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Ad Planning for Retailers: Black Friday Versus Cyber Monday

CyberMonday

As the shopping masses head for the strip malls and big box stores this Friday, it's important for marketers to remember how all these people ended up there together in the first place: we told them to go!

Black Friday got its name because traditionally most retailers operate in the red for nearly 11 months of the year and only begin to see a profit (the lucky ones at least) once they swing open their doors the day after Thanksgiving to kick off four weeks of delirious, and mostly gratuitous, shopping. Somewhere along the the way some savvy marketing professionals started piecing together shopping habits after Thanksgiving and gave name to the great shopping migration making it even more popular.

In fact, retailers in the United States make approximately one-fifth of their total sales during the holiday season; ringing up nearly half a trillion dollars. That’s a lot of Legos and sweaters.

Retailers in the United States make approximately one-fifth of their total sales during the holiday season; ringing up nearly half a trillion dollars. That’s a lot of Legos and sweaters.

In recent years the migration to online shopping has seen marketers push forward an alternative to the often chaotic shopping experience that occurs on Black Friday through the creation Cyber Monday. The idea, so the thinking goes, is to persuade people to stay at home and shop online.

As a marketer it is smart to determine the best ad planning path for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday and proceed from that point. Of course. some measurable statistics will help.

Black Friday statistics

A quick scan of this chart reveals that Black Friday is five times more popular than Cyber Monday, according to data (above ) from Google Trends. Obviously millions of Americans are ready to part with their money the day after Thanksgiving to lavish gifts on friends and family, so you should be planning your holiday promotions and campaigns accordingly.

From PPC to Display Advertising

Black Friday should be a big focus for pay-per-click campaigns, email newsletters, display ads, blog articles and other marketing channels.

Black Friday Cyber Monday search volume

In the past month interest for Black Friday has risen dramatically while Cyber Monday remained rather flat. Pay-per-click and display ads targeting Black Friday are expected to receive substantially more impressions than those for Cyber Monday. If your budget only allows for you to focus on one of these days, your efforts will be most effective targeting Black Friday.

We have already seen spikes in organic search engine traffic for related phrases on internal and client websites so it’s not too early or too late to start your promotions.

Social Media Makes an Entrance

This year marks the first time social media is going to play a major role in both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. LivingSocial announced  it will offer discounts from national businesses such as Verizon Wireless, Electronic Arts Inc. and Sketchers USA Inc.,  which is a  move away from the more local fare they've so far concentrated on such as restaurants and weekend getaways.

Instead, the company will provide national brands access to social media-savvy customers who might otherwise choose to remain at home instead of braving the crowds.  This is also the type of marketing brands love because it can be shared and spread across Facebook and Twitter for a nominal cost.

Chicago-based Groupon, LivingSocial’s largest competitor, says they will skip Black Friday promotions this year; so picking an online deal firm to allocate your marketing spend just got a little easier.

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