Amazon thought small for its big day

October 21st, 2020 | Lierin Melvin

While past Prime Days focused on growing Prime subscriptions, Amazon took a different route in 2020, positioning itself as an aide to local businesses. 

Prime Day campaigns  

While Amazon cut back on its digital campaigns for Prime Day by nearly 65% year-over-year, the company allocated more budget to broad-reach national TV. This indicated a greater focus to notify as many people as possible for Prime Day, especially given the change in dates. 

Amazon’s signature Prime Day commercial looked a little different in 2020. Unlike 2019, which incorporated parades and big-group festivities, Amazon shifted the creative in 2020 to mirror social distancing measures due to COVID-19. 

Prime Day 2019 advertisement
Prime Day 2020 advertisement

Amazon extended a helping hand to groups particularly impacted by COVID-19, launching an ad campaign notifying healthcare workers, teachers, and students of the Prime discounts tailored for them. As these groups have been hit hard from economic shutdowns and quarantine, Amazon positioned itself as a Goliath using its powers for good. 

Amazon display ad

Champions of small business  

Amazon put its advertising power behind small businesses. While Amazon invested a hefty $13.7M in Prime Day campaigns, the retailer invested $6.7 more in campaigns highlighting its efforts to support small businesses. The campaign, running at the same time as Prime Day ads, communicated to viewers that despite Amazon’s site, it’s still possible to shop small on Prime Day and support local businesses impacted by COVID-19.  

The retailer supplemented its ad campaign with display ads that addressed how Amazon helps small businesses. Many ads ran on news sites like Politico, likely reaching an audience concerned about the health of the economy and local businesses.

What we think 

Supporting small businesses will continue to take center stage in Amazon’s holiday strategy- and will set the tone for other retailers. 

When Amazon announced the results of its Prime Day, it led with the growth of its third-party seller sales, clearly an indication that Prime Day’s main goal was to establish Amazon as an ally for small businesses. As we enter the holiday season, Amazon will continue advertising its support of its third-party sellers and highlight more of their products on the home page and less of Amazon’s Echo and Kindle products. Expect competitors Walmart and Target to follow suit: Holiday shopping marketing will be less about the products, and more about who consumers will be supporting by purchasing them.

Lierin Melvin

Lierin Melvin

Lierin Melvin is the Director of Insights at Comperemedia, overseeing content, client engagements, and insights for Financial Services, Telecom, and Insurance. Lierin uses her nine years of experience in omnichannel marketing to provide recommendations and industry insights for how to effectively manage full-funnel marketing campaigns.