Prime Day’s timing is often “revealed” relatively last minute for brands. As a brand owner, it leaves a lot of uncertainty for the summer. After all, how can you game plan for an event when you don’t know when it will occur?

Always-on Prime preparation

When Amazon releases details about Prime Day, it includes a bevy of advertising and promotional options to help a brand ensure its products stand out in search results. This is a key ingredient of success on Amazon – when you’re attempting to differentiate in a sea of products, you want to employ every advantage you can to raise your profile. While the focus is often on promotions and running aggressive discounts, the impact of these can be amplified through advertising.

Standing out in Amazon search results with onsite search ads is a great way to get seen, but – if you want to win the sale – it’s even better to be known. If your brand and a competitor are side-by-side, who’s most likely to get a look? 71% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they know about than an unknown brand. This means that the real Prime Day prep starts well ahead of Prime Day itself; if a brand has already built awareness among consumers, the chances of conversion dramatically increase.

That’s because Amazon advertising doesn’t deliver conversions in a vacuum. Shoppers don’t make decisions about what to buy on Prime Day solely based on what they see on Prime Day.

Consumers are searching for the products they have learned about previously (through advertising, word of mouth, or unpaid content discovery). Prime Day is simply the catalyst that pushes consumers over the edge to convert by creating the conditions that make them ready to shop.

The key is building familiarity through upper-funnel advertising and figuring out which sales are driven by pure discovery versus that familiarity. Priming the pump ahead of time and creating that brand/product recognition is key and what allows for success on a Prime Day.

If you are looking to ensure shoppers know your brand heading into Prime Day, you need to start early and look beyond just advertising on Amazon.

In the digital realm, this happens where engagement thrives: social platforms.

Prioritize presence on the path to purchase

Advertising must follow the customer on this path to purchase – wherever it may lead. On Facebook and Instagram, they see a product for the first time while scrolling through their feeds. Through user-generated or influencer ads, they may discover how a product impacts their lives, or how it will fit into – and even shape – the lifestyle that they want.

When they arrive at Amazon and type the product into search, they often already have a specific thing in mind, and they end up deciding between alternatives.

Prime Day is the ultimate example of how important it is to stand out, and the opportunity that lies in the groundwork to build your brand awareness ahead of time. People are drawn to the site because they know they are likely to find great deals. They arrive ready to shop. But they also log on with a bias towards brands they’ve seen and researched before.

The awareness that consumers bring into Prime Day can help them to push them from “Maybe one day I will try this brand” to, “I am going to try this brand, now.”

If they end up liking the product, the result will likely go beyond a single sale, building a lifetime of future incremental revenue for the business.

Prime Day is an opportunity to bring in these new consumers, but the start of that path needs to begin before Amazon. To be top-of-mind when a user arrives on Amazon, you need a reason for someone to search for your brand in the first place.

Predictive analytics to build awareness ahead of Prime Day

While the exact dates of Prime Day are not known in the months leading up, predictive analytics can be used to build the awareness necessary to capitalize on the event. To do this requires an understanding of adstock, or the compounding and decaying effect of exposure to advertising over time for an audience. The compounding effect is that multiple exposures can increase the impact of advertising on your audience to a point. The decaying effect is how slowly or quickly this build-up of effect dissipates.

These effects can be mathematically modeled to approximate how media needs to be flighted to generate a peak effect on a target date like Prime Day. These can vary drastically across ad types and spend levels ranging from a day or two for bottom-of-the-funnel spending to weeks and even a month for broader awareness-building spend.

To maximize your Prime Day success, the hard work starts months ahead with efforts that increase brand awareness and leverage the Amazon flywheel to boost organic rank.

Primed for Prime Day announcements

Now that the specific dates around Prime Day are known, we can focus on how to capitalize on the work that has been done in advance. To demonstrate this we can look at how a consumer health brand is using the Incremental platform to maximize impact. While they had been utilizing the months prior to build brand equity, once Prime Day dates were announced they started leveraging adstock to develop a more focused strategy directly around the event. The brand’s efforts are focused across multiple parts of the funnel, so understanding the differences in the timing of impact between social, search and sponsored products is a necessity.

Adstock coverage for July in preparation for Amazon Prime Day

This chart shows the percentage of the brand’s July budget that should be spent on a given day. You can see that channels like TikTok and Meta have the longest adstock values for this brand. In order to generate a peak effect on Prime Day, they need to start increasing spend ahead of time. Sponsored Products and Google Search have an almost immediate impact and therefore spend only needs to ramp up in the days immediately beforehand.

Every brand and product has its own interaction with advertising, impacted by multiple factors such as price and whether the product is discretionary or necessary. This in turn creates a different ideal ad scheduling for each brand to maximize impact.

Most retail media is measured through last touch attribution, which limits a brand’s ability to understand marketing interactions and plan its investments effectively. Using a measurement approach that models for adstock is essential to develop a strategy that accounts for full-funnel marketing.

Prime Day is the tip of the iceberg

Investing in advertising ahead of Prime Day is a critical part of running a successful Prime Day strategy.

Importantly, retail media campaigns such as sponsored products don’t exist in a silo. To maximize success, you need to build awareness and consideration for your products ahead of time. By leveraging other channels ahead of Prime Day, you can create an engine that gives your brand a leg up on the competition.

Missed priming for 2023 July Prime Day? Talk to our team to learn how to start leveraging the entire marketing funnel today to maximize the opportunity ahead.


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