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 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.



Breakdown By Device


  • 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.


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.



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.



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.

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.


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.


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