The 2014 peak shopping season brought joy to retailers, as highlighted in our 2014 Global Online Retail Seasonal Shopping Report, offering endless opportunities to increase brand visibility and generate consumer engagement during this high-traffic time period.

While traditional key dates including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday drove exponential YoY increases in search, mobile, product listing ad (PLA), and mobile performance, a new standout day emerged – Thanksgiving Day.

The transition of Thanksgiving Day from a traditional holiday to a key shopping day supports the hypothesis that the peak shopping season is getting longer each year, with sales starting earlier than the year prior. When we reported on some earlier seasonal numbers, we noted the growing prominence of Thanksgiving, which witnessed the greatest year-over-year (YoY) increases in both spend and revenue of the early season.

When looking at the season as a whole, all paid search key performance indicators (KPIs) including click volume, advertising spend, revenue, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate increased YoY on all key dates, a sign of a healthy shopping season. The largest paid search growth, however, occurred on Thanksgiving Day.

Holiday-Chart

We know that over the past few years brick-and-mortar stores have opened their doors on Thanksgiving to nab earlier shoppers, but this online growth is significant because it demonstrates the trend of more consumers turning to the Web to make purchases on this day.

One of the most interesting shopping season trends we saw was paid search engagement by device on key dates throughout the season. As shown in the chart below, consumers relied heavily on mobile phones to search and make purchases on Thanksgiving Day, driving 40% of total clicks on that day.

Paid Search Clicks by Device

As Thanksgiving Day continues to gain significance for retailers, it is imperative that marketers adjust their strategies for next year to capture the attention of consumers browsing on their phones while eating turkey dinner.

Not only did paid search stimulate YoY growth on Thanksgiving Day, but a similar trend was seen across paid social campaigns. Thanksgiving Day led the pack among all other key dates driving a 16% YoY increase in ad spend that generated a 35% YoY increase in revenue. This could point toward social beginning to follow the trend of the growing impact of the early shopping season leading up to Thanksgiving, as witnessed across search.

Social Spend and Revenue

As each shopping season passes, retailers are able to learn from the performance and trends that they see and apply them to future efforts. To uncover all shopping season highlights and trends for yourself, download the 2014 Global Online Retail Seasonal Shopping Report now!