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Amazon Prime Day: How They Turned a One-Day Sale into a Worldwide Event

May 16, 2018 Victoria Pallien

A rival to Black Friday, Amazon Prime Day has taken online shopping sales to a new level, offering top deals to an estimated 100 million Prime members for roughly one day a year.

Why Did Amazon Create Prime Day?

Amazon’s goal was to increase their number of Prime subscriptions, so Amazon created Prime Day in July of 2015 as a 20th anniversary sale open exclusively to Prime members in a handful of countries around the globe. As the sales of Prime Day spread, Amazon’s Prime member base grew.

The price of Prime memberships were recently increased by 20% to $119 per year, a sign of Amazon’s domination.

When Is Amazon Prime Day?

The specific date of Prime Day isn’t announced until late June or early July, but historically, it has fallen during the beginning or middle of July.

What Are Amazon Prime Day’s Best Deals?

Prime Day has incredible deals on Amazon products like the smart devices featuring Alexa, specifically the Echo Dots. But the event is known to house some of the best sales on TVs, other electronics and toys.

Has Amazon Prime Day Been Successful?

Though Prime Day started its first sale day with technical issues, Amazon has seen a steady increase in customer participation and Prime members from year to year.

July 15, 2015

The very first Amazon Prime Day was held on July 15, 2015. Initially upsetting customers with website problems, such as users being unable to add items to their carts, the sale rebounded when issues were resolved.

By the end, Amazon saw 21.7 million unique visitors on Prime Day, which was comparable to their 2014 Cyber Monday traffic.

July 12, 2016

In 2016, Amazon reported that customers surpassed the 2015 sale by more than 50% in the U.S. and 60% worldwide. In addition, Prime Day in 2016 was the biggest sales day to date for the Amazon Echo.

Amazon sold more than 2 million toys, more than 1 million pairs of shoes, nearly 90,000 TVs and hundreds of thousands of Kindles on Prime Day 2016.

With more than 1 million users using the Amazon app on Prime Day 2016, Prime member app orders were up more than 100% from Prime Day 2015.

July 11, 2017

After the date for Prime Day was announced in 2017, Amazon’s stock jumped $11 higher, breaking the $1,000 mark.

Sales grew more than 60% from Prime Day 2016 and surpassed every Amazon Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale to date.

Last year, Prime Day shoppers were spread across 13 different countries, more than ever before.

How Does Amazon Promote Prime Day?

In each 2016 and 2017, Amazon spent less than $25,000 for branded Google paid search campaigns. These ads cost Amazon an average of 17 cents per click, according to

“When brands already rank in the top spot organically on Google, their marketers sometimes question the value of paying to drive traffic from branded PPC [pay-per-click] keywords,” said Ross Bucholc, the Director of Paid Media at Digital Media Solutions, LLC (DMS). “Amazon proved the value of owning more real estate. Although they ranked first organically for ‘Prime Day,’ they leveraged Prime-specific copy to inexpensively drive almost 150,000 people directly to their sale. Branded keywords are cheap. Follow Amazon’s lead and send that traffic to your point of conversion.”

In 2017, Amazon spent an incremental $840,000 on TV ads to push Prime Day. Amazon also deployed aggressive email campaigns, including five and seven Prime Day emails each day after the announcement. And in the days just before Prime Day, Amazon increased its email frequency to 13 to 20 messages a day.

Social media brought in 13% of Amazon’s traffic after the Prime Day announcement last year.

Amazon also garnered media coverage of their sale. News outlets report on big consumer sale days, like Black Friday. But rarely do individual ecommerce site sales get coverage. Amazon Prime Day is an exception.

Major news networks such as The Verge, TIME, NY Magazine, CNN and CNBC reported on Prime Day, before, during and after the sale.

What Can Marketers Learn from Prime Day?

There are quite a few tips marketers can learn when studying Amazon’s Prime Day strategy.

Differentiation — Amazon is known for great prices and service, which makes them a go-to spot for customers seeking value and quick delivery. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), “Partly because of Amazon’s longstanding lack of concern over profitability, consumers have faith that Amazon is going to roll out awesome deals.”

Brand Awareness & ROI Goals — Make sure planned events have strong, thought-out ROI goals, as McKinsey suggests. Amazon created Prime Day to increase Prime subscriptions, and they’ve been successful; they now have over 100 million Prime subscribers.

Test Runs — Be sure your marketing and other resources are equipped for a planned event. On the first Prime Day, Amazon had technical difficulties during the early mornings that weren’t resolved until some hours later. Test runs that replicate the big day can identify technical issues that may arise in a large sale event.

Branded Events — Following the masses on Black Friday would mean just another retailer with another sale. Amazon generated excitement with their own insane day of sales. Instead of putting all their resources into Black Friday or Cyber Monday, they created their own event in a different part of the year. Don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail for marketing your brand.

Amazon’s Prime Day sparked trends and forged new paths for marketers. With the promotion of Prime services came the invention of Prime Day, a successful recurring mega-sale.

Reimagining your marketing win?

Contact DMS to get started today. 

About the Author

Victoria Pallien

Victoria Pallien is a Marketing Communications Writer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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