- Cost-per-click (CPC) rates for mobile search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns were 57% higher on "Cyber 5" days than during the rest of the holiday shopping season due to a surge in demand, according to a study by digital ad platform Kenshoo. Marketers devoted almost one-fifth (19%) of their SEM budgets to the five key days of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the holiday weekend and Cyber Monday,
- Mobile campaigns, including mobile shopping, boosted their share of holiday search budgets to 50% last year from 43% in 2017. Mobile campaigns had an average CPC of $0.23 during the holiday season, or Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, while shopping campaigns had an average CPC of $0.27 on all SEM platforms.
- Search marketing spend rose 9% during the shopping season from the prior year, and advertisers grabbed 49% more impressions from the same spend as the average CPC fell 18% from $0.40 to $0.33. "That kind of operational efficiency is exactly what marketers hope to find as high budgets and cheaper clicks equal a lot more eyeballs and traffic to their online stores," Kenshoo said.
Kenshoo's data indicate that marketers devoted more of their SEM budgets to mobile platforms during last year's holiday season, especially on the heavily promoted days of the extended Thanksgiving weekend that typically see a jump in consumer purchasing. Mobile SEM campaigns were especially efficient compared with other platforms during the holiday season, despite the surge in CPC rates on those days. Kenshoo's report includes mobile ads in the analysis of SEM campaigns, while social and e-commerce advertising are separate.
Kenshoo observed several strong trends that bode well for 2019, as a strong holiday shopping season for digital marketers typically portends solid results in Q1 and subsequent quarters throughout the year. Social advertising was more popular among retail and e-commerce marketers, as they boosted spending by almost 29% during the 2018 holiday shopping season from a year earlier. The average CPM rose 25% for the entire season from $4.95 to $6.22, according to Kenshoo.
E-commerce advertising also is growing more popular as Amazon expands its ad business to take on digital ad giants Facebook and Google. E-commerce advertising grew 82% during the holiday shopping season and 55% for the Thanksgiving weekend from a year earlier. While marketers had dedicated spending to Thanksgiving shopping in 2017, they wanted to have better coverage during the entire shopping period with an "always-on" approach in 2018, Kenshoo said.