How consumers reacted to Black Friday ads in 2019 [+What’s Changing in 2020]

Despite being dubbed the biggest online shopping event of the year, Cyber ​​Monday saw over $ 7.4 billion in online purchases on Black Friday 2019.

And although 2019 had some of the most successful online Black Friday sales ever. The events of 2020 could lead to even more online transactions this holiday season.

As an advertiser, you may want to learn more about the growing online buying behavior – and how you can take advantage of it in 2020.

Below we will highlight what we learned from surveying 300 consumers over the past year. It then shares some consumer behavior predictions you need to know when determining your Black Friday ad strategy for 2020.

What we learned about Black Friday shoppers in 2019

To help marketers learn more about consumer behavior behind the Black Friday 2019 results, I surveyed a pool of more than 300 people who use Lucid software back in December. The goal was to learn what drove them to engage with or buy products in Black Friday ads.

Here’s what we learned from our results:

Black Friday marketing saw great online engagement

With Black Friday deals comes a flood of Black Friday ads across all media. It’s no surprise that millions of people shopped on Black Friday – but what advertising strategies actually drove them to buy?

When I asked participants, “Have you looked into any online ads or promotions for Black Friday?”, 61% said they had some sort of exposure to one or more ads, while only 39% said they didn’t to consider.

how consumers reacted to Black Friday ads

Data source: Lucid Software

Of that 61% of people who engaged in one or more ads, 38% clicked the promotions without making a purchase, while 23% converted to a customer after clicking the ad.

When it came to where people saw the ads they clicked, 62% found promotions on social media.

How consumers responded to Black Friday ads

Data source: Lucid Software

“Non-social media websites” have also been a pretty successful place to advertise. 38% of respondents said they clicked on ads in these locations. These websites may include other branded websites that have a native ad, search engine platforms, or other areas of the web that are not considered social media.

Even though only 32% of users clicked ads in marketing emails, do your research CampaignMonitor showed that email marketing was responsible for this 20% of holiday traffic.

Consumers showed interest in technology deals

Aside from the location of the ad, the product or service being advertised could have played a role in an audience’s engagement. To get an idea of ​​which products are the most popular, I asked respondents, “What products or services are best described in the Black Friday ads that you clicked on?”

Of those who said they clicked or bought an ad in the first question in the survey, approximately 36% said they had advertised with products in the Gadgets and Technology category. Two other popular categories were “Fashion and Beauty” and “Housewares, Furniture and Decor,” which both received votes from more than 18% of participants.

Black Friday ads actually lead to pedestrian traffic

In 2019, in-store pedestrian traffic on Black Friday decreased 6% than in 2018. However, this shopping event was still significant for brick and mortar stores as in-store revenue still increased 4.2%.

Much of the pedestrian traffic and in-store purchases could also be due to ads. When I asked consumers if they “walked into a store on Black Friday after seeing an advertisement or a promotion,” more than half said “yes”.

how consumers reacted to Black Friday ads

Data source: Lucid Software

To see how much online ads affect pedestrian traffic on Black Friday compared to physical ads, I asked the same consumers, “Where did you see the Black Friday ads for the store you went to on Black Friday?” Respondents could choose from a long list of ad style options, from more digital social media promotions to traditional TV commercials or newspaper ads.

Although these participants decided to brave crowded physical stores on Black Friday, the survey found that they were not attracted to physical or more traditional advertisements such as billboards, newspaper advertisements, or advertisements.

Again, social media was the front runner with 38% of people entering stores on Black Friday first finding ads on these types of platforms.

Social media aside, 15% of those who visited a store for a Black Friday ad said they saw it on the store’s own website. Only a small proportion of respondents said they went to a store after seeing TV ads (7%), email marketing ads (7%), newspaper ads (8%) or physical signage (1%).

Although only 7% found ads directing them to physical deals in marketing emails, other data shows that including ads and offers in e-newsletters was still a key strategy to drive web visits, leads, and even foot traffic in the To achieve business.

4 predictions for Black Friday 2020

When we last published this post in December 2019, we assumed that web presence and online marketing would be of vital importance for small and large businesses in 2020.

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many brands online and accelerated digital transformation around the globe, having an internet presence is not all nice. At this point it could be important.

Below are just four research-backed Black Friday predictions and tips on how brands can deal with them.

1. Brands with an online presence outperform brands without one on Black Friday.

Our results for 2019 and the increasing research continue to show the importance of developing or constantly improving a web presence.

And as mentioned earlier, having an online web presence may not just be a benefit for your customers. This can lead to an ROI for your brand, especially on Black Friday. In 2020, online vacation spend is projected to exceed $ 189 billion – a 33% increase from 2019.

At this point, expanding an online presence can be easy and affordable. For example, if you’re just sticking your toes into marketing online, free strategies like creating a social media profile, starting a simple website, starting a marketing email, or creating a Google My Business for Start your business. Once you’re comfortable, experiment with larger investments like buying ads online.

The strategies above can help users find out more about your brand, offer, or service on the Internet. These tactics could also make it easier for potential customers to find you when they are looking for products or services in your industry.

2. Consumers will continue to use social media to find out about products and Black Friday sales.

While a general internet presence could take your brand far, it could be a great and affordable place for marketing or advertising on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

However, given the popularity and track record of social media for ROI, you should definitely consider promoting or at least posting about your products for free on platforms that suit your audience if you don’t already.

If you’re trying to build your social presence or determine which platforms to advertise your products or offers on, check out this research-based blog post where I reveal the social media platforms on which people can learn more about products.

3. Most Black Friday shopping is online.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s important to keep this in mind when planning your 2020 Black Friday strategy.

While there will likely still be Black Friday shoppers braving overcrowded stores, the data above for 2019 and 2020 suggest that more people will avoid in-person shopping on Black Friday – as well as throughout the holiday season – as much as possible .

This year, people have opted for online shopping and e-commerce more than ever. And even if there is a big sale in a physical store, consumers may be more likely to order products from the safety of their own homes.

In addition to online advertising and marketing techniques, there are other ways that your brand can do business online should also be considered. For example, it might be an excellent time to open an online store or virtual services before the global shopping vacation.

If you don’t consider yourself web savvy, a number of tools and platforms can create and manage an online store in minutes. For example, Facebook recently launched Facebook Shops that allow users to create online stores that are directly linked to a Facebook or Instagram business profile.

4. People will put needs above perks when buying products.

This year, consumers have tossed fancy products and brand loyalty aside versus budget for products that help them solve problems or achieve long-term value.

Why? Due to the financial uncertainties of 2020, consumers are facing tight budgets and are more cautious than ever when making larger investments.

What does this mean for marketers? It is more important than ever to market your product, business or sales value points. Even if you work for a big name brand, consumers are looking for value beyond your logo to justify buying a product. In the following section we give you some tips on how to do just that.

Tips for Creating Effective Black Friday Ads

1. Highlight how a service or product can be solved for your customer.

Remember, this year shoppers of all ages will be more cautious than ever about the products they will purchase. While some may save up to pamper themselves during the holiday season, they will still take their product research seriously to determine that whatever they spend money on has solid value.

For marketers and advertisers, it means that your ads should aim to educate ideal customers about your offers, how they can help them, or why they might need them in their daily lives.

But how do you convey that your offerings are valuable, important, or necessary when you’re not selling an essential product? While it may take some creativity, it is possible to do it.

Below is an example of Twitter content from InfoArmor, Allstate’s information security service. in the In the tweet, InfoArmor shared a blog post about the dangers of information security when working remotely and how InfoArmor can protect remote employee information.

infoarmor tweet stating why people need to. buy a product

2. Present offers, sales, or affordable deals.

Budget conscious shoppers not only want to buy the best value for money products, they also want to look for the best deals this holiday season. If there is a deal or a sale for your product or offering, include this information in your advertising. Here’s a great ad from Walmart highlighting all of the online deals they’ll be offering this year:

Walmart Black Friday Deals for Days Ads


In addition to the ad highlighting a number of great deals and alternatives for in-person Black Friday sales, the ad is also interesting because it’s online interactive but formatted so it can also act as a static print ad if needed.

Aside from the above ad, Walmart has created content with a similar aesthetic and business-oriented message for social media platforms like Facebook. Here is a screenshot of the featured content on the Facebook Business page.

Walmarts deals for days of Black Friday shopping content on Facebook

3. Include video marketing.

In our 2020 Marketing Status report, we found that video is the industry leading form of marketing content. And as Gen-Z and Millennials use video for product discovery more than ever, this format becomes more of a low hanging fruit each year.

If you think video marketing is only for big brands, think again. Over the past year we’ve seen all kinds of brands, both large and small, use video ad and long-form content strategies inexpensively to generate ROI. Here is a great example of a startup demo video made by Beauty Bakerie.

While the content allows viewers to see what the products will look like in real life, Cashmere, the brand’s CEO – Cashmere Nicole Carillo – provides instructions on how to use them so they also know how easy it is to add to their daily beauty routine.

4. Create content for various online platforms.

Regardless of what online platforms you use, you should create content that appeals to these customers rather than just serving a simple ad on every website you can access.

By creating content tailored to the platforms your customers use, you increase the chances of them getting noticed while scrolling through endless web pages, feeds, or email inboxes. And once you get their attention, you can use this content to highlight your value proposition in a fun or interesting way.

For example, if you’re creating an ad for Instagram, it might be tempting to just use an image of the ad you created for a website or newspaper with a simple label. However, this may not be of interest to people looking for valuable product information or entertaining content in their feeds. Instead, create a short marketing video or series of photos of customers showing your product to better target that audience.

Below is a great example of a Black Friday post that could work well as an ad on Instagram too. The post shows a video demo of someone from Hair Vivi putting on one of the brand’s wigs.

While the video shows viewers how easy it is to put the wig on, the caption also highlights the value of the product and the company’s Black Friday deals.

Navigate on Black Friday 2020

It’s safe to say that this year’s Black Friday will be unique. However, many of the behaviors of consumers will not go away. sometime soon.

On Black Friday and further into 2020, some of the most successful brands will pursue online marketing strategies, meet their audiences on the platforms they regularly use, and use content effectively to promote the value or affordability of their products.

Fancy more Black Friday dates before the event? Check out this handy list of statistics.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in December 2019 but was updated for freshness and completeness in November 2020.

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