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Everything You Need to Prepare for Amazon Prime Day 2021

On June 21 & 22, Amazon will hold their 7th annual Prime Day. After last year forced Amazon to move the event to October, Amazon is once again changing things up by holding Prime Day 2021 a month earlier than the usual July date. No matter when in the year Prime Day falls, the two-day sale presents an important opportunity for eCommerce advertisers.

During Prime Day 2020, Amazon Prime members saved over $1.4B worldwide. The inaugural Prime Day was a 24 hour event to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary. Every year or two Amazon extended the hours 2021 Prime Day will be another 48 hours of advertising opportunities.

Amazon has officially announced that Prime Day 2021 will be held June 21 & 22. The move to June appears to be an attempt to comp Q2 pandemic panic buying which further supports the June 21st date. If Amazon waited until June 28-29th, they would run the risk of some orders not shipping before Q2 close, so it is unlikely they would position the event so close to quarter and month-end. Pacvue President Melissa Burdick recently discussed Amazon’s Prime Day on Bloomberg.  

Regardless of Amazon’s priorities, advertisers know the massive opportunities created by Prime Day. Prime Day 2020 saw ROAS for Sponsored Product ads up 43% week-over-week and ad spend for the event was never higher. We have less than a month until June 21, so your preparation should start now! Here is everything you need to know to prepare for and see the best return on your advertising during Amazon Prime Day 2021.

Prime Day 2021 Dates to Know

Here are all the important dates and deadlines associated with Prime Day. Note that the coupon submission deadline is fast approaching and is vital for helping your brand compete during Prime Day.

  • 3/8 – Prime Day Promotion Submissions Open in Vendor Central
  • 3/29 – Prime Member Promotion Sourcing Opens
  • 4/16 – Prime Day Promotion Submissions Closes in Vendor Central
  • Early May- Deal POs cut (normally a few rounds)
  • 5/20 – Vendor Inbound Shipping Cut-off
  • 5/28 – Coupon Submissions Closes for Prime Day
  • 6/21-6/22 – Prime Day Dates

Deal Tenets + Deal Visibility  

There are a variety of promotion types available to you during Prime Day. Your goals, products, and the type of deals you can offer will help determine which deals you should focus your advertising strategy on. We’ve created a full guide on How Amazon Retail Promotions Affect Marketing Metrics, but here are a few basic requirements and considerations:

  • Deal of the Day (DOTD) and Wow! Deals: These deals require the largest discount, 30%+ off current price, and must be the lowest price YTD. DOTD and Wow! Deals are curated by the Deals Team so you should work with a retail POC for placement. With the high cost comes the best visibility as DOTD normally take up the first 1-2 pages of the event page.
  • Lightning Deal: These short-term deals last less than 12 hours. They require 20% off current site price and $500 base merchandising fee.
  • Prime Member Promotion: PMP deals must be 20% off current site price and 5% off lowest price in T30 Days on Prime Day. These are offered only to Prime members and are a relatively low-cost promotion that will not affect your ASP.  
  • Vendor Powered Coupons: VPCs must be 20% off current site price. Their visibility is category dependent but generally lower than the other promotion types listed above. The cost is also fairly low for this closed discount type.

What To Do During Lead-In (One Month Out)

The next month is critical to having a successful Prime Day 2021. Now is the time to test and optimize all your existing ad campaigns, keyword bidding, brand collateral, and budgets to make sure you understand what is and isn’t working and adjust accordingly.

  • Test and Learn: Test custom headlines, revise ASIN sets to face-out products upcoming on deals, and optimize SD audience targeting. Test new Sponsored Brand Video product targeting. Per Amazon, Sponsored Brand Video campaigns have a 126-267% higher click-through-rate compared to product collection campaigns.
  • Revise Targeting Segments: Create more granular segments to make things easier to optimize. This creates better targeting for each audience and potential customer.
  • Drive Campaigns to Brand Store: Sunset and relaunch new versions of old Sponsored Brand campaigns and drive them to your Brand Store instead of ASINs. Amazon reports that linking Sponsored Brand campaigns to a Brand Store delivers +29% better ROAS compared to linking to a product list page.  
  • Update Brand Stores and PDP Content: You can schedule changes to your Brand Store ahead of time. This way you don’t have to worry about submitting these changes last minute and risk these updates not going through in time. Consider including Prime Day specific copy, highlighting ASINs you are promoting, and using the Featured Deals widget which will pull in Prime Day deals.  
  • Plan Prime Day Budgets: Determine your full budget ahead of time so you don’t need to wait for approval to adjust your budget during the 48-hour period to take advantage of new opportunities. Have a ‘max’ that you’re willing to go to if you hit budgets early on. You should also update your email address to make sure you get the out of budget emails.

What To Do During Actual Lead-In (One Week Out)

Using an eCommerce ad management tool, most of your Prime Day 2021 work will be done in the days leading up to the event as you optimize campaigns and set up any automation necessary to run bids and other settings. Here are a few things to focus on in the actual lead-in:

  • Reduce bids on poor performing campaigns to save budget when you’re more likely to convert during deals.
  • Revise negative targeting sets to ensure no wasted spend, especially on Sponsored Brand ads where we see “loose” broad targeting. Check the actual queries your ads are surfacing on and update.
  • Increase bids to ensure you’re maximizing organic rank on crucial keywords.
  • Drive spend on soon-to-be Prime Day deal ASINs. Pause or reduce bids on others.
  • Leverage Pacvue tech to make optimizations and perform bulk edits, schedule dayparting and budgets for Prime Day itself, and pause optimizations for Prime Day dates.
  • Focus on your New-to-Brand metrics. You can engage with these customers via product targeting or non-branded audiences. Build these audiences so you can retarget later, especially if your products are about to be heavily discounted.  

What To Do the “Day” Of Prime Day 2021

No matter how well you have prepared and set up your automated campaigns, you won’t be able to anticipate everything. Prime Day bidding and CPC can often follow unusual patterns and will most likely require you to adjust your strategy on the fly. Here are a few things to be prepared for during the event:

  • Increase budgets for your campaigns!
  • Respond to the keyword bid rush. Based on past years, a high number of vendors often burn through half their budgets within the first three hours as keyword bid competition drives up CPCs. Consider manually pausing campaigns until the bid rush is over to protect your budget. Using a dayparting strategy to identify peak hours to focus on is critical here.
  • Make sure you know your max CPC bids. Put your heels in the ground on how much you want to spend per click, and don’t go beyond that. There’s plenty of non-search based browsing going on for Prime Day so no need to obsess over winning a specific keyword if it’s over budget. Lift in total traffic is more impactful than lift in search impressions for virtually every category.

What To Do After Prime Day is Over

After the rush of Prime Day has passed, your work isn’t done. Now is the time to take advantage of the growth in new customers and traffic and learn from the tracking data you collected.

  • Use Sponsored Deals or Amazon DSP to retarget the lead-in and day-of customers you engaged with previously.
  • Product Targeting is an effective strategy for targeting detail pages that have high residual shopper traffic such as post Prime Day deal ASINs. Product Targeting can be leveraged with Sponsored Product, Sponsored Brand, Sponsored Display, and now Sponsored Brand Video as well!  
  • If residual traffic and search volume continues to be elevated, have a plan in place if you need to pull forward funding to capture these shoppers.
  • Pause or revise your dayparting settings. Otherwise, this will reset bids you’ve changed after to the dayparting levels. Resume rule-based optimizations and normal optimization procedures.
  • Debrief on SOV changes for Prime Day lead in, Prime Day, and normal levels. Compare performance versus your prior peak events and store these metrics for your next peak period.

Further Prime Day Prep

As such an important sales event for eCommerce advertisers, we have covered Prime Day pretty extensively. While the above provides a good overview of everything you need to prepare for Amazon Prime Day 2021, these additional resources can help you overcome specific challenges your brand might be facing.

Zachary Zaerr

Awards & Recognitions