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Will Cyber Monday Be the Peak?

With all the hype surrounding Cyber Monday this year, I was actually surprised to find out that it was justified for once. comScore reports that Cyber Monday had record-setting spending: $733 million, to be exact. And the subsequent days also saw $700+ in sales, with Thursday coming in close second to Monday.

Compared to last year’s peak day, sales are up 11% or $72 million. However, that actually constitutes slower (and smaller) growth. From 2005 to 2006, sales rose 19%. More telling, from ’05-’06, sales increased $105 million.

But I don’t think it’s over yet. The peak online retail days for 2006 and 2007 were not, in fact, the so-called “Cyber” Monday: they were Monday, December 11, 2006 and Monday, December 12, 2005. As I wrote about this last year:

What Do Britney Spears, Al Gore, and Harry Potter Have in Common?

It’s a search marketer’s dream. The opportunity to post a news story with a title that includes the keyword "Britney Spears" in a legitimate way!

Thanks to Yahoo’s 2007 Top Trends in Search, we get to use Ms. Spears’ name and also "stuff" our post with a few other popular terms. OK, so we’re not actually hoping to rank for "Harry Potter" but, should Spears, Potter and Al Gore end up in some twisted love-triangle, we’re golden! ;-)

In the meantime, you can waste half an hour perusing the keywords that your fellow man spent the better part of 2007 searching.

News Stories – top 10 news stories

1. Saddam Hussein

2. Iran

3. Iraq

4. President George W. Bush

5. Oil and Gas prices

Online Advertising and Display Ads Rise

Internet advertising as a whole is steadily rising. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) announced in early October that Internet advertising has reached a new record of $4.9 billion for the first quarter of 2007. Last year first quarter revenues were at $3.8 billion – a 26 percent increase.

I recently read a MarketingSherpa article on one type of online advertising that is making a small comeback. Some call them banner ads some call them online display ads, but according to MarketingSherpa, they are back in vogue. Why? They are lower cost other online advertising methods. MarketingSherpa published a helpful introduction to this advertising medium.

2nd Annual Online Customer Engagement Report Released

E-consultancy and cScape have just released their 2nd Annual Online Customer Engagement Report which takes an in-depth look at how companies plan to use the Web to engage their customers. The 57-page report surveyed 1000+ participants and is packed full of data that any marketer will find useful. Highlights include:

  • Online customer engagement now top priority as companies change marketing focus
  • Brands embrace widgets, social networks and video-sharing sites in bid to boost customer engagement
  • Digital industry leaders advise companies to pay attention to engagement.

There’s also expert analysis of the findings from Jim Sterne, Avinash Kaushik, and yours truly. Here’s what I had to say about the results.

Retailers Primed for Cyber Monday

Reading through my RSS feeds this morning, I was shocked at the distinct lack of anything news-worthy–surely companies are over their turkey-induced slump. Then Reuters reminded me that today is "Cyber Monday" which means that anyone with a keyboard is currently shopping the biggest online sales day of the year.

How big is Cyber Monday for online retailers? comScore predicts sales will exceed $700 million online today. That’s a lot of shoes, iPods, and tiny flying helicopters.

With the economy in a mini-slump, etailers are going all out this year…

…the number of retailers offering free shipping with no conditions, such as a minimum purchase, has jumped to 41.4 percent from 36 percent last year.

Eight Good Holiday Season Statistics for Internet Retailers

Forrester has some great statistics related to the holiday season for online retailers:

1. 61% of online shoppers prefer an e-tailer that offers free shipping. However, 49% say shipping prices do not deter them from buying.
2. Only 26% say they would pay for expedited delivery. (It was 45% last year.)
3. 55% say they shop online to find products they can’t find offline.
4. Only 18% would pay extra for gift wrapping (down from 33%).
5. The top categories for online shopper this holiday season? In order: apparel, books, electronics, gift cards and toys
6. 68% of internet users shop online or research products online. 50% of those users window shop only (research information) and then buy offline. This is interesting—it seems to indicate that only about 1/3rd of internet users are really online shoppers.
7. The higher the income, the more likely a user is to shop or research products online.
8. Here are the biggest deterrents of online shopping in order: credit card security, privacy, shipping costs, quality, return policies, delays and product availability.

Nonprofits Outpace Businesses on Social Media

Charities are often more savvy than businesses when it comes to using social media – especially blogging. The Center for Marketing Research looked at the top 200 largest US charities as defined by Forbes Magazine. They found that seventy-five percent of the charities are using some form of social media.

Social media specifically refers to blogging, podcasting, using message boards, social networking, video blogging and wikis. 46% of the charities report that social media is a key part of the organizations fund raising efforts (though they do not measure success by numbers – they seem to use the tools more for branding purposes).

Social media is an effective way to increase awareness of their missions and helps them connect with their constituencies. The research did not trace how this affected donations because the organizations mainly used it to build community and foster their online presence.