Dollars and Dogs: debrief of Amazon Prime day


Well, as I expected, Prime Day 2018 was another record breaking sales day for Amazon marketplace.

It started a bit rocky.

In the first few hours of Prime Day on Monday shoppers experienced issues, for example, not being able to add items to cart.

I personally saw more dogs of Amazon that I honestly cared to see when working within clients’ Amazon Seller and Vendor accounts. (Mae was cute though). 

Amazon dog

But as history has shown us before, Amazon ended up rather victorious.  

Let’s look at Prime day statistics:

  • It was the biggest shopping event in Amazon's history

  • Small and medium size business on Amazon exceeded a collective $1 billion dollar in sales

  • More Prime members joined on July 16th than during any previous day in Amazon history  

  • FireTV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote and the Echo Do were the best selling products

  • For the first time Whole Foods shoppers could take advantage of Prime Day deals

  • More than 100 million products sold. That’s a lot of Prime taped Amazon shipping boxes delivered globally


Data on my clients accounts is still trickling in, but here are some key observations:

  • Average sales lift was 2-3x of an average daily volume. Sales lift ranged from a very small bump to 12x

  • On average cost per click was 150-200% higher than YTD’s average

  • Interestingly, sales lift was determined more by planning with listing optimization, advertising and promotions, rather than the longest Prime Day hours (36 vs. 30 last year)

  • The most expensive PPC advertising, at 150% ACOS, was a strategic decision, as it helped us move from page 6 to page 2 of the most relevant broad category keyword (example: keyword ‘diapers’). Which means we are now capturing a lot more organic sales for the highest traffic relevant keyword, thus bringing ROI on that short term spike in advertising costs

What did not work:

  • Making last minute changes. Fortunately, everything was set up, and there were only minor tweaks. However, going forward, I prefer to plan with assumption of the worst case scenario of not being able to make any adjustments

  • Promotions that show below the fold (example, buy x get 15% off) did not get bigger boost than usual. With the fact that these promotions are not very visible, we will plan to run them augmented by client’s traffic drive from their social media and/or email list   

Other lessons:

  • Prime Day is a fast and furious version of Q4. It is a dress rehearsal, and stress test all at once. We found what worked, what didn’t, and this will let us plan for Q4 even better

  • Document, document, document. I learned this from prior big events, when capturing not only data, but also key observations was very valuable for future planning

If you are already on Amazon, what was your Prime Day experience?

Irina Balyurko