[/vc_raw_html][text_output]Up until a few years ago, mentioning Black Friday to a consumer from outside the USA would probably have resulted in a shrug of the shoulders and a look of bemusement. Unlike our transatlantic cousins, where the day after Thanksgiving has long been associated with snagging a bargain on a stereo or maybe a new TV, the phenomenon has flown relatively under the radar in the UK and Europe. As recently as 2013, the idea of the final Friday in November being one of deals galore was dismissed with one retail magazine describing it as “simply an Americanism, which doesn’t translate very well”.
How wrong they were.
From 2013 to 2014, UK online sales rose by £810m while indexed search queries concerning Black Friday saw a year-on-year increase of 273% in the week leading up to it. So much for that lack of translation!
Winning on the online battleground
When it comes to advertising, Black Friday presents some intriguing challenges; Unlike Christmas, with its long run-up period that has consumers researching and comparing prices for a number of weeks leading up to the big event, Black Friday is very much a flash-sale kind of day. Search queries relating to offers only start ramping up in the last week or two beforehand meaning there is less time to tempt in a customer with that once-in-a-lifetime (or, at least, once-a-year) deal.
The early bird gets the worm
Another important factor to consider is that, on the day itself, consumers’ behaviour shifts dramatically from what is seen on your normal, run of the mill, Friday. A significantly higher proportion of queries are seen in the 5am-12pm time slot, showing that users are willing to take a few extra shots of espresso to ensure they’re raring to go and ahead of the queue to pick up the best bargains. Make sure that usual negative bid-adjustment you have for the 4-8 am graveyard shift is turned off!
We need to talk about mobile. Again.
It’s almost a bit of a cliché in search to talk about mobile nowadays, however, it also has an integral part to play in winning the Black Friday battle. With retailers often running offers that start at specific times of the day and only run for limited periods, users are almost required to have a mobile device to hand to ensure they have access to the best deals. It is, therefore, important for advertisers to ensure consistent messaging across devices and for retailers to have a perfectly mobile-optimised site so that when zero-hour hits and the ‘50% off brand new laptops’ sale launches, they can offer the smoothest experience possible from query to click to conversion.
The key to succeeding on this most manic of shopping days can easily be distilled down to one simple word- proactivity. If advertisers can ensure they have all the bases covered and are keeping pace with a retail landscape that is changing by the hour, if not by the minute, they can reap the rewards as millions of consumers fight to the death over that last piece of massively reduced home electronics.
Black Friday; No longer just a Friday
Of course, what hasn’t been mentioned yet, is that the Monday after all the madness that is Black Friday has been dubbed Cyber Monday. Despite sounding somewhat ominously like the day on which Schwarzenegger and his Terminator buddies will come to earth to destroy humanity, it is actually another of the largest online shopping days of the year. Whereas Black Friday sees the retail industry big boys slugging it out over high-end, high value products, Cyber Monday gives some of the smaller players a chance to get their piece of the holiday sale pie. This is reflected in the distribution of spend; on Black Friday, the majority goes through a relatively small number of large businesses while on Cyber Monday, spend is spread much more evenly over a large number of businesses both big and small. The deals that consumers see also reflect how spending patterns vary on the two days; in 2014, Black Friday saw 85% more discounts on technology and electronic products but, on the other hand, there were 50% more offers on shoes and clothing on Cyber Monday.
It would be easy to dismiss these two days as a fad; a chance to maybe make a little extra in revenues but not something that could make or break a business, however, given the sheer volumes involved, and the almost exponential growth that is being seen year-on-year, it will be increasingly critical to make sure the holiday weekend is exploited to its fullest. Even if it isn’t really a holiday for those of us on this side of the pond.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][visibility type=”hidden-desktop”][gap size=”20px”][/visibility][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-2″][/vc_column][/vc_row]