- Retailers put 45% of their online media budgets into paid social ads, helping to generate 33% of total revenue during the Cyber Weekend period from Thanksgiving through Sunday. A year ago, both of those metrics were less than 15%, according to information from digital ad agency PMG shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer.
- On Thanksgiving Day social channels boosted their share of conversions to 30% this year from 16% in 2018, helped by new ad formats such as Instagram Story Ads and Facebook's Carousel format. Search and product listing ads still generated most of retailers' online revenue, per PMG.
- Black Friday broke records for retailers as revenue, return on investment (ROI), click-through rates (CTRs), cost per thousand (CPM) and cost per click (CPC) metrics surpassed forecasts. Saturday and Sunday spurred one-third of traffic and revenue for retailers as shoppers responded to the weekend's remaining deals and email blasts. PMG studied more than 40 million clicks, $200 million in media spending and $1 billion in attributed revenue from Thanksgiving to Sunday.
PMG's research shows that social commerce has become a significant source of revenue for retailers as they aim to reach mobile shoppers on social during the holiday season. That means Thanksgiving Day has become even more significant as a shopping event as mobile consumers pick up their smartphones and tap on "click-to-buy" ads on social networks that have expanded their e-commerce offerings. Online retailers can expect that shopping behavior to continue as smartphones supplant desktop computers as the primary shopping platform.
PMG's findings reflect a major push by social media companies to boost their commerce features. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube have added more e-commerce support in the past two years to position themselves as product discovery destinations. TikTok last month began testing shopping ads to capitalize on this burgeoning consumer interest. Twitter scaled back its social commerce features several years ago with the elimination of its "buy" button, but does offer ways to track conversions.
While PMG didn't provide data on mobile shopping, most consumers connect to social networks through their smartphones. Mobile platforms are the biggest driver of social commerce, with the percentage of people saying they've used a smartphone or tablet to buy a product through social rising to 57% in Q3 from 53% two years earlier, a separate report by GlobalWebIndex found.
This year, people boosted their Thanksgiving Day spending about 15% to $4.2 billion total, with nearly half that amount stemming from smartphones, per Adobe Analytics data shared with Mobile Marketer. On Black Friday, consumers spent $2.9 billion through their smartphones, breaking mobile shopping records. That day, 39% of online sales came from a smartphone, a 21% lift from last year. Almost two-thirds (61%) of online traffic to retailers were from smartphones, a 16% gain from the prior year, per Adobe.