How this past holiday’s digital marketing trends will reshape retailers’ 2016 plans

By — 01.07.16

The Adlucent 2015 Holiday Discoveries Report

The New Year has begun, signaling a fresh start for many retailers. While still coming down from the seasonal peak, marketers are beginning to outline their annual strategies and budgets. Before diving too far into planning, it’s important to take a look back at holiday performance as there are a lot of lessons that the data can tell us. While this data is unique to each retailer, we uncovered a few trends that are relevant to almost everyone. When we dug into digital performance data for major retailers, a few important learnings emerged.

First, paid search continues to surpass expectations, with holiday season sales growing 36% over last year. This growth was primarily driven by strong mobile and Product Listing Ad (PLA) performance. PLAs accounted for 50% of click share this year, up from 45% last year. And the visual ad format saw the most growth on mobile. An analysis we did on PLAs over Cyber Week showed PLA-driven revenue on mobile growing a whopping 221% over 2014.

Second, while mobile conversions grew 33% this holiday season, desktops still accounted for nearly 70% of all sales. Retailers did a great job preparing for an influx of mobile traffic, which grew 86% year-over-year (YoY), but there’s more work to do to get consumers across the finish line. This will be of significant importance in 2016 as mobile device clicks are set to overtake desktop.

Device click share

Third, while traditional shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday set new records, we saw new high performing days emerge in the 2015 shopping season driven by retailers promoting their “Black Friday” deals all the way through Cyber Monday and into the following week. The biggest winner was the day after Black Friday, which saw a 62% increase in traffic and a 73% increase in revenue YoY. The following day, Sunday, wasn’t far behind. With retailers taking a different approach to holiday promotions and seeing these sustained sales, Cyber Week is the new reality and we anticipate retailers extending the length of promotions in 2016.

53% YoY

Fourth, over the Cyber Holiday Weekend online sales grew 53% while store sales declined by an estimated 10%, according to ShopperTrak’s sales estimates for brick-and-mortar retail from Nov. 26 – Nov. 29th. This shift in traffic is likely to continue, so retailers will need to reallocate budgets in 2016. It will also be important to make the right omnichannel investments to ensure consumers can easily browse and buy no matter where they are.

For an in-depth look at these trends, along with more holiday performance data, download a copy of our 2015 Holiday Discoveries Report.


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