December 15, 2023

6 min read

The dust has settled on another Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertising and shopping frenzy, and as the numbers pour in, it's time to dissect the data and unravel the key trends that shaped this year's retail extravaganza for advertisers. In this post-event analysis, we delve into the wealth of data collected during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023, shedding light on noteworthy trends and the evolving advertising data and media landscapes.

Data Trends That Emerged

In general, when media analytics teams are paying to store rows of data in data warehouses to generate insights, it can get pricey—really fast. The cost implications of large-scale data acquisition necessitate a strategic approach, particularly during high-stakes shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Understanding the nuances of data ingestion trends is essential for advertisers seeking both cost-effectiveness and impactful insights.

Let's delve into the key trends that are reshaping the way advertisers approach data ingestion in an era where every byte of information comes at a premium.

There was a 3X increase in average daily data rows during the shopping weekend

The ongoing trend of increases in data acquisition reached new heights this year. With advertising activity increasing around the shopping extravaganza, data indicates a substantial increase in the amount of data ingested from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. On average, advertisers ingested ~330k rows of data per day in the initial weeks of November (prior to Black Friday). Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this increased to a daily average of ~1.5M rows of data — a 3.5X increase in data acquisition.


Google's data impact is magnified

Google played a pivotal role in increases in data ingestion from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. As the chart below shows, while the average number of rows of data increased ~3.5X during this time period, data ingestion on Google device breakdowns and conversion name breakdowns increased by ~24.2X and 8.9X, respectively. For Google device breakdowns, this is more than 7X the average data acquisition increase during the same period across all platforms.

Facebook data is runner-up

While Google edged out other platforms on overall increase in data ingestion during the holiday shopping weekend, Facebook still exhibited significant gains compared to other platforms during that time period. Data ingestion on Facebook gender breakdowns increased 8.9X, Facebook age breakdowns increased 8.0X, and Facebook placement breakdowns increased 6.8X. Interestingly, the number of rows of data did not increase at all from Black Friday to Cyber Monday for country or region breakdowns on the platform, underscoring the importance of examining data acquisition within platforms, as well.


Advertising Trends That Emerged

Faced with tighter budgets and a pressing need for success this Black Friday, advertisers adopted a more tactical approach with their spending and increasingly relied on algorithm-driven strategies to ensure optimal use of their advertising dollars.

Advertisers are being much more prudent with their advertising dollars YoY

With interest rates soaring, advertisers have become increasingly budget-conscious. Year-over-year (YoY) data reveals a strategic shift in spending patterns. Unlike the gradual increase seen in 2022, 2023 witnessed two distinct spending peaks—on Black Friday and Cyber Monday—with noticeably reduced activity during the intervening weekend. This trend underscores advertisers' recognition of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the most crucial dates for reaching customers.


Advertisers are trusting the Google Algorithm more and are moving to Performance Max

In 2022, Google Ads Shopping still merited a decent portion of the budget according to advertisers. This year, however, there's a notable shift. Advertisers are increasingly placing their trust in Google's algorithms, with a significant reallocation of budgets towards Performance Max campaigns. This shift has resulted in an increase in spending on these campaigns, underscoring their growing importance, effectiveness and advertisers' belief in Google's ability to find the best customers across their inventory.

The surge in activity on Google Performance Max led to a corresponding increase in costs. Year-over-year, we've observed a significant rise in CPMs, particularly notable during these key sales events. On both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, CPMs escalated by 18%, reflecting the heightened demand and value of this advertising platform.


That being said, it is worth every penny in terms of getting people to your site! CTR being slightly higher YoY also means there are marginal increases in CPC YoY on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


Facebook and Instagram Reels see massive efficiency gains in driving traffic to site

Meta's focus in 2023 on full-screen, immersive engagement is proving advantageous for advertisers. As highlighted in their 2022 Full-Year results**, the effectiveness of Reels and the AI discovery engine in presenting users with content tailored to their interests is yielding benefits for advertisers. This is evident from the significant year-over-year reduction in the costs associated with Reels on both Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Even with increased activity on Reels, YoY it is becoming increasingly effective at driving people to the site. Although still marginally higher than its competitors at TikTok, this is a strong positive trend that will be interesting to monitor in months to come.


**"Our community continues to grow and I'm pleased with the strong engagement across our apps. Facebook just reached the milestone of 2 billion daily actives," said Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO. "The progress we're making on our AI discovery engine and Reels are major drivers of this."

Increased activity in TikTok sees no increased costs nor fall in performance

Year-over-year, we're observing a consistent rise in activity, yet CPM rates have decreased. Notably, rates saw a large drop for Cyber Monday. This trend suggests that the increase in available ad inventory and the introduction of new formats on TikTok are influencing these metrics. Despite these changes, TikTok's effectiveness in driving site traffic remains undiminished. Although there was a marginal increase on Black Friday we see more TikTok become more efficient in driving traffic.


Looking Forward

As we analyze the data landscape of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023, the observed trends will unquestionably mold advertisers' strategies in the year ahead. The spotlight on data-centric approaches highlights the urgency for real-time and cost-effective data solutions delivering actionable insights. Looking ahead, one truth is evident: success in the evolving holiday advertising landscape requires both innovation and a profound comprehension of the driving force — data.

Meta Platforms, Inc., 2023. Meta Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results. [press release] February 1, 2023. Available at: