Looking back at Black Week for SEM

There are some interesting takeaways from Black Week from the perspective of Search Engine Marketing. In general, we’re seeing a positive trend as the majority of our clients reported a growth year over year in November. We can also see that companies put a larger focus on the pre-black week campaigns than they did last year – with approximately a +30% increase in revenue. The CPC levels, however, kept their position fairly close to how it was compared to last year. 

Overview of some trends we saw this year

  • More companies choose to start their sales early to get a head start, this trend can be spotted when analyzing both our internal data as well as through Google data

  • The competition saw no change worth highlighting, the CPC levels stayed at, more or less, the same level in relation to last year

  • The entirety of Black Week sales grew this year by +4%, while Black Friday itself increased significantly (+8-11% in Sweden Finland and Norway) more than the other days of the week.

  • Beauty, toys, and gifts increased significantly (+15-25%) in SE, NO, and Fi. This while consumer electronics saw a surprising decrease in Sweden (-3%).

  • For the Black Friday Weekend as a whole (Friday-Monday), searches grew up to +3.9%, as well as clicks across the larger retail categories in the countries compared to last year.

Some general shopping data from Sweden

Klarna, which claims they administer 50% of all the online purchases in Sweden, presented a significant sales increase of +755% during the first hour of Black Friday (0.00 to 01.00) compared to the same time on an average shopping day. The age group that went on the biggest shopping spree was 25-40-year-olds, accounting for 40% of online purchases.

Data from the platform Ingrid, which handles e-commerce delivery services, showed that the shopping basket was generally smaller this year (-3,5%) and that e-commerce companies that didn’t have a delivery fee decreased compared to last year (-4,4%). Both facts mirror the economic situation quite well.

A couple of insights going into the next year

  • Customers are doing their research these days – if the deal is bad there is no reason to push it. Instead of accepting a lower ROAS to increase visibility (which is, more often than not, the industry standard), we would suggest increasing ROAS more than what is expected considering the low margins. A “good deal” should be the driving factor for visibility on Google, not a push from a higher bid.

  • Since we can see that around 40% of consumers are done with their Christmas shopping after November, there are still plenty of great possibilities for e-commerce companies to increase their sales during December.

In summary:

All in all, the Black Week trend for SEM seems to keep increasing year after year. It’s not surprising that companies started their sales earlier this year as this was a trend we saw last year as well, and in the future, we believe this trend will continue. Evening out the sales during a longer period of time allows us to learn and act on the data, which is much harder to do when sales are concentrated on a short time interval.

Even though November and Black Week have caught a lot of media attention in the last couple of years, December is still essential for Christmas gift purchases. Just remember to be clear in your messaging when the last day for the customer to purchase will be,  in order for it to arrive in time for Christmas!

Read more about Black Friday from a consumer shopping perspective highlighting some interesting statistics here: Klarna and Breakit.

David Drake af Hagelsrum

VP Specialist