Media Insights

Marketer’s Recap Holiday 2020 | Prime Day

Prime Day looked different this year: from occurring in October for the first time, unique consumer shopping behaviors driven by COVID-19 pandemic, and increased media competition from holiday retailers and a presidential election just a month away.

Prime Day marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Armed with Prime Day data and insights, marketers have their first glimpse of how consumers may act this holiday season and key media trends to be aware of. 

We’ve curated the key findings from Prime Day 2020, observations across our clients, and implications for your evolving holiday planning. 

Prime Day 2020 Key Findings

2020 Prime Day drove more sales than ever before

  • The annual sale took place October 13th-14th and drove an estimated $10.4billion in sales, up 45.2% from 2019 Prime Day1
  • Amazon increased focus on marketplace sellers (small businesses) with curated small business collections and a promo offering $10 to spend on Prime Day when shoppers spent at least $10 on marketplace sellers earlier in the month, driving more than $900million in marketplace sales1

Prime Day event halo impacted non-Amazon retailers

  • 51% of top 100 retailers ran additional promotions during Prime Day2
  • Traffic on non-Amazon sites increased 51% compared to Prime Day 20191
  • CVR (Conversion Rate) on non-Amazon sites increased 16% compared to Prime Day 20191
  • Sales on non-Amazon sites in the U.S. grew 76% for the first day of Prime Day compared to 20191

Increased competition from Holiday retailers and political ads drove up Paid Digital Media costs

  • Facebook Paid Social costs increased 30-40%, and with a 39% higher CVR drove a 4% increase in ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) for Ovative clients compared to average pre-period
  • Google Paid Search costs increased 15%, however a 68% drop in CVR led to a 61% decrease in ROAS for Ovative clients compared to average pre-period

Consumers’ “stay at home” behavior impacted top categories sold and key messaging strategies

  • Top 5 Product Categories Overall3:
    • Electronics
    • Household Essentials
    • Health + Beauty
    • Toys + Video Games
    • Home + Garden
  •  Top Product Categories for Marketplace Sellers on Amazon1:
    • Home Goods (specifically bedding products)
    • Electronics
    • Nutrition
    • Crafts
  • Key Messaging Strategies:
    • Gifting
    • Membership
    • Time Sensitive

Implications for Evolving Holiday Planning

Implication 1: Monitor heightened Paid Media costs coming out of Prime Day

Paid media costs are likely to remain higher than normal through the early November election. Marketers should be especially watchful during weeks leading up to the election on November 3rd, where political ad spending is likely to be highest and dominating consumer attention. Our clients have already observed decreased CTR (Click Through Rate) over primary election periods with consumers browsing for news updates and not in the buying mindset. Marketers must continue agile budget planning, adjusting channel allocations to maximize budgets within channels with strongest return.

Additional consideration should be taken when planning October 27th to November 3rd (Election Day) on Paid Social as Facebook rolls out advertising limitations in attempt to reduce confusion or abuse around the election. Advertisers on Facebook will not be able to create new ads about social issues, elections or politics in the US between October 27th and November 3rd. Only ads in the US that are approved and delivering impressions prior to October 27th will be allowed to continue through Election Day. Organic posts will not have these restrictions. Following the election Facebook will also be enforcing a temporary dark period on all US social issue, electoral or political ads after the polls close to stop misinformation. Advertisers should expect this to last ~week, subject to change. With these additional advertising limitation on Facebook, marketers should be prepared going into the periods with key ad sets and get ready to act quickly to take advantage of potentially lower costs and less noise during the dark period4.

Implication 2: Execute consumer-first site experiences and ensure seamless transactions 

With media costs rising and expected to continue coming out of Prime Day, site optimization and user experience improvements will become even more critical to drive performance. Utilize messaging strategies and feature products onsite that both resonate with the at-home digital consumer and drive strong margins. Build site retargeting pools to maximize traffic and drive users to conversion. Feature BOPIS and other omni-channel services (e.g. curbside pickup, store locator) clearly onsite and in marketing messaging to allow consumers to choose how they want to shop.

Are you ready to crush this holiday season? Interested in reading more from Ovative on how to prepare? We’ve put together The Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2020 | Edition 1 Playbook available here to share key consumer insights and trends, potential complications to plan for, and actionable recommendations to win.

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!

Sources: 1 | DigitalCommerce360  2 | DigitalCommerce360  3 | Numerator  4| Facebook


Mary Kate Evon

Analyst, Media

About the Author

Mary Kate Evon is an Analyst on the Paid Social and Display team. She has 2 years of digital media experience within media, measurement, and data visualization. Mary Kate focuses on retail, direct to consumer brands, and direct response campaigns. She is passionate for maximizing value from media investments!

More Media Insights

Holiday KPIs

Marketer's Guide to Holiday 2020 | Edition 3: Key Indicators to Watch

Expecting the unexpected is more critical than ever this holiday season. How can you avoid data overload, focus on... Read More »


Bethany Hawthorne

Senior Manager, Client Services

Holiday Planning

Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2020 | Edition 1: Playbook

The stakes have never been higher nor as unpredictable heading into the holiday season. This year will require more... Read More »


Steve Baxter

Executive Vice President, Media

Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day 2020: How to Win with Digital

Prime Day official dates were announced early yesterday morning sharing the event will run October 13th-14th, 2020. With Prime... Read More »


Maryjane Glynn

Senior Manager, Marketing

accent bar