Bronto's Record-Breaking Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Erik Morse, Vice President of Software Development

Author Bio

As vice president of software development, Erik leads the effort to scale Oracle + Bronto’s technology organization in order to meet the increasing performance demands of the company’s rapidly growing roster of commerce-focused companies. Erik also leads Oracle + Bronto’s product development teams, bringing his lengthy SaaS experience to continually deliver innovative, yet easy-to-use functionality that helps retailers to maximize the impact of their marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining Oracle + Bronto, Erik was the founding employee at Peopleclick, where he served for thirteen years as COO and CTO. During his tenure at Peopleclick, Morse was instrumental in building the technology organization and leading key product development initiatives, including the establishment of the company’s successful and rapidly scaling SaaS business model. Prior to Peopleclick, Erik served as a director of development for Seer Technologies, a leader in enterprise software infrastructure products. Previously, Erik held a key role at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) as a senior software engineer.

In the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday we told you about all the steps we were taking at Bronto to get ready for the busy times ahead.

It’s a good thing we were prepared, because “busy” doesn’t begin to describe the level of emailing activity we had on the Bronto Marketing Platform (BMP).

Maybe these stats will give you a better idea.

  • During a seven-day period (Nov. 25-Dec. 1) our average sends per day was higher than our previous record for most emails sent on Black Friday.
  • Speaking of Black Friday, by 8 am. that day we’d already surpassed our typical Friday 24-hour email volume.
  • We increased our previous Black Friday send record by a whopping 55%.

That was just a prelude to Cyber Monday, when things kicked up a notch … or three.

  • We bested our previous Cyber Monday send record (from 2013) by 50%
  • Our peak hourly email send rates were 200% higher than last year’s peak send rates.
  • 81% percent of our clients’ completed carts were associated with a contact in the Bronto system. That’s definitive proof that our marketing reaches people who purchase.
  • In that single day, clients using our Cart Recovery App pulled in 233% more in cart revenue than they’d paid for the use of Cart Recovery for an entire year. Talk about a return on investment!

Put simply: Bronto produced a tidal wave of sends. But we also helped ensure things went smoothly for our clients during those peak shopping days.

How we did it

If you read our pre-Black Friday post, you already know a great deal about our preparations, so we’ll just list a few of the highlights here.

  • We split databases (to have fewer clients per database) and added database servers.
  • Tens of new HBase storage storage servers were added to help workflows, segments, orders, etc.
  • Storage controllers were upgraded for faster database performance.
  • We implemented a new network infrastructure.
  • User front-end servers were separated from tracking front-end servers for faster BMP access.
  • New caching servers provided faster data access.

That’s just a partial list. And it doesn’t include the 16+ hour workdays many of our support personnel logged to make sure things ran smoothly for all our customers.

Moving Forward

In engineering, we’re already analyzing our Black Friday/Cyber Monday performance and working on making short-term and longer-term enhancements to get us ready for 2015 and beyond. There’s no time to rest because the future promises only more sending (and more revenue) for our customers!