Too often it’s easy for marketers to get lost in the frenzy of developing an eCommerce holiday campaign—the ideating, crafting and final execution of holiday marketing deliverables. While there is no campaign without content, what’s the point if we don’t take time to set goals, then measure our progress and outcomes? Here, we’ve put together 10 metrics to track for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the overall holiday season.
Important metrics to track for the Black Friday, Cyber Monday Holiday Season
The obvious metrics we tend to think of for big shopping events are gross profit margin, total revenue and conversion rate. But here, we want to highlight some other important metrics eCommerce brands should monitor. Paying attention to the following metrics will not only help you pull off a more successful Black Friday, Cyber Monday marketing campaign, but also provide more details on how customers behaved, whether the campaigns were effective and why.
During the year’s biggest shopping days, time is money. If your site goes down, each second that goes by means that your business isn’t making sales. ECommerce sites are also more prone to crashes during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday period because of the uptick in traffic.
Website uptime monitors the performance and reliability of your site so that you can quickly go in and fix minor issues before they snowball into full-blown website problems.
How to track website uptime
Many people on Black Friday, Cyber Monday bounce from site to site, trying to find the best possible deals out there. Having fast page load time is an expectation of consumers, and if your site is loading slowly for even a short period, that could equate to revenue lost.
How to track page speed
On-site search terms
What are the most common keywords and search terms people are typing in that little search box in the corner of your site? This is very telling as to what customers are looking for. Even if you’re already measuring this, search trends could change drastically on Black Friday through Cyber Monday—especially if you’re running special deals. Be sure to take stock of the most common search terms on your eCommerce site before the holiday sales, closely monitor changes (and figure out why it changed) so you can adjust your marketing efforts.
For example, you may notice a specific category or item is quickly gaining in on-site search volume on Cyber Monday. The moment you notice this trend, you could do something like put together an ad promotion for that selection since you already know that it’s what people want.
How to track on-site search terms
Most eCommerce brands already have Google Analytics installed, and you can easily set this up within Google Analytics (here’s how to do it).
Average order value
Average order value (AOV) is important to track because if you can increase this number, then revenue will increase accordingly. Your AOV is the average amount a customer spends per order on your site. It provides insight into how your typical shoppers behave.
When tracking AOV, you’ll want to be mindful of the holiday discounts you’re offering and pull the numbers from the previous year to compare them. Strategically used promotions encourage shoppers to buy more—serving to boost AOV while providing discounts to customers at the same time.
How to track average order value
Average order value is calculated by dividing your total revenue by total number of orders.
Customer acquisition cost
Your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is how much you pay to turn a browser into a customer. This metric is crucial to your brand’s profitability. While you should keep your eye on CAC year-round (and compare it against customer lifetime value (CLV) number), it’s particularly important to track throughout the competitive holiday season.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday promotions typically see more brands fighting for consumers’ limited attention, which means increased marketing spend and higher CACs. To ensure holiday profitability, you’ll need to balance these higher acquisition costs with the slimmer profit margins from your holiday discounts.
How to track customer acquisition cost
Customer acquisition costs can be calculated by dividing the amount spent on acquiring new customers by the number of new customers gained in a given time period.
To be clear, marketing budget spent to retain existing customers should not be included in your amount spent when making this particular calculation.
Shopping cart abandonment rate
Ah, the dreaded abandoned shopping cart. The eternal thorn in the side of many eCommerce marketers. When a shopping cart has been abandoned, you’re so close to getting that sale but not quite. Luckily, there are ways to lower those rates with workflows.
With heightened traffic to your site during the post-Thanksgiving shopping period, you’ll need to keep an eye on shopping cart abandonment rates and identify if there is a point in the checkout process where people are leaving. With this knowledge, you can work to remedy any issues (because you want to catch those early!).
How to track shopping cart abandonment
You can set up a shopping cart funnel in Google Analytics to automatically see the current shopping cart abandonment rate. Your shopping cart abandonment rate can also be calculated by dividing the total number of purchases by the total number of shopping carts created, then subtracting the result by one and multiplying it by 100 to get the accurate percentage rate.
Path to purchase
Tracking which devices people are using when making purchases from your eCommerce store helps your brand get a more intimate look at the customer journey. You should look at conversion rates and revenue across multiple devices (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.).
Seeing the common pathways users take to make that final transaction (or abandon their cart) can surface any overlooked problems. Since you’ll have a bigger influx of shoppers than normal, that volume can reveal valuable information about the efficacy of your eCommerce customer journey.
How to track the customer journey
This one is a little more complex. Of course, Google Analytics again will be a major help here, with their free Top Conversion Path Reports. To get more details, we recommend you read this Shopify article on customer journeys.
Email is often the best way to get your holiday deals in front of consumers during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend. One of the most critical metrics to track from your holiday email campaigns are clickthrough-rates (CTR). This metric reveals how effective your brand was at driving traffic to your eCommerce site from promotional emails. Here are some other important email metrics to assess email performance:
- Open rate – The number of subscribers who opened the email
- Conversion rate – The number of people who completed an action on a page after clicking through the email
- Bounce rate – The number of subscriber email addresses that didn’t receive the email
- Unsubscribes – The number of people who take action to no longer receive emails. This is a good indication of whether your emails are getting too spammy.
How to track email performance
Email CTR can be tracked by dividing the number of clicks your emails receive by the number of emails sent minus the number of email bounces.
Most email tools will be able to show key email metrics so you can get a better idea of how your holiday email campaigns performed.
Digital ad performance
Digital ads are another key way to drive holiday web traffic to your online store. This includes display ads, retargeting ads and social ads. Since competition for holiday shoppers’ attention will be stiff, you stand out from the crowd (and get more bang for your advertising bucks) by featuring compelling photos of real happy customers as your ad creative.
How to track the ad performance
There are numerous metrics you must measure to determine the success of your holiday ad campaigns:
- Ad impressions – The number of times your ad was displayed
- Engagement rate – Likes, shares and comments on paid social posts
- CPM (cost per thousand impressions) – The amount you pay per one thousand consumer impressions
- CPC (cost per click) – The amount you pay every time someone clicks your ad
- Click-through rate – The rate at which people who see your ad end up clicking on it
- Conversion rate – The rate at which people complete an intended activity (i.e. make a purchase, subscribe to a newsletter, etc.)
It’s easy to get hung up on the hard numbers (number of sales, revenue made, etc.) so social sentiment is a metric that can be easily overlooked, even though it is a crucial one to pay attention to.
ECommerce marketers need to keep track of how people are talking about the brand online and look for those talking about negative experiences. They present an opportunity to engage with an unhappy customer and maybe even turn them into an advocate. Plus, negative sentiment online can spread like wildfire, so you want to be sure you’re staying on top of how people are talking about the brand during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond.
How to track social sentiment
You can go onto the social media channels where you have the biggest presence and monitor what people are saying about the brand. Using smart tools can also simplify this process since, after all, you’ll be busy checking many things during holiday sales days. Some include:
We hope this serves as a helpful reminder that metrics matter during eCommerce campaigns. This list of metrics to track for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire holiday shopping season should help your campaigns see higher levels of success, and as a result, increase your bottom line. Start measuring as soon as possible!