blog_cyber mondaypngThe four days from Black Friday to Cyber Monday make up the most important weekend in retail. Last year, online spending on Cyber Monday sales reached $2.29 billion, up more than 20% from 2012. On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, online spending reached a new high of $1.96 billion while in-store spending topped $12.3 billion.

This year is poised to be even bigger.

To help you prepare for the most hectic days in retail, we pulled together strategic tips from our most successful advertisers:

Pre-Turkey-Day battle plan

  • According to AdRoll’s massive advertiser dataset, the average CPM for inventory goes up 40%- 200% during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period, so set aside budget to win more ad space in the competitive holiday bidding wars. Plan to increase your bids by at least 40-60%.

  • Strengthen ad creative with holiday-themed visuals. When AdRoll client Icebreaker served a holiday ad campaign of dynamic creatives with a snowflake theme, it brought in a 5.26% CTCR. Meanwhile, an almost identical campaign without holiday imagery only performed at 1.64% CTCR. Think turkeys, snowflakes, and other festive imagery.
  • Be ready to launch campaigns on social media and mobile devices. Consumers look increasingly to social media for gift ideas and spend time browsing on their mobile phones. Make sure your ads are optimized for these high-impact inventory sources.
  • Fortify your back end. Double-check your site so you know it can handle massive holiday traffic.
  • Consider refining your attribution model to use the learnings from this holiday season and make next year even more successful.

Day 0: Thanksgiving

The Black Friday rush begins earlier every year, so make sure to capitalize on these early turkeys.

  • Online sales on Thanksgiving increase 19.7% year over year, showing a steady rise in the importance of ecommerce.
  • Serve Thanksgiving-themed ads with images of turkeys, autumn leaves, or even pilgrims. Be sure to tie in messaging and offers that “give thanks” to customers.
  • Consider a loyalty campaign to show gratitude for high-value customers.
  • Focus your ad campaigns during peak traffic times like morning and after dinner.


Day 1: Black Friday

This is a big day for “click and mortar” brands, so focus on capturing on-the-go savers.

  • Turn showrooming and comparison shopping to your advantage with strategic creative that highlights low prices.
  • Step up CPM bids and broaden your audience segments to reach as many customers as possible. Target all visitors who have ever been to your site.
  • At nearly a quarter of total Black Friday spending, mobile sales last year showed a 118% increase over 2012. Take advantage with massive mobile campaigns.
  • Black Friday shoppers want deals, so give them what they’re asking for: special holiday discounts, free shipping, and buy-one-get-one-free offers.
  • Use “Black Friday” in your ad creative so customers know they’re looking at hyper-relevant, hot-off-the-wire offers.
  • Advertise on social and encourage people to share their purchases.

Days 2 and 3: Saturday and Sunday

Don’t let up! Keep interest and excitement high post-Thanksgiving and past the Black Friday campaign push.

  • Build awareness with upper-funnel branding campaigns aimed at all visitors who have ever been to your site.
  • Run dynamic ad campaigns highlighting recommended and popular products to nurture interest in your full catalog.
  • Deploy teaser campaigns to build anticipation for upcoming Cyber Monday discounts and special items.
  • Position “early cyberbird offers” for those looking to purchase before retail’s largest online battle.
holiday graphic

Last year, AdRoll advertisers saw huge jumps in CPM, including an average increase of 161% on web, a 40% on Facebook news feed and 156% on Facebook RHS.

Day 4: Cyber Monday

Competition for ad space will be especially stiff on Cyber Monday. Make sure you’ve allocated resources accordingly.

  • Increase budget and CPM bids. This is the most competitive inventory you’ll see all year. Consider upping your bids to 50-60% during Cyber Monday.
  • Target all site visitors with high-level branding campaigns and re-engage past purchasers with special offers and new products.
  • Roll out ads that blend Cyber Monday creative with time-sensitive promotions and discounts: “Quick—Get it before it’s gone,” “Limited supply,” etc.
  • Invest in mobile campaigns on social platforms. In 2013, sales from mobile devices made up 18.3% of total Cyber Monday spending.

This year, as soon-to-be-shoppers settle into the peace and quiet of a nation-wide tryptophan coma, you can crush your pumpkin pie with confidence, knowing that you’re 100% prepared.

For more tips like these, download our Holiday Strategy Guide.