24-Hour Breakdown of Searches on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

If the U.S. holiday retail economy was a country by itself, its GDP would rank number 22 in the world. With spend of $601.8 million last year, it’s pretty phenomenal what a two-month period can ring up. You might say we take our responsibility to the economy (and the holidays especially) seriously. To prepare for the holiday rush, there is a lot for search marketers to get right.

It’s clear this is a significant time for people searching and retail advertisers. The researchers at Bing Ads got curious about what span of time, specifically, drives the most searches. Could we measure this by week? By day? By hour? Turns out the answer is yes. And so the Bing Ads researchers dug into the data from the holiday shopping period in 2013 in order to help advertisers more accurately target their PPC ads to hit at exactly the right moment and drive more impact with their ad spend.

5 of Top 10 Holiday Shopping Days Are in the Same Week

Today we’re diving into the top two shopping days with a 24-hour breakdown of search activity level for each day. What are the top days? They’re Cyber Monday and Black Friday. But one discovery right at the top is worth noting: Half of the top shopping days for the year are in the same week, around Thanksgiving. As marketers, we obviously need plan our promotions, bids, and budget accordingly.

RANK IN SPEND EVENT DAY 1 Cyber Monday Monday 2 Black Friday Friday 3 Thanksgiving Thursday 4 Sunday after Black Friday Sunday 5 November 15th Friday 6 Day before Thanksgiving Wednesday 7 November 8th Friday 8 12 days until Christmas Friday 9 Day after Cyber Monday Tuesday 10 7 days until Christmas Wednesday

BLACK FRIDAY (#2 Shopping Day)

Black Friday shopping starts early, friends. According to IBM’s 2013 Holiday Benchmark report, the sun is barely up when Black Friday shopping hits its peak around 6 a.m. EST. A dive into search data shows that searches on Black Friday peak around 5 a.m. EST. This could be a coincidence, or could reinforce the thought that many consumers research with search before purchasing.


Time zone Eastern Standard Time: Microsoft Internal Data 2013

TIP: Fifty-five percent of holiday shoppers check availability of an item using their mobile before going to a store. Mobilize your PPC ads to reach these shoppers – include store hours, directions, and highlight your Black Friday-specific promotions.

CYBER MONDAY (#1 Shopping Day)

Monday is traditionally a working day, so search activity stays strong and rises to an impressive frenzy around 3 p.m. EST [lunch time PST].


Time zone Eastern Standard Time: Microsoft Internal Data 2013

TIP: According to IBM’s Cyber Monday report, there is a spike is online sales activity right before midnight EST. It’s probably a number of last-minute shoppers – so be ready!

One Last Wonderful Gift

And time for one last holiday gift. Using searches containing “coupons” or “delivery”, the Bing Ads team’s insights provide a glimpse into how to time promotions. Searches for queries surrounding incentives like “coupons” decline during mid-December, whereas searches containing “delivery” searches increase significantly. Consumers want gifts get there on time, and are potentially less price-sensitive.


Putting It All Together

Retail advertisers already know how vital the holiday season is. With this additional insight, tweak and perfect your ad timing, promotions, and budgeting to get the most from these top shopping days of the year.

Give Us A Holler

We’d love to hear what trends in shopping and PPC advertising you’re seeing. Let us know what you think!

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

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