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Cyber Monday Recap: A Comparison of Before & After

by Casey Szulc

As comScore recently reported, Cyber Monday 2011 was the heaviest online spending day in history, Cyber Mondaywith $1.251 billion in online sales – up 22% from last year. Thanksgiving night and Black Friday are generally acknowledged as the start of the holiday shopping season and some of the busiest in-store shopping days, but as more retailers are optimizing for online sales, these days have become just as popular for online shopping as Cyber Monday. Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined for a total of $1.259 billion in online sales (slightly more than Cyber Monday), an increase of 23% over the previous year.

This is a great sign for online retailers, and a very rewarding weekend for those brands that deserve to rank high in Google and Bing. A dynamic SEO campaign is becoming increasingly important – especially during the holiday season – as sites that are thin on content are getting crushed.

Today, we look at two companies that followed our SEO checklist, optimized for the big shopping weekend, and were rewarded with impressive results.

Looking at the corresponding days leading up to and including Cyber Monday, comScore reported an overall increase of 15% in online spending:

Overall E-Commerce Spending (from comScore):
November 2-29, 2010: $13.008 billion
November 1-28, 2011: $15.020 billion
Increase: 15%

How does this compare with two deserving brands that both average over 10,000 daily visits?

Case Study #1: Major Retailer with >20,000 average daily visits

Client #1 E-Commerce Spending:
November 2-29, 2010: $2,048,846.65
November 1-28, 2011: $14,485,551.29
Increase: 607%

Client #1 Visits:
November 2-29, 2010: 3,816,404
November 1-28, 2011: 5,964,239
Increase: 56%

Client #1 Organic, Non-branded Visits:
November 2-29, 2010: 51,644
November 1-28, 2011: 92,399
Increase: 79%

Client #1 Transactions:
November 2-29, 2010: 5,263
November 1-28, 2011: 36,208
Increase: 588%

This retailer did everything right: It offered promotions, contacted its existing customer base, dressed up its website for the holidays, and updated the website’s meta descriptions, among other things. The company’s strong brand presence was rewarded in the search results, contributing to a 79% increase in organic non-branded visits.

Case Study #2: Niche Electronics Retailer with > 10,000 average daily visits

Client #2 E-Commerce Spending:
November 2-29, 2010: $120,861.29
November 1-28, 2011: $150,536.42
Increase: 25%

Client #2 Visits:
November 2-29, 2010: 334,102
November 1-28, 2011: 392,003
Increase: 17%

Client #2 Organic, Non-branded Visits:
November 2-29, 2010: 22,752
November 1-28, 2011: 45,317
Increase: 99%

Client #2 Transactions:
November 2-29, 2010: 1,492
November 1-28, 2011: 1,517
Increase: 2%

This retailer specializes in a highly competitive electronics market, and saw an increase of 25% in E-Commerce spending. This was due, in part, to SEO efforts and the fact that the number of organic non-branded visits increased by 99%. Even though the number of transactions stayed the same, the quality of those transactions increased from an average value of $81 to $99.

Both retailers have not only benefited from the herding effect of holiday shoppers and marketing promotions, but from successful SEO campaigns that tied everything together in time for the big weekend. As Google and Bing continue to compete for your attention, more and more shoppers are using search engines to find gifts for the holidays. What are your thoughts on successful optimization for Cyber Monday?

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