Black Friday vs Cyber Monday: Essential Marketing Guide

black friday vs cyber monday

Black Friday has quickly turned into one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year, while Cyber Monday has even surpassed Black Friday in sales. In this article we have cover some amazing marketing tips that pit Black Friday vs Cyber Monday ecommerce marketing against each other. It may seem like you should take the same approach with both, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Not only are Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers dissimilar, but they expect different marketing tactics and shopping experiences.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Marketing: The Main Differences

Black Friday differs from Cyber Monday in a few ways. The first, most obvious difference, is that Black Friday has been around for a much longer span of time. In the past, Black Friday existed solely as a brick and mortar holiday when people would come out and wait in lines for hours.

Therefore, this has carried over to the internet age, where more people expect to get an experience (offline and online) than they would on Cyber Monday. This includes giveaways and raffles. That said, plenty of brick and mortar stores get in on the Cyber Monday fiasco, similar to how online stores take advantage of Black Friday.

As for the demographics, the average Black Friday shopper is a younger female who may still live at home with parents. Think college students and early young professionals with more willingness to seek out deals because of their youth and budgetary constraints. The numbers show that these women make less than $75K per year and generally don’t have children.

Keep in mind, this is the average, so there are still plenty of men and women with children shopping during Black Friday.

Women still beat out men during Cyber Monday, but not by nearly as much. The main difference lies in their lifestyles. For example, Cyber Monday females are more often over 30 years old, employed and owning their own home. The chances of getting women with families spikes as well.

Considering much of the Cyber Monday shopping is done online, this makes sense, because these types of customers aren’t nearly as willing to brave the cold and wait in long lines.

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As for the smaller demographics and overall trends with Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping:

  • Cyber Monday shoppers care more about pricing than brand. That’s not always the case with Black Friday shoppers.
  • Black Friday shoppers are far more likely to complete their shopping in physical stores as opposed to online.
  • Cyber Monday shoppers complete more research online. For example, they look at online reviews more frequently than the average Black Friday shopper, and more of them own smartphones and care about the operating system being used while shopping through a mobile device.
  • Regardless of sex, Black Friday shoppers are generally younger than 24 and without jobs and living with mom and dad.
  • An interesting metric is that both Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers use the internet in some way. Black Friday customers seem to love Pinterest, while Cyber Monday people are all about technology blogs and online magazines.

And Now… Essential Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Marketing Tips

1. If You Can Only Pick One, Go With Cyber Monday

Yes, both Cyber Monday and Black Friday online sales have been increasing over the past years. However, online stores see far more sales on Cyber Monday than they do on Black Friday. This might have something to do with the fact that some folks still see Black Friday as a brick and mortar day.

Regardless of the reasoning, you have a bigger piece of the pie to claim on Cyber Monday.

2. Don’t Just Test Your Site..Ensure Its Stability

It may not seem like keeping your site fast, functional and operational has anything to do with marketing. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, 58% of customer chose not to return to a brand during the holidays because of website problems.

This applies to both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so we recommend spending extra money to boost your hosting plan, clean up the clutter, focus on landing pages and speed up the checkout process. Your website is the ultimate marketing tool (hence the crucial importance of the ecommerce software). But a slow one, regardless of your deals, turns a happy shopper into a frustrated one.

3. Offer a Price Comparison on Your Site

This is particularly important for Black Friday, since more shoppers are used to researching online and understanding the differences in prices between your competitors and you. Not only that, but shoppers indicate 33% of the time that they take online comparisons into consideration.

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It’s may seem counter-intuitive at first, but providing the tools to compare with competitors at least gives you the benefit of keeping people on your own website. If you feel like your pricing is no match for other companies, we recommend at least implementing a comparison tool for similar products on your own store.

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4. Advertise Free Shipping For Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Shoppers also indicate 31.5% of the time that free shipping weighs directly into their reason for buying. We’ll take it a step further with this one.

Seeing as how many online stores are going to give out free shipping, we recommend one-upping them. Since everyone wants free stuff during the holidays, consider displaying the free shipping offer, yet provide a free product when a customer buys more than, say, $50.

One holiday season Victoria Secret offered a free tote bag for any customer that checked out with more than $75 worth of merchandise. Think about what inexpensive items you have to give out, and try to relate to the products you’re currently selling.

5. Target Social Ads Based on State or Region

As most experienced social marketers know, a Facebook or Twitter advertisement does nothing if you don’t test it out and pick out some core demographics for targeting. You’re just going to end up spending a bunch of money if you decide to market to the entire social world.

Consider looking into which states or regions are most active on social media networks, then generate ads that cater to those locations.

Twitter seems to be a huge buzz generator for Black Friday, and the majority of these bargain hunters include women. In addition, 60% of that Twitter conversation falls in the 17-24 year old age range, regardless of gender.

As for the states, 15% of holiday Twitter buzz happened in California, followed by Texas, New York, Florida and Georgia.

6. Make an Offer Landing Page, but List Several Deals

One main difference between a regular shopping day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday is the way you setup a landing page. Generally, you would configure a landing page to focus on one of your best selling products. However, people expect differently during the holidays.

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Amazon, Radio Shack and Best Buy are known for having the highest number of click-throughs for individual offers. However, each of them decided to make a general holiday landing page featuring various deals from the store. Therefore, you have a chance to still utilize a landing page, but it’s a grand opportunity to get a few sales from each customer.

7. Don’t Get Caught Up in Trying to Acquire New Customers

Yes, having an email subscription form on the site is fine for those new buyers. However, your Cyber Monday revenues are not reliant on those fresh faces. In fact, most shops see an increase in new shoppers, but this doesn’t compare to the average boost in spending per person, particularly from current customers.

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Therefore, it’s essential you target those trusty customers that have been coming to your site for years. Consider utilizing special email campaigns designed just for the folks who have been around for awhile. They probably just need a reminder to stop by your site, but the goal is to bring them around and convince them to make all of their Cyber Monday purchases from you.

8. Think About Work Hours

Since 70% of gift shopping is done at work, this gives Cyber Monday sellers a unique advantage. So many companies are realizing that employees need this time during the hectic holiday season. Therefore, we’re seeing a sharp increase in the number of organizations that allow some time for employees to browse online shops.

Is there a way to take advantage of this? We’ve noticed a few online stores talking to local offices about setting up a time for all employees to go to the online store and get their shopping done. It works like this: You, as the online store, provides a discount or special of some sort to all of the employees from a certain office. It locks in tons of sales for you, and the employers feel like they have given a unique benefit to employees.

In addition, employees feel more comfortable, since they no longer have to keep a lookout for the boss coming around.

9. Think Outside the Box for Last Minute Deals

Although there’s a perception that Cyber Monday and Black Friday holds the best deals for consumers, the actual best time to buy is right before Christmas. This is when the last minute deals start springing up, considering retailers and online stores are trying to clear out their shelves.

As an ecommerce professional, it makes sense to take part in the madness right before Christmas, but we suggest a few more unique strategies that go against the grain with Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Marketing.

Must-have toys, jewelry and electronics are at their best rates even before Thanksgiving. Why is this the case? Because companies in those industries decided to circumvent the time when their competition is highest. Think about following their lead and explaining to customers that the best deals are going to happen before Thanksgiving. Chances are you’ll have an easier time reaching them in their email inboxes and through advertisements.

Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Marketing: Are You Ready?

As you can see, the two holidays are drastically different in some ways, while remarkably similar in others. However, we suggest you attack each of them as if they were both equally important.

If you have any other suggestions or thoughts in terms of Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Marketing, drop a line in the comments below.

header image courtesy of Nimble Division

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.

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