2022 PRIME DAY RECAP
Each year, we provide a recap of how Prime Day performed for clients at Bobsled.
This year, Team Leader Armin Alispahic and Senior PPC Manager Ross Walker dive into overall participation, promotion strategies, quirks and issues during the event, and PPC strategies and results.
First, some external stats to set the context for this year, since there was some concern that spending would be down against the backdrop of inflation and a shaky economy, and that the deals offered by brands would not be as good.
- Amazon confirmed that 2022 was their biggest Prime Day event ever.
- Numerator data show that the average order size was higher than in 2021.
- Across the site, product prices were down by 3%, according to Results Imagery data (inflation-adjusted).
More brands opted to sit out Prime Day this year
Last year, 25.5% of Bobsled clients did not want to participate, compared with 31% this year. We shared earlier the reasons why. Many clients were struggling to justify price markdowns in an inflationary environment where their costs have not kept pace with prices.
But we did see a return to more stable inventory levels. In 2021, 11% of clients couldn’t participate in Prime Day simply because they didn’t have enough inventory to support it. That was only an issue for 5% of clients this year.
Most clients opted for percentage-off promotions, rather than dollar-off promotions.
Coupons, discounted sale prices, and Prime Exclusive Deals were the most popular promo types. Very few brands did special, paid deals (Lightning Deal, Spotlight Deal, Best Deal). The brands who opted for those paid deals were typically our larger clients. That said, these deals can work spectacularly well. One client who ran a spotlight deal saw $125K in sales from that deal alone (their typical account sales are $40K/day).
In terms of the discount amount, the majority opted for a discount between 20% and 30% off the regular price.
About 20% of brands decided to have a “sandwich” approach where promos are running before and after the event as well. The pre-event and post-event promos have smaller discounts than the main event promos. We like this strategy because it extends the event and improves conversion rates, at a time when you’re not competing with many other brands offering steep discounts at the same time. Did you miss this recommendation from us? We covered it on the blog a few weeks ago. Make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get these kinds of tips in the future!
Some clients tried not promoting their assortment and got burned on Day 1 of Prime Day (the ‘going dark” strategy). Some scrambled to introduce promos on day 2. The PPC team agrees that Prime Exclusive Discounts improved ad performance more than coupons.
Big issues with Prime Exclusive Deals and Coupons
Unfortunately, several clients experienced big issues with some promotions that were scheduled.
For one brand, Prime Exclusive Deals had been set up and were working at the start of the day. But then the deal just disappeared from the PDP. In haste, we set up coupons instead as there was no time to troubleshoot with Amazon support.
But coupons themselves were not immune. We experienced coupon glitches where everything was looking good in Seller Central, but were not showing on PDPs - We pivoted and created Price Reduction and got the discount notification to show on the PDP.
PPC issues experienced in 2022
Inevitably there are quirks and issues that also occur with ad campaigns. This year, we faced a number of hiccups.
The first issue was that Sponsored Brand ads had very long review times in some cases - 56 hours or more. This was isolated to a small number of clients, but frustrating nonetheless as these are helpful ad campaigns to have running pre-Prime Day, when shoppers are researching.
Secondly, Sponsored Brand ads scheduled to run only for the two Prime Days had a lot of trouble gaining impressions, even with high bids. It seemed to us that Amazon was throttling new campaigns or increasing the preference for campaigns with proven sales data.
We ran a test to check this. In the middle of day 1 with a client in the personal care category, we increased the budget of a new campaign and 10X-ed the average bid for the same keyword in an older campaign. Amazon still displayed the older campaign, but there were 0 impressions in the Prime Day campaign). The PD campaigns started to pick up afterward, but irrelevant numbers.
Recapping these issues and doing a “post-mortem” is an important part of our process at Bobsled Marketing. Before each major shopping event (Prime Day, BFCM, etc) we revisit these learnings and ensure there’s a contingency plan in place for each of them. We can’t predict what will go wrong each year, but we can have a plan that covers the most common scenarios!
Overall there were wonderful outcomes for clients who participated in Prime Day this year.
- One great outcome was the relative cost of advertising, it was down for our clients. Average ACOS was 12% lower than in prior days, compared to BFCM last year which saw ACOS increase by 20%. This all while average CPCs were up 13% from last year’s Prime Day.
- The conversion rate increased 44% this year compared to the previous days from 14% to 20%. On BFCM last year we saw an increase of only 23%.
- We saw a 300% increase in average ad sales compared to non-prime days in 2022.
- Overall, this felt like a Prime Day that was more competitive than ever and disrupted a lot by issues with promos mentioned above.
PPC strategies and performance
During the 2-day event, 80% of our ad spend was on Sponsored Products. This is not the typical ratio of ad spend but these are lower-funnel ad units that spur purchases. So after the pre-Prime Day groundwork has been laid to build awareness and consideration, we double down on Sponsored Product ads.
ACOS was actually highest for this ad type, but that was skewed by a greater amount of non-branded spending going into SP campaigns that have the most reach.
16% of ad spend was on Sponsored Brands.
Keyword targeting SB ads had the best ACOS and CPC performance and took the lion's share of our SB to spend. Video SB type had only 4% of our spend because of its lower reach, but it outperformed the product targeting type in terms of CPC and ACOS with a better CVR.
We allocated 47% of ad spend to ‘Top of search’ placement. This had the best CVR, CTR, and ACOS performance.
Other advertising takeaways
- ACOS was 10% higher on day 2 than on day 1
- CVR was flat both days
- CPC was slightly higher on day 2 - likely fewer shoppers and the same amount of advertisers competing driving up CPC
- Strong discounts combined with automatic campaigns performed quite well
We saw huge growth with some of our premium brand clients - discounts on premium-priced products seem to be something customers have been on the lookout for.
Generally, the majority of brands are seeing 2-4x in sales on Day 1.
We saw low to no uptick in sales for most brands that didn’t promote their products. (suggested further reading on “going dark” on Prime Day from our colleague Damiano)
New To Brand is a metric that we like to track, which shows what it says - how many sales were to customers who haven’t purchased from your brand before. Sponsored Brand ads show this metric, and we found it to be 69% of SB orders. That is a great rationale for active engagement on Amazon during Prime Day.
How was your Prime Day? If your brand’s performance was underwhelming, we can help! Now is the time to get things right for BFCM and Q4.
Request a consultation with our team.
This recap was published on Jun 29, 2021. We keep our past years’ recaps online for future reference.
From the archive: 2021 Prime Day Recap
The dust has settled and now it’s time to share our Prime Day 2021 results!
Bobsled is one of the Marketplace Pulse Top 100 most important companies in the ecommerce marketplaces ecosystem, and we’ve been guiding our clients through Prime Day since 2015. In today’s post, we’ve aggregated some key Prime Day insights across our 80+ client accounts surrounding event participation, category trends, promo type preference, ad performance, and total sales. We have also shared some macro Prime Day insights from our ad tech partner Pacvue.
How does your brand’s Prime Day performance compare? Read on to find out!
What the analysts are saying
CNBC claimed that Prime Day 2021 was more muted compared to prior years. In 2020 Amazon disclosed that third-party sellers brought in $3.5 billion during the event, but this year Amazon opted not to share any hard numbers.
Adobe Analytics estimated that total Prime Day 2021 sales surpassed $11 billion, that’s a 6.1% growth compared to 2020. Some factors that impacted this year’s event include;
- Rising US inflation likely made some shoppers more cautious
- The current shipping crisis in China hurt supply chains
- Last year Prime Day took place in Q4 for the very first time. In 2021, the event returned to the summertime, which seemed to excite many shoppers. However, it is likely that many shoppers who spent big in 2020 were not in a position to spend as aggressively in 2021.
With that all being said, the Bobsled project team agrees that Prime Day 2021 sales were strong, aligning with our pre-event expectations.
Prime Day 2021 – Bobsled Client ParticipatioN
Over half of Bobsled’s clients participated in Prime Day 2021 by running various types of promos. The vast majority of participating brands promoted their entire Amazon product catalog.
|Prime Day 2021 Approach||Percentage of Bobsled clients|
|Promoted entire product catalog||30.9%|
|Promoted half of product catalog||10.9%|
|Promoted best selling SKUs only||16.4%|
|Showed last-minute interest||5.5%|
|Low inventory levels prevented participation||10.9%|
|Did not want to participate||25.5%|
There were some noticeable differences in approach across categories. Brands selling within Health & Personal Care, Grocery & Gourmet Food, and Beauty were far more inclined to promote their entire catalog.
Brands selling within Tools & Home Improvement and Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry were more likely to ignore the event, and if they did choose to participate, they generally only promoted a handful of bestselling SKUs.
In terms of deal type, Coupons and Prime Exclusive Discounts (PEDs) were by far the most popular promos run by Bobsled clients.
Amazon Prime Day 2021 Performance Data
Average PPC impressions for Bobsled clients was 329,349 on Day 1 and 333443 on Day 2 of Prime Day. This marks an increase of approximately 283% from the rolling 14-day average.
Average PPC Clicks for Bobsled clients was 1,185 on Day 1 and 1,205 on Day 2 of Prime Day. This marks an increase of approximately 255% from the rolling 14-day average.
The average PPC CTR percentage for Bobsled clients was 0.69% on Day 1 and then this normalized to 0.45% on Day 2.
The average PPC Ad Spend for Bobsled clients was $1,499 on Day 1 and $1,583 on Day 2 of Prime Day. This marks an increase of approximately 338% from the rolling 14-day average.
Average PPC Ad Sales for Bobsled clients was $10,478 on Day 1 and $10,065 on Day 2 of Prime Day. This marks an increase of approximately 464% from the rolling 14-day average.
Average Total Sales for Bobsled clients was $14,393 on Day 1 and $14,573 on Day 2 of Prime Day. This marks an increase of approximately 267% from the rolling 14-day average.
Pacvue Prime Day 2021 CPC Report
The following information has been sourced from first-party data from Pacvue, Bobsled’s ad tech provider. It includes data from hundreds of advertisers across small, mid-sized, and large brands and every major product category.
Pacvue’s Key Prime Day 2021 Findings:
- Ad spend increased 38% year-over-year for Prime Day 2021.
- Broken out by ad type, ad spend increased 41% for Sponsored Products and 28% for Sponsored Brands year-over-year.
- ROAS declined 9% year-over-year for Sponsored Products on the first day of Prime Day. This is in line with the 6% year-over-year decline in ROAS seen in Pacvue’s Q1 2021 CPC report.
- ROAS increased 30% year-over-year for Sponsored Brands on the first day of Prime Day and increased 23% on the second day. This is a marked shift for Sponsored Brand ads, which have been declining in ROAS for three quarters and were down 12% year-over-year in Pacvue’s Q1 2021 CPC report.
- Many advertisers noted that Sponsored Brand Video performed particularly well this year, with increased placements above the fold and on product detail pages.
- CPCs increased about 25% year-over-year for Sponsored Products and were relatively flat for Sponsored Brands.
- While some leading brands have been experiencing supply chain issues and chose not to invest in Prime Day this year, many advertisers noted increased competition from smaller and emerging sellers, which pushed up the cost of advertising.
Pacvue will be hosting a webinar called Prime Day 2021 CPC Report: Inventory Limits and Back-to-School on Wed June 30 – sign up here!
PRIME DAY HAS ENDED – WHAT NOW?
Brands that invested marketing and advertising budget into Prime Day should be looking to capitalize on the halo effect from the spike in sales. On the other hand, brands that didn’t participate are now playing catch up.
To figure out your next move, read our article from earlier this week – What Should Brands Do After Prime Day Ends?
If you need further assistance diving into your Prime Day numbers, don’t hesitate to book a free consultation below. The Bobsled team will be able to use our internal data sets to benchmark your performance compared to other brands selling within your category.