Black Friday Tips, Insights and Fun

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Thanksgiving is about to begin and turkeys across North America are being defrosted, basted and cooked as you read this. For marketers and advertisers, that is just the appetizer before Black Friday kicks on as all that food is digesting the next day. Here is a round-up of some Black Friday fun, tips and recommendations to sweeten the holiday weekend.

Your paid search campaigns should have started months ago

If you only recently launched your paid search campaigns for the Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Cyber Monday retail bonanza, you may have missed an opportunity to achieve more in terms of brand awareness, interest and, ultimately, sales. Search Engine Land pointed out that advertisers are starting their holiday shopping season holidays earlier in the year, around September 27 for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend in fact:

More evidence that the holiday shopping season is starting earlier: Paid search spend on a set of 161 keywords containing “black friday” began surging the week of September 27, a month ahead of last year. Between September 27 and Sunday, November 22, 1,226 advertisers spent $7.3 million on these keywords, according to paid search monitoring firm AdGooroo.

Search Engine Land linked to a report by AdGooroo titled “Target Leading on Black Friday Keywords in Paid Search” which goes into some detail with an interesting list of the top advertisers by paid search ad spend:

Target tops the list of Black Friday advertisers, beating out even Amazon, with $1 million spent on 158 of the 161 Black Friday keywords examined during the period. Amazon ($790,000), deal site ($720,000), JCPenney ($406,000) and Walmart ($395,000) round out the Top 5.

The estimated CTRs for these top 5 advertisers ranged between 3.40% for JCPenny and a respectable 10.40% for Walmart.

Ecommerce’s proving ground

Black Friday is a really big deal for retail and ecommerce is becoming increasingly important as an evolving sales channel. As AdExchanger reported in its article “On Black Friday And Cyber Monday, Ecommerce Aims To Prove Its Worth”, while analysts’ expectations for ecommerce are not exactly overly optimistic (with growth estimates around 4%), the prevalence of newer, larger smartphones and the so-called “rising share of millennial shoppers” is likely to give ecommerce a boost over the coming weekend and, I imagine, into the holiday season next month.

The holidays tend to boost conversion and inventory rates markedly and the rising prices are influencing the kinds of campaigns that advertisers are opting for. According to AdExchanger:

For example, YellowHammer SVP Sam Appelbaum said inventory prices on and following Thanksgiving make customer acquisition campaigns prohibitively expensive.

“Brands are better suited running their prospecting campaigns in the months leading up to the major shopping days, and then focus the media spend on those days to activate against customers that already in the brand funnel,” he said.

The hope seems to be that with more and more consumers being comfortable shopping online, whether that be desktop of mobile (which is very interesting), the trend only supports ecommerce’s value as a sales channel. That shouldn’t be news to you, though, right?

Holiday marketing tips for Black Friday

Changing gears a little, HubSpot has some great tips for marketers who are in the thick of their holiday campaigns. Consumer recommendations are an enormously powerful incentive for other consumers and one of the best sources of those recommendations is user generated content. As HubSpot pointed out:

On social media, user generated content is one of the strongest influences of consumers. In fact, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others (even people they don’t know) over branded content.

In a typically helpful HubSpot move, they included a great infographic from The Shelf. Click on the image below for the very detailed infographic. It is packed with fascinating stats.

One of the interesting insights is that marketers should also start their campaigns a little earlier than before. Fortunately for those of you working on your Christmas campaigns, it looks like there is a spike of shopping activity in November so even though the month is almost finished, you still have a little time if you act quickly.

Inspiration from kids talking about being thankful

If you are looking for a little extra inspiration for your campaigns (or if you just love heartwarming content around this time of year), American Greetings produced a great ad that touches on the underlying meaning of Thanksgiving. According to AdWeek:

According to American Greetings’ research, consumers are becoming ruder and “95 percent of Americans believe our country has a civility problem,” said Ho. “So we wanted to take action and offer consumers a chance to show thanks.”

The new, 2-minute spot (below) from Mullen Lowe and SheKnows Media shows children who are asked what they are thankful for, and, without their knowledge, their parents are watching from a live feed in another room. The emotional campaign is meant to demonstrate how much saying “thank you” can mean.

The video is titled “#HatchKids Discuss: Thanksgiving and their #Thanklist” and it’s great. Kids seem to have a way to cut through all the hype and focus on the important things:

You can also get a feeling for how consumers responded to the hashtag campaign on Twitter. There are some fun tweets here that really get into the spirit of the campaign and its core theme:

Samsung points out that accidents do happen

Samsung’s “Happy accidents” ad pokes fun at the serious side of Thanksgiving and appeals to consumers looking for convenient excuses to buy stuff they may not need after all. Before I show you the video, I feel that I should just state that this isn’t responsible behavior at all although it is a fun video (our Legal people insisted!):

Whether you are hard at work running ad campaigns, marketing to consumers or more focused on the turkey and inevitable food coma afterwards, we wish you, your families, friends and colleagues a Happy Thanksgiving and good luck reaching the front of the line for those specials you have your eyes on!

Featured image credit: bistro restaurant sidewalk by Julien Lavallée, courtesy of

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