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Cohesive Prime Day Strategies On and Off Amazon Partner Webinar with Channel Key

June 3, 2019

Prime Prime Day is a critical time of the year where sellers can take advantage of the influx of customers flocking to Amazon to capture demand. However, effectively and profitably capitalizing on Prime Day can be difficult, that is why we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Channel Key to give you some effective Prime Day strategies that are proven to work on- and off-Amazon.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • Prime Day 2018 recap and updates for 2019
  • Prime Day must-haves on Amazon
  • Influencing Amazon with social traffic
  • And more!

Don’t miss the full transcription here:

Hey everyone, welcome to today’s webinar. My name is Mike Indigaro. I’m the director of agency development here at Teikametrics. I’ve got an awesome presentation today.

Pre-planning around Prime Day, I’m joined with Brian Martinez from Channel Key. Brian, are you there?

Hello. How’s it going?

It’s going good. Thanks for joining today. Thanks for putting together some awesome content for our sellers.

Yeah, no problem at all. Thanks for having me.

You’re welcome. Just a quick sound check. Can everyone on the line hear Brian and myself? Maybe just do a thumbs up. Maybe write in the chat where people are listening in from. Anyone from Boston, headquarters of Teikametrics, or anyone from Vegas, headquarters of Channel Key? Newport, awesome. Spokane, great. Good stuff. New York City, Chicago, awesome. Well welcome everyone.

We got a really good presentation today. Like I mentioned, my name is Mike Indigaro. I do a lot of work with our agency partners. I spent the last four years here at Teikametrics advising brands, and most recently in the last three years, have started our agency channel working with great partners like Channel Key to build strategies like these ones today that we’re going to share with you.

So thanks again for coming. We’ve got a great deck ahead. Feel free to answer some of the questions that we’ll be asking in the chat. We’ve got a poll that we’ll be asking, and if you’ve got your own questions, we’d love to answer them as we go.

So Brian, over to you.

Perfect.

I’m the director of marketplace strategy here at Channel Key. I’m responsible for developing and executing all of our client content and marketing strategies, and really how we engage with platforms in general. So, when it comes to how Channel Key achieves client’s goals on Amazon, that’s where me and my team come into play, and we assess and really make sure that we’re aligned, and hitting their goals both on and off channel.

That’s great Brian. Thank you so much. Give the audience a little bit of background on just your experience and the team’s experience. How did Channel Key get started? How long have you guys been around?

Yeah. So we’re officially as a separate entity in our third year of business. We came out of the pedigree of a top 200 Amazon global seller, who’s been on the channel for over 12 years. We’ve taken all of that knowledge and experience that we’ve had at our sister company, and applied it into Channel Key.

So, really how we like to always say is that we’ve been in the trenches, we’ve made all of the mistakes that sellers generally make on the platform, we’ve pivoted a business models multiple times. We understand kind of the different areas of it. So, rather than being just kind of ad experts, then going to Amazon, we’re really going from a seller ourselves into now helping brands succeed on the platform.

So, I’ve been operating with Amazon for around eight years now in this marketing realm, and content realm. Our team is a mix of individuals from Amazon, from e-commerce companies, e-commerce managers. So we have a lot of people who have been there, done that, actually went through the hard times of building a business and being a seller on Amazon.

That’s great Brian. Thank you so much again for joining and putting a lot of this content together.

A lot of the things we’re going to talk about today, we just want to give a recap on Prime Day 2018, set the tone. A lot of this presentation is going to be focused on getting you ready for Prime Day. The official date hasn’t been released by Amazon yet, but we can assume it’s somewhere in the mid-July timeframe.

What do you need to do before then? And being 45 to 60 days away from Prime Day, there’s a lot of things as a seller you need to do inside of Seller Central. Maybe as a vendor you’re doing things as well, but what about outside of Amazon, and are there things that you can do on your own social channels, your own website that can influence traffic to Amazon?

So these are all things that we’re going to dive into. Brian, you’re going to take the lead here and give us a lot of expert tips. So really excited to jump in.

Yeah, definitely.

To kick it off, we’ll start with a poll. We’ll just get a pulse on have you completed your Prime Day plan? Have you thought about planning for Prime Day in general? No, yes, you’re not on Amazon, you don’t even know what a Prime Day plan is. Let us know.

It’s a lot of no’s, which is good for you Brian. You’ll have a lot to share today.

Yes, definitely. Definitely. Hopefully we’ll get some good nuggets out of this.

I’m going to go ahead and close that poll. I’ll share the results. So 35% said yes, 65% said no. Looks like about 90% you all on the phone have answered the poll. So really good engagement.

Brian, let’s start with how Prime Day is growing. Give me your general synopsis on 2018, what you’re seeing in the market, and maybe what can we expect for 2019.

Yeah, so 2018 was an interesting year for Amazon in really terms of the time that they took for Prime Day. So, historically it’s been 24 hours, and last year they extended that to 36 hours. It really feels more like what happened last year is what happened to the Black Friday, Cyber Monday type week, where it’s starting to bleed over into Thanksgiving, and really retailers are trying to gain additional hours.

So, that was an interesting thing to see from Amazon last year, to take 36 hours instead of 24 hours, but also their expansion into integrating whole foods we think was something that’s really interesting and really game-changing, and something that we want to look at for this year and see how that can potentially affect how Prime Day operates.

But, one of the biggest takeaways that we’ve taken out of last year after going through the fourth year of Prime Day in a few different capacities, is that it seems like Amazon continuing to focus on Amazon devices. So, as we kind of go through, we’ll look into some of the categories of what they’re diving into, but really that was where a big push was taken, and where I think this year we’re going to continue to see it for 2019, where Amazon is going to feature a lot of their products first and foremost, and really the opportunity outside of that will then be captured by the 1P and 3P, or Vendor Central and Seller Central merchants on the platform.

So, from a growth perspective though, Prime Day is continuing to grow, and we anticipate it to continue grow at this rate. Especially if they continue to extend the hours. We’ve heard rumors, and this is just a rumor, that potentially it’s 48 hours this year, or it could be 36. So it wouldn’t be surprising for us to see Amazon make a change like that. But-

Yeah. Brian, what I’m seeing too is like every year as Prime Day comes around, you also start to see like pre-Prime Day deals. I stumbled upon a CNN article yesterday, which was like, “Don’t wait for Prime Day, get an Apple Watch now for $100 off.” And it’s almost like people are using the Prime Day holiday as a pre-wave, like the pre-Black Friday, and that sort of thing. So it really feels like Prime Day is having this bubble effect, not only on the actual 36 hours, or maybe the 48 hours that we’re going to see this year, but what are the effects couple of weeks, couple of months out even on just how big that holiday actually is?

Yeah. And I know one thing, where folks seeing a lot on Amazon with Prime Day, but also, what about the other retailers? You know, Walmart trying to copy, Target trying to copy it, and having those competing days, so if you’re on those platforms, the success of Prime Day is only going to benefit other marketplace sales during that period, because they’re going to want to generate sales on a similar Prime Day on their platform.

So walk us through … These are the top Prime Day categories in 2018. Walk us through where you saw the most improvement, and then maybe any predictions, just based in the last 12 months of where we ended in Prime Day. Do you know where we might be able to see some of these categories moving, like where are the movers and shakers of this list?

Yeah. The one thing that we saw that was really interesting, was seeing just the high presence of books, music, video. Historically, electronics, apparel and accessories, those are good items for Prime Day for those holiday seasons if they’re being discounted.

So, to see kind of some of these top categories hasn’t been surprising for us. The one that we continue to see being pushed that we’re really hopeful for this year, is the furniture category. So that’s been one of those that you wouldn’t really think of Prime Day being furniture related, but historically, we’ve had a lot of success there. And we’re creating more specific strategies around that particular category to try and maximize it. Because we’ve noticed that Amazon is pushing a little bit more into the home furnishings space, and trying to really surface those products.

In that category specifically, are there strategies that are pretty unique just to that category? Things that you would have to differently, maybe given like you know, those products, you’re buying furniture, probably larger and weigh a bit more, are you taking those things into consideration with your strategies?

Yeah. I think that’s a very good question. With the furniture category, one of the most important things that we’ve learned is informing the consumer. A product like apparel, or a shirt, consumers know what a shirt is. They know how it works. They just want to know the material, is it machine washable? Those very simple things for maintenance and care.

When it comes to an item like furniture, they’re much more particular about it. Providing more information on the product detail page through EBC, through video, through imagery, through offering swatch samples, these are ways that we found in the furniture category, that you can be really successful and answer a lot of those questions for consumers, and help them make really informed purchasing decisions.

So, the most important thing that we’ve learned about furniture really is the consumers want the right item. So you need to make sure as you’re going through it, and that you’re doing all of your copy, all of your image access, all of your messaging for brand and your marketing activities, that you’re keeping that in mind. Because if the consumer believes it’s something else, then you’re likely to get a return.

Right. And now knowing Prime Day, 74% year over year growth, it seems obvious that the growth alone would entice me as a seller to want to participate in Prime Day, but from your perspective, what are the benefits of Prime Day? I know Amazon has some … they always have their language and guidance to sellers on advertising, specifically your deals and coupons, and making sure you’re spending more money to get your products out there and take advantage of it, but from your perspective, what are some things that sellers should participate in to be able to actually maximize that traffic that’s coming to the platform?

Yes. It’s a really good question, and it’s one of the most challenging pieces of Amazon and Prime Day, I think. It’s really … How we boil it down is it’s ultimately your product type and your goal, and really whether it makes sense to participate in Prime Day.

So to provide some context on that, if you are selling a really niche product that’s only getting, in the highest volume search, maybe five to 10 thousand searches per month, and you’re capturing a healthy conversion rate for that particular product type, at that price point.

Going after something on Prime Day, if it’s not a product where the general consumer can use it because it … For instance, let’s say it’s because of a method … it’s a medical device that serves a very specific purpose, and it doesn’t apply to every person who’s shopping on Amazon.

So those are the types of things that we’re thinking through. It’s like is our consumer, our target audience, or this brand and this product type, actually going to be looking for this product on Prime Day or not? And that’s a question that we ask ourselves when we first start even creating a plan for Prime Day. Because if the consumer is not going to be looking for it, then really creating a plan and trying to spend more money and all of that, may not be the most advantageous move for you.

Whereas, if you’re selling something like a TV, consumers generally know on these big selling days, that these high-ticket electronic items are going to go on sale. So if you’re selling a TV, Prime Day is perfect for you. If you’re selling low-priced items that you can offer a discount on that’s consumed regularly, we found that those are better products to utilize for Prime Day. It’s really just understanding what your target audience is searching for, and what their intent is when they’re searching.

Yeah.

Is what what we-

And so your guidance is, like as seller, we all shouldn’t assume that okay, sales have grown 74% for Prime Day … necessarily mean my own sales. It all comes down to catalog and what the consumer actually demands during those hours of Prime Day.

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, because certain products are going to grow 200%, other products are going to grow 5%. So, it’s understanding where on the spectrum you’re going to land and then defining a plan from there.

Brian, one of the points I want to jump into here is creating a halo effect for your brand. Can you help us understand like what exactly is the halo effect? How do you measure it? And how is that going to be something that can be used most efficiently during Prime Day?

Yeah. The halo effect. This is actually one of our favorite subjects here. It’s really understanding more of how the Amazon search algorithm works, as well as how consumers are finding products.

So the halo effect is basically when you run a particular promotion, a deal, or anything that’s going to increase your sales velocity, it can create the halo effect, which is basically a residual effect that happens after the deal or promotion has ended, where your sales have been increased for that period of time in that halo effect period.

So, what we look at, how we kind of look at it is we look at what are the sessions afterwards? Actually, let me take a step back. How the halo effect is actually created, is when we’re increasing sales velocity during that promotional period, or during that deal period, what’s happening is Amazon is starting to rank us higher in search engine result pages, which is the normal way that consumers are going to be navigating to find your products.

So, by creating the halo effect, if you’re on the bottom of page one, you can theoretically, by running a successful lightning deal, make it to the top of page one, be in the top third percent, which is going to generate 60% of the clicks that happen in that search. So then you’re now capturing 60% of the clicks, and if your conversion rate stays the same, well your sales are going to increase until the algorithm pulls you back down to the bottom of page one, or you simply stay at the top of page one because you have a very enticing product with great reviews and a great price point.

So, that’s how the halo effect kind of works mechanically. How we measure this once we actually run these, is we look at the sales in the period prior to running the deal, as well as the period after, and then we compare that year-over-year as well, to really understand. We’re looking for increases in sessions. We’re looking for increases in sales and seeing what happens to our conversion rate in that case. Those are the three main KPIs that we’re really looking at to understand if it’s worthwhile or not.

Great. And I know lightning deals is something you’re going to take a deeper dive into next.

Yeah.

One question just came up, that I’d like your opinion on is, you know, beyond lightning deals, I know that a lot of people will beef up their listings, and try to manage the organic content as much as … And one of the questions is, can I include Prime Day keywords into product search terms, titles or bullet points? What’s Amazon point on that? Is that allowed? Is it subjective?

Yeah, generally that’s not allowed, is putting like Prime Day in the backend keywords. It is a Terms of Service violation for them. So it’s generally best practices not to include Prime Day specific wording in any of your copy, any of your advertising campaigns on channels. So, they generally frown upon that and don’t really like it too much.

Okay. Okay.

What do I need to do for Prime Day? We’ll start with should you run lightning deals? If you used lightning deals in the past, I think they are really good for the right type of seller. It seems like you’ve got that same feedback as well. What’s your guidance here? How should sellers use this?

Yeah. It really boils down to understanding the target audience and how they’re shopping. What we’ve found is with lightning deals on Prime Day specifically, products that are in the CTG category, electronics and devices, low-priced items, kind of like window shopping items, we found was an interesting mix that works really well for producing lightning deals on an item that’s below $10. Those are great for consumers because as they’re kind of shopping through, they may not think about it, but as they’re navigating through they may run across that lightning deal, and say, “Hey, I actually do need to buy this item.”

If it’s a movie then they might not be going with the intent of buying the movie, but if they see it as they’re browsing through, then they’re likely to go ahead and purchase that, especially if it’s been something that they’ve been on the fence about. So that has been a surprising learning for us is seeing low-priced items that you might not think consumers are really going to Amazon for right away, but as they’re navigating through, they’re seeing it and they’re like, “Oh, I actually do need this.”

That’s a really good point. I think one of the things we would want to point out to sellers is we’ve surpassed the date to actually get a lightning deal published in time for Prime Day, and I think that just … You know, Brian, you coming to me with this topic of planning for Prime Day becomes so much more important, and is something that you shouldn’t be thinking of as May 30th, but I think the deadline for lightning deals happened several weeks ago. You should be thinking about Prime Day in April, maybe even sooner.

So, for all the sellers listening on the call today, you can’t get any lightning deals up and running for that window of Prime Day that’s coming in July, but in the future you definitely want to think about running those a lot earlier and strong recommendations here.

Brian, is actually very insightful on the lower priced items, and it makes a ton of sense. If you compare it … I always try to compare things to like walking in a retail store and I’m walking and I see things at the end of the aisle that I would never buy unless I actually saw them, and that’s pretty much what lightning deals is replicating and it’s a super good point. I would never … I mean, it’s kind of odd to see like a chair there on the screen as a lightning deal. I don’t know, maybe that works or not. Maybe it just reminded me that I actually need a living room chair, but it’s interesting to gain that insight and perspective.

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Then the only other thing I would add to this is one thing that we found is … this is a touchier subject too that we have, we encounter is premium products. So, if you’re a premium brand, you’re in the higher tier of pricing for your category, or your product type. You really should look at Prime Day to kind of introduce consumers into your brand.

So we generally … Premium brands generally like to keep those price points where they’re at, but Prime Day really is an awareness piece, so really thinking hard about whether offering a discount one day a year, if that can drive a lot of buzz, and a lot of new business to your brand to consumers. Maybe they weren’t willing to buy the $200 price point, but they’re willing to buy the 150, and now that they’ve bought it, there’s no way that they’re never going to buy that product again.

That’s a good point. A question that just popped up too is what if your products didn’t qualify for Prime Day lightning deals? Would love to hear some other strategies for driving sales if that’s not an option.

Yeah.

Well, we’re going into a couple of those now. Best deals would be one of them. Brian, take it away.

Yeah, so best deals are kind of … This isn’t available for everybody. If you’re on the Vendor Central side you have access to best deals. If you’re on the Seller Central side, you generally need to have an Amazon account manager, or contact at Amazon to facilitate this, or be included in one of those programs. So just wanted to call that out kind of right away.

Best deals area a little bit different from lightning deals. Lightning deals generally you have to offer a 20% off discount. It’s now, of course being chosen algorithmically by Amazon, Amazon’s algorithm, with best deals it’s 15% off. So, it’s a little bit less of a threshold for a discount to a consumer, but with that kind of hand-off of it between 15 to 20%, you lose some of the visibility.

So Amazon tends to favor deal of the day first, then lightning deals, and then best deals in kind of the today’s deal section. So just kind of keeping that in mind. Some cool things though about best deals are you can run them for two weeks. So you don’t have to run them just for that six hour period. And depending upon the time of the year, they may not have a cost, where lightning deals do.

So, this is an interesting tool. For Prime Day itself, it’s a little bit suppressed, because Amazon likes to show all of the Prime Day deals ahead of best deals. You can still see them in search under results pages, and when you got to the actual product detail pages, but what we’ve found is best deals are good to use for the lead up to Prime Day, as well as after Prime Day. So kind of having the schedule so it overlay that, has been a pretty successful strategy for us in the past.

Yeah, that was going to be one of my questions, is if you are eligible for best deals and you’ve got the timing figured out for the lightning deals, how do you use them together? Do you recommend using them together?

Yeah. I would say probably not. Part of it too is that I think if I’m correct here, I’d have to just double check this, but the technical ability for Amazon to run both of those at the same time isn’t really there.

Got you.

So, they’re submitted through different portals on the Seller Central side. Actually through just a file upload, which is interestingly enough.

Okay.

Then coupons obviously, if lightning or best deals don’t make sense.

Yeah.

I always … and coupons, how can sellers use these, especially around Prime Day?

Yeah, so coupons, the one thing to keep in mind is that coupons, and from our perspective, are a piece of the puzzle really. So with lightning deals, especially you don’t necessarily have to drive so much traffic to those because Amazon is going to be featuring them for you. Now, you still probably should drive traffic to make it the most successful and we’re going to talk about that a little bit later on. But for coupons, if you’re not visible enough in search engine result pages for the highest volume searches, then you’re going to really have to kind of parlay this with an ad strategy.

So, what we generally like to do is we like to find products that are either have a high amount of sessions, who are ranked pretty high in their search engine result pages for the keyword that we’re going after, but then also products that we feel are just a really great value for Prime Day. Those are really the three kind of areas that we focus on going after. Unless we’re seeing other data points that suggest otherwise. Then we figure out how we’re going to drive traffic to those.

So, coupons are just a way to increase the conversions once we drive the traffic actually to the product detail page. That’s kind of how we have the mind set up with Prime Day.

Yeah, and the one thing I love about coupons is, like in your screenshot here for the Bounty paper towels, there’s a bright green savings with a coupon. What is cool about that is obviously if you’re going through a normal search and you see that coupon, you would likely be enticed to click on it, but when you do things, and we’re going to talk about advertising strategies during Prime Day, but one of the things that like sponsored products takes on, is it does carry over that coupon.

So I just did, as an example, I just did an Amazon search for protein powder, and the first three results came up. Of course, they’re sponsored products, and the first one that popped up was MuscleTech Phase8 Protein Powder, and I scroll down and it has a save 10% coupon. Right away, I look at those listings that are at the top and my eyes are there, and so I’m like, “Oh, discount? I’m going to check it out.” If this is something that I like, I can expect a reduced price on it.

So, those are things to keep in mind as you are using coupons in conjunction with other things like advertising. We’ll go into a little bit further what that looks like.

Yeah, very good call out there. Prefect.

Creating a promotional calendar. I know we’ve talked a lot about doing a lot of prep work before Prime Day. This is a calendar that you guys have put together around days leading up, even weeks leading up, and weeks after. Can you walk us through how do you go about creating a promotional calendar? Then, I think we can walk through some of the key dates that you think are really great for sellers to take away.

Yeah, for sure. These are pretty general timelines that we have here. And of course it’ll change based on how much needs you have in your business. One thing that I always suggested, the sooner we can get things done, the better, to just build in some buffer there. But really some of the key dates are just they’re with the promotional calendar. The whole intent of it is, once you’ve identifed all of these things that you want to do, there’s a lot of moving parts of it.

So documenting it, putting it on the calendar, and making sure that you just have that barely laid out, so you know when to execute something, has been very, very helpful for us in running successful Prime Days, and making sure that nothing’s slipped through cracks.

There’s a lot of planning that goes into Prime Day, and there’s a lot of moving parts, and it’s very easy to drop the ball on just one of those. If you miss one of them, that could be the difference between a 50% increase in sales, or a 100% increase in sales. So it’s really important that when you create the plan, you make sure every piece of the plan is documented on when it needs to get done, and that it is actually getting completed.

Some of the key dates that we have here, and these again, are a little generic, so we kind of would push these back a little bit. For our clients we actually push out an extra month. So if you’d add kind of four weeks onto the firsts ones of these, that’s kind of what we’re doing. We like to be as ahead of the game as possible.

So six weeks prior to Prime Day, you should definitely start maybe testing sponsored brands. There’s multiple different mastering options that you can have. You can have a different call to action, you could have different featured products, you could have a different sports image, you could have different landing … pages.

It’s really important to A/B test that. So we recommend always creating two sponsor brand ads with only one difference. That difference could be the call to action, it could be the fourth image, it could be the three main products being featured. It’s kind of up to what your strategy is, but getting that started so you can start gathering data and fine-tune it before Prime Day, because then … you know, it’s one of the best practices that we followed.

Once that’s done, you want to review them about two weeks later, and adapt. So, four weeks before Prime Day, look at the results. If you need to make changes, create some new A/B tests and run those. It’s really again about making sure that whatever sponsored brand you create, is the best sponsor brand mastering that’s going to lead to the highest results success on Prime Day.

Cool. And getting closer to Prime Day, now we’re about a week out, what are we focusing on here?

So, this is kind of as we get into the external awareness. You want to start blasting external campaigns. Build some hype on your existing database, your existing customer base, to let them know, “Hey, we got some great stuff coming on Prime Day. Get prepared.”

You want to verify that your brand store updates are live, your EBC and your video updates are live, any of your copy changes that you made to your product detail pages are live. Make sure it’s there a week before, rather than the day before when you don’t have time to actually go in and fix it.

Verify and create that all of your ads are created. Your sponsored products, sponsored brands, product targeting, product display ads. A really important thing that’s actually I think missed quite a bit is verifying that your lightning deals have no issues.

So if you’re accepted for a lightning deal, but you don’t have the right price point, you don’t have the right quantity, catching that ahead of time and clearing that issue out, is critical. Then finally, verifying all your promos and coupons, or scheduled to run. So you’re just kind of making sure a week before everything is good to go.

All right. Then on to Prime Day. The actual day is here. A lot around advertising, but what are the big ones there that you would focus on?

Yeah. If you’re not using a solution like Teikametrics that’s adjusting the bids algorithmically, and you haven’t already adjusted your target for the day, on Prime Day, you want to go in and adjust those bids yourself. That’s a really important thing, especially if that’s going to be a critical piece of your strategy, is driving traffic.

You want to blast your external traffic sources again. you know, let them know, “Hey, it’s here. And here’s a link that’s going to take you to our best deals.” Of course, you got to verify everything’s actually running now, so your ads are running, your lightning deals are live, your coupons are running, your price changes are being reflected.

Then finally, just throughout the day, you’re monitoring your ad budgets, and your out-of-stocks. So, if your ad budget is starting to cap out, or you’re going to get close to capping out, increasing that throughout the day to support that, so you’re not losing out on visibility.

For products going out-of-stock, or it’s selling a lot faster than you anticipated, maybe start turning off some of those ad options for those ads that you’re using, to slow down some of the sell through, and make it a little bit more profitable for you on those ventures.

So, just some tips there.

Great. And arguably one of the best ways to influence the traffic that comes onto Amazon during Prime Day is advertising of course.

Before we get there, Brian, a question that came across on the A/B testing is, how do you think about budget, or testing? How much as a seller, like maybe it’s your first Prime Day, how do you go about coming up with you budget of what to test against for taking a discount on a lightning deal, or running an A/B test on a sponsored brand campaign? How do you … Essentially you guys work with dozens of sellers, and you’re giving this guidance, what guidance would you provide in that case?

Yeah, so generally what we look at is we look at kind of what the current spend is for those particular ad options. So, if you’re running a sponsored brand and you’re going to be going after those keywords, if you’re going to change the aggressiveness, you can increase or decrease what your current spend rate is. But what we really ultimately try and look and what we try and convey to our clients is that we need to gather as much data during this A/B test. So the more budget that we have during that period, a slightly increased budget, the better the data is going to be that comes out, so the more informed we’re going to be when it actually comes to Prime Day.

So, I would say you want to have a budget where the keyword that you’re going after, the ad can run all day. And that’s really the appropriate way we feel to run an A/B test, so that way you can gather that. We generally like to run a test for a period of two weeks, but one week will work as well. If you need to have a little bit more limited budget, then you can do one week, but the longer the period that the test is able to run for, the stronger the data is going to be. You may not have those one-offs that happen that may sway the data in one way or another.

That’s a really good point, and jumping over to advertising, I typically think of … there’s so many different ways you can advertise now on Amazon, and then there’s so many different strategies, as well as which of my products do I even advertise during Prime Day? So let’s start there.

What products should I be focused on? What ad types should I focus on?

Yeah, so products definitely the focus on would be anything that you’re going to be running on a lightning deal, anything that you’re going to have on a coupon, or on a specific promotion or sales price. Those are the products that you would start with, with your advertising. Because really consumers are in the mindset of being provided a discount. So if you’re providing that discount, let’s push those products first and foremost.

When you’re defining which products to discount, you want to take those things into account of what’s actually going to sell. So, if you’re taking that into account and you’re creating a deal to make it more enticing on Prime Day, and then you’re driving traffic through ads to get you there, that’s been a really healthy recipe for success for brands on the platform.

So, those are the products that we’re actually looking for. If we’re also looking to go outside of that, we’ll look historically at what previous Prime Days have done. What Black Friday or Cyber Monday have done. We liken Prime Day to Black Friday and Cyber Monday specifically because the intent of the consumer is very similar.

Now, what they may be buying might be slightly different, but the intent is very similar. So, from a marketing perspective we’re taking that into account with that. So if it’s worked well on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, look at advertising it on Prime Day.

Then just any product you want to just generally drive awareness for. You may have a loss-leader that you want to push out there, or just a new product that you’re like, “I’m in it for the long haul. I want to dedicate a couple thousand dollars to driving awareness for this even if I get no conversions.”

Those are good products to choose as well because there’s just so much traffic flowing through that if you launched on that day, you’re getting a lot of eyes on it.

One of the things I want to jump in with: one, my own question, but an audience question as well, is when you run advertising during Prime Day, you think a lot of the guidance that we see out there is increasing bids, and obviously there’s ways to increase those bids more efficiently than others, but one of the sellers is asking can they expect their advertising costs to skyrocket before, during or after Prime Day, given that there is this guidance of, “Hey, you’ve got to double your bids, or increase your bid amounts?”

Excuse me.

Yes, that’s a very, very good question. We generally before Prime Day, we have seen some increase in the cost per clicks, but nowhere near what we see on Prime Day, and after Prime Day. So, what we’ve seen, at least through our client data is we’re seeing anywhere from a 75 to 100% increase in our CPC, versus week-over-week on the day prior for those. So that’s something to keep into account.

Then we’ve seen in certain product categories where it takes a little while for CPC to kind of return back to those normal numbers. We haven’t necessarily been able to pinpoint exactly why. We believe some of it is if you increase your bids, and you forget the day after Prime Day to go in and decrease them, that’s going to inflate the bids across the board for everybody, or if somebody’s just trying to use that to launch off of, that could be something that they’re doing, and they’re just trying to continued awareness to the product.

But, you can definitely expect an increase on Prime Day, and after Prime Day. The time I think that’ll it’ll increased is dependent upon the particular category that you’re in.

Got it.

Before we jump on to round out advertising, what’s your guidance on raising bids? I think generally most people would say, “Yeah, you should probably raise bids to capture that demand that’s coming.” But, how high do you … is it just a blanket 50% or 100% of is going to be increase, or is it relative to maybe how much you’re willing to spend by product, or by a certain campaign? What typical guidance do you have, and then how do you balance that with maybe sellers getting guidance from Amazon of like, “Hey, double your bids, double your budgets.” If that’s not your guidance, how do you sort of bring those two together?

Yeah. So, it’s definitely a very good piece of this is once you’ve defined what your promotion that you’re going to run, and what deals you’re going to run for Prime Day, then those are the products that you want to focus on first. So, how we look at it, is we look at what the overall intent, or objective we have internally of that particular strategy for that product type.

So, we’ll kind of bucket them. Okay, these are deals, these are products that we just want to generate as many sales as possible on. We want it to be super visible. So those would be products that we would increase the bids a lot higher. We may go two, three X. We just want to win top of search.

We’ll also turn on bid plus. We’ll make sure that whatever we need to do to be top of search in those, we’re setting those up to do that. Then we may have products that are more budget focused. So those ones we would be a little more strategic. Dive into the keywords that we actually want to dive into, and increase the bids just on those to try and hit that threshold.

Then occasionally, sometimes we just increase the bids across the board, but generally that hasn’t been the best strategy, and it’s something that we really don’t do too much anymore. It’s because not every product is going to sell, so increasing it across the board hasn’t been what works well.

So instead, what we look at is we’re increasing the products that are actually we’re trying to sell, and then when we increase them, defining how much we increase them is basically where the consumer is and how visible we want it to be, and we work our way kind of back from there.

Okay.

I mean, we dipped into some of those strategies, especially on the sponsored products side. You talked a little bit about okay, now you know that products that you want to advertise, whether it’s ones that you’re running deals or coupons for, or historically were great during prior Prime Day, I mean, now what? You’ve got Amazon rolling out all these different ad types, sponsor products, sponsor brands, of course most people are familiar with.

But, what about product targeting, product display ads? One of the big questions that I always get from brands, neither … even other agencies is, how do I use all these different ad types in, or at once to make sure that they’re not cannibalizing others, and they’re being used for the right funnel of customers? How do you guys think about that?

Yeah, this is a very good topic that really, I mean, we could honestly talk about for hours. I love this topic. So trying to create cohesive strategies between all four, is really a challenge but when done successfully, works really well. And kind of what we looked at, especially for product targeting and product display ads, we’re looking at those as either number one, you’re going after conquests. So you’re going after your competitive brands. You’re going after a product that you want to kind of knock off as the king of the hill.

Or, an interesting thing that we’ve used these for, for both product targeting and product display ads is, we’ve used it to suggestive sell and upsell other items. So, if a newer product comes out for you, let’s say you have the 2018 line of a shoe, and you come out with a 2019 line, and it’s got more features, and you want to surface that, and you’re not able to run the … you’re not on Vendor Central, so you can’t link the listings together.

What would happen then is you could use product targeting and product display ads to target those specific cases, and inform those consumers that, “Hey, there’s another option that’s available there.” So that’s been something that we’ve used those two for.

Sponsored brands we’ve kind of used it as a kind of a higher funnel lever, so a more general search. So somebody’s searching a very high-volume search, they’re not sure exactly what they want to buy, use the sponsored brands to take them in to a specific branding landing page that gives them all of those options.

So if I’m searching for a flemming shirt, drive them into a sponsor brand with multiple flemming shirt options for your brand, and ideally in different price points, so whether they want the good, better, best model, they can make that choice themselves.

Then finally, sponsored product ads, we look at that as going after specific terms that we know that we can compete in that we want to just have a high presence in search engine result pages.

Great.

So onto some other things just for timing. We’ve got 11 minutes left, so a couple more slides to go to. Inventory is obviously a big one. You got to make sure that your products are in stock. A couple of big deadlines here. June 27th of course to have FBA inventory received by. Anything else to know here Brian? Best recommendations from your side on how to go about making sure you’ve got your inventory in stock?

Nothing really else to note here. Kind of where we’re at in the year is a little bit late for kind of pivoting on inventory. One of the biggest that I would say is just kind of in Prime Day in general with planning is, the earlier that you start planning, the better. Especially if you have long lead times to do inventory purchases. That tends to be something that we experience a lot.

So we’re having to think about what inventory levels we’re going to need for Prime Day at the end of Q4. So just keep that in mind what your lead time is, because this is just getting inventory in FBA, we’re not talking about making sure that you have inventory at your warehouse to even send into FBA, so …

That’s a really good point.

Product detail page audits, making sure your product detail pages look enticing, everything checks out and is in the guidance that Amazon gives. What are the tops things a seller should be paying attention about on their actual product detail pages?

Yeah. The main one that we’ve always pushed is images. Giving really enticing images, especially as consumers shift more and more to mobile traffic. The first thing that you see on a mobile phone, or the mobile app is you see the title, you see the images, you see a price point, then you see the buy now button. So you don’t see bullet points, you don’t see EBC, you don’t see any of the reviews or answered questions before you actually make that purchase.

So we always say make sure you have as many images as possible that are relevant and actually provide value to the consumer. They’re high-quality. They’re not grainy. They’re cropped as much as possible. And then that you have clean, readable titles that clearly convey what the product is.

Those are the main ones. Of course, EBC is important, answering any answered questions, reviews, all of those things that really we should be doing all year round. But yeah, title and images I would say are the most important things if you’re driving a product for Prime Day. Make sure those two are completely buttoned up, would be the most important. Yeah, definitely.

Okay.

Then, you talked a lot about sponsor brands of course where you can drive traffic to your own brand store, or you know actual products, but why are brand stores important this year?

Yeah. So, a lot of big changes over the last year that haven’t really been fully fleshed out until this year. One of the biggest one that we’ve seen is social tags, and seeing social tag traffic insights on specific landing pages.

So one thing that we’ve found and that we’re applying for our brands, is creating a specific landing page to feature all of these deal products. So if you’re running lightning deals, you’re running promotions, you’re running anything, put those on a specific deals page on your brand store. So then you can drive all of your sponsor brand traffic into it. You can drive all of that traffic specifically there, where they’re going to see all of those products that are on discount, all of those products that you want to push forward, that you want the consumers to buy. You feature them all on that deals page. So you’re basically curating it for that consumer.

Really one of the most important things that we’re going to dive into here is we can capture all this traffic on Amazon, everybody is going after this traffic on Amazon, but one of the biggest missing pieces is how do we drive traffic to Amazon, and measure the success of that? And with brand stores you can now do that.

So that’s one of the most important changes that we see this year that’s really important, or really critical.

We’ll go ahead and skip this poll due to timing. And I do want to continue to ride where you’re heading, which is we talked a lot about what to do on Amazon, but what about outside of Amazon? And you started to talk a little bit about social media. What are the big takeaways here? I mean, I know there’s … You know, you talked about social tags and things like that being new into sponsored brand stores, but what about social traffic, how do you take advantage of that?

Yeah. So, this is really all about capitalizing your existing audience, or capitalizing on your existing audience for Prime Day. What we see is that Prime Day is an Amazon day. Your website likely is not going to follow a similar strategy as Prime Day, or offers enticing of a deal as Prime Day.

So, what we found with social is, take that existing traffic that you have off channel, and blast them. Let them know, “Hey, if you have a good Instagram following, start putting up posts building hype for Prime Day, “In two weeks, we’re going to have exclusive sales just on Amazon. Be prepared.” And maybe a week before you hit them again.

It’s really just about driving awareness to consumers who already have a liking to your brand. If they’re following you on social, they’ve already shown interest, so building awareness that, “Hey, we’re going to have a cool deal on Prime Day,” can really help drive success for you. Especially if you’re running a lightning deal, and you’re putting money into it. You want to make sure that it’s being claimed up to 100%, so you get the maximum halo effect possible.

Yeah, and obviously, there’s clear facts as to why you would want to drive traffic to Amazon, the Prime membership being one of them, two-day shipping, but I thought this was pretty interesting that you shed some light on, which is number two most reputable company in the US. I mean, how does that play in here? Why is that important?

Yeah, this is a common kind of topic for us. It’s the debate of driving external traffic to your dot com site or to Amazon. And I think this graph summarizes it the most. You know? Consumers in the US just trust Amazon. They truly trust Amazon. And it’s very unlikely that your consumer base is going to have that same level of trust as Amazon.

Also, how easy is it to checkout on Amazon? Are you going to offer two-day shipping? Those are big factors that you need to take into account. And if you’re not able to compete with Amazon, driving that traffic for one day out of the year to Amazon, is probably the best strategy for you to maximize your sales longterm.

That’s a really good point.

Well, Brian thanks so much. We reached the end of the presentation. I don’t see any other questions coming in, but I want to give everyone Brian’s information, again, from Channel Key, direct of marketplace strategy. Feel free to email them at info@channelkey.com.

Brian, thanks again to you, Kristen, Dan, the whole Channel Key team for coming on and the amazing partnership that we’ve created, and it’s always fun to give a lot of this knowledge and content out to sellers that are really trying to take advantage as Amazon as mainly their sole channel of business. So, thank you again.

Yeah. No problem. And thanks again for having us.

Thanks everyone.