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Cyber Monday 2014: The Year That 1 of 3 Online Shoppers Will Be Mobile

by Katie Jansen on Nov 7, 2014

Cyber Monday, the mythical-cum-factual busiest day of the year for ecommerce falls on December 1st this year. As Cyber Monday continues to grow, overall transactions on mobile are also growing. We took a deeper dive into data from external sources and our own to chart the growth of mCommerce on Cyber Monday and where it could be headed. Specifically, we’ll explain why we think 2014 could be the year when nearly one in three Cyber Monday transactions will originate from a mobile device.

Originally a marketing ploy from the U.S. National Retail Federation in 2005, Cyber Monday actually became the busiest online shopping day in 2010, and has remained so for the last four years, according to ComScore.

In 2010, the year that the Cyber Monday myth became reality, mobile transactions represented a paltry 2% of online purchases. In just four short years, we can expect that almost 30% of Cyber Monday shoppers will be completing their transaction on a mobile device this December.

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We are confident in that projection after reviewing data from various third party sources and consulting our own internal data. If you were to extrapolate linear growth from ComScore’s 2013 numbers to 2014, then mobile would account for 22.22% of Cyber Monday purchases. However, just as a raw linear progression, this wouldn’t take into account the growth in mcommerce in the intervening period. IBM recently released a report (PDF) that predicts that just under 25% of online purchases will originate from mobile in November 2014. Forrester is so bullish on the innovation in this area that they recently predicted that 29% of online US shopping transactions would be conducted on mobile devices by the end of 2014.

Looking at internal AppLovin data and seeing increases in activity in key premium commerce verticals–as much as 20-30% since January 2014–we feel very confident that the Forrester number is a safe bet, maybe even conservative. In fact, looking at the trendline of ComScore’s numbers with the Forrester prediction as a general projection for 2014, it’s safe to say that mobile transactions could surpass traditional online commerce by Cyber Monday 2017.

Mobile Ads on Cyber Monday

When we parse AppLovin data, patterns unique to Cyber Monday start to emerge. These data points are collected after analyzing billions of impressions served.

Users perform better (through ads) on Cyber Monday and advertisers pay more to get to them. There is a 20% increase in conversion from ads on Cyber Monday when compared to the aggregate regular Monday. In addition, the click rate is 10% higher on Cyber Monday (8% vs. 9%). These numbers make sense, as users are in the buying mood, and the invisible hand of the programmatic real time bidding (RTB) market dictates that increased demand means increased costs to advertise to and acquire users.

Effective CPM (eCPM) is 50% higher on Cyber Monday, so advertisers are willing to pay more knowing that the conversion rate will pay off in the end. And now that re-targeting is taking place on mobile, the advertisers goal is to keep this shopper engaged through the holiday season and beyond.

 

Recommendations

Publishers and developers who have plans to make a fourth quarter spend on mobile advertising would be well advised to focus on Cyber Monday as the center of their strategic plans. But the ROI on acquired users is much greater if Cyber Monday is treated as just the start of a mobile marketing campaign of nourishing and cultivating the users/buyers acquired from the initial Cyber Monday spend.

The lifetime value (LTV) of a customer maps their value as a returning user/purchaser and is what should be first considered when deciding budgets and determining the true ROI publishers expect. The good news is the Cyber Monday buyers are engaged with mobile ads and are ready and willing to spend. The bad news is, these are some of the most expensive users to acquire due to the nature of competition and supply and demand.

This just means that publishers need to be especially vigilant in following the best practices for a successful re-engagement campaign.

Re-target Your Users:

Publishers should use platforms which can track purchases and intelligently predict relevant ads for each individual user. Relevancy provides a better experience for the user, with higher click-through rates and obviously the publisher’s bottom line. For example, if a user buys a sofa through a furniture app, then it behooves the publisher to serve an ad or a mobile optimized email for a matching ottoman.

Leverage In-App Marketing Tools:

Sending a push notification is an extremely powerful tool. However, there is a certain art to knowing how to use push notifications effectively while not exhausting the user. Integrate best practices for sending push notifications, there are several different sources with good tips to encourage re-engagement.

Attribute by Channel:

First and foremost, publisher should make sure they are using an ad platform with accurate attribution. Without dependable attribution,marketers aren’t able to accurately spend on what’s working, because they don’t know which channel is driving results.

Summary

Cyber Monday 2014 represents an exciting time in the mobile commerce space–2014 marks one of the last few years where a minority of online commerce will be transacted with mobile devices. While the mobile commerce market is mature in some ways, in many others, it is still a gold rush. Cyber Monday presents an excellent opportunity for brands, publishers, or developers to execute their mobile advertising strategies and get a taste of the future of online commerce.

 

Katie Jansen is AppLovin’s Chief Marketing Officer. In addition to her work, Katie is an advocate for women in tech and equality in the workplace.

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