Within the paid search ecosystem, Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads (PLAs) play an important role, offering consumers an easy pathway to buy particular products that they are seeking. During the festive season, we know that those consumers are considerably more likely to make that purchase, so how does the performance of Google Shopping campaigns change during this season? And how are advertisers investing in these campaigns?

If we look across Shopping campaigns on the Kenshoo platform for the past week, we see that on the biggest shopping days—Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday—the overall conversion rate is considerably higher than the surrounding days, peaking at nearly 6% on Cyber Monday.

2014 PLA Conversion Rate

Not only are these ads more likely to convert during the heavy shopping season, they’re growing over time. When we compare to last year for retail advertisers in the U.S. who ran PLAs in 2013 and 2014, we see nearly double the amount of daily spend across the week of Thanksgiving. Peak spending also shifted this year from Cyber Monday to Black Friday.

2014 US PLA Spend

Similar to what we’ve reported for the overall search trends, the biggest year-over-year spend growth for PLA/Shopping campaigns among the key dates was on Thanksgiving (+143%), followed by Black Friday (+113%), and finally Cyber Monday (+59%).

While the shift in the spending peak and the slower growth might be seen as more evidence of Cyber Monday headed towards the same fate as every other use of the “cyber” label, it may be more that the day has just maximized its potential and doesn’t have as much additional room to grow.

Additionally, as we have pointed out, the “Christmas Creep” phenomenon means retailers are ramping investments earlier in the season to capture more shopping opportunities, which may impact the later-season dates. Obviously people are still buying on Cyber Monday and will likely continue to do so. Growing 59% year-over-year is nothing to shake a stick at.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Product Listings Ads in the U.K. only showed a modest bump headed into Cyber Monday last year, but as we have seen with overall search performance, advertisers have upped their spending starting on Black Friday. For the day, U.K. retailers increased spending on PLAs by 348% over Black Friday last year.

2014 UK PLA Spend

Kenshoo will continue to monitor key trends throughout the season, so stay tuned!