Chris "Coz" Costello, Senior Director of Marketing Research @ Kenshoo
This year’s holiday season kicked off with one burning question for marketers: Can I put turkey gravy on anything if I put my mind to it?
Okay, two questions: Is Cyber Monday still the “biggest online shopping day of the year?”
If we’re honest, marketers may not have been asking that question, either. But maybe they should.
Cyber Monday has a dubious origin story to begin with. Online spend and purchases on the Monday after Thanksgiving were bigger than that for Black Friday, which was the biggest shopping day of the year. So it was assumed that Cyber Monday must be the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Except the initial analysis didn’t think to include any other days between that opening weekend and the holiday itself. Other research showed that every Monday between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the biggest day for online shopping of that week, and the second and third Mondays after Thanksgiving were actually bigger than the first.
Still, the idea of Cyber Monday stuck, and over the years, it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Marketers spend on advertising, media talks it up, and consumers consume the deals that are focused on that day.
The reason Cyber Monday–even the notion of multiple Cyber Mondays–was a thing in the first place was because in the dark ages of the mid-2000s, broadband Internet was still much more common in workplaces than at home, and mobile data plans were hardly a blip on the radar. The phenomenon was mostly a function of a better shopping experience on a desktop, on a high-speed network that wasn’t available elsewhere.
Now, of course, all of that has changed. Mobile shopping is becoming the rule rather than the exception, and home broadband penetration is ubiquitous in many households. So, has that pulled the center of gravity away from Cyber Monday as a big shopping day?
The answer is definitely yes. In fact, according to analysis of Kenshoo clients in the retail and e-commerce industry, both social ad spending and search shopping campaign spending was higher on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday, although keyword search ad spending was still bigger on Cyber Monday, to the point where Monday still won the overall crown across both search and social channels.
When we compare this to the last two years, we see the share of spend during the “Cyber Five” stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday clearly shifting.
You may notice that we’re talking about global data. In fact, advertisers outside of the US and Canada, particularly Latin America, are a key driver of this shift towards Black Friday, which is becoming a more global phenomenon, and away from Cyber Monday, which is largely a US creation.
If we consider only advertisers who spent in the holidays both last year and this year, we see that Thanksgiving showed the highest spending growth for Social ads, while Black Friday grew at the fastest rate for Search. Overall, this yielded a 17% increase in search spending for the five-day period compared to last year, and a 84% increase in social ad spending.
While a 17% increase for search is more robust than the overall search growth that Kenshoo has tracked this year and is nothing to sneeze at, the 84% jump in social spending warrants further investigation.
Last year was the first year where Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Products really made an impact on social ad campaigns, and this year, we would expect those advertisers who found success with this ad type to invest more this year, and also for more advertisers to jump on board.
In fact, spending on Dynamic Ads for Products increased by over 300% compared to last year on a same-advertiser basis, and made up 38% of social e-commerce ad spending during the week of Thanksgiving this year, compared to 26% last year.
The first five days of the season are, obviously, just the beginning of the 2017 holiday story. Check back with Kenshoo throughout December and January for more marketing tips and insights!