The Complete Amazon Black Friday & Cyber Monday Marketing Strategy 2019 - Sellics

The Complete Amazon Black Friday & Cyber Monday Marketing Strategy 2019

The Complete Amazon Black Friday & Cyber Monday Marketing Strategy 2019
By Franz Jordan in Amazon Advertising & PPC Amazon Marketing Tips Last updated on

If you’re reading this, you’re probably preparing for Q4. It’s a busy season — Black Friday and Cyber Monday are scrambling for attention, maybe you’ve jumped on the Singles Day bandwagon, and before the dust has settled — it’s Christmas. 

Called your parents yet? 

If you’re elbow-deep in this mayhem to cash in on the rush, your marketing strategy needs to be rock-solid. With the right preparation, you stand to make a holiday-happy profit on Amazon. 

Miss a beat, however, and you’ll spend the New Year festivities handling returns, filling a drained inventory, and explaining to your boss why your ACoS turned the size of your Thanksgiving turkey. 

Not to worry — just follow the advice in this article. We’ll give you some background information on Black Friday / Cyber Monday, exclusive data from our Sellics Prime Day report, and a solid marketing strategy for a blissful peace of mind. 

No thanks needed: Just enjoy your freedom and direct your thankfulness to noble causes.

Let’s dig in!

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What is Black Friday / Cyber Monday?

Black Friday is the traditional prelude to Christmas shopping in the USA. It takes place the day after Thanksgiving, which is always on the fourth Thursday in November. 

A nice, long family weekend, with plenty of time for shopping — and enough heavy discounts to match the festive disposition. 

Since everyone had the same idea and hit the road in unison, pedestrian and vehicle traffic used to stuff the streets and stores to deadlock. 

Allegedly, oversaturated police in Philadelphia started using the code name “Black Friday” to refer to the pandemonium. It stuck — also because, for years, retailers turned their number from red to black on this day. 

Black Friday (which soon included the weekend) was created by offline retailers. Once the technology of online stores was advanced enough to offer shoppers a real alternative, however, digital businesses wanted a piece of the action and simply added one more day as a counterpart: Cyber Monday.

Today, the brick-and-mortar rush dwindles with every passing year. People only turn to malls and stores to enjoy impulse buys and quench their curiosity. Shoppers now prefer to join the rush from the comfort of their homes — naturally, Amazon extended the buying frenzy to an entire Cyber Week. 

Before we get into stats and strategies, let’s get some important dates out of the way:

When is Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2019?

  • Black Friday: 29th November 2019
  • Cyber Monday: 2nd December 2019
  • Cyber Week: 25th November – 2nd December 2019

When is the deadline to submit Lightning Deals for Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2019?

The deadline for lightning deal submission is

11:59 pm, 4th October 2019

We’ll revisit the importance of Lightning Deals later. For now, let’s explore why you should invest in the Q4 rush.

Why Black Friday / Cyber Monday is a big deal for your Amazon business

Adobe Analytics predicts that online shopping in the holiday season Nov-Dec 2019 will reach $143.7 billion in the US. That’s 14.1% more than in 2018 — not bad since Cyber Monday 2018 was the largest online shopping day of all time in the US. 

One reason for this trend is that these online “doorbuster” sales have changed the way people shop for Christmas presents. 

Rather than waiting until the last week before the holidays, people buy their presents early to take advantage of massive discounts. 

In 2018, Cyber Weekend contributed 19% of the entire season’s revenue.

Amazon sold more items on Cyber Monday 2018 than any other day in its history, including Prime Day 2018 — usually, it’s the other way around. 

Let’s look at how you can get a piece of the holiday pie.

5 Marketing & Advertising Strategies to Maximize Your Profit on Black Friday / Cyber Monday 

  • Be ready on 1 November
    Don’t underestimate how long your preparations can take. Polish your listings (see below for the best ones), build up your reviews, stock up your inventory, automate your PPC campaigns.
  • Target peak times
    Cash in on FOMO: As the day draws to an end, shoppers feel the Fear Of Missing Out. The golden hours between 7-11 pm PST are the most profitable of the year, with almost 30% of the Cyber Monday revenue concentrating on bedtime. Pinpoint this sweet spot with Sellics Ad Scheduling.
  • Focus on your premium best-sellers
    Shoppers hope to get the good stuff cheap during Cyber Week. Direct your promotional efforts towards your expensive items — our study (see below) shows that discounted luxury products sell particularly well. 
  • Spend more on advertising
    High budgets and bids perform better in Amazon Cyber Week because shoppers respond better to ads during this time. Lighting Deals are breathtakingly expensive, and CPMs are up by 23% in general. Still, it’s a wise investment: 50% of consumers say ads impact their purchasing decision. If you also target expensive items, your ACoS / ROAS is going to be just fine.
  • Set up an Amazon Store
    If you’re a smaller retailer and / or missed the Lightning Deals, there are other ways to maximize your involvement with Cyber Week. Utilize your network — Bombard social media and make some noise in your email list. Let everyone know you’re offering some big savings and send them to your dedicated Amazon Store. You need to have a registered brand, but otherwise, a Store is free and easy to set up.  

How to Prepare for Black Friday / Cyber Monday on Amazon 

Since adverts drive almost 40 % of all Cyber Week sales, it’s a good idea to nail down your advertising strategy. 

As Prime Day (aka Christmas in July) serves as a good template for what to expect on Cyber Monday we did a comprehensive analysis of advertising performance on Prime Day 2019. 

Keep reading to check out the study or skip to the conclusion.

Click here for a guide to find out more about Lightning Deals. 


Data Insights from Amazon Prime Day 2019

The Sellics study to optimize PPC campaigns and boost sales this upcoming holiday season

To prep you for the season and ensure you can optimize your PPC campaigns to make the best of the shopping frenzy, we reviewed and interpreted data from Amazon Prime Day 2019. 

The Data: Advertising Performance in the 3 Months Around Prime Day

Our analysis is based on anonymized Sponsored Products performance data from close to 10,000 US advertiser profiles managed with Sellics. The trends and figures included do not represent an official performance statement of Amazon Advertising. The experiences of some Amazon advertisers may differ.

We looked at data  with the following advertising information: 

  • Ad spend
  • Sales (number of orders & value)
  • Click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate (CR)
  • Cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Return-on-Advertising-Spend (ROAS)
  • Average selling price (ASP)

We analyzed the weeks leading up to Amazon Prime Day 2019 as well as the ‘two days of Prime’ (July 15, 16) and the days after (3 months in total). 

As a result, we can now provide you with the learnings and insights you need to develop an effective PPC advertising strategy to increase your Amazon sales during Black Friday and throughout Cyber Week.

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The Findings: Clicks Are More Expensive, but the Higher Ad Spend Still Pays Off

The data shows: Don’t be afraid to increase your ad spend, even if the competition is fierce. Below, we explain this finding based on four trends we identified in the Amazon Prime Day data.

1. Revenue Growth Surpasses Even Significant Increase in Ad Spend

Sales in USD versus Ad Spend of Sellics users on Amazon Prime Day 2019

Looking at the ad spend over this period, your heart might skip a beat. Amazon retailers increased their PPC spend almost 2.2 times for Prime Day 2019 compared to the weeks before.

The number of orders, however, also increased (+98%) and, significantly, advertising sales (in USD) increased almost 2.6 times (+159%) — thus thoroughly outpacing the 2.2X increase in ad spend. 

The fact that sales revenue (in USD) increased more than the number of orders indicates that shoppers seem to purchase more expensive items during Amazon Prime Day (see below for more on this). 

2. ROAS increases significantly despite a considerable rise in Cost-per-Click

All the PPC metrics of Sellics users for Amazon Prime Day 2019

You may notice another adrenaline-inducing,  steep increase of CPCs during the 48 hours of Prime Day (+23%). Ads were more expensive — the upwards CPC trend was, however, offset by a significant increase in ROAS (+20%), meaning the ads delivered better returns. A better ROAS means that you get more return for every dollar you spend on ads.

An improved conversion rate could be an obvious explanation for this interplay. Indeed, overall CR increased during the shopping frenzy (+12%), but not enough to offset the increase in CPC. So we also have to look elsewhere.

The answer lies in the ASP (average selling price). The significant increase in ASP (+30%) is the main reason for the high ROAS. So shoppers indeed tend to buy more expensive products on Prime Day compared to other days. 

3. Click-through rates are down!?

CTR values of Sellics users for Amazon Prime Day 2019

You probably didn’t expect this, but CTR actually dropped significantly during Amazon Prime Day in 2019 (-28%). We developed two hypotheses to make sense of this phenomenon: 

  1. More visits on product detail pages: Since shoppers are looking to purchase more expensive items, they spend more time browsing product detail pages to reach a decision. This can negatively affect CTRs because CTRs on product detail pages are usually lower than on other ad placements.

  2. Deal hunting/window shopping: Shoppers browse through the list of Amazon Prime Day deals and specials or search results either because they don’t want to miss a good bargain or they are not entirely sure what they are looking for. This means they spend more time browsing the search results and deal pages, thus creating significantly more ad impressions compared to clicks.

4. ROAS shows signs of shoppers’ fatigue post-Prime Day

Shoppers get more careful and ROAS drops below average after Amazon Prime Day 2019

People have just spent their hard-earned savings on special deals and offers and are less likely to keep shopping now that everything’s back to normal. This so-called shoppers’ fatigue is so strong that the average ROAS is lower after Prime Day than it was before it (-15%). Reviewing the previous diagram, we can see that a lower-than-average CR and a drop in overall sales cause the decrease in ROAS.


To Recap:

  • The insights from our Prime Day study allow us to derive some clear PPC advertising best practices. Follow these key findings to make the most of Cyber Week:

    • Focus your Cyber Week PPC campaigns on your more expensive products
    • Do not hesitate to increase your Amazon PPC advrtising budgets and bids for the holiday season. The increased conversion rate and heightened interest in more expensive products are likely to turn into a favorable ROAS, especially if you sell items with a higher price point.
    • Once Amazon Cyber Week is over, reduce your bids and monitor your CR and other PPC metrics closely for at least two weeks to not get caught in shoppers’ fatigue.

Tip: How to easily bulk edit your budgets and bids for the holiday season with Sellics

Now that you know how to structure your PPC campaigns let’s also take a look at an Amazon Advertising holiday-exclusive: Cyber Week Lightning Deals.

What Are Amazon Lightning Deals?

Lightning Deals are flash sales of eligible products that appear prominently throughout Amazon for a limited time, usually around four hours. 

The highly visible placement, substantial discount, and limited availability make Lightning Deals very attractive for shoppers and advertisers alike. Unsurprisingly, this promotion comes at a price, especially during the holidays.  

How do Lightning Deals Work?

Submitting a Lightning Deal doesn’t mean that your promotion will automatically appear. With the help of an algorithm, Amazon determines the best deals out of the pool of submitted ads and ranks them according to the likelihood of which will drive the most sales.

Deals with the best price, quantity, and inventory are then awarded the best time and position on Amazon.

To find out more about how to set up Lightning Deals and their strict minimum requirements, please refer to our Prime Day article.

Download Our Free Amazon PPC Cheatsheet 

Get 6 Essential Tips to Boost Your Ad Performance on Amazon

 

Conclusion

Congratulations! You just read everything you need to know about Amazon Black Friday / Cyber Monday advertising. No imaginary clickbait listicle, but hard, data-driven facts so you can piece together your individual marketing strategy and power through the holiday season.

For maximum advertising efficiency, combine rule-based bid automation with keyword harvesting. With this state-of-the-art technology, your ads will be running on the most efficient bids and the most profitable keywords. 

Don’t forget to start early — Spend some time reading up on ACoS (the Amazon ROAS) and consider trying out Sponsored Brands ads. It pays off to understand how Amazon’s dynamic bidding and placement options work. 

While you’re at it, review how to run effective product targeting campaigns. Sign up for the Sellics newsletter — we can’t talk about it yet, but get ready for a huge surprise in 2020!   

If you’re new to Sellics, start a free 14-day trial and explore the entire advertising suite, including bidding automation and PPC management. 

Stick to the Sellics strategy and you’ll be painting your numbers black in no time!

Did you know? Seller Central only stores the last 60 days of your sales activity — As a Sellics customer, you can review your entire Amazon ads history and see how well your Black Friday / Cyber Monday efforts are performing, year after year. Don’t forget to let us know how you did, we love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays — 
From all of us at Team Sellics

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