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Early Insights from Prime Day 2021

We’re rounding up the performance data from Prime Day, and if you want to be the first to hear how CPCs, Conversions, and ROAS compared to previous years, be sure to register for our webinar on Wednesday, June 30: Prime Day 2021 CPC Report.

In the meantime, we gathered some early insights from Prime Day 2021, based on Pacvue clients’ advertising campaigns and what our team of expert practitioners saw during the event.

Increased CPCs

Brands that were running promotions and supporting their deals with advertising saw the largest increase in CPCs, with some noticing cost-per-click up 80% compared to last year’s event. In general, similar to last year, the second day of Prime Day saw higher CPCs than the first.

One brand in the fitness category saw CPCs approximately 76% higher this Prime Day compared to Prime Day 2020. They noticed a lot more competition in their category from emerging sellers this year, making sponsored ads more expensive. Similarly, CPCs for a personal care brand increased nearly 100% year-over-year for the top keywords in their category. A leading CPG brand also noticed more competition from emerging sellers. The main CPC increase for their campaigns came from branded terms, which were 35% more expensive compared to the prior seven days leading into Prime Day.

Inventory may have affected which brands were advertising this year. Given the supply chain issues, including container shortages at major manufacturing ports, certain categories, especially in home goods, were less promotional than typical deal events.

High Consumer Demand

While the second day of Prime Day typically experiences a drop off in sales and, likewise, ad spend, early indicators point to sustained momentum throughout the event. In fact, consumers may have even begun their deal hunting early this year as well. One household supplies brand ran deals in the week leading into Prime Day and beat their forecast significantly.

With other retailers launching their deal days prior to Prime Day, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and even Chewy, prices may have already been low and consumers ready to take advantage of attractive discounts.

Target Deal Days banner

Prime Day is also increasingly becoming an omnichannel event, with brands leveraging unboxing videos on TikTok, lead-in videos on YouTube, and ads across social media networks to drive traffic to their deals and Brand Stores.

Twitter ad for SodaStream for Prime Day

New Ad Types & Experiences

Sponsored Brand Video was one of the stars of Prime Day 2021. In Sports & Outdoors, CPCs for Sponsored Brand Video were about 10% higher than static Sponsored Brand ads, as advertisers focused on winning video in search. The new Sponsored Brand Video Product Targeting proved especially effective. Since the ad placement is still new, competition was lower, so the placement was less expensive, in some cases less than a third the cost of the search placements. ROAS was also approximately150% higher than search when using video-based Product Targeting on competitors’ detail pages.

Tide Sponsored Brand Video ad

Sponsored Display ads also performed well on product detail pages, with prominent placements above the fold. Amazon has recently been leaning into display advertising improvements and releasing new targeting capabilities, and many advertisers seem to have been at least testing Sponsored Display during this event.

One trend we’ve seen for multiple years of Prime Day now is just how crowded the search page is becoming. With the deal widget, Amazon brand products, and other new Amazon experiences – such as climate pledge friendly ASINs – all receiving premium placements above the fold, organic listings on search are more restricted than ever. Brands truly have to pay-to-play for Prime Day.

Amazon continued to lean into live video during the event, a trend that’s expected to continue and grow in popularity among consumers. While it’s too soon to tell the success of Live during Prime Day, one thing is clear: there is no shortage of opportunities to reach the ever-growing audience looking for a great deal during one of the hottest events of the year.

Screenshot of Samsung's Amazon Live event


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