2015: The Year of Cyber Black Friday

It’s official: they’d rather just stay home, if given the option. With multiple media outlets reporting in-store traffic down on Black Friday, and stores like Target and Walmart offering the same promotions online as in store, the holiday season sales growth started online on Thanksgiving. And stayed online.

By the time the coffee was ready Black Friday morning, in-store sales were already being reported as “disappointing”. But then, there’s online.  On Black Friday, PM Digital’s paid search clients averaged a 25% year over year growth in sales!  CPC (cost per click) increases continued as we’ve witnessed all year, rising 16%, but the increase was not inconsistent with similarly competitive days in paid search in years past. See our below chart for Year-over-Year Holiday 2015 SEM Growth that looks at Black Friday data:

blackfridaychart1

And it seems that all of the efforts around mobile strategy and optimization have paid off. Mobile paid search revenue (on a much smaller base) was up 427% for our clients in paid search, thanks to triple-digit conversion rate increases!  45% of paid search clicks were on smartphones, with CPCs up 73%, thanks to both an aggressive position one strategy and competition from big box retailers. While computers still drove 58% of the revenue, mobile volume as a share nearly doubled to 24%, with tablet revenue share essentially flat at 17%.

blackfridaychart2

A Nod to Thanksgiving

Despite aggressive mobile search programs from big box retailers like Belk, PM Digital’s clients (many of which are direct to consumer wholesale brands, competing with their retail distributers in paid search) saw Thanksgiving Day revenue up 13% year over year in paid search, with CPCs up 16% in order to capture that converting traffic.  One important KPI to note however, is that PM Digital clients saw fewer sites struggle with website stability. Last year in particular, the surprising Thanksgiving Day traffic lead to a lot of disappointing site issues – the number of clients that saw similar issues this year dropped by more than 50%.  With the knowledge of last year’s Thanksgiving Day blitz, clients were much more aware and prepared for the influx of traffic this year.

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