Amazon Product Launch Strategy: 90% Off Promos

February 14, 2018
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Do 90% off promotions still work for ranking Amazon products?

Are 90% off promotions still effective as an Amazon product launch strategy? The question is making its rounds in the Facebook groups, and we’ll answer it now by digging into the data.

Are 90% Off Promotions Effective?

A launch is a deeply discounted promotional giveaway used to increase your Amazon sales, and more importantly your keyword ranking, allowing you to capture more impressions, clicks, and sales. Sellers want their product on the coveted page one, so they discount units to 90% off, offer them to Viral Launch’s buyer audience, and match the daily sales of top sellers in their markets.

Here at Viral Launch, we’ve run over 30,000 product launches. We currently run over 300 launches each day. For each launch, we track keyword ranking for multiple keywords, BSR fluctuations, organic sales and promotional sales. This massive amount of data we’ve accumulated gives us incredible insight into what is working and what is not.

When rumors spread and sellers ask if 90% off promotions don’t work anymore, we turn to the data. And the data is clear: 90% off promotions are still effective for ranking products.

Case (Study) and Point

If 90% off promotions did become ineffective for ranking products (as an Amazon product launch strategy), we would be the first to notice. Since we track multiple keywords for each and every launched product, we would see a major shift in our data. We would also be the first to notify our community, as we never want to promote an ineffective tactic. Viral Launch exists to be the launchpad to success, and we take our clients and their businesses very seriously.

With over 300 promotions running each day, we still see tremendous ranking results for launches that are set up correctly. Here are just a few of the hundreds of recent, successful launches.

*Note: We cannot share the specifics of a launch, such as the actual product or keyword, in the best interests of our clients. 

Tools & Home Improvement Product: This seller gave 35 units per day and achieved end rank on day 6

Start rank: 22 / End rank: 1

A graph showing the Amazon 90% off promotion is successful in helping the product get to rank 1 over time

Sports & Outdoors Product: This seller gave 50 units per day and achieved end rank on day 6

Start rank: 50+ / End rank: 7

Graph showing start and end rank of a Sports/Outdoor Amazon product using the 90% off promotion

Pets Product: This seller gave 35 units per day and achieved end rank on day 6

Start rank: 50+ / End rank: 8

Start and end rank for an amazon product over time as shown on Viral Launch

Clothing Product: This seller gave 30 units per day and achieved end rank on day 8

Start rank: 50+ / End rank: 3

Graph showing start and end rank for an office product on the Viral Launch Market Intelligence tool

Office Product: This seller gave 15 units per day and achieved end rank on day 8

Start rank: 50+ / End rank: 1

A graph showing the Amazon product starting at rank 50+ and ending at rank 1 after a 90% off promotion

Kitchen & Dining Product: This seller gave 20 units per day and achieved end rank on day 8

Start rank: 50+ / End rank: 8

A graph showing the Amazon 90% off promo was effective in increasing amazon product rank

Sample Set of 94 Launches from Early 2018

23% ranked #1 for the target keyword

52% ranked in the top 10 for the target keyword

93% increased rank for the target keyword

Data from 94 product launches in 2018 presented by Viral Launch

Reasons for the Myth

This myth is not a new one. Every few months, rumor seems to spread that 90% off promotions are no longer effective for keyword ranking. But why has this rumor resurfaced over the past few months? We see six major reasons for why some 90% off promotions are ineffective for ranking, a major contributor to the spread of this myth.

  • Inefficient Sales History: The single largest reason this myth has been spreading over the past few month is because of sales history. Products that are currently ranking at the top saw a major sales boost over the holiday season, creating a very strong sales history. These launches that aren’t increasing in rank are typically not giving enough units to overcome the top sellers’ current sales and that strong sales history from the holidays. Listen to our podcast episode about why sales history on Amazon is crucial for ranking.
  • Not Enough Units: Many of the launches that do not achieve the desired ranking are simply caused by not giving a sufficient number of units. To rank for a keyword, you want to match or exceed the top sellers’ daily sales for a period of 7 to 10 days. Learn how to choose the number of units to give away during a launch.
  • Low Coupon Redemption: Some sellers see a disparity in coupons given and coupons redeemed. This is often caused by variation confusion or a falsely inputted promo price. An example of this is giving out 100 coupons with only 60 claimed, and this will result in a less effective launch. If you have variations and want to make sure you’ll see high redemption rates, reach out to our coaching team for assistance.
  • Targeting Too Many Keywords: Sellers can input up to four keywords per launch, but the more keywords that are targeted, the less units will go to each one. For example, if you give 100 units targeting one keyword through the Organic URL, all 100 sales will be attributed to that one keyword. But if you give 100 units targeting two keywords, the units will be split and 50 units will be attributed to each keyword. Essentially, this cuts the ranking power in half for each keyword. For this reason, it is often smarter to target one keyword with more units in order to achieve the desired keyword ranking. Learn how to choose the target keyword for your Viral Launch.
  • Missing Keyword in Title: Keywords in your title are crucial because with each sale, each word in your title is fair game for a boost in ranking. This means your most important keywords should be in your title. For this reason, when running a launch, if your target keyword is not in your title, you likely will not see ranking.
  • Lack of Patience: Keyword ranking during a launch generally takes at least 2-3 days to take effect, but it can often take up to 5 or even 10 days from when a promotion begins. Some sellers write in concerned or end their launch early after only 1 or 2 days. It’s important to have patience and wait for the rank to increase. To ensure your launch is set up for success, reach out to our coaching team.

Myth: Busted

This myth is not a new one. It seems to resurface every few months with sellers wondering if this is truly the end for deeply discounted promotions. But time and time again, the data says otherwise for launches that are set up correctly. With countless examples of successful 90% off promotions each and every day, we remain confident that a strategic launch can drive results. We expect this change to come some day, but that day has yet to come. Rest assured, if/when that day does arrive, we will be sure to let you know.

Pro Tip: Setting Up Your Promotion for Success

With Viral Launch, you can upload your product to our system and schedule the launch, and then we will distribute your one-time-use coupon codes to our massive buyer audience. With targeted sales driven to your listing, you can increase rank for your chosen keyword with the goal of increasing your organic sales.

In order to achieve your desired ranking, your launch must be set up correctly. Here are some tips to consider as you’re scheduling your launch:

  • Make sure your listing is setup for maximum conversions. Once you achieve ranking, you need sales to “stick.” And to get those sales, you need an optimized listing with a competitive price point (this means not pricing your “premium” product 50% above market average), professional photography that shows off your product, and enticing sales copy.
  • Choose a target keyword with solid demand where you can convert. You want to make sure the keyword that you’ll be ranking for will have lots of people searching, and you want to be sure it is a search term that your product is relevant for.
  • Run your 90% off promotion for a period of 7 to 10 days. This is long enough for Amazon to recognize the change in sales but short enough to limit the total number of units you’ll have to give away at a loss.
  • Match or exceed the daily sales of the top sellers in your market. This will let Amazon’s algorithm know that your product is competitive with those at the top of your target keyword. To see how many units the top sellers are moving each day, use a product research tool like Market Intelligence.
  • To “stick” or maintain rank, you need to continue matching the sales of top sellers in the market. The hope with a launch is for your product to sell competitively organically. Many sellers will run aggressive PPC right after a launch, or they’ll choose to run a maintenance launch. A maintenance launch involves giving away a smaller number of units over the next week or two to help maintain the ranking as organic sales pick up.

Launch Your Product

Want to learn step-by step how to successfully run a 90% off promotion and develop an Amazon product launch strategy? Checkout our launch walkthrough video series. Ready to launch? Create a free Viral Launch account to get started!

Please reach out to our team with any questions about 90% off promotions, how to correctly set up a Viral Launch, Amazon product launch strategy, or selling on Amazon in general. We would love to help launch your business to the next level. Still have questions? Check out our Amazon seller podcast episode on this very topic, where Casey (CEO) and Cameron (Seller Coach) dive into the data to dispel this widespread concern among Amazon sellers.

Try Viral Launch, the all-in-one solution for new and established Amazon sellers.

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