Cyber Mon­day couldn’t have been more of a boon to online and brick-and-click retail­ers. This fast-growing, can’t-miss shop­ping event raked in $2.29 bil­lion in sales and now stands as the biggest online shop­ping day ever, with 16 per­cent growth over Cyber Mon­day 2012. Here are some other stag­ger­ing facts and figures:

  • Tablets dom­i­nated mobile con­ver­sion, account­ing for 12.7 per­cent of total online sales. Mobile over­all gar­nered $419 mil­lion in sales.
  • Who shopped from their phones? Peo­ple in Alaska and Hawaii. In those states, 27 per­cent of sales were dri­ven by mobile ver­sus an 18 per­cent national average.
  • Con­trary to the early morn­ing crush of Black Fri­day, peak buy­ing times were 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST on Cyber Mon­day, when sales hit $150 mil­lion per hour.

But here’s some­thing else to con­sider now that the Cyber Mon­day dust has set­tled: retail­ers used this mission-critical day to test.

In my Novem­ber 11 post, I talked about the impor­tance of test­ing and work­ing respon­sively dur­ing the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son. For retail­ers, it’s the opti­mal time to try out new mes­sag­ing and inno­v­a­tive pro­mo­tions and to react to the pat­terns evolv­ing in real time. My take­away was that retail­ers shouldn’t fear tak­ing chances dur­ing the hol­i­days. The data emerg­ing from Monday’s buy­ing frenzy wholly sup­ports that Adobe clients, in fact, adopted this “take the risk” strat­egy in the end.

Not only were sales off the chart on Cyber Mon­day, but at Adobe we saw an over­whelm­ing uti­liza­tion of Adobe Tar­get, with traf­fic spikes more than 50 per­cent higher than pre­hol­i­day lev­els. The per-second requests were record break­ing, indi­cat­ing that Adobe cus­tomers kept test­ing dur­ing a period that could make or break their entire year. They tested offers. They trot­ted out pro­mo­tions. They deliv­ered tar­geted dig­i­tal con­tent to con­sumers. They made an effort to squeeze as much con­ver­sion poten­tial out of Cyber Mon­day as pos­si­ble, from both new and exist­ing cus­tomers. They didn’t just weather the storm, they har­nessed its power and went into full test­ing and opti­miza­tion mode this Cyber Monday—and it paid off. Not only were Cyber Mon­day con­ver­sions off the charts, but this inno­v­a­tive best prac­tice is a crit­i­cal step in the devel­op­ment of both ongo­ing and future holiday—and evergreen—data-driven mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives. It also lays the ground­work for deep, mean­ing­ful access to broader audi­ence bases, seg­men­ta­tion exer­cises, and for opti­miz­ing rev­enue goals as count­less retail­ers charge toward the Decem­ber 25 fin­ish line.

Cyber Mon­day was one for the record books. But, if you missed out from a test­ing per­spec­tive, the pace of hol­i­day shop­ping con­tin­ues to be fast and furi­ous. It’s not too late. Now, too, is an ideal time to roll out your lat­est and great­est from pro­mo­tions to brand mes­sag­ing, con­tent deliv­ery to tar­geted out­reach. Test, react, opti­mize, and pre­pare to count your­self among this season’s suc­cess stories.

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