The Amazon Prime Day Effect – How Brands Can Capitalize on the Global Shopping Event

Amazon is at it again.

Their annual Prime Day event, which in 2017 broke the record for the biggest day of sales in the online retail giant’s history, is right around the corner on July 16. According to Fortune, Prime Day sales in 2017 increased more than 60% from the prior Prime Day in 2016.

As the mega online shopping event grows in popularity every year, Amazon isn’t the only one reaping the rewards. Prime Day may help to pique consumer interest, but the buzz carries over to other brands, which experienced significant revenue growth around the same day last year. In CJ Affiliate’s global network, brands saw an average of 75% year-over-year growth in revenue on Prime Day.

Data from 2016 and 2017 shows that brands experienced a spike in revenue on and around Prime Day, with dramatic year-over-year growth. (Note that in 2017 the 30-hour event lasted over a period of 2 days. This year Prime Day will be a 36-hour event). A few brand categories in particular had substantial revenue growth compared to the previous year:

  1. Home & Garden, with 263% year-over-year growth
  2. Bed and Bath, with 88% year-over-year growth
  3. Women’s Apparel, with 83% year-over-year growth
  4. Department Stores, with 52% year-over-year growth
  5. Consumer Electronics, with 25% year-over-year growth

Capitalize on Prime Day Traffic

Advertisers and publishers alike should look at the event as an opportunity rather than competition. Prime Day is the catalyst that effectively causes all ships to rise. This is particularly true in the affiliate marketing space, in which publishers (a.k.a. websites) are paid a commission for the revenue they generate for promotion of an advertiser (a.k.a. brands). With so many shoppers flocking to e-commerce sites, the day creates many “bonus” moments to engage with consumers and drive shopper traffic. To capitalize on Prime Day traffic, the best thing advertisers and publishers can do is leverage the assets they have which Amazon cannot provide:

  • Cashback and incentives. Cashback or other incentives can be more valuable to some shoppers than a good bargain. Savvy advertisers will collaborate with their loyalty publisher partners (i.e. Ebates, TopCashBack, or Honey) to increase the amount of cashback or levels of incentives offered in their ads and promos.
  • In-store offers: While a lot of shopping is taking place online, a substantial number of customers continue to make purchases in stores. Brands with physical stores have an opportunity to engage with customers in person, so they should play that up and focus part of their efforts on driving in-store traffic. For customers who like to shop online but save on shipping, highlight “Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store” messaging.

There are other ways to leverage the heightened awareness around Prime Day and steal some of the thunder:

  • Be prepared with a strong email strategy: Shoppers are ready and waiting for email offers on Prime Day. Advertisers and publishers can gain some spotlight by working together to create a targeted email strategy that promotes their very best offers to relevant shoppers.
  • Harness the power of product comparisons: Prime Day shoppers have a need to better understand the products they want to buy and how they stack up against similar items. This is where Content and Comparison Shopping sites have an opportunity to really shine. In fact, these publisher types were the top traffic drivers around Prime Day 2017. Advertisers should investigate relationships with these publisher types and consider giving them products and coinciding product information as an incentive to include these products in a comparison or review post.
  • Keep offer messaging simple:
    • Consider using a dollar-off offer instead of a percentage off—the easier the math, the better.
    • Exclude the word “spend” from ad copy and remind customers what they’re saving instead. I.e. “Free shipping on orders $50 or more!”
    • Highlight when a product is exclusive to a specific store and can’t be found anywhere else or on Amazon.
    • Use price ceiling offers to attract attention with a deal that also drives higher order values. I.e. “Shop Home Décor – Everything under $100!”

Pay Attention to Growing Affiliate Publisher Models

Some common publisher models in affiliate marketing include Coupon (i.e. RetailMeNot, Coupons.com, Savings.com), Loyalty (i.e. Ebates, TopCashBack, Honey), and Content (i.e. CNN, TIME, CreditKarma). Last year, sales and traffic increased across all different affiliate publisher types in CJ’s network, but a few had the most notable growth:

  • Coupon publishers experienced a 79% growth in clicks.
  • Loyalty publishers saw their site traffic increase 92% year-over-year.
  • Content publishers (i.e. influencers) experienced 43% growth in clicks year-over-year.

Traffic for Social Media and Content publishers was at an all-time high around Prime Day 2017 and their influence with shoppers has accelerated this year. With Prime Day coming up on July 16, now is a good time to allocate or increase investment with these publisher models and focus efforts on key products or campaigns. Also, consider giving free product to influencers as part of your investment to ensure their reviews and articles are authentic.

Coupon, Loyalty, and Social Media publishers are each very successful at reaching on-the-go consumers browsing on their mobile devices. Nearly half of all cross-device sales originate on a smartphone or tablet. Combine that with the increased traffic these publisher models are seeing around Prime Day—even leading up to it with 4th of July shopping just weeks before it—and there is strong incentive to allocate affiliate budgets to mobile ads. Prominent mobile placements and/or push notifications that promote products and offers are recommended for these publishers.

Prime Day Goes Global

Prime Day, which launched in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, is steadily growing in the US—but it’s popular with global audiences as well. European markets, including the United Kingdom, saw year-over-year growth with clicks, orders and overall revenue generated around Prime Day.

As the “halo effect” of Prime Day steadily spreads across the globe, brands should consider experimenting with light investment in publishers that have audiences in different countries. Brands already working with global publishers should ensure offers clearly state they provide cross-border shipping and should also offer threshold promotions (i.e. free/discounted international shipping on orders $XX or more) as applicable.

July 16 is fast approaching, but there’s still time for brand advertisers to work with their publishers and promotions team on tweaking current offers and ad messaging to more effectively get in front of Prime Day shoppers. Keeping these strategies and tips in mind will ensure another record-breaking Prime Day.

Monique Zapata-Kaufman

Senior Account Director at CJ Affiliate
As a Senior Account Director at CJ Affiliate, Monique Zapata-Kaufman oversees a portfolio of business across verticals including multiple brands from the Internet Retailer Top 500. With more than 10 years of experience in affiliate marketing, Monique helps clients make data-driven decisions and develop focused strategies aimed at driving customer acquisition, margin management and strong publisher partnerships. Prior to joining CJ Affiliate, Monique began her career on the advertiser side, working at brands in the travel, dining and entertainment verticals.
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