Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been the biggest retail shopping days in recent history. With Prime Day, Amazon made a move to spur another shopping spike in July, which was this year delayed until October 13 and 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Not wanting to miss out on the hype, Best Buy announced that it also would offer massive discounts at the same time, calling its version Early Black Friday. So how did these two retail giants compare in terms of their holiday ad strategies for these first huge retail events of 2020?
Let’s take a look at Pathmatics marketing intelligence data for the month prior to Amazon Prime Day and Best Buy’s Early Black Friday to find out.
All figures below were pulled for the advertisers Amazon Prime and Best Buy from September 13 to October 15, through the end of Amazon Prime Day.
Best Buy Goes All Out to Take Advantage of Prime Day Hype
Based on ad spend alone, comparing the expenditure for the Amazon Prime brand against Best Buy paints quite a picture.
Best Buy spent almost 4 times the amount on ads over the same period, promoting 3 times as many unique creatives in the process. But getting a true sense of the two brands priorities requires taking a closer look at the creatives each retailer focused on in the month leading up to Amazon Prime Day and Best Buy’s Early Black Friday sales.
Amazon Promotes Prime Day, Student Subscriptions, 2-hour Grocery Delivery, and More
According to Alexa website rankings, Amazon.com was the 12th most visited website in the world over the past 90 days. With all of the traffic coming to Amazon prime on a regular basis from its existing client base, the company certainly does not need to rely heavily on advertising to get the word out about Amazon Prime Day sales specifically.
That’s why the company’s top creatives are balanced between so many different offerings. The top creative by spend promotes Amazon’s 2-hour grocery delivery service that’s relevant during the pandemic and likely to draw new subscribers who may not be interested in grocery shopping in person. Amazon Student subscription promotions also make the top 10 with the clear goal of expanding Amazon’s client base of shoppers eligible to participate in Prime Day sales.
Prime Day-specific ad creatives do play a role in Amazon’s sale promotions, however. Three of the top 10 creatives, like the one above, promote Prime Day fashion deals ahead of the usual holiday shopping season.
Best Buy Invests in Video Ads Focused on the Early Black Friday Event
Best Buy focused most of its holiday ad spend to promote engaging video ads while the sale was already happening, taking advantage of online shoppers’ immediate access to its promotions from the ad to the online store.
Coming in at rank 179 of Alexa’s most heavily trafficked websites, Best Buy simply can’t rely on organic web traffic to spread the word about its sales in the same way that Amazon can. The company also does not require membership to participate like Amazon Prime does, leaving Best Buy with the freedom and best interest to focus its advertising budget on the big event.
Half of Best Buy’s top creatives all focus on Early Black Friday deals and ran exclusively on October 13 and 14. Another campaign ran for the weeks leading up to Early Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day, this one focusing instead on other factors where Best Buy can compete with Amazon: home delivery, including at 1-hour intervals, and at-home appliance installation (feature an illustrated delivery person wearing a mask, of course).
Next up, Walmart and Target have announced similar online retail events. 2020’s holiday shopping season is shaping up to start early—how will smaller retailers respond to this trend? Check out how your favorite retailers are promoting their offerings during this time using Pathmatics Explorer, or check back here for more advertising news as the shopping season continues to ramp up.
With over a decade of experience across digital marketing, content, creative, and PR, Sarah is a creative and dynamic thinker who loves to delight clients with unique and relatable content. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology.