Digital Advertising Dominates the Holiday Shopping Scene

Thanksgiving Day kicks off the most anticipated shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Each year the total number of sales surpasses totals from the previous year, which proves Black Friday and Cyber Monday are definitely going to stick around. However, the shopping habits of shoppers seem to slowly be shifting away from typical behaviors seen on Black Fridays in the past. Massive crowds of Black Friday shoppers are not lining up in front of brick-and-mortar stores for hours upon hours as they once were. Here are a few unexpected occurrences that were seen during the huge shopping weekend.


Foot Traffic in Stores is Decreasing Each Year on Black Friday

Although sales continue to grow each year for retailers, foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores is not as strong as it once was. Since the domination of smart phones, many people are finding it hard to justify attending the overcrowded stores when there are equally as great of deals online. The recent emergence of Cyber Monday can also be responsible for some shoppers’ lack of interest in shopping at the actual stores on Black Friday. Cyber Monday allows consumers to find gifts for their loved ones on retail sites at discounted prices from the comfort of their homes. In the past, stores have opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day to encourage shoppers to start early, but many retailers have decided to keep doors closed on Thanksgiving Day and reopen in the morning of Black Friday.


Advertisers Shift to Digital Advertising

Rather than placing traditional ads that encourage people to shop in stores, advertisers invested in digital to inform customers of online sales. The most common digital tactics used were social media, mobile display, and paid search. Before stepping foot in a brick-and-mortar store, consumers are likely to research what the store is offering so they know what to expect upon arrival. Younger audiences also turn to social media to gain insight from friends and followers about the best bargains. Because of this migration to digital research, advertisers spent more than $1 billion on mobile advertising on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which shows a 17.9% increase on Black Friday and a 13.8% increase on Thanksgiving Day compared to 2015. This investment seems to have paid off considering click-through-rates were up 11% in 2016, which increased 10.7% on Black Friday and 13% on Thanksgiving Day. Brick-and-mortar stores are not gaining the crowds they once had in previous years, which is why digital advertising proves to be a safe choice for brands during the holiday season.


Overall Media Buys Decreased by 9%

An analysis of media buys from 10/31/16 - 11/27/16 has shown that advertisers are not spending as much in the highly saturated holiday market as they were in previous years. Instead, advertisers are launching more cost effective campaigns that span over the entire holiday season rather than just on the most popular shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some Cyber Monday campaigns started on Saturday or Sunday this year, which is earlier than past years, and has created a week long stretch of online holiday discounts for shoppers. The report also predicts that the more expensive campaigns, like television and radio, may be saved for closer to Christmas to target last minute shoppers. Black Friday is now being referred to as Black November because each year the sales start earlier and last longer, which creates an entire month full of great holiday discounts and deals.