Holiday Strategies: Optimize Black Friday Sales To Stay Firmly In The Black

The two highest grossing in-store and online shopping days of the year are just around the corner. Last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday wrapped up with record online sales, supported by strong growth in mobile use by consumers. Going into 2014, these critical selling days can make or break a brand’s financial performance for the entire year.

However, consumers behave differently during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period than they do at other times of the year. So how can marketers use the latest metrics to adapt to this changing behavior?

Optimize for mobile. Increasingly, consumers are using their mobile devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablets, for their holiday shopping research. In 2013, mobile sales were also strong, accounting for 21% of all ecommerce purchases on Black Friday and 17% of all ecommerce purchases on Cyber Monday. And the use of multiple mobile devices for browsing and shopping is only expected to increase.

Heading into the 2014 holiday shopping season, the ability to track the consumer’s path to purchase across devices will be essential for maximizing the effectiveness of your campaigns. Having a unified, cross-device view of the consumer journey not only provides insight into how content and/or ads seen on one screen impacts actions taken on the other, but enables you to measure the contribution of each of these touchpoints to an ultimate conversion, so you can optimize your advertising spend across devices for the highest return.

Account for seasonality. Since seasonal factors like the holidays tend to drive a natural increase in sales, marketers often struggle to understand the incremental performance of their seasonal advertising in driving total sales, versus what part of those sales would have occurred regardless. Often, media that touches consumers lower in the conversion funnel, but do not add incremental new sales, are often hugely over-credited, and media spending decisions are biased as a result. By understanding what combinations of tactics truly drive incremental sales over and above the natural increase in sales during these critical shopping days, marketers can greatly improve their decision-making.

Test early and often. During the holiday season, the amount of advertising “noise” can drown out the ability of a consumer to be receptive to a new message. It may well be that the best time to stimulate incremental demand is before or after – rather than duringthe Black Friday-Cyber Monday period. Success depends on the ability to create an omni-channel experience that delivers the right marketing message, to the right person, in the right channel, and at the right time. As such, testing and assessing content, creative, messages, offers and channels, as well as understanding the time-lag effects on media are more important than ever during this time.


By applying advanced measurement techniques, marketers can not only identify which creative and messaging variants will have the greatest impact, but can also get an accurate picture of the time lag at which certain marketing tactics produce conversions. During the “noisy” holiday shopping season, this analysis is critical for understanding when to communicate with a consumer so that the message is heard.

Take aim at online ad fraud. The Black Friday-Cyber Monday period is ripe for online advertising fraud, as fraudsters, like shoppers, look for their next big score. To neutralize the threat during the holiday rush, marketers need to evaluate advertising effectiveness based on attributed and lower-funnel metrics like revenue, versus traditional metrics like CPM and CPC, which are particularly susceptible and easily mimicked by fraudsters. Only when marketers use more down-funnel metrics like revenue to measure advertising effectiveness can they ensure that real humans are interacting with their brand and their marketing dollars aren’t being wasted during the busy holiday season.

Understand how offline impacts online (and vice versa). The online/offline challenge also comes into play during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period. Marketers need to be thinking about how online advertising can help drive in-store traffic and conversions on Black Friday, and how people who purchased in-store on Black Friday can be inclined to go online and buy more come Cyber Monday.

By leveraging advanced measurement technology, marketers can ensure their strategies across different channels complement each other during this critical selling period. Advanced measurement techniques not only provide marketers with visibility into all the online touchpoints that contributed to an eventual conversion, but also link those offline conversions with online stimulations. When combined with insights gleaned into which messages, creatives, placements, offers, etc., work for a particular audience, marketers can adjust their campaigns to optimize performance and ROI.

1 comment about "Holiday Strategies: Optimize Black Friday Sales To Stay Firmly In The Black".
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  1. Verity Kennard from StitcherAds, October 27, 2014 at 6:24 a.m.

    Hi Anto

    Great content - particularly the paragraph about mobile optimization. Knowing where your customers are purchasing will allow for better retargeting. We've blogged about a similar topic here and would love to hear your thoughts.


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