Commentary

Social Takes A Battering As Email Drives 18x More Black Friday Sales

Ever need something to put the social team in its place? Well, how about this very simple statistic? According to the data crunchers at Adobe Digital Index, social accounted for just under 1% of Black Friday sales.


No, that wasn't a typo -- you read it correctly. Just to be sure, let's spell it out -- that's one percent. In fact, if you want to put that into context, it's roughly the same as digital display's 1% contribution to Black Friday sales.

OK -- so now the payoff line. Email -- what did that do? Well, it performed around 17 times better with very nearly 18% of sales. As such, it was in third place for Black Friday sales. As you would imagine -- as ever -- search was top, and in second place came direct traffic. We could discuss all day what part email plays in reminding customers of a brand's existence and so could play a major role in driving direct traffic, potentially after an offer has been seen in an email subject but then acted on directly at a later stage.

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Now, a big caveat here is that these are figures for the U.S. but -- let's be honest -- there is no reason to suspect the UK is incredibly different. Whatever differences there are would surely not be sufficient to make much of a dent in one channel providing less than 1% and the other providing nearly 18%.

The figures also sum up perfectly how brands should not be afraid of email marketing in that all-important fourth quarter. Just as broadcast rates go up, so too do open rates. Consumers are actively looking out for relevant offers and acting on them, even if they do have to sort through quite a few more messages in their inbox than usual. They're looking for the diamond in the rough more than ever as Black Friday arrives, gives way to Cyber Monday and then December gift shopping.

So it just might come in handy to know that when the figures were looked at only search and direct traffic (almost certainly influenced by email) are bigger channels for ecommerce success than email. As for social, I suspect email marketers have always known how much use a "like" or "sad" emoji are in sales figures. Now, at long last, the data is there to quantify it. With analysis, we can say the full-time score is a rout -- Email 18 : Social 1.

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