The History of Black Friday
Black Friday is a term that has dark origins stemming back to the mid-1800s. However, the term eventually evolved into the definition we know today. Back in the 1950s, it was used to describe the chaotic time after Thanksgiving when crowds of tourists and suburbanites flooded into the city in preparation for the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday each year. During this time, cops could not take time off as many people took it as an opportunity to shoplift and commit other unsavory deeds. Either way, sometime in the mid-1980s, the notion of Black Friday evolved into what we know it today – a retail holiday in which over 155 million Americans alone partake.
Moreover, the concept of Black Friday was expanded to include other retail holidays such as Cyber Monday, Super Saturday, and more. Additionally, while it began as a retail holiday strictly for Americans, it has since spread to other areas, such as Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and China.
Objections and Criticism
While Black Friday can be incredibly lucrative for businesses of all kinds, some have actually expressed their disdain for this retail holiday.
Taking a step back
For instance, Alohas is a sustainable fashion brand. Customers must purchase their goods before they are manufactured to limit waste; those shopping with Alohas are rewarded with on-demand deals as a reward for being intentional shoppers.
On the other hand, another well-known Swedish brand, Monki, offers no Black Friday deals. Instead, they remain open during regular business hours, and all of their products are at everyday prices. This is all done in an effort to reduce waste and remain a sustainable fast fashion brand.
One retailer that has been openly opposing Black Friday since before 2011 is Patagonia. In 2011, they launched a controversial campaign called “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” When it was launched, the company took out a full-page ad discouraging consumers from shopping on Black Friday. Since then, the company has been on a campaign to point out how most consumers are coerced into spending more under the guise of saving money.
Black Friday Ad Spending
Either way, most of these companies are still spending money on Black Friday ads– no matter if they are spending money to oppose the retail holiday or promote it. However, the brands that promote to entice Black Friday spenders are the ones spending the big bucks.
For instance, here is a look at what some of the top brands spent in terms of Black Friday ads in a few years back, in 2017, between November 1- November 12 alone:
- Best Buy: $5 million for 352,500,000 impressions.
- Amazon: $2.8 million for 368, 632,000 impressions.
- eBay: $1.8 million for 197,487,000 impressions.
- Zulily: $1.4 million for 443,000,000 impressions.
- Academy Sports + Outdoors: $1.2 million for 96,800,000 impressions.
Therefore, while most of these companies are seeing a sharp increase in revenue on Black Friday, they are also spending lots of money to boost these sales. For instance, according to ROI Hunter, most companies spend around 60% more on ads in the weeks leading up to Black Friday – the most successful companies tend to post up to 7X’s more ads during that same time frame.
Additionally, since the ads are not necessarily more impactful, companies must post more ads to boost engagement. On average, most companies post twice as many ads in the weeks preceding Black Friday.
A word about Walmart
One notorious case of Black Friday ad spending done right is Walmart’s Black Friday campaign of 2020. To become as successful online as they have been with in-store Black Friday shopping, the company produced three separate “Deals for Days” campaigns, offering exclusive discounts on the web and in their app. For the first time, the brand launched the campaigns online days before launching them in the store. The company also sent push notifications to compel users further to take advantage of the Black Friday exclusives and interactive banner ads.
As a result, Walmart saw an impressive 100% increase in sales in 2020. They earned around $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter alone – this means sales were up 124% year-over-year.
Their revenue was boosted to $76m in 2020 compared to $38m in 2019. Nevertheless, Walmart was also the top ad spender in 2020, spending 10% of the total ad spend during that time period.
How to bounce back from Black Friday Ads?
Overall, it seems that the best way to recover from Black Friday ad spending is by creating more well-placed ads on a mixture of social media and search engines like Google and Bing. Although retailers are forced to spend more to stand out in the massive sea of Black Friday retailers, it seems that these ads can lead to a drastic boost in sales for the remainder of the fourth quarter. Therefore, companies seeking to make more money to improve their ROI need to offer good deals, promote them well, and keep offering an array of deals to attract a more vast selection of shoppers.
If you are in need of further assistance with Black Friday ads, we have you covered. Offering retailers expert guidance, we allow retailers the ability to boost conversion rates in unique ways. By adding hundreds of thousands of keywords and creating up to 20,000 audiences to optimize your ads, our AI advertising robot can be instrumental in helping you achieve your conversion goals. Contact us today for a free performance audit.