:: By Matt Swan, Affiliate Window ::
Previously we put forward our predictions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Having analyzed our data across our performance marketing network it is now possible to revisit these predictions and see if they were correct.
Consumers to benefit
There is no denying consumers were the big winners over this period. With advertisers offering numerous promotions there were plenty of bargains to be had. There was heavy discounting across a large range of products and consumers flocked online to make the most of this. From money off to price matching, savvy consumers were sure to find a bargain.
Advertisers to move early for a competitive advantage
Numerous advertisers were eager to secure the prime promotional slots across publisher sites and inclusion within their newsletters. Those that acted early clearly saw the benefits. One particular advertiser in general retail saw a strong performance after securing prominent positioning across a number of publisher sites and the impact on Black Friday sales can be seen clearly in the chart below.
Having focused specifically on Black Friday, they did not see a similar peak on Cyber Monday.
As well as retail, we saw strong performance across the ticketing sector and also travel as a number of advertisers within this sector had strong offers in place.
There will be other contenders to the throne but Thanksgiving weekend will remain king
Each year additional peak days tend to be touted. This year was no different with various commentators expecting to see increased activity later in the month.
However, Cyber Monday was the best performing day across the network and this coincides with what media outlets reported with Cyber Monday smashing all previous online spending records with $2.29 billion spent in one day.
Black Friday led the way in terms of traffic but sales peaked on Cyber Monday as improved conversion rates meant an increase in transactions.
With heavy discounting across our advertiser base, it was unsurprising to see average order values were lower over this period with Cyber Monday seeing an AOV of $117.
Will we see consumers purchase later?
It was widely anticipated there would be peaks post Black Friday/Cyber Monday. With many consumers waiting to get more bargains closer to Christmas and last delivery dates becoming later, it would not have been surprising. However, we haven’t seen any days come close to this peak both in terms of traffic and sales.
With the vast range of offers across Thanksgiving weekend, consumers took full advantage. Across the network it is evident this was by far the busiest period for our advertisers.
With post-Christmas sales almost upon us already, it will be interesting to monitor the activity over the coming weeks to see if Black Friday/Cyber Monday does get eclipsed.
Gearing up for a mobile Christmas
Last year saw 6 percent of sales across the network originate from a mobile handset on Cyber Monday. We predicted this would be eclipsed this year. While the share of handset sales was up this year, it hadn’t increased by as much as we expected at 6.45 percent. However, Black Friday did see a surge in handset sales with 10 percent of sales originating from a handset.
We typically see our mobile sales peak at weekends and the top performing day for mobile devices was Sunday, Nov. 17th when we saw 30.2 percent of sales originating from a mobile device (handset and tablet).
In summary, Black Friday and (especially) Cyber Monday remained the most important shopping days in the build up to Christmas. Although we did see activity later in the month, nothing quite compared to the Thanksgiving weekend.
As expected, mobile also played a key role during this period and advertisers that were quick to promote their offers gained an advantage. With Christmas rapidly approaching and the post-Christmas sales beginning earlier each year, we can expect to see strong activity across the network in the coming weeks.
Matt Swan is a Client Strategist at global performance marketing network, Affiliate Window. He works with advertisers to offer strategic advice to optimize campaigns. He also contributes to new business pitches and is an active member of the IAB AMC.