Media Insights

Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2021 | Edition 7: Preparing For Cyber 5

Cyber 5 is expected to deliver strong sales volume and solid growth this year, with each day anticipated to surpass $5 billion.1 To effectively prepare for the biggest shopping days of the year, marketers should take into account changing consumer behaviors, supply chain challenges, and elevated competition. Ovative is here to share our tips for monitoring and managing media performance to ensure successful results. 

Last year’s Cyber 5 brought a surge of ecommerce demand, with in-store shopping less accessible and consumers increasingly leveraging mobile. This year, the extended holiday shopping weekend, taking place from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, will continue to be a driver for ecommerce but will take into account changing behaviors and confidence among consumers. Retailers are extending deals into week-long events, consumers will return to in-person shopping on Black Friday, and early delivery and store pickup demand are on the rise with concerns around overwhelmed shipping capacities.  

To help you prepare, we have put together five key tips for monitoring media performance during Cyber 5, intended to maximize performance by taking into account changing consumer behaviors, supply chain challenges, and elevated competition.  

Tips for Cyber 5: 


  • Adjust spend to account for increased seasonal demand. Align spend with site demand and the promotional calendar. Test increasing the aggressiveness of your targets based on expected performance. 
  • Align on target CPA, ROAS, and EMR (Enterprise Marketing Return) thresholds as competition increases. Be sure to avoid competing KPIs. 
  • Have forecast options ready for incremental or shifted spend and know the marginal efficiency impact of scaling budgets. Digital channels may need to scale to offset broader trends. Be sure to align on the flexibility of budgets to capture performance if it is there. 
  • Always ensure budgets are not hitting caps to avoid constraining profitable spend opportunities. 
  • Maintain hourly pacing documentation and use last year hourly spend and site performance as a guide. 
  • Backup spend changes to have a repository to revert back to if needed. There is conflicting information on how much platforms will automatically account for seasonality this year, so flexibly testing into adjustments will be critical. 


  • Continuously monitor top brand terms, non-brand terms, campaigns, and products. With brands investing more online this year, we can expect increased competition, which will impact costs. Leverage last year as a benchmark to ensure optimal positioning on top segments as competition ramps. 
  • Set up alerts against top campaigns and keywords to draw your attention to urgent problem areas. 
  • Validate a consistent and relevant experience across your top campaign creative, copy, promotions, and landing pages.


  • Ensure product feeds are refreshed regularly to ensure you are serving the most relevant and available merchandise to customers at accurate price points.  
  • Point campaigns to in-stock inventory and have a contingency plan in case of sell-out to avoid customer frustration and lost revenue. Align on inventory level threshold at which point you will exclude products from dynamic ads. 
  • Understand which products offer the deepest year over year discounts and consumer attention. Feature these products in creative and prioritize with higher spend. 


  • Develop an open and clear communication plan with your site team to keep a pulse when the experience is functioning as expected, and elevate alerts if issues impacting the consumer experience arise. 
  • Keep an eye on key site indicators including visits, bounce rates, conversion rates, and cart abandonment rates. These are leading performance indicators to identify areas that may not be working and need media to be redirected. Be on the lookout for bots, which can affect site performance.
  • Set up site alerts and have a contingency plan to pause or redirect media if the site experiences downtime or major issues impacting the consumer conversion.


  • Align with your direct team, cross-functional partners, leadership, and external partners on who is on point each day of the holiday weekend. It is critical to have a plan for maintaining consistent execution, monitoring, reporting, and alerting as needed. 
  • Agree on when and how you will connect for key milestones (e.g. mid-day performance reviews meetings or emails) including KPIs and participants for those moments. 
  • Over-communicate. If you see something, say something. 


While sales have been pulled forward this year, holiday shopping does not stop with Cyber 5. Leverage insights gathered during this key period to inform your approach to December, shifting tactics, budgets, and creative based on how the consumer is responding. 

Interested in reading more from Ovative on how to prepare for the holiday season? We’ve put together The Marketer’s Guide to Holiday 2020 | Edition 1 Playbook available here to share key consumer insights and trends, potential complications to plan for, and actionable recommendations to win. 

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!


1 | eMarketer, How the Cyber Five are stacking up for holiday shopping, Nov 2021

Heather Gray

Director, Client Services

About the Author

Heather is a Director of Client Services at Ovative. She leads client engagements across paid, owned and earned channels. In her role, Heather is responsible for defining and executing cross-channel media strategies and driving profitable growth and efficiency across her clients’ operations. Prior to joining Ovative, Heather led the digital owned team at Self Esteem Brands where she was... Read More >>

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