Revenue outgrows users on Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2017

Return’s strategy team has released the first wave of results from this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday ecommerce campaigns. Our research indicates that brands saw a 57% increase in eComm revenue, in comparison to last year.

We compared data from a range of ecommerce clients, all of which participated in Black Friday promotions in both 2017 and 2016. All data was taken from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, regardless of any pre-Friday offer launches. We excluded any clients which had experienced massive brand growth or changes in positioning over the last year to keep comparisons like-for-like.

Revenue outgrows users

On average, we saw a +36% increase in sessions vs a +57% increase in eComm revenue over the 2017 BFCM weekend compared to 2016.

The disproportionate increases seem to be a result of higher conversion rates, as more users shop ‘sales savvy’, plus higher average order values (AOVs) year-on-year. More high street retailers jumped on the Black Friday hype with smaller or partial range discounts, versus the more generous “% off everything” we’ve seen previously.

Has mobile reached its peak?

After years of ‘mobile first’ talk and ever mounting statistics demonstrating the phenomenal growth of on-the-go browsing, we may have seen the peak.

2017 BFCM weekend showed, on average, only a 2% increase in mobile sessions across brands, plus a -7% decrease in mobile revenue compared to 2016.

Why could this be? After months of sites being optimised ‘mobile first’ and extensive UX development, we know that our clients didn’t suffer particularly from mobile conversion pitfalls.

Cross device browsing would account for these stats in part – we see on average 61% of a site’s sessions and 43% of revenue come from phones, as more users shop in micromoment-like bursts.

Finally, it could just be the rise of the ‘serious shopper’ – we know anecdotally that several members of the Return team were super-organised with the weekend of sales, dual-screening between Friday night TV and 20 different tabs open on a laptop. One person even stayed up until midnight on the Thursday, with fast fashion shopping baskets filled just waiting for the discounts kicked in.

Paid Search Shopping grows, whilst Brand declines

This year, we saw PPC spend increase 25% and a PPC revenue increase of 4%.

For the first time, we’ve seen a YOY decline in PPC Brand performance over BFCM – generating –4% less revenue than in 2016. In contrast to this, we’ve seen clients’ spend on Shopping campaigns increase 7%, and the revenue from these grow 5% YOY.

Is this a case of chicken and egg? Perhaps. Whilst Brand Generic campaigns are still vital to maintain above the fold SERP share, more and more clients are experimenting with the level of incremental return seen from Brand Exact Match, which perhaps makes sense.

To illustrate, putting aside all other SERP features or ad formats, if someone searches for just the phrase ‘Missguided’ on Black Friday, it’s very likely that they’ll go on to click-through on that brand’s listing, regardless of whether it’s organic or paid. However, if the same person searched ‘Missguided dresses’, they could, perhaps, be ‘stolen’ away by a competitor’s Black Friday dress ad, hence the need to keep Generic Brand campaigns running.

Shopping is the area where Return has seen the biggest revenue growth potential in search. Google could not be pushing harder for user-friendly, engaging search results. The format clearly works well, generating roughly 30% of total search revenue across our clients (up +5% YOY).

With Black Friday out of the way, it’s now time to take all of the data and utilise it to your advantage in the run-up to Christmas. Contact us today – we’d love to help.




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