Six Cyber Weekend trends

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With the dust settled on the busy Cyber Weekend period, what does the performance tell us about the state of affiliate marketing?

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With the dust settled on the busy Cyber Weekend period, what does the performance of thousands of affiliates, generating almost €280m in sales for 6,000 brands, tell us about the state of affiliate marketing, as well as the wider retail landscape?

Introduction

How did 2016 compare to last year? What were the key trends and themes that emerged? Who were the winners and what role did smartphones play in driving conversions?  

For much of the world the ‘four day weekend’ that begins with Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Thursday and ends with Cyber Monday (typically the peak trading Monday of the year), marks the greatest opportunity to maximise revenue. 

Whilst it’s a recent online event, Black Friday has taken root in certain markets such as the UK and Brazil since 2014 but over the past few years has failed to find a wider footing in large mature online territories like France, The Netherlands and Germany. 

As the most eagerly awaited online trading event in the retail calendar for many countries, and with predictions that 2016 would see consumers across Europe embrace Black Friday for the first time, this critical shopping period continues to deliver insights that offer a window on the wider retail landscape. 

When analysing Awin’s data we have a wealth of information to scour. To give some scale and context about the reach of the network, over the course of Black Friday €117m of sales revenue was generated for our 6,000 advertisers in more than 160 countries. Across the four day period running to Cyber Monday, this figure rose to €278m, with sales driven by thousands of affiliates promoting programmes operated by our ten local markets. 

For Awin, Black Friday revenue was up more than 30% year-on-year. While a proportion of this uplift can be attributed to some new client wins in 2016, there are many more additional factors in play that we’ll assess which truly come to light when digging deeper into the data. 

In this review of Black Friday and Cyber Monday we take a look at the emerging trends across the whole weekend these days bookend, with a particular focus on Black Friday. We’ll consider both specific industry insights as well as wider macro issues that may have a bearing on affiliate performance. 

So, with that in mind, what were the key trends we identified from Black Friday 2016? 

It’s an incontrovertible fact that mobile commerce has accelerated rapidly over the past few years. In recent months across the network we have seen traffic through smartphones exceed one in three clicks, with some markets regularly posting tablet and handset interactions at more than 60%. There is inevitably significant regional variance but Black Friday represented a new high watermark in smartphone penetration.