Black Friday Advertising Shows the Lift

Every year, Black Friday deals are promoted sooner, with doors opening hours before the crack of dawn, and news of Black Friday offers being “leaked” to deals sites sometimes the week before Thanksgiving (which arrives a week earlier this year). Over the past few decades, Black Friday has evolved into a consumer and media frenzy of deals and “doorbusters” not available during other times of the year. In 2011, more than 226 million shoppers said they would take advantage of shopping during Black Friday weekend. More recently, retailers have been incentivizing shoppers to stop talking turkey and shop pre- or post-meal on Thanksgiving itself. The “day of” promotions are working. Shopping on Thanksgiving has increased from 16 million in 2008 to 28 million in 2011.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts 147 million shoppers will head out to their favorite brick-and-mortar stores and websites to shop during Black Friday weekend. Take a look at the chart below that highlights Black Friday weekend shopping trends from 2008 to 2011.

Shopping trends for Black Friday Weekend 2008-2011.

I recently authored a comprehensive white paper that reveals pervasive trends in consumer holiday shopping. The research included reviewing the spending habits of more than 8,500 consumers during the 2011 holiday season and was cross-referenced with data from over 500 digital holiday campaigns that ran during the fourth quarter of last year to predict what’s to come this year.

This is the fifth in a six-part series that focuses on the top consumer holiday spending trends and how marketers can capitalize on those trends to increase revenue this holiday season. The full white paper can be found here..

The Holidays Are an Advertiser’s Favorite Time of Year

If you’ve been in advertising for a while, you know holiday advertising is effective. For the white paper, we wanted to put numbers to the assumption. We started by analyzing over 500+ campaigns that ran during the holidays last year in six of the top gift-giving retail categories, such as apparel and consumer electronics. We were interested to see whether advertising during the holidays was more effective than other times of the year by reviewing transactions, sales, and lift. Our hunches were correct as many of ValueClick’s customers saw a 85 percent to 105 percent increase in the number of holiday transactions vs. non-holiday periods.

Advertising on Black Friday Weekend Can Increase Ad Effectiveness by 650%

A subset of the customers who advertised during the holidays also made substantial investments over Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday. The data showed an interesting trend. We saw increases of up to 650 percent in transactions and sales revenue as a result of advertising. To make the results even more impressive, the data was compared to the overall holiday season results, not including the rest of the year.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday data shows the lift.

As mentioned in my previous column, “Santa’s Newest Little Helpers: Mobile Phones and Tablets,” in addition to traditional online advertising, advertisers’ use of mobile devices is skyrocketing when it comes to reaching millions of shoppers on the move during Black Friday weekend. According to a eHoliday survey conducted by BIGinsight, 29 percent (or three in 10) of multichannel retailers say they will promote their in-store deals via mobile alerts, up from 18.4 percent last year. It is estimated that half of consumers surveyed about their use of mobile devices for holiday shopping say they will use their smartphones and two-thirds will use their tablets to make holiday purchase decisions.

What this means to advertisers is that getting your ads in front of people during key shopping holiday days, such as Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, is a smart marketing bet. While it’s true that there are generally more shoppers who are motivated to buy on popular shopping days, smart marketers can increase their share with aggressive schedules designed to attract shoppers to their brands and not the competition.

Happy Holidays!

Related reading