Black Friday 2014 saw record online and mobile shopping sales. While these increases were expected, a deeper look into the data reveals some interesting emerging trends that can impact your search campaigns.

In IBM’s latest US Retail Black Friday and Cyber Monday reports, the tech company delivers insights based on real-time data analysis using the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

Check out these 3 consumer insights from Black Friday.


The Dawn of “Black November”

While Black Friday remains arguably the busiest shopping day of the year, holiday shopping has become less about single-day promotions this year. Retailers are no longer confining promotions to just Black Friday and Cyber Monday and are spreading incentives throughout the whole month.

Thanksgiving day shopping has a name of its own – Cranberry Red Thursday – and it’s gaining momentum. Online Thanksgiving sales increased 14% from last year. Black Friday sales were only 64% higher than Thanksgiving sales this year versus 70% higher in 2013.

What does it mean for your search campaigns?

More email campaigns are launching earlier and running longer throughout the month, meaning ad fatigue is likely to set in among the abundance of promotional messaging. To curb the effects of ad fatigue and increase performance during the holidays, marketers should inject fresh creative into their campaigns frequently.


Mobile Trumps Desktop

More Thanksgiving shoppers turned to their mobile devices than their desktop to browse through deals. This year mobile devices attributed to 52% of online traffic, a 22% jump from 2013. But when it came to purchasing, more shoppers opted to check out on a tablet or desktop than a smartphone.

Here are more interesting facts about this shift:

  • Thanksgiving shoppers browsed more on mobile yet purchased more on tablets. Smartphones drove 36% of total online traffic, more than double than tablets; yet tablet sales accounted for 18% of online sales compared to smartphones, which accounted for 15%.
  • Apple iOS users (79%) drove nearly four times more mobile sales revenue than Android users (21%).
  • While smartphone traffic and sales skyrocketed compared to last year, tablet traffic remained fairly consistent and sales increased only 8% from last year.

What does it mean for your search campaigns?

As smartphone users become more comfortable doing their holiday shopping on a small screen, advertisers need to continue optimizing for mobile. Your customers are on the go, and it’s important to interact with them in real-time wherever they are to deliver them the best mobile experience.


Ad Spend Increases, So Does Revenue

According to data from Kenshoo, retailers increased ad spend on paid search by nearly half (49%) compared to last year. On Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, total revenue outweighed the jump in ad spend. Overall, advertisers saw a 34% increase in revenue from paid search in November compared to last year.

Thanksgiving day saw the highest percentage increase in both ad spend and revenue gains. Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw the lowest increase in search ad spend across the Google and Yahoo Bing networks. Despite the lower spend increases, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were still the highest spending days of the week.

More stats:

  • Black Friday revenue grew by 42%; retailers increased spend by 24%
  • Cyber Monday had the lowest percentage increase in spend up just 18% from 2013, while revenue grew by 34%.

What does it mean for your search campaigns?

Advertisers are consistently boosting spend on the immediate days leading up to Thanksgiving and the weekend following. As consumer trends shift and promotions are released earlier throughout the shopping season, marketers are upping their paid search investments to catch early shoppers.



About Boost Media:

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