How to make Amazon Prime Day a publishing success story

Commentary: CNET's 20-plus years of giving honest advice helped make us No. 1 on Prime Day.

Lindsey Turrentine EVP, Content and Audience
Lindsey Turrentine is executive vice president for content and audience. She has helped shape digital media since digital media was born.
Lindsey Turrentine
2 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

Forget "the truth hurts." The truth helps, at least when it comes to helping everyone find the best purchases on Amazon Prime Day

For more than 20 years, the world has turned to CNET for advice on which tech to buy, a daunting choice on any day -- and then there's Prime Day. Since Amazon invented its own shopping holiday in July 2015, the event has grown at such a meteoric rate that in 2018, Amazon's own servers couldn't handle the shopping load. In 2019, Walmart, Target, Macy's and hundreds of other retailers large and small countered with their own sales on the Prime Day holiday, which now spans two days. 

The sheer avalanche of 2019 Prime Day deals inspired us to turn up the volume on our research. This year, we assigned the bulk of our staff to Prime Day reporting over the two-day Prime Day window. We posted articles on available deals, but more importantly, we updated those stories as often as four times an hour to make sure anyone relying on us got the most current information about prices and availability. 

We didn't pull any punches. For our most popular story, for instance, we got selective about which deals we included and which we didn't. We got real about which deals actually save you money, and we updated the content constantly (which is why our top article now focuses on post-Prime Day deals, and is still answering reader questions). 
The strategy worked -- it worked for us and it worked for our audience. How can we tell? SimilarWeb, an independent market research firm, published a comparison of conversion rates, the number of clicks that turned into sales. CNET had the highest conversion rate on both days, which we attribute to CNET's reputation for trustworthy reviews and our tireless work sorting through Amazon's maze of offers to find the best deals for consumers. We also explained why those deals were good. In other words, hard editorial work matters.


It's honest advice like this that made CNET the trusted site for choosing Prime Day purchases.


According to SimilarWeb, "Referrals to amazon.com from cnet.com were the most efficient, boasting a 46% conversion rate, meaning that almost half the visitors to amazon.com referred from cnet.com on Prime Day 2019 converted." To put that in context, CNET's conversion rate trounces Amazon's own conversion rate of 13.5%. Our independent (and sometimes critical) content was more effective.

CNET's mission is iron-clad: to help consumers make informed tech-related decisions. That strategy succeeds on Prime Day because it succeeds every day of the year.

Amazon Prime Day 2019: The best deals

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