Black Friday & Cyber Monday Saw Groundbreaking Results With Online Sales

Holy cash cow, Batman! With results pouring in from the biggest retail holiday weekend of the year, online sales set new records making in-store visits a thing of the past. Why fight crazy lines when you can shop online while enjoying your Thanksgiving leftovers from the comfort of your home?

According to Adobe Digital Insights, online sales totaled $12.8B Thanksgiving Day through Sunday with a 16.4% growth from 2015.

Here’s how each day performed in relation to each other, and an overview of where your advertising dollars are best spent:


Many online retailers decided to start their Black Friday deals early with almost all offers live by Thanksgiving Day. Digital advertisers took notice and spent 13% more on Thanksgiving this year compared to last year. In turn, consumers took advantage and spent almost $2B on Thanksgiving Day alone (a 12% increase year-over-year.)


Online Black Friday sales shattered all records and were through the roof, with over $3.3 billion spent. This was a gigantic 21.6% growth rate from 2015 to 2016. Clickthrough rates also saw a 11% increase from last year.

Not only were consumer sales high, advertisers also invested more to be in the holiday arena. On Facebook alone, advertising spend grew by 11% year-over-year. Advertisers strategically allocated more money to retargeting than ever before with a 33% increase in website retargeting on Black Friday.


Typically, Cyber Monday is the clear online winner, with the most sales for the entire weekend, but 2016 was different. Cyber Monday only exceeded Black Friday sales this year by 3%, seeing 12% growth from last year. It isn’t quite as exciting as Black Friday’s 21.6% growth (in fact it’s just a little more than half as exciting.)

Overall, 2016 saw massive mobile advances across all days of this glorious holiday shopping weekend. Mobile devices won the biggest piece of the pumpkin pie in terms of page visits on Thanksgiving Day with 57% versus desktop’s 43%. Mobile also proceeded to make over $1 Billion in sales on Black Friday, which has never been done before; accounting for 36% of all Black Friday sales. However, all in all, most customers used desktop across the entire weekend to make their final purchases.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday are generally the highlight of our clients’ year. Consumers are ready to buy, retailers and advertisers just have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity. Here are some tips for future Black Friday campaigns:

One of the most important aspects of a successful shopping weekend is the offer. Through tests, we found that having an enticing offer is the most substantial factor of a good or bad Black Friday weekend. Just because shoppers are ready to buy, doesn’t mean they will if your offer is subpar. This all comes down to planning. Plan for Black Friday to be your best sale of the year (if this is when you would like to make your money), also plan for the offer to be different from any other offer you have had throughout the year. Daily promotions throughout the weekend work as well! This allows Black Friday or Cyber Monday to stand out, especially if your clients don’t like to do sales at all.

The second most important aspect of the Black Friday buying spree is creative. Creative must be festive, fun, colorful, and most of all, be able to stand out from the hundreds of holiday ads that consumers will see this holiday season. Stay true to your brand while showing off all the amazing products you have to offer. Having multiple products featured in an ad unit allows consumers to browse before they reach your website.


To sum up how awesome this Black Friday retail weekend performed, and to prepare for next year, here some key takeaways:

  1. Online shopping is coming into its own. Shoppers are looking at their smartphones first and foremost, before even thinking about visiting a store.
  2. Prospecting and brand awareness campaigns work wonders on mobile while retargeting and conversion pushes perform best on desktop (where most people actually make their purchases).
  3. Start advertising deals on Thanksgiving Day, and begin to ramp up advertising spend then rather than waiting until Black Friday to start.
  4. Show off multiple products in your ad units. It allows users to shop while they are in their current digital environment.
  5. Black Friday holy grail equation: Good Creative + Awesome Offer = Success!
  6. Be prepared. Plan to have flexible budgets in case your ads are doing amazing. Also plan to have a backup credit card on the account in case you are doing so awesome, that the bank is a little weirded out.

Sources: “Online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday broke all records this year” 29 November, 2016. Brett Williams. Mashable.

“Facebook and Other Digital Ad Sellers Saw Double-Digit Gains on Black Friday and Thanksgiving” 29 November, 2016. Christopher Heine. Adweek.
written by: Darien Fehn

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