The Thanksgiving Holiday weekend is over, and now it’s time to analyze results!
Bobsled CEO Kiri Masters and Advertising Director Stefan Jordev had a debrief conversation earlier this week on LinkedIn live. This article summarizes all the main talking points and takeaways from Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019. We’ve also shared some key performance metrics from a few Bobsled clients.
PREPARATION & EXECUTION
Technical issues with the Amazon marketplace is something that every brand worries about in the lead up to a major retail event. But thankfully, Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 was smooth sailing, and there we no critical problems of note.
Stefan collated some tracking data which illustrates how the Bobsled PPC team spent their time over the Turkey 5 weekend, see the below graph.
Above: Percentage breakdown of how the Bobsled PPC team spent
their time over the Turkey 5 long weekend.
“This breakdown is very illuminating, as it closely resembles how the PPC team typically spend their time during a non-holiday period,” Stefan explained. “So firstly, it shows the benefit of planning adequately and utilizing software. But a ‘Regular check up’ score of over 50% generally means no cancelled deals, no down time on Seller Central, so that was really pleasing.”
NEW IN 2019
In 2019 Amazon did a few things differently.
“This year, Amazon seemed to be padding shipment times,” Kiri said. “Many Prime products that would typically have a 1 or 2 day delivery time were showing as 3 or 4 delivery. To me, this suggests Amazon didn’t have as much confidence in their fulfillment capability. By all accounts, customers were still getting their orders within the typical Prime window, so this was likely a case of Amazon attempting to under-promise and over-deliver, which I think is a good thing.”
Some other changes included:
- There was a 7 day deal available, instead of the usual 4-hour Lightning Deal
- Amazon was offering “Prime exclusive” discounts. However, it was noted by the Bobsled team that if you opted to utilize a Prime exclusive discount, and you had another deal running at the same time, Amazon would demand a very deep discount, and this was untenable from a profitability standpoint for many brands.
- 2019 was the first year Amazon live streaming was available over the Turkey 5 weekend. A Bobsled client did a product tutorial live stream on Black Friday at 2.30pm ET, and this resulted in 7,000 views of the video, and 48 clicks through to the product display page. “I believe live streaming is an amazing organic vehicle for top-of-the-funnel awareness, especially on high-volume retail events,” Kiri said. “It doesn’t cost brands anything apart from time to record the video, and the videos stay on the page for a while too, meaning people who didn’t catch the live stream can watch them later too.”
On the advertising side, Stefan discussed some general trends in terms of Amazon’s recommendations and bid sensitivity.
“In the past Amazon, would often send brands recommendations about how to optimize their advertising for the Thanksgiving weekend,” he said. “A lot of these suggestions weren’t that great - increase your bids and budgets 20X, some terrible duplicative campaigns - and they would come in the form of excel files ready to upload. But to Amazon’s credit, they’ve really upped their game in this area. A lot of Bobsled clients received recommendations this year, and we actually found a lot of useful data in many of those sheets that we were able to utilize over the Turkey 5 weekend.”
“As for spend, the general trend for Bobsled clients was to keep the bids consistent, but to increase budgets to account for the increase in traffic,” Stefan said. “In the past brands have been burnt over Thanksgiving by generating a lot of sales but at a really poor ACoS. So now, they’re getting more savvy and thinking about big-picture profitability.”
CYBER MONDAY TRUMPED BLACK FRIDAY
Monday was Amazon's biggest shopping day in the company's history. Cyber Monday was bigger than Black Friday for nearly all of Bobsled’s clients, and a similar trend occurred in 2018.
See the Turkey 5 performance data for a handful of Bobsled clients below.
Client 1: Home & Garden
Client 2: Home & Garden
Client 3: Home & Garden
Client 4: Grocery
GREAT DATA FOR THE REST OF Q4
Drilling down into your Turkey 5 data is going to help with your strategy for the rest of the Holiday season.
“Amazon cleverly changed the attribution window from 7 to 14 days a few months,” Stefan said. “Meaning there may have been customers researching a week ago, clicked an ad, added the item to their cart, bought it on Black Friday, and this was still considered a sale from advertising. So the numbers are still settling, but so far it seems the overall ACoS was better during the Turkey 5 weekend, which is what you would expect. We’re going to use this data to map out the rest of Q4 for all of our clients.”