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
Black Friday has a huge impact on sales, but the double-edged sword of cultural selling and changed buying behaviors presented a challenge. Our target was to turn a risky phase into a productive priming period. Priming is a technique used to expose an audience to a certain stimulus that influences their future responses to subsequent offers.
The Black Friday period accounts for a strategic boost in sales and revenues in the Romanian market. However, it was necessary to consider a cultural blueprint if these campaigns were to succeed. Analyses of cultural trends connected with buying social behavior on Black Friday eve resulted in two significant phenomena.
1. Each year, the start of the holiday starts earlier than the previous one. Due to the unpredictable start, many offers get buried under early bird offers or simply fail to hit the most favorable social buying moment. Therefore, their products become marketed to less-interested and less-decided buyers, which are, by default, pickier and less inclined to buy.
2. During October, buyers start doing their research and as most companies don’t start their campaigns until the 1st/2nd week of November, there’s a gap between the moment buyers make their minds up and the moment they actually buy products. Although they mainly use mobiles to conduct research, the same behavior is observed on different devices.
Moreover, the digital blueprint shows that a significant amount of clips are viewed during the decision-making phase. Comparison websites are checked to select the ideal products and the most trusted retailer is chosen based on price and reviews.
As a general but culturally-emphasized rule, most buyers who comment, write reviews, and rate products or companies tend to have negative experiences and use the rating opportunity as a means of retaliation.
Negative reviews posted on comparison sites were then prone to featuring in future buyer searches, creating a snowball effect and deterring the brand’s social trust during the decision-making phase
Any household appliance retailer faces the risk of becoming just another Average Joe as myriads of suppliers offer the same products. As a general rule, each one tries to gain recognition through offering unique benefits, such as better prices, better quality-costs balance, quick/free shipping, etc.
Further to this, reputation and friendly customer service are soft skills a supply company must use to boost loyalty. However, many of these factors simply fade away during the Black Friday period and this happens partly because users do more research and are more eager to check out other suppliers. Their loyalty becomes a less powerful influence during this time.
Another reason for brand identity shrinkage during Black Friday is the vast number of offers, making it difficult for someone to discern one from the other. So, by simply advertising discounts and memorable campaigns, retailers could represent effective ways to stand out in the crowd. A more dynamic data-based strategy is vital to guide customers during Black Friday.
The Black Friday bible is all about discounts. Customers are hunting the most significant savings on products while considering the suppliers’ reliability and their capacity to provide as many goods as customers want to acquire at reduced costs and successfully fulfil the orders. Hence, the primary focus is to create as many discounts as possible.
Bigger companies operate with a two-tier decision-making system to evaluate the impact of planned discounts over sales and their effect on the ratio of overall revenues per transaction amount. However, statistics show that both in European and US markets, most companies only use a single layer decision-making system and don’t connect the decision with its immediate, particular and overall impact on medium/long-term financial health.
That’s why a responsible digital marketing operator will maintain a balance between growing sales and steady transaction values.
Due to the strategic significance of Black Friday, many managers and digital marketers easily slip into overinvesting in ad campaigns. Dynamic tracking and interpretation of results while doing the maths to identify thresholds above which investing doesn’t bring back enough growth to justify the costs should be constantly covered.
The ratio between expenditure and results should be as balanced as possible but always related to specific financial objectives as stated in the company’s strategy.
As with any campaign we run, the first step is to conduct research to properly understand the client’s needs and expectations. As such, we created a strategy with two main objectives.
The first was to clearly inform audiences about the precise start of Black Friday and when the main types of product discounts would be applied.
The second objective was, of course, to increase sales during Black Friday by taking into account all risks mentioned above. We defined a mix of appropriate channels: Gmail, Facebook, Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display and YouTube Display.
Because Black Friday sales are more about maths and science than creativity in crafting promotional messages, a closer look at target audiences should be taken to approach pre-qualified potential buyers who are the most likely to act on the provided stimulus.
That’s a laborious endeavour, as it concerns identifying cohorts of potential buyers and differential management of several categories considered based on used channel, familiarity with the company, past behaviours and acquisition intent.
Therefore, we enacted a multilayer targeting process:
As mentioned before, Black Friday is a vibrant, but not necessarily a glamorous period. Pragmatic choices are made or, at least, desired. The need for clarity in terms of specific buying interests, channel-associated behaviours and intent are central to the creation of promotional materials, providing shortcuts to information about offers and acting on this knowledge.
A rigid campaign with no real-time adjustment based on sequential results and real-time data is only half as efficient as it needs to be. No matter how thoughtfully designed it was at the outset, it remains irrelevant with no real-time management in place.
It’s crucial to closely monitor the campaign’s efficiency in generating new subscribers, enhancing website traffic and increasing sales in line with the investments made. It helps to identify expenditure thresholds and the degree of possible success.
The strategic decision to use Black Friday Eve proved to be a wise move. Many users guided to the website before November subscribed, which raised the efficiency of all subsequent promotional materials, offering a high rate of sales conversions. Facebook and Google campaigns were converted into organic traffic on the website during the Black Friday weekend.
Overall, compared with the previous year, we achieved:
– A 35% increase in sales
– A 48% increase in revenue
– A 9% increase in order value
– 90% more conversions
More than 25% of all sales were made via mobile, representing a stunning 122% revenue increase compared with the previous year. iPad and iPhone users placed the most expensive orders, while the number of new smartphone website visitors equaled those using a computer or a laptop.
As previously highlighted, Black Friday is not the time for forcing products to your audiences’ homes. It’s also not the time for spontaneous shopping, rather it’s a well-researched shopping period and one that tremendously changes the buyer’s decision-making process.
We created clarity through refined targeting and super-creative promos in line with social buying behaviors associated with this period. That’s why Google Ads campaigns are overwhelmingly the best choice for any merchandiser.
Compared with the previous year, in 2016, Google Ads campaigns were able to:
During the Black Friday weekend, sales from Google Ads increased by 120-200% compared with a typical month and conversion costs were around 45-60% lower. The digital blueprint showed that most users searched for brands who announced the Black Friday discounts during the earlier research phase.
Before this Black Friday campaign, based on metrics, numbers, and scientific modelling, the client had no public disclosure of numbers regarding its market position, turn-over and value of Black Friday sales. However, since then, this data has been regularly published and covered by the media and has done much to secure the company’s trustworthy and reliable image.
If you’re interested in seeing how we can use our expertise and knowledge to turn your challenges into opportunities for growth, get in touch today.