Episode 144

Cyber 5 2020 Recap

Chris Brewer - OMG Commerce
December 9, 2020
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Cyber 5 Recap

While holiday shopping is still in full swing at the time of this writing, we do have some preliminary numbers for the Cyber 5 2020 (Thanksgiving Thursday–Cyber Monday) and an early look at how Holiday 2020 as a whole is shaping up.  Here are five key observations, so far, for Holiday 2020.  

  1. We’re breaking every ecommerce record and it’s not even close.  No surprise here, but this year marks a record for online sales for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire Thanksgiving weekend. Adobe Analytics was predicting two years’ worth of growth being packed into this Holiday Shopping season.  So far, we’re on track.     
  2. It’s less about a single day, and more about the weekend.  This has been the trend for the last few years where retailers and shoppers alike view the Cyber 5 as one big event rather than just the individual days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is still the largest single day, with Black Friday coming in second place.  However, Saturday, now dubbed Small Business Saturday, isn’t far behind. In fact, Thanksgiving this year was only 8% larger in total sales than Small Business Saturday.  Here’s a quick look at how the Cyber 5 performed.  A lot of this growth has come at the expense of in-store shopping.  CNBC estimates that Black Friday in-store traffic was down 52% year over year, while curbside pickup is up 52%.


  1. Shipaggedon is real.  I first heard this term on one of my favorite podcasts—the Jason and Scot Show (Episode 245). Basically, it’s the idea that delivery networks were already strained due to the pandemic-induced boom in online shopping before the holiday rush.  Now, with a record-breaking holiday season on top of a strained system, something has to give.  It’s no joke, and it will be interesting to see how it impacts the rest of holiday shopping.  Both UPS and Fedex have recently announced they are cutting some retailers off from being able to ship more packages. This will likely mean early cut offs for guaranteed delivery before Christmas.  It could also mean a lot of packages just won’t make it in time for Christmas morning.   
  2. Costs are up, but performance is up more.  As a digital advertising agency working with some up-and-coming ecommerce brands, we get an inside look into both ad spend and performance across Google Ads, YouTube Ads and Amazon Ads.  While numbers aren’t finalized yet, we are seeing that costs have indeed gone up from last year, but conversion rates have gone up even more creating really nice year-over-year growth in total sales and total ad performance.  Early analysis shows that CPCs are up nearly 20% year-over-year, but conversion rates are up over 50%.   

Predictions for the remainder of the holiday shopping season. With more cities across the US seeing surges in new cases of COVID-19, it’s unlikely to see a material shift from online shopping back to in-store shopping. We should see this record breaking pace continue for the rest of the holiday season. The wildcard is shipeggedon. My prediction is that we’ll see a fair number of digital gift cards purchased and printed off, as well as pictures of gifts that are in transit, but won’t be under the Christmas tree. Online shopping likely won’t slow down too much. Fingers crossed that shipiggedon won’t be as bad as we’re expecting.

Mentioned in this episode:

Prime Day 2020 eE Episode

Thanksgiving Day Statistics

U.S. Census Bureau Statistics for Q3

Jason & Scot Show

TrueView for Action

Episode Transcript:

Brett:

Hello and welcome to another edition of The E-Commerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce, and hey, we are smack dab in the middle of holiday shopping and we just wrapped up the Cyber Five, and so we thought we'd come to you with this special edition, kind of a brief show looking at, how did things kind of play out? We'll look at some global numbers, we'll look at some of our client data, so some inside info on some OMG Commerce clients.

Brett:

Hey, Brett Curry here. I've got an important question for you. Where will your next big idea come from? Where will your next big breakthrough come from? Or, where will your next little tweak or little improvement come from? I have a suggestion. Check out our guides and resources at OMGCommerce.com. Are you looking to enhance your YouTube ads game? We have two of the best YouTube ad resources that are completely free. Our YouTube ad examples and templates guide and our guide to getting authentic video customer testimonials. But it doesn't stop there. We also have guides on how to maximize sponsor brand video on Amazon, and Amazon DSP, and Google Shopping, and a variety of other things.

Brett:

So get these free guides, give them to your team, even share them with your agency. Just take advantage of these resources and up your game. Let OMG Commerce help. And now, back to the show.

Brett:

With me today is a very esteemed guest. He's the most popular guest on the show, the most frequent guest on the show as well, although it's been too long since he's been on here, but of course, the guest I'm referring to is my business partner, the co-founder of OMG Commerce, Chris Brewer. Chris, what's up, man?

Chris:

Doing great. Great to be here. It is a rare appearance because you're churning out the podcast episodes. Seems like week after week, they pop out into my email inbox. But it's variety, so I guess they do add up, appearances. I'm happy to have that designation.

Brett:

You are the most popular guest, the most frequent guest, all of the above. And yeah, the podcast is on fire here. We've got new shows coming out, which is a ton of fun. So let's dive right into it, Chris. We're going to look at some global numbers, some global trends, and we're just, all of 2020, we're crushing all kinds of sales records for the Cyber Five. We'll talk about what that looks like globally for all of E-Commerce, and then we'll also look at some of the things we're seeing because we manage a fair amount of E-Commerce clients ourselves, and give kind of an inside scoop into some of their data. Obviously, we won't talk about any specific clients, but we've kind of aggregated some of our own data that we'll talk through here in a minute.

Brett:

But before we do that, let's just talk about shopping in general. So sounds like-

Chris:

Two guys talking about shopping. That should really make people listen.

Brett:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. And so, it sounds to me like you took advantage of some Black Friday and, or Cyber Monday deals. What'd you do and how'd it work out for the Brewer household?

Chris:

I did. I was licking my wounds a bit because I totally missed Prime Day, which I do think was kind of easy to do this year because the date got kicked forward and there was a lot, I know, discussion on our team, "Are they even going to have it? Can they have it?" All kinds of issues there with getting , so I missed it. I was kind of bummed at some of the deals I missed out on, but on Monday, I definitely took advantage. So we've got a little place here in Florida where I'm recording today, and one of our TVs was too small in the main living area, so I was shopping televisions, which, I think it's a guy thing. I know it's 2020, but TVs, my wife said, "Honey, we need a bigger TV." So I used the little put-it-in-the-room function, so I actually-

Brett:

Some little virtual reality or augmented reality route, where you can see? Yeah.

Chris:

Augmented. Yeah. So I was lining up the wall, and then I got a 55 inch in different spots, like, "Eh, it's just not big enough." So I ended up with a 65 inch, which is kind of an odd size, but I grabbed one. Sony television, arriving mid-December. Brett, I liked this .. They had a bundle, which you know Amazon likes to do, add this or add that.

Brett:

Sure. If you had a mounting bracket, you're going to need the special HDMI cables, you're going to need some of these cool things. Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. The TV was $798 on sale. With the mounting bracket, I went to checkout, because I'm like, "Oh yeah, I'll add that mounting bracket." All of a sudden, it was $1200. They wanted $300 for the bracket.

Brett:

It's the gold plated mounting bracket. When you use that, the reception is just outstanding.

Chris:

Yeah. So I managed to find an Amazon's choice mounting bracket for $35.

Brett:

That's about right.

Chris:

And save about 310 bucks.

Brett:

You know what's interesting, Chris, is we actually, I did not miss out on Prime Day, I was paying close attention to it, but it was interesting. It's usually in July, this year it was in October, and it really did, go back and listen to the episode that I recorded with Chris Tyler from our team, Prime Day really did mark the kick-off of holiday shopping for this year for a lot of people. Oddly enough, we bought a TV as well. We bought a TV on Prime Day, I got a killer deal. We just, and I've talked about this on the show a couple times because it's been the never-ending project, built a deck, couple of levels, and on the underneath side, we're going to have a roof and we're going to mount a TV so we can watch games out there in the spring and summer and stuff like that. We'll bring it inside when it's raining.

Brett:

But anyway, bought a TV on Prime Day, got a killer deal. So I actually kind of sat out Black Friday and Cyber Monday because I had done all my shopping on Prime Day. So I wonder how many people did that. I will say, though, looking at the data, not a whole lot of people. I think a lot of people were shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is interesting.

Brett:

So this year, we've touched on a couple things, Prime Day kind of kicked off holiday shopping for the first time ever, we've got unprecedented E-Commerce growth this year over years past. During the stay-at-home orders back in March and April, E-Commerce was up, it was like 40% of retail. So depending on the way you slice and dice the numbers, it was five or 10 years worth of E-Commerce growth compressed into the two months. It was crazy. And that's when we had delayed shipping and Amazon doing only essentials and things like that. It's leveled out, but the E-Commerce growth for the year has still been phenomenal. We've still seen most of our clients having record months.

Brett:

There are a few categories, and I think it's probably worth pointing this out, a couple of categories that are struggling nationwide and we're seeing it, too. Apparel. Traditional apparel. We've got some specialty apparel that's potentially doing okay, but apparel and accessories. Those areas are kind of, eh, they're pretty soft. We're not getting out as much and apparel has actually been on the decline nationwide for a while, and then COVID just really sped up that decline, for sure.

Brett:

But other than those categories, our clients are mostly up, just mostly crushing it, month after month. Especially if you're doing a year over year comp. Let's talk about a couple of things. Let's just look globally for a minute, Chris, at what we're seeing with Black Friday and through the weekend, and then I want to talk about some other kind of interesting trends that we're seeing, and then we'll look at some OMG Commerce data as well.

Brett:

So this year, Thanksgiving was an interesting day because ... Are you guys, Chris, at the Brewer household or some people in your household, do they shop, do you guys shop on Thanksgiving historically? Are you in-store Black Friday shoppers or no?

Chris:

Historically, I sleep. The ladies, including my daughter, are up at ... I remember one year, we were in Branson, staying at a condo or a cabin or something, and they went out at 3:30 in the morning.

Brett:

Got it.

Chris:

No. No, I sleep.

Brett:

So you skip that got you. Well this year-

Chris:

I skip that, but my wife and my daughter, they hit the stores, typically.

Brett:

So this year, you couldn't hit stores on Thanksgiving for the most part. Walmart, closed. A lot of other major retailers, closed on Thanksgiving, which, I kind of like that trend personally. I love Thanksgiving. I think it should be about family and focusing on that.

Brett:

Also, we're in the E-Commerce space, so if you can't go into physical stores, that's going to boost E-Commerce sales for Thanksgiving. And no surprise, record breaking day for Thanksgiving online sales today. According to Adobe, Thanksgiving Day was up about 21% year over year, so very much accelerated growth over years past. And then, Black Friday was just a complete monster. $9 billion in sales online on Black Friday. But oddly enough, record Black Friday for online sales, but it did not eclipse Cyber Monday of 2019. So interestingly enough, Black Friday did not eclipse Cyber Monday.

Chris:

But retail still got hammered. I mean, the retail numbers on Black Friday were immensely down, right?

Brett:

You're talking about in store?

Chris:

In store. Sorry, I say retail. In store. Yeah.

Brett:

In store numbers were definitely down on Black Friday, without a doubt. Yeah. If you look at total retail, though, I think total retail is going to be up because that's what we're seeing so far with Q3 data, if you look at the US Census Bureau numbers for Q3, in store, brick and mortar, down for sure, but E-Commerce is actually up enough to compensate for that, so that, overall, retail numbers are up. So yeah, in store Black Friday, abysmal. But I still think retail for Black Friday, and we'll see, those numbers haven't been fully impact, the Black Friday total retail should still be pretty good.

Chris:

We've done this enough, I knew when I said retail and I saw the look on your face, I'm like, "What did I just say that was wrong?"

Brett:

I'm like, "What you talking about?"

Chris:

Retail is everything.

Brett:

That's awesome.

Chris:

Yeah.

Brett:

If you're just listening only, maybe you could hear it in our voices, but go back and watch the video, you'll see my reaction.

Chris:

Yeah. I will say, the in store, my son, who's an avid gamer, he actually camped out, he started Wednesday night for a Friday morning opening at Game Stop so he could get one of two of the PlayStation Five's, and he ended up recording a TikTok video that's, I wouldn't say it's viral with 82,000 views, but respectable.

Brett:

That is definitely respectable. And it is interesting, we'll talk about some of the more popular items, and in fact, let's just break away to the popular items just really quickly because this is fun. You've got a couple things going on right now, which will influence, potentially, not necessarily Cyber Five, but influence the holiday time period. You've got the new iPhone, iPhone 12, which I did upgrade to the 12. It looks like this may be what they call a super cycle, so a lot of people upgrading to the 12, which will be interesting. And then you also have the new gaming console, right? The PS5, which, those only come out, what, every couple of years or something like that? It's not the same cycle as phones.

Chris:

Yeah. PS4 to PS5 has been a long time.

Brett:

I think it's been, like, four years or something. We're obviously not gamers. So that's going to be a huge bump. But some other interesting trending items, just to kind of show what's going on this year, the number one, this was all Adobe data, we'll link to this in the show notes, but on Cyber Monday, the number one selling product was Super Mario 3D All-Stars. No idea. AirPods, which I will say, I was kind of late to the AirPod game, I've only had mine for a couple months. Fantastic. I don't know what I did without those. V-Tech toys. We own a lot of V-Tech toys from having lots of kids. This kind of snuck up on me. HP and Dell computers. Okay. Cool. And then number five, Chromecast. So those were the most popular on Cyber Monday.

Brett:

Now, if we back up to Black Friday, couple of interesting things. Lego sets, you've got Samsung 4K TVs, there you go, TCL TVs, Apple Watch in there. Actually, I'm sorry, that was Thanksgiving. And then Black Friday, Hot Wheels, AirPods again, Apple Watch. So it's going to be a good year I think for Apple, which is super interesting. So yeah, aside from crazy people like your son who, he's a highly entertaining dude, camping out for the PS5, not a lot of excitement in store, and with most places nationwide being restricted on the number of people they can have in the store-

Chris:

It's kind of nice not hearing news stories about people being trampled as the doors open. With all of the craziness in 2020 and the protests and just all the violence and all that, and it was a lot quieter season, but it was nice not to hear those kinds of stories this year.

Brett:

For sure. Yeah, definitely quieter. So online Black Friday was huge, but it still did not eclipse Cyber Monday of 2019, interestingly enough. And actually, this is just a fun bit of trivia. Do you know why Cyber Monday is a thing, Chris? Do you kind of know why it originated back in the day? Why Monday instead of some other day?

Chris:

I'm not even going to make a feeble attempt.

Brett:

It would have been probably entertaining. So here's the skinny on this. Back in the day when deals would be in store on Black Friday and then you'd kind of wait, you wouldn't do online deals over the weekend because a lot of people were at home, and back in the early days of online shopping, we were all on dial-up, so our internet speeds were slow. So what retailers found was people wanted to shop on Monday when they were back at work so they had the faster online connections, and then, shopping at work I guess is fun for people. So it just kind of stuck. And then once online retailers started having big sales days on Cyber Monday, then it became a thing. Now we're shopping all the time anywhere we want to, but Cyber Monday is still a thing, which is cool.

Brett:

Couple of other things that are interesting. Curbside pick-up or BOPUS, buy-online-pick-up-in-store, up huge. Up 52% year over year on Black Friday. So that's also probably where a little bit dollars went.

Chris:

Brett, hold on a second. You just casually slid in a very fun and fairly new E-Commerce acronym.

Brett:

I did just throw it in there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You want to unpack that for a second?

Chris:

You're so fly like that.

Brett:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:

E-Commerce has a lot of fun acronyms, ROAS, ACOM, you've got these kind of cool sounding, and then you've got-

Brett:

The advertising cost of Zales there. ACOS? ACOST, whatever. Yeah, however you want to dial that up, it's all good.

Chris:

Don't be a BUFOS. Sorry. Yeah, we'd better not go ... So BOPUS. Buy-online-pick-up-in-store.

Brett:

Buy-online-pick-up-in-store. It actually counts as E-Commerce revenue, but then someone is picking up the item in the store, either curbside or going to the counter and picking it up.

Chris:

I have yet to do any curbside. The whole pandemic, no curbside.

Brett:

I can't say that I have either. Maybe..

Chris:

I've done the Walmart, but I was doing that before.

Brett:

Yeah. You should do the Walmart delivery, dude. It's amazing.

Chris:

I will say, just as a quick side note, for me, and I think most guys can ... Do not ever give me a grocery list. I'll go to the grocery, but I'm in, I'm out, and I don't like searching because I don't go to the grocery that often, so I don't like searching.

Brett:

I love that you call it the grocery. It's almost British. Not grocery store. "I like going to grocery."

Chris:

Whatever. But what I really like, I've loved about Walmart, and Walmart's digital platform for years was not great, but I mean, I love opening up Walmart and going into their shop grocery button right there, and I don't have to search for the bananas. I know that's an easy spot. But I don't have to search for the bananas. I just type in bananas, I click it, and then I do my whole list, and then anything that needs to be substituted, I got it, I show up, they put it in the car. It's amazing.

Brett:

I totally agree, and I found, and this sounds very similar to what you're describing. I'm definitely, I'm the most inefficient in store shopper you've ever seen. I'll go to the back of the store and grab something, then go all the way to the front of the store and grab something, then realize there was something I needed in the back of the store. If someone looked, it's like I was totally lost or need help. I've found I want to just search for something when I'm in the store. Can I just have a search button where I can just type it in here and you'll tell me exactly where the item is? I think that this is a thing, right? There are people like you and I who just prefer to shop online and that number was growing, and then you have people who were just forced to do it because of stay-at-home orders and things like that. All of it is pointing towards just a huge trend in BOPUS, buy-online-pick-up-in-store, and curbside, and delivery, and all of these things, which is super cool.

Chris:

I will say real quickly, since 1998, my wife tries to not take me with her in stores whatsoever because that's the year my daughter was born and we went shopping for furniture shortly thereafter, and I got distracted looking at furniture and I left her in her carrier in the back of the furniture store just sitting on the floor, and then migrated. I know, you've known me for years, you know this is definitely accurate. Migrated up to the front of the store and Jenny's like, "Where's Avana?" And I was like, "Oh crap."

Brett:

She's just doing the shopping, I gave her the list. She's in the back.

Chris:

It was my firstborn, so no worries there.

Brett:

You got better, right?

Chris:

I did. She actually let me go with her for the first time in 20 plus years to Rooms to Go. We went in retail and actually bought a new leather couch for our place here. So anyway, go on.

Brett:

Yeah. Congratulations. It's good that you're back in the game now.

Chris:

Back in the game, even though it probably wasn't the best buying experience for her there either, but oh well.

Brett:

That's awesome. So we did have, then fast forward to Cyber Monday of this year just a couple of days ago at the time of this recording. Online sales, $10.8 billion, again, according to Adobe, we'll link to all this in the show notes, so that's a 15% increase in year over year sales for Cyber Monday. And Cyber Monday broke all kinds of records last year as well. Now I will say, the Adobe numbers are pretty representative of the entire market, but we'll also look when the US Census Bureau data comes out. It maybe will show slightly higher numbers, maybe a little more favorable. But usually, Adobe is pretty close.

Brett:

So you may be saying, "That's interesting. So Cyber Monday grew 15%, but we were up 30%, 40% earlier in lock downs." So what I would say there is Cyber Monday was also already massive. It's hard when you have these global gigantic numbers. It's hard to keep the same percentage year over year growth, so 15% year over year growth for Cyber Monday is still huge.

Chris:

I mean, you still have a lot of people unemployed or low employment in terms of they're not getting the hours they were. I think that's what I've been fascinated by, and I mentioned this to others, is that the total number, you mentioned the 10 year growth in a short timeframe, the amount of people that have come in with purchasing power I think has made up for those that are not able to buy, maybe at the levels that they were previously. So that's been fascinating to me, that the numbers were still as high as they were.

Brett:

For sure. For sure. So here's some other interesting things here as we kind of wrap up some of the global trends, and we'll talk briefly about some OMG things and then leave it at that for this episode of the podcast. So we've been having shipping issues, right? And we all experienced this, or a lot of us did, during the initial stay-at-home orders that, hey, we're making our order, whether it's Walmart Delivery or it's from Amazon or whatever and we're getting notices that, hey, shipping delays. Everything is backed up, there's a ton of demand thrown into the system that nobody was ready for, you've got COVID outbreaks at different distribution centers and third party logistics companies and stuff like that. So it just threw multiple wrenches into the system, so it caused delayed ship times.

Brett:

So that kind of primed us, got us ready for, "Hey, you know what? This holiday shopping season may be interesting." So we're already at record breaking online shopping numbers without holiday, and then we throw holiday into the mix and this Cyber Five and all this crazy stuff, now you've got a system that was already kind of overwhelmed, and now it's overwhelmed even more. Back in August, I was talking to a friend of ours who drives for UPS here in Springfield, MO, and he said, "Everybody's working 12-hour days. Everybody." And this was in August. August is not a good retail time and that's usually a slow time for the delivery companies. So they're already overworked, and then we throw all this additional volume into the system, so I've heard different people say that, "Hey, for all the carriers to get caught up on even just Black Friday deliveries, it may be December 10th or even later." Potentially. For all that to be delivered.

Chris:

We ordered a large item here and this happened a couple times where the FedEx or UPS truck shows up, the guy comes in and says, "Well, it says it's on here, but it's not on the truck." And they drive off and occasionally, Amazon has canceled that as undeliverable and just sent it back. But the guy this week came in and we had the same thing, item didn't show up, then later that night, the manager of the entire facility had taken all the heavy items and was delivering all the large items out and he and my wife chatted for a while, and he just said, "I'm having to help all my guys out because we don't have room on the trucks with these large items because of the masses that we're trying to deal with." Yeah, I'm seeing UPS and FedEx up and down the street here seven days a week. It's crazy.

Brett:

Yeah. It is truly insane. And it makes it clear why Amazon has been on this path to doing their own delivery. Not just because they want to compete with UPS and FedEx and USPS, it's that the system can't handle the growth that Amazon is experiencing now, especially in a COVID-19 world. So it's been super interesting to watch that. But here's what's crazy. As we look at previous years, last couple years, and we can link to this report as well, but there were six days in previous years in December that actually were bigger online than Black Friday. Black Friday is a good day. Black Friday is a huge day, not as big as Cyber Monday, but in recent years, there have been up to six days in December that had total online higher sales than Black Friday did for online.

Brett:

It's interesting, and I'm really fascinated to see if this is going to hold true this year or not. Largely because last days to ship. So last days to ship, I remember back in the early days of E-Commerce when we were kind of just getting strong in the game, maybe eight years ago or so, the last day to ship would maybe be December 15th or something or December 17th, just because the whole system wasn't really up to speed. Well, it's gotten later and later. Now, sometimes it's December 23rd or if you're in certain areas and you've got next day Prime, it's literally the 24th. But curiously enough, it's going to be interesting to see what that's like this year. I would venture to guess it may go back to more like it was before, like the 17th, 15th, something like that being the last day to ship. For some merchants, it's going to be earlier. I even heard one merchant, I don't remember the name of the merchant, but saying their last day that they'll guarantee ship times for on time Christmas delivery is December 4th. Like, wow. Okay. Crazy.

Brett:

So it'll be really interesting to see what happens next. Already a record year for E-Commerce sales, Black Friday was the best Black Friday ever, Cyber Monday this year broke all previous records. I'm really curious to see what happens for the rest of December. Any thoughts or speculation on that, Chris?

Chris:

No, I would definitely, for those listening to the podcast, I know most of us listening are in the business, but do not wait this year. Especially if you've got kids and you're trying to get that special item. It's not just shipping, I mean, it's inventory affects that as well because inventory gets strained with maybe sales days that they didn't expect and then you've got shipping cut-offs. So I would just say don't wait, don't delay. I don't know when this podcast is going to air, but you may have learned your lesson by then.

Brett:

Yeah. So a couple things, and I think this is a tip that would apply both to you as a consumer and you as an online retailer. Think gift cards. This is something that our Google rep has been talking about. Another podcast that I love that I've recommended a few times is The Jason and Scott Show, they've got a great podcast on Shipageddon and a few things. That's just what they're calling the shipping issues, shipping delays. So what they've talked about, our Google rep has talked about it, a few other people is, look at digital and gift card.

Brett:

So once we start nearing that time period of, eh, going to be hard to guarantee delivery by Christmas time, start talking about gift certificates because you can sell gift certificates where someone downloads the gift certificate, prints it off, hands it out. Something like that. Think about the digital delivery of whatever it is you sell. And also, hey, if you procrastinate, I'm a notorious procrastinator in terms of buying gifts, although this year I'm on top of it, if you wait late, you may have to buy a digital gift for the people that are special to you. So be thinking about that. Think about some promos that you can do around gift cards with your email list. Think about banners on the site once we get past that shipping cut-off, so that's something to consider as well.

Chris:

I think that in terms of, I really like that gift card idea because you can even, if you know you're going to miss it, screen shot the item and use that as your gift and let them know that, "Hey, this is what you need to buy that particular item." Those are great tips and ideas.

Brett:

Yeah, it's on the way. And I think this will be the year, we're all going to probably be a little more forgiving and a little more understanding. Like, "Hey, I didn't get the gift on Christmas, not a big deal. It's coming in the next few days or even next week or whatever." So yeah, I think that. Digital slash gift card slash picture of item that you ordered, that's all stuff you can certainly think about.

Chris:

Gatherings are going to be smaller.

Brett:

Exactly.

Chris:

We had a smaller Thanksgiving gathering. Our family is debating, in our family we celebrate Christmas, so we're debating even moving it. My mom said, "Hey, as long as you still come, we'll wait as late as February 1st."

Brett:

They're going to keep the tree up, keep the presents under the tree until Valentine's Day.

Chris:

My parents are in their mid to late-70s. They've been staying locked down. And I've got kids that are running all over the place. So part of that discussion has even been, they think they might be able to get the vaccine before the end of the year, and by early February, they'll be good to go with everything.

Brett:

Right.

Chris:

So I think there's going to be a lot of ... It will be interesting to see how deep into December and even what happens in January, because usually it falls off. There may be a little bit of an impact with delayed gatherings.

Brett:

That's really an interesting thought. How will this play out? We've got shipping madness and potentially early shipping cut-off dates, that could cause people to order early or maybe stop ordering. But then, yeah, because it's not a normal year, maybe the 25th doesn't matter like it used to. We're not gathering on the 25th, maybe we're not gathering at all, or maybe we're gathering in January. Yeah, it's going to be unusual and that could extend some of the shopping, too. So it's going to be really interesting to see how the rest of holiday plays out. And obviously, it's not going to be like traditional years to a large degree, but that is an interesting point, delayed gatherings, how will that impact shopping? Super interesting.

Brett:

Let's do this. Let's kind of wrap up. We'll talk about some of the OMG Commerce data, some of our clients, and we work exclusively retail. If you've listened to the podcast for long at all, you know we've got the Google and YouTube division of OMG Commerce, the Amazon division. We talked about Amazon and Prime Day in a recent episode with Chris Tyler, go back and check that out if you haven't seen it. Here, we're going to talk about YouTube and Google search, Google shopping trends.

Brett:

So let's start with YouTube first. YouTube is a very interesting channel. It's something we're known for. For agencies our size, we're one of the top spenders on YouTube ads, and this has been a crazy year for YouTube. We saw in the early months, again, of the lock down, that viewership on YouTube channels was up 100% to 200% because more people were at home. And what else are you going to do other than watch YouTube? Also, YouTube viewership on TVs, watching with the YouTube app on a smart TV, that's been up 80 plus percent in recent months. And even as things have opened up in some parts of the country, now they're closing back down again, the numbers have still stayed elevated. YouTube consumption is still way up, so what that's done is it's increased new ad inventory and it's made CPMs, or cost per thousands, actually go down a little bit on YouTube or at least stay steady and has just created immense opportunities.

Brett:

So what I want to do, though, is talk through a little bit of the YouTube data that we're seeing. So with YouTube ads we run, we're running TrueView for Action, which those are the, love them or hate them, those are the skippable, pre-roll commercials that pop up before the video that you went to YouTube to watch, you can skip it after five seconds. We're actually charged by the view with those ads, so you're paying a CPV, or a cost per view, but Google will calculate all the numbers for you. They'll calculate your effective cost per click, and we're mainly measuring a cost per conversion or a cost per acquisition, CPA, they'll obviously measure that for you and stuff.

Brett:

So let's just kind of look at what we have seen. Typically, as you get deeper into holiday shopping, especially with Cyber Five, what happens? Well, more advertisers enter the auction, which causes cost to go up. CPCs go up, CPMs go up, everything goes up. But with that, people are also in buying mode. Cyber Five, we're shopping. We want to get the deal now. So buyer intent goes up, conversion rates go up. Often, our majority value goes up as well because we're buying and potentially loading up a cart as we're buying gifts. But for sure, conversion rates go up. So the whole thing is, yeah, hey, if conversion rates go up in step with cost per click and things or if conversion rate goes up in excess of what CPCs go up, then you're golden because your return is great.

Brett:

So here's kind of what we saw. CPCs, this was looking at just this year's data, so the first of November, November 1st through 25th, and then compared to the Cyber Five, CPCs went up about 28%. That's pretty healthy. That's a pretty good increase. Not abnormal or unusual. As we hit Cyber Five, come out of the wood works, so the CPCs go up. Conversion rates went up about 26%. 26%, 27%, so not quite in step, but CPAs actually only grew about 20% for a lot of our clients. So it was interesting. AOVs did grow as well, grew about 8%. So overall, for most clients, it was still a very successful holiday shopping season. Still, the Cyber Five was up over years past and it was interesting as we kind of watched the data, and we'll have a full report of this that will come out later, but we definitely saw with our clients, just the numbers played out globally that Cyber Monday was bigger than Black Friday. We saw that as well. And in fact, with some clients, Saturday and Sunday were bigger than Black Friday as well.

Brett:

I think part of that depends on what kind of offer you structured, how long did it last, when did you have different promotions going on, as far as email blasts and stuff like that? So really interesting to watch. Any other things you noticed, Chris, as you were watching internal teams talking or looking at any data on your end?

Chris:

Yeah. It didn't bother me much to see where the CPCs were going because we've been seeing a trend over the last several years of CPCs going up anyway, and then if you think about how a lot of folks actually, when the lock downs were happening and lots of small businesses were pulling out of the auction and things like that, we saw CPCs go down, I would say, temporarily. So I think they've fully recovered. And then you have a lot more sellers, I believe, E-Commerce sellers, entering into the auction, which can cause those to elevate. But I would say that, I mean, call this a plug, but I was very pleased to see how our team was handling things. RUE, Cyber Five, and I know you and I, co-owners of the agency, something I know that we're both proud of is if you see these teams and how we used to handle Black Friday five years ago or six years ago.

Brett:

Yeah, little bit of chaos in there. Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. And people trying to wear a lot of hats, and now you've got conversion tracking specialists and you've got a shopping person helping out, and we've got a great Google team that helps out, Google being responsive with things. So I just think that's something that, whether it's OMG Commerce or whatever agency you're considering, even as you think about for next year, really watch how responsive was your team. Even your in-house team. How did they handle the ups and downs of the weekend? And we'd love to hear what challenges you guys faced with Google support or anything else, things that you ran into.

Chris:

So I think overall, like I commented to you before we started, I was very pleased with just how smooth things went overall for our clients.

Brett:

Yeah, it did go well, very well, really top to bottom, and what was interesting, and I think this also probably played into the fact that I shared a minute ago where, for some of our clients, they had record Saturdays and Sundays, specifically Sunday. And I think probably what happened, if you go back to the idea of CPMs, or cost per thousands, or cost per click, they were at an all time high Thanksgiving, but especially Black Friday. That's when all the big advertisers are pulling in. Some of those big advertisers pulled back out until Cyber Monday, and so I think that's another thing you have to look at.

Brett:

We work mainly with growing E-Commerce companies, so typically those that are $100 million in revenue a year and smaller. Some clients that are bigger, certainly, but we've got to be kind of nimble and look at, "Hey, if we have just a Cyber Five deal, it may make sense, we can go hard on Saturday and Sunday because it's less competitive and our dollars go further." Whereas, on Black Friday, it's pretty saturated. CPMs go up maybe 25%, 30% or more, so then it's a little bit harder to compete.

Chris:

I did notice a couple of things in slack channels, and I think us agency folks, we get a little laugh out of this, but it's not that funny, really, and it's where sellers can really, E-Commerce sellers can really help their agency out with these kind of things is, I saw some of our people, "Hey, I noticed so-and-so client is running this promo on Facebook." And we knew about their promotion they wanted to give us for Google, but they got nimble themselves, so just make sure, whether you've got a Google agency or a Facebook agency, if you and your team come up with a brilliant idea Saturday night, let the team know so that we can plug that into the things we're already doing.

Brett:

Yeah, we saw a great one where one of our rockstar AMs, we'll brag on Nicole for a second. We had a promo all set up for a client, won't mention the name. They're an awesome client. But I had the promo all set up in Google, and then she gets an email from the client, because she's on the email list, keeping tabs, and she was like, "Wait a minute. The promo code in the email is different than the promo code they gave us." We reached out to the client, the client said, "Oh yeah, sorry, we gave you the wrong code. The code in the email is correct."

Brett:

So we quickly pivoted and got it set up properly on Google and all was well, but it's just one of those things. I mean, there's always going to be some craziness, but try to coordinate top to bottom, internal team, agency, try to get that all buttoned up as best as possible, for sure. Nothing can spell holiday frustration like, "Hey, you've got a great ad and you're actually managing decent CPCs, but oh, then your conversions drop because you gave the wrong code out."

Chris:

And gosh, guys, keep your promo codes simple. We got a couple that the code the client had to put in was a sentence.

Brett:

So either keep it simple or put it on the page where people can just easily copy and paste or add it. Yeah, you've got to do one of the two, for sure.

Chris:

Right. Yeah.

Brett:

So yeah, awesome. Well, hey, this actually went a little bit longer than I anticipated, but good banter, good discussion, really cool stuff. And again, hey, we're still kind of mid-deal, so some of the data is still coming in, some of it will come to light further. We'll kind of update our blog posts and some other things with some of the most recent data as it becomes available, but overall, just an amazing Cyber Five, and it's going to be really interesting to see how the rest of holiday plays out. Chris, as always, great to have you, man. Thanks for coming on.

Chris:

It was great. I had to mute because the UPS guy showed up and my dog started barking. Finally.

Brett:

Perfect timing. Let's go see if actually he's there being like, "Guys, sorry, it says it's here, it's not here." We'll see if you actually get your delivery. But with that, we're going to wrap things up. As always, thank you for joining us, we'd love to hear from you. What would you like to hear more of, less of on the show? Things like that. Please, chime in. If you've not done so, leave that five star review on iTunes, it helps other people discover the show, it makes our day as well. And so with that, until next time, thank you for listening.


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