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Social eCommerce is The Darling of Cyber Weekend

4 MINUTE READ | December 2, 2019

Social eCommerce is The Darling of Cyber Weekend

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

PMG’s data analysis demonstrates 45% of retailer investments went into paid social, yielding 33% of all revenue for Cyber Weekend 2019. 

Today we released the results of its Cyber Weekend advertising report findings. Our team analyzed over 40M+ clicks, across $200M+ in media spend, and $1B in attributed revenue to identify key trends that arose day by day during the four-day holiday sales event (Nov. 28 – Dec. 1). The data highlights critical trends across the media mix, including efficiencies by channel and overall shopping habits seen throughout Cyber Weekend 2019.

Most notably, the data reveals social eCommerce continues to be the darling of 2019, with over 45% of retailer’s investments going into paid social this holiday sales season, generating nearly 33% of all revenue. An incredible feat knowing these two stats were less than 15% in 2018.

Additional key takeaways from this report include:

With a late Thanksgiving holiday, this was the first time since 2013 that “peak week” landed at the end of November, which, despite retailers’ best effort to kick off the holiday season early with preemptive promos, ultimately resulted in consumers spending more time window shopping and less time purchasing. Ahead of Thanksgiving Day, retailers experienced record amounts of traffic and time spent on site, but very soft conversion rates.

However, the early bird efforts were not in vain, as some brands experienced CPCs, CPMs, and other cost metrics down — in some cases, down roughly 41% compared to LY.

Once the pumpkin pie was gone and Thanksgiving afternoon rolled around, consumer shopping kicked off with a new twist as millions relied on newfound social commerce opportunities —like the eye-catching Instagram Story Ads and Facebook’s Carousels— to find the perfect gifts this season. While search and PLAs still brought in the lion’s share of revenue, social channels captured almost 30% of total conversion activities —a first, compared to a mere 16% just last year.

As people worked off the turkey day lull, Black Friday deals certainly woke them up. The industry saw record-breaking performance, with many brands experiencing their biggest online shopping days in history. Black Friday is almost always successful, but even this was beyond expectation: 

  • Every major metric, including CTR, ROI, Revenue, CPM, and CPC, all surpassed even the most aggressive forecasts.

  • A record number of consumers, both new and returning, flocked to retailers’ websites buying more and at larger basket sizes.

  • The early hours and late-night hours were some of the most successful revenue-driving hours of the entire day, emphasizing how all-encompassing Black Friday shopping truly is.

While the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is typically a bit slower, some impressive trends that came to the surface include:

  • As anticipated, the weekend hours comped about ⅓ of all traffic and revenue.

  • Performance on the afternoon and evening hours of Sunday is already picking back up. Current and historical trends show that conversion rate, CTR, and ROI see nice upward ticks as shoppers take advantage of the weekend’s last deals and email blasts.

  • Significant competition and bidding increases were seen across CPCs and CPMs, signaling what should be a standout Cyber Monday as brands ramp up their final promos to keep the momentum going through the extended holiday weekend.

“With a record-breaking Black Friday under our belts, retailers are gearing up for Cyber Monday, which should be the biggest day of the entire event,” said Nick Drabicky, VP of Client Strategy, PMG. “Performance over the holidays can be lead indicators for the success of the brand the following year, as well as overall brand strength. It will be interesting to see how the notable trends that have surfaced at the kickstart of the holiday sales season continue to influence retailers’ strategy during the remainder of this month, and set the stage for 2020.”

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