We’ve compiled the data and results from the previous three Cyber 5 holidays, data that all digital advertisers can learn from to help set goalposts for the next holiday season.
Based on aggregated data for brands managing their digital advertising through the Skai platform during the Cyber Five, marketers invested more on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday last year. This includes key digital channels: retail media, paid search, and paid social.
Unless otherwise noted, all results are based on global ecommerce/retail industry advertisers who had ad spend between November 1 and December 25.
What is the Cyber 5 Holiday?
The Cyber 5 are the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, and are the big advertising kickoff to the holiday shopping season. It is also always an important barometer to understand how, where and how big retail advertisers are placing their bets to maximize this critical opportunity that represented one-fifth of all ecommerce sales for November and December in 2021.
Cyber 5 2021 Results
Since the mid-2000s, Cyber Monday has been described as the biggest online shopping day of the year. While the origin story itself is dubious, that definition has become self-fulfilling over time, and both retailers, advertisers and shoppers alike have focused their efforts towards sales and discounts when they settle in after the holiday season.
Source: Share of Ad Spend by Day, Cyber 5 2021, Skai
Cyber 5 2020 Results
According to reports, Americans spent a record $10.8 billion online on 2020 Cyber Monday, up 15% from the previous year, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history. That eclipsed the $9B reported on Black Friday, four days earlier.
And yet, many are saying Cyber Monday 2020 was a disappointment, but with the caveat that they still expected strong growth for the overall holiday season. The underlying reason for this seeming contradiction goes back to that origin story. Cyber Monday exists because people go “back to work,” physically. In the absence of that behavior, consumers seem to have been much less beholden to the calendar.
The clearest evidence for this across Skai accounts is by looking at year-over-year advertiser sales for Ecommerce Channel Advertising.
In all, the average daily sales for the pre-Thanksgiving period was up 70% over 2019, while that of the Cyber 5 was down 5%, netting out at an increase of 41% for the entire 30-day stretch. Cyber Monday, in particular, was down 21%, but this analysis may not include latent sales data, so that number may improve with subsequent analysis. The core trend remained, however, and other sources have cited similar “pull-through” behavior, where shopping ramped up before the holiday weekend itself.
Read more in our 2020 Cyber 5 recap.
Source: Share of Ad Spend by Day, Cyber 5 2020, Skai
Cyber 5 2019 Results
What happened over the five days that define the holiday shopping season in 2019, pre-pandemic?
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), that year’s Black Friday topped Cyber Monday as the busiest shopping day online for the first time, with 93.2 million shoppers compared with 83.3 million. With the traditional big shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas much shorter in 2019 than in recent years, consumers jumped on the deals early during the “Cyber 5” long weekend (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday).
As reported by Skai, retailers spent more than 3x on 2019 Black Friday on these three channels versus the pre-Thanksgiving November daily average. Brands placed some big bets that year, and it seems like they were wise to do so.
Source: Share of Ad Spend by Day, Cyber 5 2019, Skai
Year-over-year (YoY) spending increased 20% for Search Shopping Campaigns and 13% for Ecommerce Channel Ads for 2019 Cyber 5, but Social Product Ads experienced the biggest lift with an increase of 43% YoY.
Search and Ecommerce Channel Ads are valuable bottom-funnel tactics to convert shoppers when they have decided to make a purchase and are either in the final stages of selecting which brand to choose or are looking for the best price on the items they already want. However, Social’s combination of deep consumer data targeting and engaging ad formats enables retailers to push ads to people to drive awareness and interest. That made the channel extremely valuable at the top and middle of the purchase funnel to reach people who may not even be thinking about a brand yet as a purchase option.
Retailers invested heavily in Social during the Cyber 5. Compared to the pre-Thanksgiving November daily average, spend across the Cyber 5 weekend for Social Product Ads was 126% higher, with the ad costs (CPMs) increasing 65%. The Health & Beauty category saw spending more than triple compared to the rest of the month.
Read more about Cyber 5 2019 results.
Keep on top of digital advertising industry trends with Skai benchmarks and analysis
What does the Cyber 5 mean for the rest of the holiday season for retailers? How will this one long weekend affect the big picture for social and search marketers in the fourth quarter? Stay tuned to Skai™ for more on this, and have a safe and happy holiday season.