Case Study: 50% Better Black Friday Than The Previous Year – How To Make Use Of Strategic Holidays To Boost Social Trust, Revenues And Sales, And Ensure Future Exponential Growth

The Challenge

Black Friday: huge impact on companies’ sales but a double-edged sword due to cultural selling and buying behaviours. How to turn a risky phase into a productive priming period

On Romanian market, Black Friday period accounts for a strategic boost in sales and revenues. However, a cultural blueprint is mandatory to be acknowledged if these campaigns are to succeed. Analyses of cultural trends connected with buying social behaviour on Black Friday eve red-flag two significant phenomena. 

 

One concerns companies’ behaviours: each year, the start is appointed earlier than previously. Due to the unpredictable start, many companies’ offers get either buried under early birds’ offers, or simply loose the most favourable social buying moment. Therefore, their products become merchandise for less interested and less decided buyers, which are, by default, more picky or less inclined to act on their will to acquire a product. 

 

The other red-flag highlighted through cultural buying trends analysis bears on buyers’ behaviours. During October, most of the future buyers start their market research. As most of the companies start their communication campaigns during the first and the second week of November, there is a relatively large gap between the moment when future buyers make their mind under little persuasion from retails and the moment they actually buy products, under persuasion. Although they mainly use mobiles to conduct research, the same behaviour is observed on different devices.

Moreover, the digital blueprint shows that a large amount of clips are consumed during the phase of decision making. Rating and comparing websites are checked in order to select not only the products of interest, but also the most trusted retails, based on price and reviews.

 

As a general, but culturally emphasized trend, most of the buyers who comment, write reviews and rate products or companies are those who had negative experiences and make use of the rating opportunity as a mean of retaliation.  As negative reviews posted on websites designed to compare retails were prone to pop up into future buyers’ searches and create a snowball effect, deterring the social trust of the brand during the decision making phase, the first challenge was to overcome the risks associated with this period and turn it into a productive priming phase.  Priming is technique of exposing audience to certain stimulus which influence their future responses to subsequent offers. 

 

In depth minded strategy to approach the period before Black Friday is also crucial because it’s the time when acquisitions turn down and costs turn up, due to users’ research behaviour. 

Black Friday for everyone: How to stand out amidst a crowded online environment, where everyone’s offers look like yours

Any household appliance retail faces the risks to become just another Joe, as the products he provides could be offered by myriads of suppliers. As a general rule, each one tries to gain recognition through the advantages he offers to his clients, be it better prices, better quality-costs balance, facilities with fast or free transportation and so on. Notoriety and friendly customer care services are soft skills a supply company must use in order to boost loyalty. 

 

However, during Black Friday period, many of these distinctive features simply fade away. This happens in part because users do more research and therefore are more eager to discover other suppliers, so their loyalty becomes a less potent influencer for a while.

Another reason for brand identity shrinkage during Black Friday is given by the huge amount of offers which makes it difficult for someone to operate with clear distinctions. 

 

Therefore, both simply advertising discounts and crafting memorable campaigns could simply prove ineffective ways to stand out in the crowd.  Another strategy, more real dynamic data based, is mandatory to guide customers to a generalist household supplier during Black Friday Period.

The trap inside Black Friday: sales increase could actually undermine your transaction value. How to keep balance and have them all

 

The Black Friday bible is all about discounts. Costumers are hunting the biggest discounts for products of their interest, while taking into account the suppliers’ reliability and their capacity to provide as many goods as customers want to acquire, in order to reduce costs associated with the cumbersome situation of placing and managing too many orders. Hence, the primary focus is to create as many and as largest discounts as possible.

Bigger companies operate with a two layers decision making system, in order to evaluate the impact of planned discounts over sales, but also their impact on the ratio of overall revenues per transaction amount.  However, statistics show that both in European and USA markets, most of the companies only use a first layer decision making system and don’t connect a decision with both its immediate, particular impact, and it’s overall impact on financial medium and long term health. 

That’s why a responsible digital marketing operator will take upon himself the task of keeping a balance between growing sales and keeping a steady value of transactions. 

Black Friday Math: Keeping cost and results in balance, according to clear objectives

Due to the strategic significance of Black Friday period, many managers, as well as digital marketers easily slip into overinvesting in add champagnes. Dynamic tracking and interpretation of results while making the math to identify thresholds above which investing doesn’t bring back enough growth to justify the costs should be constantly covered. The ratio between expenditures and results should aim to be as little as possible, but always related to specific financial objectives, as stated in company’s strategy.

The solution

Appropriate strategy to meet the needs

First step, as for any campaign we run, was to conduct research and understand in depth client’s need and expectations. Based on that, we created a strategy designed to reach two main objectives. One was to efficiently inform the audiences about the specific start of Black Friday for products offered by the client and also to announce the main types of products which customers should chase, as consistent discounts will be applied to them.

 The second objective was, of course, to increase sales during Black Friday period, by taking into account all risks mentioned above. A mix of appropriate channels was defined, comprising by Gmail, Facebook, Google Ads Search, Google AWords Display and YouTube Display. 

Weaponization: Computing the granular picture of the audience

Because Black Friday sales are more about math and science, than creativity in crafting promotional spots, a granular image of audiences should be computed, in order to approach the most prequalified potential buyers, who are the most prone to act on the provided stimulus. 

 

 That’s a tedious endeavour as it concerns not just identifying cohorts of potential buyers, but also differential management of several categories, computed on the base of used channel, the familiarity with the company, past behaviours and acquisition intent.

Therefore, a multilayer targeting process was enacted:

  • Website users were appropriately distributed in significant segments and retargeting lists were computed
  • Google Display Network, Gmail, YouTube and Facebook targeting operations were run
  • Acquisition intent was traced by Google Search
  • Digital users who made Black Friday related online research were traced and added to retargeting lists

Proper stimulus for proper users: Creating banners aligned with different channel characteristics, segmented audience’s needs and client’s objectives

As mentioned before, Black Friday is an effervescent, but not necessarily a glamour period. Pragmatic choices are made or at least, desired. The need of clarity connected with specific buying interests and channel associated behaviours and intent stay at the base of crafting promotional materials which shortcut the journey between finding out about offers and acting on this knowledge. 

Constant tracking and conversion rate management

A rigid campaign with no real time adjustment on the base of sequential results and real time data is losing half of its efficiency. No matter thoughtful it was designed from the beginning, without real time management it remains abhorrent to the very reality.

A close watch over the campaign efficiency in generating new subscribers, enhancing website traffic and sales increase, all in connection with the amount of investments, is mandatory. It leads to identifying thresholds of expenditure, in close connection with the amplitude of the possible results. 

Results: 48% revenue growth and 90% more conversions, compared with the previous year

The strategic decision to make use of the eve period of Black Friday proved to be substantial efficient. Many users guided to the website before November actually subscribed and that raised the efficiency of the promotional materials subsequently delivered, which were converted at a high rate in sales. Facebook and Google campaigns were converted into organic traffic on the website during the Black Friday weekend.

Overall, compared with the previous year campaign, this time:

  • Sales increased with 35%
  • Revenue increased with 48%
  • Transaction value per order increased with 9%
  • 90% more conversions were assured
  • Conversion rate grew with 20%
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Mobile: the best fit for the largest purchases

More than a quarter of all sales were mobile made, bringing a 122% revenue increase, compared with the previous year. iPad and iPhone users placed the most expensive orders, while the number of new website users who checked it on a smartphone equalled the number of those using a computer or a laptop.

Black Friday and Google Ads go as perfect match

As repeatedly highlighted before, Black Friday is not the common promotional season when pure creativity and identity are forging the way of products to audiences’ homes. It’s also not the time of spontaneous shopping, but a well-researched from advance shopping period. That tremendously changes the decision making process of buyers. Clarity and refined targeting, more than creative promos, fit with social buying behaviours associated with this period. That’s why, Google Ads campaigns are mainly the best choice for any merchandiser.

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Compared with the previous year, in 2016, Google Ads campaigns conducted to:

  • 92.89% raise of the amount of transactions
  • 47.11% growth in traffic
  • 94.31% increase in the value of transactions
  • 135.48% raise in the value of placed orders

 

During Black Friday weekend, sales generated with Google Ads increase with 120-200% compared with a normal month, and conversion costs are with 45-60% smaller. During the month of Black Friday, the digital blueprint shows that most of the users search for product brands, but also for retails’ brands who announced discounts, while also expending their research with general searching associated with black Friday offers. 

Further evolution: The power on numbers and journey tracing begins

 

Before this Black Friday campaign, based on metrics, numbers and scientific modelling, the client had no public disclosure of numbers in regards with its market position, the turn-over and the value of Black Friday sales. Since that year, the data was regularly published and covered by media, as it contributed to proving and securing the company’s image as reliable and trustworthy commercial operator. 

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