Commentary

Search's Top Paid-Search Day --Yep, Cyber Monday

Old-Navy-Holiday-sale

Are you sick of hearing how online sales continue to skyrocket? Well here's one more tale with a twist that began in late November. It may provide insights into how consumers will behave next year.

Aside from the stellar sales reports attributed to the few days following Thanksgiving, marketers should note that Cyber Monday remains November's top paid-search sales day by volume, by a huge margin. Conversion rates on Cyber Monday -- already strong -- rose significantly versus last year, and drove that day’s revenue growth.  However, growth metrics for revenue, order and clicks were actually the highest for the day before -- on what PM Digital calls Cyber Sunday, according to the company's Rewind Index, which measures monthly U.S. paid-search performance for online retail clients.

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Cyber Sunday, or the Sunday after Thanksgiving, experienced the strongest year-over-year growth for paid-search revenue. The day slightly outpaced growth rates for Cyber Monday and Black Friday, according to PM Digital. Sales on Saturday grew more slowly -- less than the month’s average, possibly due to offline competition.

The Index identifies an average 48% year-over-year revenue growth for November. PM Digital retail clients increased total search spend by 47%, driven by rising clicks, as the cost per click (CPC) rose just 2%. Average orders rose 5% compared with last year.

Conversion rate growth in late November speaks largely to the willingness of consumers to spend this holiday season, but the relatively low increase in CPCs for the month -- up 2% sequentially -- and consistent real-time optimization and relevancy for the month also contributed, said Glenn Lalich, PM Digital VP of research and analysis.

When asked whether any trends or numbers in the findings point to possible search marketing trends in 2012, Lalich said to expect brands to take the strategy around the successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns and extend the concept into 2012. Brands have begun to see the week of promotions stretch well into December. Next year, look for more innovative thinking with regard to the week prior to Thanksgiving Day, he said. Marketers continue to work hard to get in front of consumers. And based on what brands continue to experience this year, consumers are receptive to those strategies. A similar dynamic could find a place surrounding other holidays in 2012 as well.

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