Black Friday Online Sales Performance 2016

There was a lot of talk before Black Friday suggesting that this season would not see nearly the same growth as it had in previous years. In fact, advertisers anticipated that in-store sales would take a massive hit as most people turned to the internet for the majority of their shopping. Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, we can accurately determine what success the massive shopping day actually received.

According to Sky News, “Black Friday failed to deliver a double-digit surge in online sales growth while high street shopping visits unexpectedly rose, according to industry figures.”

“Online purchases climbed by 6.7% compared to last year but this well short of a forecast for 25%, and was a big slowdown compared with a rise of 31% in 2015.

Footfall – a measure of shopper visits – was up by 2%, with high street growth at 2.8% beating retail park and shopping centre growth. Footfall was expected to decline by 5%.

We’ve taken a look at a sample base of our client activity and determined our own stats from the holiday.

Black Friday Performance

From the data collected, we found that (on average) Black Friday revenue was up by 13% year on year (YoY), with an 8% YoY increase for Cyber Monday.

black-friday-year-on-year-stats

  • Black Friday increased its dominance over Cyber Monday in terms of traffic, conversion rate and revenue:
    • Black Friday saw 251% more traffic, 384% more revenue, and a 152% higher conversion rate compared to the November average.
    • Cyber Monday only saw 172% more traffic, 190% more revenue, and a 114% higher conversion rate compared to the November average.

black-friday-vs-cyber-monday-performance

 

Breakdown By Device

black-friday-2016-device-breakdown

  • 55% of traffic on Black Friday was generated on mobile devices. This is up from 46% last year.
  • 38% of Black Friday Revenue was driven from mobile devices which is up from 31% last year.
  • Not surprisingly based on last year’s trends, revenue from desktop and tablet dropped by 4%  YoY.
  • Mobile and tablet traffic increased over the Saturday and Sunday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

black-friday-2016-stats-by-day-and-device

Time of Day Performance by Device

Black Friday continues to show a daytime dominated trend with desktop and mobile revenue peaking before midday. Tablet, however, continues to perform best during the evening.

black-friday-revenue-by-time-of-dayblack-friday-time-of-day-performance

 

Performance by Country

  • Looking at the performance uplift in markets outside of the UK, US, and Canada which have traditionally performed well on Black Friday:
    • France saw the biggest uplift in traffic generating nearly 2.5x the November daily average.
    • Germany, Ireland, and the Nordic markets also saw significant uplifts in traffic.
    • Spain saw the highest uplift in revenue on Black Friday, generating nearly 7x the November daily average.

black-friday-performance-by-country

 

With Black Friday gone, Christmas is fast approaching. If you want to make sure your sales continue during the holiday period check out our “12 Day of Christmas Strategy” blog series for all the latest inside tips to achieve the best performance possible.

NMPi #1 Elite Media Agency!

We are thrilled to announce that NMPi has topped the Elite Media Agencies poll in this years Drum Digital Census.

The census evaluates agencies based on their achievements across financial performance and client satisfaction. We are honoured to be recognised not only for our growth over the past year, but more importantly by our clients who have supported us and believe in the work we deliver.

This couldn’t have been achieved without our clients as well as our talented staff, so thank you to everyone who has been a part of this great success.

Pouring the champaign and #celebrating.

A video posted by NMPi (@nmpi_digital) on

Managing Director, Luke Judge, expressed his excitement at the news, “This is a real testament to the excellent work done by the NMPi team. Over the next year we are going to continue to grow and push the limits in digital innovation. We will be better than ever, and will continue to maximise performance for our clients.”

What to Track this Holiday Season

Many retailers have already begun their Black Friday Sales, and more will join in the lead up to this Friday. But sales are not the only valuable thing that brands should be looking at during the largest sales period of the year.

Advertisers risk losing out on something almost as valuable as sales, customer data. It can be difficult to reach relevant shoppers during gifting periods, so tracking this holiday season’s information can be incredibly important to future holiday sales promotions. This data can be re-examined and re-used in next year’s campaigns. Here are a few easy ways to collect, and use your data wisely.

  1. Appropriate Tag Set Up – Tags are crucial to gathering consumer data and helping segment audiences (see next point). Focus tags on specific pages such as, the home page, product page, and basket page, to be able to reach consumers at the right stage of purchasing.  Bid higher for users on basket pages, as they are more likely to convert. Another tip is to create an onsite tag to collect customer information, as well as the addition of a field that reports if that page has a Black Friday deal.
  2. Building Audiences – Use data within your CRM to create an audience list of prior customers, with a focus on previous Black Friday shoppers. You can determine these users based on on-site tracking, and linking them to Black Friday keywords. A list like this will allow you to target users most likely to come to your site for Black Friday sales. Similarly, you can also build audiences from Facebook, and email lists. To make the most out of data, it can be applied to Programmatic Display retargeting campaigns.
  3. Google Analytics – Google Analytics gives advertisers the ability to capture in-depth consumer data. If you have not already done so, set up an account to track useful information such as time-of-day searches, trends, and site behaviours. You can then use this information to allocate next year’s budget.

If you keep these tips in mind, you can make your data work harder and build the foundation for a successful Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day season.

‘Miracle off Oxford Street’: The Shift from In-store to Online

Black Friday is kicking it up a notch with more shoppers than ever moving from out on the streets, to inside their homes, as online shopping is expected to skyrocket during the start of the holiday season.

The Brick-and-Mortar Decline

Retailer information specialist, Verdict, has predicted that retailers will see will see a sharp downturn in brick-and-mortar sales this Black Friday. This doesn’t seem to have many retailers sweating at the collar, even though it looks like the shop-shunning trend will continue this season.  Retailers will try and stem the loss of Christmas sales, and the mounting costs associated with Black Friday, such as additional staff, and an increase in operational requirements.

Even in the US, the birthplace of Black Friday, retailers such as Target have implemented a longer shopping period, rather than relying on a one-day frenzy. Target rolled out a 10-day shopping extravaganza entitled: “10 Days of Deals” that discounts certain product ranges over the course of the period.

UK retailers cited shopping fatigue, and administrative chaos as part of the reason some have turned their backs on Black Friday. They feel they have been forced to offer deep discounts for several weeks that practically give away items and cut into regular priced Christmas sales. Another point to consider is that while Americans have the day off after Thanksgiving, no such holiday exists in the UK, meaning in-store turn out is bound to be lower due to work.

The unmanageable influx of foot traffic, operational woes and skewing of traditional Christmas revenues have many UK retailers disillusioned with in-store Black Friday events. Sixty-one percent see the shopping day as an ‘unprofitable and unsustainable promotion.

The Online Shift

It sounds like doom and gloom, but for retailers who are still participating in the largest revenue generating day of the year, Black Friday will see growth in online shopping. This means retailers will really need to be on top of their online strategy.

For the reasons stated above, in addition to the increase in mobile and tablet purchases, we are expecting to see the majority of shopping happen online this holiday season. In order to maximise sales, retailers will need to prepare for a heavy influx of online traffic and have everything in place to avoid website crashes or slow loading times.

Consumers have shown a preference for online shopping; tired of battling the crowds for a limited number of products and returning home frustrated and empty handed. A few quick taps, and the product can be delivered or collected hassle free. Black Friday will continue this eCommerce trend and survive digitally in the UK, even if in-store sales slump. Retailers with a strong multi-channel strategy in place will reap the rewards of the growth in online shopping.

Black Friday: Last Minute Tech Tips

How do you prepare for Black Friday? What steps do you take to mitigate potential issues and prepare your clientele? At NMPi we’re ready to tackle the pending holiday madness with a few tech strategies to ensure a smooth, and successful holiday run.

Monitoring

Websites take a lot of strain on Black Friday so by monitoring heavy activity, it allows us to react in the unlikely event a client’s website is taken offline due to a large influx of traffic. If the client website goes down, all the campaigns are instantly paused, allowing the client not to lose any ad spend due to technical difficulties. We currently monitor site traffic every single minute, 24-7.

Google Analytics API

If you don’t have it already, we recommend getting access to, or asking your agency about, Google Analytics real-time API which allows us to get an accurate snapshot of the number of people on a client’s product page. At NMPi, our analysts are alerted if the number of visitors goes over a certain threshold allowing us to react during Black Friday to hot products and adjust bids accordingly.

Scripts

Script management is important during Black Friday and the following holiday shopping period. It enables campaigns to run more smoothly, automating activity where speed and accuracy are vital. We’re currently running several scripts that help keep us on top of activity during Black Friday- During this busy period, it’s a good idea to run scripts that detect 404 errors and broken links to ensure these pages are rectified before launching your Black Friday campaigns. Another good idea is to launch a script that monitors the landing page and watches for out-of-stock items so that you can pause your activity and conserve your client’s ad spend. Given the speed at which transactions occur on BlackFriday, we recommend running this script over the course of the entire day.

Black Friday is around the corner, with these tech adjustments, you can ensure a successful and smooth holiday campaign season.

Need help with your Black Friday and Holiday campaigns? Contact us

Pinterest Play? Instagram Takes Steps Towards Shoppable Ads

Instagram waded into the shoppable ads arena when it trialled its version of the popular ‘buy now’ button with twenty US brands. The social photo sharing platform has taken steps to close the gap between browsing and shopping by allowing users to learn more about products from within their app, and then purchase them seamlessly. If this sounds eerily like Pinterest, you may be onto something.

Instagram recently ran afoul of Snapchat when it was accused of copying Snapchat Stories with its Instagram Stories.  After several failed attempts to purchase the platform, Mark Zuckerberg did the next best thing, copied Snapchat’s most coveted feature, Stories, on Facebook-owned Instagram as Instagram Stories.

Instagram is ready to play copycat again with its venture into Shoppable Ads. It set about testing posts with select brands in the US to allow users to learn more about the products they see before buying them. Instagram presents the user with a ‘tap to view’ icon at the bottom left of each photo which expands tags for up to five products. The tags contain the details and cost of the items but don’t immediately appear, users must hover over the ‘tap to view’ indicator to see a featured item. Users can then scroll through the products shown and decide to purchase from within the app.

Pinterest has had this feature for some time, and has seen remarkable results. 75% of its users have purchased something on the platform or because of it.  Pinterest users stay on the platform for approximately fifteen minutes per visit, giving marketers plenty of time to deliver ads to them. The demographic for Pinterest and Instagram used to vary widely, with Instagram being the platform predominantly for Gen Z and younger Millennials, and Pinterest skewing predominantly towards women in their late 20s to early 40s. Recently, Pinterest has seen a spike in Millennial use, with 67% of its users falling into that category.  Instagram is eager to cash-in on this potential new source of revenue and is now strongly courting brands to use its platform to reach their younger demographic. Add to this, the eventuality of a ‘save for later’ button, and Instagram fully moves into Pinterest’s territory as a save and shop platform.

This latest development is aimed at Instagram’s discovery audience, i.e., those who use the platform to look for the latest items but aren’t sure what they want just yet. Much like Pinterest, it enables retailers to capture users as they are information gathering and turn them from inspired browsers to buyers.

Why is this development important?

  • It cuts out a step/barrier to purchase. Users don’t need to leave the app and open a separate search window to find out more about the products they like. They can navigate and get all the pertinent information they need all within Instagram’s platform.
  • The consumer can then hit ‘shop now’ from within the tags and be taken directly to complete their purchase on the retailer’s website.
  • It solves the problem of inserting unwieldy captions to redirect users to click on links to circumvent Instagram’s ban on organic links within posts.
  • Shoppable ads have the potential to steal revenue from online shopping giant, Amazon, as users are heading onto sites like Pinterest and Instagram to discover new products and get alternative shopping ideas.
  • Most mobile use is spent in-app. Instagram has the highest rate of mobile use among social networks in the US. Given that Instagram is primarily mobile-focused, making products shoppable is a vital step for the social media platform and for brands that have a significant following on it.

Twenty popular US retailers have joined the endeavour, predominantly up-market brands such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade New York, Coach, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister. The tags will be initially rolled out to iOS users in the US, but there are definite plans in the works to expand globally. Currently, this is a free service to post to your followers but Instagram plans to monetise the shoppable format by allowing brands to advertise to relevant target groups outside of their followers.

While advertisers have seen success using Instagram ads, only time will tell how users will react to yet another form of advertising. If it does not alienate its original base of photography enthusiasts, it has the potential drive significant ROI from Instagram.