Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sets New Paid Search, Mobile Records

Posted by Dan Malachowski, Sr. Strategist, Strategy & Analytics and Ryan Hornacek, Analyst, Strategy & Analytics

In terms of paid search growth, Black Friday 2012 set records in spend, impressions and clicks for Performics’ aggregate group of retailer clients.  Our retailer clients then invested more year-over-year budgets in Thanksgiving Weekend, supported by both Black Friday promotional extensions and early Cyber Monday deals.  This momentum culminated in new records on Cyber Monday.  

The below chart compares paid search impressions, clicks, spend, CPC and CTR on Black Friday, Thanksgiving Weekend and Cyber Monday this year vs. 2011 for our retailer clients.  In particular, paid search spend was up 33% on Black Friday 2012 vs. 2011; this spend increase drove 19% more clicks year-over-year at CPCs that were 12% higher YoY.  We then saw tremendous YoY growth on Thanksgiving Weekend, including a 101% YoY spend increase on Saturday, which drove 45% more clicks.  On Cyber Monday, paid search spend was up 67% vs. 2011; this increase drove 28% more clicks.  However, as competition heated up on the weekend and Cyber Monday, so did CPCs:

2011 v. 2012

468 benchmarks

To help visualize this year’s growth, we created the following paid search charts—spend, impressions, clicks and CPCs by day.  Each chart peaks on Cyber Monday:

468 spend

467 impressions

466 clicks

466 CPC
Mobile’s Influence

Our aggregate group of retailer clients invested heavily in mobile (smartphones) and tablet paid search this year.  In particular, our retailers spent 91% more in mobile on Black Friday, driving 61% more clicks, and 129% more on tablets, driving 118% more clicks.  Cyber Monday was also huge in terms of mobile paid search: mobile spend was up 133% (with 87% more clicks), and tablet spend was up 233% (with 158% more clicks).  These numbers illustrate the rise in tablet usage for shopping since last holiday.  Like overall paid search, mobile and tablet CPCs held steady on Black Friday, but then rose through Cyber Monday:

2011 v. 2012

470 mobile benchmarks

Mobile v. Desktop

Our retailer clients dedicated about 25% of total paid search budget to mobile and tablets vs. 15% in 2011:

472 mobile spend %

This increase in mobile spend as a percentage of total paid search spend resulted in an increase in mobile clicks as a percentage of total paid search clicks.  About 30% of all paid search clicks came from mobile and tablets in 2012 vs. 18% in 2011. 

473 mobile click %

Spotlight: Mobile CPCs

The below chart shows that 2012 Black Friday-Cyber Monday mobile device (smartphone) CPCs were 63% of desktop CPCs, while tablet and desktop CPCs were about equal:

461 mobile CPCs

Low Black Friday-Cyber Monday mobile device CPCs are a result of better targeting capabilities in mobile vs. desktop for shoppers on-the-go.  In other words, we’re better able to engage searchers looking for in-store deals on their smartphones in their locales.  We’re also able to boost bids for searchers located close to, or in, our clients’ stores.  This enables us to create more relevant mobile ads that garner better quality scores because of higher click-through rates (Black Friday click-through rates (CTRs) on mobile devices were 89% higher than desktop CTRs), thus lowering mobile CPCs.

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