The 2018 Amazon Prime Day Recap: Sales, Success Stories, & Server Issues

Nearly half of U.S. households have an Amazon Prime membership, according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

So it should come as no surprise that Amazon Prime members recently enjoyed the biggest global shopping event in Amazon history. 

According to Amazon’s official press release, since yesterday, small and medium-sized businesses worldwide have exceeded more than $1 billion in sales on Amazon.

Unfortunately, due to a website glitch on Monday, the launch of Amazon Prime Day 2018 did not go as smoothly as planned.

2018 amazon prime day errorIn the following article, we take a closer look at what actually happened to Amazon’s website on Monday.

We also spoke with our own in-house experts to find out how they were able to successfully increase sales – regardless of the temporary website difficulties.

Amazon Prime Day: The Marketplace Mishap, Explained

On Monday, many shoppers were unable to access the Amazon website on desktop and/ or mobile for several hours.

Shortly after the launch of Prime Day, eager customers were stumped when they were redirected from their favorite deals to 404 pages featuring dogs from Amazon employees with a message like the one below:

amazon prime day 404 redirect

Although the error (due to a significant influx of trafficdid not impact all shoppers, it did spark an outburst of negative comments on Twitter by frustrated customers unable to log into their accounts or browse items:

 

amazon-prime-day-twitter

 

Experts Chime in on the Amazon Website Error

Shortly after the glitch emerged, CPC Strategy launched a Facebook Live chat to discuss the outages and answer incoming questions:

“As soon as Prime Day launched (about 12pm PST, 3pm EST), the website started to crash,” Jordan Berry, Lead Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy said on Monday.

“When you clicked on the Deal’s page, it would send you on a loop back and forth. Shoppers were having a tough time checking out or they couldn’t add anything to their cart. Those were some of the main issues.”

“In the case of Prime Day – what use to be just a day [of shopping] has turned into a week-long event. Once Amazon gets these technical issues buttoned up, throughout the entire week there are going to be coupons and deals running, along with a heavy amount of traffic. Amazon (as well as sellers) can still expect a lot of [Prime Day] sales this year.”

amazon-prime-day-twitter-statement

Amazon regarding website outage (Twitter).

Amazon Prime Day Deals Back on Track

The good news is by Tuesday, many of the technical issues on Amazon.com were resolved.

jordan gisch

“While the Amazon site outage could cost the company an estimated 72 million, Prime Day is still forecast to shatter last years numbers by about 50% as the outage provided customers with plenty of time to shop during the 36-hour holiday.” 

– Jordan Gisch, Sr. Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy


Early Amazon Prime Day Data (AMS)

Based on CPC Strategy’s data for Amazon Marketing Services, here’s what we saw in terms of sales, clicks, average CPC, spend, and orders.

The data below compares Sunday, July 15, 2018 (day prior to Prime Day) vs. Monday, July 16, 2018 (the first day in what is known as “Prime Week”).

amazon prime day 2018 data chart

To give you a better sense of how significant these jumps were, here’s what the previous Sunday-to-Monday data looks like for the same client pool:

Time Period: Sunday, July 8, 2018 – Monday, July 9, 2018 

  • Sales: + 3.42%
  • Orders: +6.54%
  • Impressions: + 1.55%

So far, we’ve seen a +65.33% increase in ad impressions – that represents a 41% surge compared to what occurred on Monday, July 9, 2018 (the Monday prior to Prime Day).

Note: Although the data for Orders & Sales isn’t complete yet, the percentage increase already suggests that once the conversion data settles it should look very strong. We will continue to update this article as more Prime Day data becomes available.

Amazon Prime Day: Success Stories from the Experts

Regardless of the technical difficulties facing Prime Day, we’ve already seen significant wins for our own clients.

I sat down with our Amazon experts to find out which tactics were the most successful on Prime Day and what we can expect in the week to follow.

1. Leveraging NEW Amazon Prime Day Badges

Amazon made it very evident this year that brands who invested in Lightning Deals and Deals of the Day – would experience the biggest uptick in sales.

But why?

According to Leo Carrillo III, Lead Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy, this year Amazon added a Prime Daybadge to every product that had a Lightning Deal running (as seen in the example below) even if the product’s deal was not running until the next day or in a few hours.

 

amazon prime day deal badge

 

“This incentivized buyers to watch these deals closely or add the product to their Wishlist to buy later. Amazon rewarded those brands with additional free real estate in category-specific deals pages and Amazon’s main “Deals” page, which had the most traffic throughout Prime Day(s),” Carrillo said.

sponsored products on amazon leo

“When comparing increases in revenue from brands that invested in Deals/Coupons compared to those that didn’t, there was a large difference in sales increases. It’s vital that Vendors/Sellers must invest in giving customers a discount coupon or a deal. Amazon will reward those brands with sales.”

“With the amount of competition there is on Amazon now compared to the first Prime Day, brands can no longer ride the wave on Amazon Prime Day. You have to increase your competitiveness by giving your customers the deal(s) they are looking for.”


2. Implement Custom Deals Tab within Amazon Store

“For most of our Prime Day(s) clients, we had a combination of strategies in place,” Evan Walsh, Senior Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy said.

“But specifically for clients that were running any type of discount within their catalog, we developed a “Custom Deals Tab” within their Brand Store that allowed us to direct traffic through a Headline Search Ad to all the active deals.”

“We also built custom Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads for specific key terms, categories and products. This strategy was used to increase our Prime Day exposure efficiently while also giving shoppers a very simple customer experience when browsing for deals.”

“With Prime Day being 36 hours this year, it’s important to correlate your advertising strategy with customer behavior. Shoppers are looking for the best deals possible across every category which means campaigns need to be customized down to specific keywords and products in order to drive volume and sales efficiently.”


3. Advertising Prime Day Deals (with previously converting keywords)

“I’ve seen the biggest success advertising Prime Day deals with previously converting keywords. I have upped these bids anywhere from 40-70%, but the caveat is only upping well converting keywords,” Stuart Dooley, Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy said.

“On a day like Prime Day, you want to make sure any deal you have running is getting a large amount of traffic, and hopefully converting.”


4. Prime Day Launch New Product

“One of our clients launched two new products on Prime Day and also ran a coupon. These products were ranking on the top of the SERP for the Prime Day Launch products so we saw sales come through, however not as many as we saw for the Lightning Deal,” Karen Hopkins, at CPC Strategy.

“Additionally, the Sponsored Products campaigns I set up for this launch were continuously running out of budget and getting the majority of the impressions. Definitely a successful launch and helped increase sales velocity.”


5. Deal of the Day (leading up to Prime Day)

Hopkins also ran a “Deal of the Day” for an accessory brand leading up to Prime Day:

“We saw solid performance. The additional traffic helped boost our Amazon Media Group (AMG) campaigns and we also saw spend/sales increase for our retargeting campaign. Based on the performance, we saw a growth percentage of 3,433% (YoY).”

For more information on Amazon Prime Day, email tara@cpcstrategy.com. Check back soon as we continue to update this post with incoming Prime Day data.


Is there such a thing as a “Prime Day Hangover”?

 
Without a doubt Prime Day 2018 was a big success for both sellers and advertisers – but how long does it last for? Does Prime Day create a halo effect that continues to drive sales on the platform long after the shopping holiday ends? Or, is there such a thing as a Prime Day hangover – meaning sales drastically drop off?

We revisited our client data above to find:

3P Amazon Prime Day Comparison:

Time Period: Prime Week (July 15- 21, 2018) vs.  (July 22 – 28, 2018)

  • Impressions dropped -82.84%
  • Clicks dropped -78.44%
  • CTR increased +25.15%
  • Average CPC increased +.95%
  • Spend dropped -78.20%
  • Orders dropped -81. 67%
  • Sales dropped -82.27%

 

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.