Another Cyber Monday, and Another Mobile Story in the Books

Another Cyber Monday has come and gone, and while the industry saw a stronger than anticipated Thanksgiving weekend, Monday’s all-day Cyber event has proven it’s still the most important day of the year for retailers. Paid search results are in for PMX Agency clients, which show slightly less year-over-year growth than Black Friday 2016 (27%); but nonetheless our retailers still saw growth in the double digits, with revenue increases averaging 18% over 2015. We saw a variety of offers from retail clients throughout the day – some testing more aggressive strategies than others. Because brands had somewhat less time to get their customers into the shopping mindset, the industry saw earlier deals and promotions last week, and we’ll likely see some extend into the month of December.

So, what were the main dynamics at play during Cyber Monday 2016, and did they differ from Black Friday? In short, no. Similar trends reported on Black Friday held true – revenue was up, alongside increased costs, with click-through-rates (CTRs) down 21%.

Cyber Monday 1

As reported for Black Friday, the two key factors at play for Cyber Monday 2016 were:

  1. Mobile
  2. Google’s new SERP

Increased Investments Key

As on Friday, pay-to-play was still the name of the game on Monday, with CPCs up 18% on average. With a lower overall conversion rate for most retailers – particularly given the continued Mobile growth – an increase in spend (30%) was critical in order to gain the needed exposure, and drive more traffic/clicks. The mobile interface and Google’s new SERP layout, both of which generally favor a visually appealing user experience, resulted in an increase of 37% for product listing ad clicks. Dynamic search also saw double digit click growth. With only a slight increase of 4% (all of which came from mobile), keyword clicks are seemingly becoming less of a factor in search, likely due to the loss of right rail ads. The growth in average position on the results page increased to 1.5, up from 2.4 last year – also speaking to the impact of Mobile and Google’s new SERP on improving position, while simultaneously driving costs up.

Cyber Monday 2

Gaining More Mobile Momentum

Mobile is where we saw the strongest growth in all areas, including costs – CPCs were up an average of 37% versus 15% on desktop. Impression growth was 87%, with year-over-year mobile clicks contributing to more than half of total click traffic, where in 2015 we saw it drive less than half the clicks. With the ease, convenience and on-demand nature of mobile, customers are getting more comfortable with the mobile shopping experience, but conversion rates still came in lower than what we saw on desktop. Similarly, Adobe reported mobile’s lesser share of total sales compared to desktop; however the growth potential is becoming clearer, especially with desktop showing a 2.5% loss in clicks over 2015. If retailers want those sales, they’ll need to grab them at a much lower last click return on investment.

Cyber Monday 3

Cyber Monday closed with an overall positive story, with learnings we can absolutely implement into next year’s strategies. The question is: what’s coming next? Every year, the landscape changes in significant ways – from enhanced campaigns, to mobile-first, to the new SERP. We know that with each change comes an important opportunity to meet the ever-evolving, sophisticated consumer. With all of this in mind, our teams will be ready to take action for whatever comes our way!

A special thanks to the most amazing, unrelenting digital marketers on the planet, who work so hard to deliver these results and bring amazing insights to our clients– The PMX team.

More to come as this Holiday Season progresses!

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