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Our best Black Friday lessons for 2015 and beyond

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Black Friday is almost upon us, so we rounded up all of the best advice we have around it for this year to get you ready and feeling prepared, whether you’re facing shoppers in-store, online, on social, or on all of the above.

How retailers can learn from past Black Fridays on Twitter to have a better 2015 holiday season

by Jenn Deering Davis for eSeller

The takeaway: Look at past Twitter activity to plan content marketing strategy for the present and future. 

Using historical Twitter data, retailers can learn from holiday seasons past to better prepare for this and future holidays. For example, when should retailers tweet about their Black Friday sales? They don’t want to share too early and miss the excitement, but they don’t want to share too late or they risk getting lost in the noise. The best time to post information about Black Friday sales would be about 10 days before Black Friday, and making sure to repeat it several times over the next week and a half. Shoppers spend the week of Black Friday researching and sharing their favorite deals, culminating on Thursday as they make last-minute preparations.” 

Here’s what the 2014 Black Friday conversation looked like, via Union Metrics Echo:


When should you start your holiday marketing?

by Mike O’Brien for ClickZ

The takeaway: For social media holiday marketing specifically, you don’t want to start too early and irritate your followers, but too late and you’ll get lost in the noise. 

“The best time to start: The second week of November – that way, by the week of Black Friday, consumers won’t be seeing your deals for the first time.”

If you’re too late for this year, at least now you’ll be prepared to have the best holiday marketing ever in 2016.

Tips for rocking this Black Friday on Twitter

by Jenn Deering Davis for iMedia Connection

The takeaway: Make shoppers feel like they’re getting something special from you on Twitter. 

What tweets generate the most engagement?

What sort of products, sales, and brands have consumers tweeted about in the past? What did they like or dislike? What questions did customers ask retailers? Researching these topics from holiday seasons past can help retailers prep more relevant content calendars and assets for the upcoming holiday season. Shoppers love tweets with good deals, previews of in-store sales, and links to products they want most. That’s often deals on electronics and technology, as well as toys and clothes. But they’re also looking for something special, so consider sharing Twitter-only deals with your followers. Tweets with a hashtag or image also perform well, so consider including a photo of the sale item or a special holiday hashtag.” 

Official Black Friday Expected To Be Strong Despite #OptOutside And Early Deals

by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle for Forbes

The takeaway: Black Friday deals are already happening and stores like REI are encouraging shoppers to #OptOutside, but a lot of people are still planning to shop on Black Friday and they’re talking about it on Twitter. 

“So just what do more tweets really mean? Customers are talking. . .and stores are taking notice. Certainly, REI’s recent announcement to #OptOutside has helped to make this happen, but we can’t neglect other companies – such as Nordstrom – and their efforts to promote keeping their stores closed on Thanksgiving and saving their big holiday push for Black Friday instead.”

To put it in stats (all from the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker),

  • Overall 45% of shoppers plan to shop on Black Friday. Meanwhile, 47% plan to shop on Cyber Monday.
  • It’s estimated that Americans plan to spend $584 on average this year on Black Friday, notably higher than last year’s $501.
  • By the day’s end on Black Friday, six in ten customers expect to have finished about one-half or less of their holiday shopping.

Black Gold?

by Alex Spencer for Mobile Marketing

The takeaway: The future of Black Friday might look more like a Black November.

“But with Black Friday now embedded into the public consciousness and growing every year, what’s the alternative?

Well, it could be as simple as spreading it all out. Offering deals at different times throughout the day can help spread the load. In the UK, Amazon has distributed its ‘lightning’ deals over a 10-day period, though it will still be running Black Friday promotions as usual in the US, where the day coincides with a common holiday.

Black Friday doesn’t necessarily have to be retailers’ biggest sales day, especially in other countries.”

Got a question, comment or concern? Leave it below or find us on Twitter at @UnionMetrics. Thought that Union Metrics Echo screencap above looked pretty cool? Learn more about how Echo works and what it can do for you here

Written by Sarah

November 25th, 2015 at 10:54 am

Posted in Trends

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The most popular #BlackFriday hashtags (and the most mentioned brands!) on Twitter

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Whether you’re scouring for deals on social, or you’re a brand who’s trying to get the word out about them, check out these top ten hashtags around the Black Friday conversation on Twitter:

  1. #BlackFriday
  2. #CyberMonday
  3. #KohlsSweeps
  4. #deals
  5. #giveaway
  6. #sale
  7. #Samsung
  8. #Christmas
  9. #Thanksgiving
  10. #Retail

What sales are being talked about the most? Here are the ten most-mentioned brands and products so far.

  1. Amazon
  2. Walmart
  3. Apple
  4. Kohl’s
  5. Best Buy
  6. Target
  7. iPhone
  8. GalaxyS5
  9. Samsung
  10. Microsoft

Apple is definitely leading with 4 of the 10 mentions, but Kohls is running a very popular Black Friday Twitter contest.

Feel like you can’t compete with the big brands? Use the knowledge of which hashtags are the most popular to see which perform the best for your brand; it may be that popular hashtags give your content a boost, and it may be that your tweets get lost in the noise. Only testing will tell! Want another tactic? Consider creating your own holiday, rather than trying to compete with big brands that have bigger budgets and resources.

Written by Sarah

November 26th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

What Black Friday sales is Twitter most excited about this year?

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As we like to do every year around this time, we’re checking into what Twitter is saying about holiday shopping, particularly around Black Friday. This past weekend- a full week before Black Friday officially starts- things were starting to really accelerate on Twitter, with an average of about 5,000 tweets an hour posted about Black Friday over the past two days. And so far this month, 780k people have posted 1.3 million tweets about the biggest shopping weekend of the year.Black Friday on Twitter

Which upcoming Black Friday sales was Twitter most excited about over the weekend? Amazon was the most talked about sale, with Walmart a close second. And so far, the product topping everyone’s wish list is the Xbox One.

We’re tracking all Black Friday tweets this week, so we’ll keep you posted!

Written by Jenn D

November 25th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Did Twitter predict Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales results?

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There’s been lots of talk lately about whether tweets can predict social and market trends. Recent data have demonstrated links between what’s posted on Twitter and the stock market, flu rates, even election results. So, what can Twitter tell us about shopping and holiday spending?

Early reports about this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday are looking good. Sales are up from last year – ShopperTrak says brick-and-mortar retail sales on Black Friday were $10.69 billion, comScore data indicate Black Friday online sales of $648 million and Cyber Monday sales of $1.03 billion. On the other hand, there have been recent discussions about the hype of Cyber Monday and how it’s just that – hype. These discussions focus on the fact that Cyber Monday is not the biggest online shopping day of the year at all, and its status as a shopping “holiday” is overstated.

So, we thought Twitter could help us understand more about the state of holiday shopping in 2010. In the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we used our new TweetReach Tracker to monitor and measure tweets about both days. We kept the Trackers pretty simple. For the Black Friday Tracker (BF), we gathered all public tweets that included the terms “Black Friday” or #blackfriday, and for the Cyber Monday Tracker (CM), we monitored the terms “Cyber Monday” and #cybermonday.

So, just how active were these Trackers? Well, they were the most active Trackers we’ve ever run (and that includes tweets about all kinds of celebrities, elections, news events, even TSA). In just four days, more people mentioned Black Friday than during the entire Brazilian presidential election in October. And how many people were talking about and how many saw tweets about these two shopping holidays? What does that tell us about Black Friday and Cyber Monday overall? Read on for answers. (FYI, in the following graphics, Black Friday is represented in blue, Cyber Monday in green.)

Who tweeted?

First, let’s look at how many people tweeted and who those people were.

Nearly 300,000 more people tweeted about BF than CM. As you’ll see throughout, Black Friday was more active in every way than Cyber Monday. It’s particularly pronounced here though, as 7 times more people tweeted about BF than CM. If we just used contributors as a predictor for BF and CM sales, then we’d expect to see about 7 times more sales on BF than CM. But, just glancing through the tweets themselves, we see as many tweets about how stupid Black Friday is (like this one) as tweets about people actually planning to shop.

Who was talking about BF and CM? We sorted the top 10 contributors by number of impressions generated. These are mostly news outlets and celebrities, with only a handful of retailers appearing even in the top 35 (including @amazongames at #11, @WalmartSpecials at #17, and @BestBuy at #31).

And then we sorted the top 10 contributors by the number of retweets they received. Celebrities, humorists and media outlets drove the most retweets (that Justin Bieber sure seems popular). The @amazonmp3 account tweeted about sales frequently in the days leading up to BF and CM, and each tweet received a solid amount of retweets. No other retailers got even close to the number of retweets Amazon did. We’ve seen this for a long time though; people like to get bargains, but they don’t necessarily spend much time reposting those bargains. Also, the number of news accounts represented in the CM chart could lend support to those recent arguments that Cyber Monday is mostly just media-driven hype.

How did they tweet?

Next, on to the tweets themselves. All those contributors posted hundreds of thousands of tweets. Take this graph of tweets per day for both BF and CM.

You can see that in the days before Black Friday, the numbers of tweets per day increased rapidly, culminating in 290,762 tweets on the Thursday before BF. Cyber Monday also saw increases each day leading up the day itself (ending with 68,976 tweets on Sunday before CM). Black Friday saw a great deal more conversation overall, though. In the four days leading up to BF, 641,233 total tweets were posted. In the four days leading up to CM, 120,888 total tweets were posted. That’s a ratio of roughly 5:1.

Most tweets about both BF and CM were standard tweets – around 3/4 of all tweets were regular tweets. Both CM and BF had about 17% retweets and a smaller percentage of replies.

What was the impact of these tweets?

The most impressive numbers are the reach and exposure metrics. Reach is the number of unique Twitter accounts that received tweets about a search term and exposure is the total number of impressions generated. [Note: When we say impressions, we mean the numbers of times a tweet was delivered to a Twitter feed, since there's currently no way to know if someone actually read a given tweet. There's more about how TweetReach calculates those numbers here.]

More than 43 million unique Twitter accounts received at least one tweet about Black Friday (and more than 20 million received tweets about Cyber Monday). These numbers aren’t as far apart as some of the other metrics, which suggests something about saturation. For example, we know from the Tracker that 93% of all contributors to the BF Tracker tweeted three or fewer times; lots of people tweeted a little bit. And only 2% of people tweeted more than 10 times, which means followers of some accounts got bombarded with BF messages (like anyone who still follows the 239 accounts that tweeted more than 50 times in 4 days about BF).

Cyber Monday had 1/5 as many tweets as Black Friday, but those CM tweets still reached 20 million different Twitter accounts, which is almost 1/2 of BF’s reach.

Black Friday generated far more exposure than Cyber Monday (728MM and 197MM, respectively). Again, that suggests that BF tweets were saturating Twitter – most people probably saw multiple BF tweets from multiple accounts. Both had huge exposure, though. They each generated hundreds of millions of impressions and reached tens of millions of Twitter users in just four days.

So, can tweets predict sales results?

Assuming the above-cited numbers are accurate (BF generated some $10-11 billion in sales, while CM was just over $1 billion), AND if we believe Twitter to be related to these trends in some way, then we’d expect to see significantly higher tweet stats for Black Friday compared to Cyber Monday. We certainly see that – some of these BF numbers are many times bigger than the CM ones. Marketers are going to have to work a lot harder if they want Cyber Monday to be as successful as Black Friday.

While it would be statistically irresponsible to call these data a prediction of sales results, the number of contributors seems like a useful metric to watch for future events, as it gives us an indication of participation. More than 7 times more people tweeted about Black Friday than about Cyber Monday, and that’s meaningful.

Written by Jenn D

November 30th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Trends

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