It’s our favorite time of year at Acceleration Partners. We cherish the holiday season and the time we get to spend together with friends and family.
It’s also one of the busiest and most exciting times for many of our retail/e-commerce clients as the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday has come to represent the start of the holiday shopping season for consumers.
Overall, online shopping over the 2018 Thanksgiving weekend shattered expectations. Online revenue on Cyber Monday reached $7.9 billion, an increase of 20% over last year, according to Adobe, making it the largest online shopping day of all time. Thanksgiving brought in $3.7 billion (+28%) in online revenue and Black Friday saw $6.2 billion (+24%).
In examining affiliate program data across a sample group of our clients over Thanksgiving weekend, we were excited by the results and growth seen by our clients.
AFFILIATE MARKETING PERFORMANCE
Acceleration Partners’ affiliate data shows Black Friday leading the charge in terms of year-over-year growth against 2017.
Black Friday saw revenue up 45% Y/Y, with Thanksgiving (+19% Y/Y) and Cyber Monday (+5%) showing notable growth as well.
While Black Friday is known for kicking off the holiday shopping season with early morning doorbusters and discounts available in stores, the day is becoming a major focal point for online shopping as well, right alongside Cyber Monday. In fact, this year Acceleration Partners saw revenue volume on Black Friday exceed that of Cyber Monday by a small margin.
Retailers are releasing their holiday promotions earlier each year. As soon as Halloween goodies are off the shelves, many retailers begin their winter holiday messaging, with deals and discounts growing more compelling as the Thanksgiving week nears.
Smartphones have become many shoppers’ go-to when beginning their shopping journey or researching products. This year on Cyber Monday, mobile devices accounted for more than half of all traffic driven to online retailers.
Adobe reported that mobile devices drove 34% of the day’s total e-commerce revenue on Cyber Monday and mobile revenue was up 48% Y/Y for the day.
Acceleration Partners’ affiliate data showed that mobile revenue for our sample group of clients was up an impressive 45% Y/Y for the time between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, underscoring the rapidly growing role of mobile devices in the online shopping experience.
Many affiliates are stepping up their mobile game by offering their own shopping apps and encouraging mobile activity by offering mobile-only discounts and rewards from their retailer partners.
Black Friday saw the largest Y/Y increase in affiliate clicks among the three key shopping days:
- Thanksgiving (+6%)
- Black Friday (+26%)
- Cyber Monday (+6%)
This further illustrates the ongoing increase in online shopping activity on Black Friday. While many consumers line up outside their favorite brick-and-mortar stores during the early morning hours, many are opting to stay in their pajamas and shop online from the comfort of their homes.
All the more reason for retailers to ensure they’re giving Black Friday the attention it deserves when determining their online promotional schedules.
While growth in top-line metrics (e.g. revenue and traffic) are worthy of celebration, it’s important for retailers to ensure they’re bringing new affiliate partnerships into the mix each year to diversify their program’s performance.
We measured the number of total click-active affiliate partnerships across our clients for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday and saw that the number of active partnerships increased by at least 15% Y/Y across these three days.
Growth in active partnerships can only be achieved when retailers and their affiliate managers focus on recruiting new performance partners and then activating and nurturing these new relationships through consistent communication and ensuring partners have the content and tools they need to promote a retailer effectively.
Guidelines and Good Tidings
The holiday excitement has only just begun! NRF reports that consumers have more than half (56%) of their holiday shopping left to do after the Thanksgiving weekend. As the holidays inch closer, consider running flash sales, last minute deals and free shipping offers to appeal to those doing their shopping later in the season.
Also, be sure to keep your messaging strong through the holidays and well into the New Year. Perhaps plan a well-timed seasonal clearance sale to engage consumers who are looking for ways to spend their gift cards and treat themselves after the holiday rush.
And remember to give your affiliate partners a heads-up well in advance on any discounts and deals you’re running throughout the rest of the season so they can plan accordingly.
Lastly, have a very happy holiday season!