2016 Facebook Black Friday & Cyber Monday Advertising Recap

By Tinuiti Team

As an agency managing hundreds of retail brands, we take Q4 serious and view it as a opportunity to reflect on recent advertising campaigns, successes, and most importantly major trends during the holiday shopping season.

Although Facebook hasn’t always been viewed as a destination for shopping, the platform brought in substantial revenue for retail brands this holiday season.

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According to AdRoll, the social network year-over-year saw a 10.7 percent increase in revenue on Black Friday and a 13 percent jump on Thanksgiving Day.

“There continues to be a shift every year because more people are online & mobile-focused. Social provides the perfect middle ground for that experience,” Sarah Rogers, Senior Social Strategist at CPC Strategy said.

Below we’ve compiled a list of the major trends that stood out to marketers on Facebook during Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2016.

2016 Facebook Black Friday & Cyber Monday Trends

1. Dip in Sales Prior to Thanksgiving

The first trend we noticed leading up to the weekend prior to Black Friday was a slight dip in sales. What this indicates is that the days leading up to Thanksgiving customers were holding off on making purchases, most likely to figure out which products they would buy later in the week. We did see sales ramp right back up on Wednesday and leading through Cyber Monday.

2. Rise in CPCs

As expected, CPCs were up significantly. On Cyber Monday, we saw CPCs as high as $2.23 (for our client pool) but on average we saw CPCs of $1.82 (11/20 – 11/29). We also saw a rise in conversion rate and a big increase in ROI. 

Apparel brands, specifically luxury apparel also experienced significant gains in revenue as high as 8.5x the average on Cyber Monday thanks to Dynamic Product Ads & special discounts (example 40% off entire site).

3. Focus on Cyber Week As a Whole

Another trend to note is that retail brands are starting to become inundated with the idea that Black Friday, isn’t JUST Black Friday anymore –  it’s more of a focus on the entire Cyber Week.

Facebook advertisers are focusing more on the long-term promotion rather than just running specials on those specific 2 days (Cyber Monday /Black Friday).

ryan-bates-headshot-300x282“In a lot of ways the ecommerce clients are starting to mirror the big box retailers, in that they are starting earlier promotions on their deals,” Ryan Bates, Digital Production Coordinator at CPC Strategy said.

“Instead of just pushing ads on Black Friday, there was a bigger focus on Cyber week as a whole and the lead time up to the actual event before Thanksgiving all the way through Cyber Monday.”

4. Campaign Preparation

We saw a variety of successful promos – including free shipping to 20% or 40% off the entire site. But one of the main components to being successful on Black Friday was having campaigns properly planned out in advance.

“Our Facebook representative encouraged us to have everything set up a week prior to make sure all our campaigns were approved,” Bates said.

“Although Facebook approval is usually pretty quick, it was vital to have every campaign prepared and buttoned up in advance of Cyber week to avoid any unexpected issues.”

5. Flexible Budget

As an agency, we also saw some pretty big swings regarding social engagement. For example, some audience segments performed really well in the morning but by the afternoon they were tapped out.

“Our first party audiences were also able to take on a lot of budget this weekend (more than they normally would). We pushed more money to these audiences than we normally would because we knew they could handle it,” Bates said.

Facebook Stats for Black Friday / Cyber Monday Weekend

We took a look at our current clients for which we managed Facebook advertising efforts during Black Friday weekend.

With more advertisers allocating budget to the social channel, the overall cost to participate has scaled up, but has also proved to be more profitable for retailers.

*Please note all data has been normalized to protect our clients.

2016 Facebook Ad Spend

2016 Facebook Ad Revenue

2016 Facebook Ad Clicks

2016 Facebook Ad ROAS

Tips for the Remainder of the Holiday Season:

“Our advice for retail brands during the holiday season is to go back to the basics and do what works for your brand,” Rogers said.

“We don’t recommend testing out new audiences during the peak shopping days, instead take a look back at your recent data and identify your top performing audience(s) – focus on them.”

“Especially in November (during high volume shopping periods such as Black Friday or Cyber Week) but also throughout December is not a good time to test because data during this time period is not going to hold true throughout the rest of the year.”

For more on Facebook holiday data and trends, email [email protected]

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