What We Can Learn From the Success of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Lindsey Pizula

By: Lindsey Pizula

Senior Strategist

A few weeks back we discussed tips to maximize your holiday social investments and ways to leverage social for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As we enter the halfway point of the major holiday season, we wanted to check-in and see what is working best for brands and what recommendations still hold true going forward.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Recap

With 190 million U.S. consumers shopping on the days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday both broke retail records this year, bringing in $7.4 billion and $9.4 billion in online sales in the U.S. respectively. Cyber Monday continues to be the biggest shopping day in the U.S. with a 20% increase in sales compared to last year.. Even Thanksgiving day brought in $4.2 billion, a 14.5% YOY increase according to Adobe Analytics. MarketingLand attributes part, if not most of the growth in digital sales to the increase in shopping on smartphones - 65% of digital orders on Black Friday were made on a mobile device; Black Friday saw more online shoppers (93.2 Million) than in-store shoppers (84.2 Million.) Additionally, many of the sales online lasted much longer than just Friday and Monday, with many starting on or before Thanksgiving, lasting through the weekend, and some even lasting beyond Monday.

Keeping all of this in mind, we wanted to review some of our recommendations for the holidays and evaluate what we particularly want to reiterate to brands, knowing what we know now:

Leverage platform features that will help to drive the most value and cut through the clutter.

Leverage platform features that will help to drive the most value and cut through the clutter.

Platforms have made it easier than ever for users to shop while scrolling through their social feed, and as we’ve seen from the success of mobile shopping this holiday, this is more important than ever for brands to take advantage of. The easier brands can make it for consumers to discover relevant products and shop through mobile, the more revenue that means for your brand. Leverage helpful platform features such as Pinterest Shopping Ads, Shop the Look Pins, Facebook Pay, Instagram Shopping Ads, Instagram Dynamic Ads, Store Visit Ads, and Snapchat Dynamic Ads.

Keep Creative Best Practices Top of Mind

Keep Creative Best Practices Top of Mind

When catering to shoppers on social media, we recommend focusing the creative on the product. This is best done by utilizing clear images and product details (i.e. pricing and features). Ads focused on a single offering tend to drive more conversions versus ads focused on branding and awareness. We advise keeping lower-funnel ads straight to the point and purchase related.

Test, Learn, and Adapt Quickly

With heavy competition during the holiday season, it is important that you do not make the false assumption that what worked last year will work this year. While it is important to draw on learnings year over year, it is also important to continue to adapt. For example, some Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions were happening all weekend long and shoppers took advantage of this accordingly; brands that did not adjust to this could have possibly missed out on more sales.

What we know for sure is that consumers are ready to spend, especially when it is made accessible and can be done with ease. Consumers spent an average of $362 during these latest promotions (16% more than last year) and the exposure to products in the everyday news feed of social media will only help sustain and grow the success of online sales.

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