Most marketers would have you believe Black Friday to be the most opportune time of year to drive sales, but how do you know whether running a promotion is the right thing for your brand? Are you making your marketing decisions based on ROI, or simply looking at running a promotion just because everyone else is doing it?

In this post, we’re going to share some of the predictions for this year and help you decide whether you should join the party or not.

What’s all the fuss about?

If shopping was a sporting event, Black Friday would be the Superbowl. Since we adopted the event from our cousins from across the pond, it’s gotten bigger by the year and is now a massive spending event, and there’s little love shared in the marketing space, with businesses of all sizes fiercely competing for a share of public expenditure for this coveted seasonal event.

The Numbers

In the UK in 2019, the public spent almost £5bn. That’s a colossal amount and, despite the climate, spending is trending, with GlobalData predicting the UK’s spending in 2020 to surpass £6bn. It’s predicted that 37% of Brits are putting off shelling out on items like clothing, electronics and furniture until the deals are here to avoid being disappointed. We all hate that moment, right? So, the opportunity to supercharge your sales at the start of the retail period dubbed the ‘golden quarter’ is a glaringly obvious one.

Working away behind the scenes, businesses of all shapes and sizes will have their own Black Friday marketing campaigns lined up, so let’s dive into a framework for assessing whether you need to be joining them – or whether you’re better off focusing on your day to day strategy.

Is your business actually suited to a Black Friday promotion?

You will be the best person to answer this question. The buzz around Black Friday is immense, so it’s no surprise that brands dive head-first into elaborate content campaigns in an attempt to be relevant and drive sales. Competition is high, forcing marketers to experiment with everything from creative campaigns rich with lifestyle blogs to innovative video content in the build up to the event.

This event-driven marketing often involves sacrificing day-to-day activity temporarily; halting content priorities such as SEO optimisation and brand-building campaigns. It can be tempting to dive head-first into Black Friday marketing, but blindly following the buzz might not be a good idea.

The first consideration you should make with any seasonal marketing opportunity is:

    Who is buying?

    What are they buying?

Without this information, it’s difficult to judge whether your product or service is likely to reap the rewards of investing resources into a content marketing campaign. Even if, for example, your campaign copy is a masterpiece, meticulously designed to drive conversion, you won’t acquire traffic if your product/service offering isn’t on the radar of Black Friday shoppers.

But this is no usual year

Fewer Brits are planning to take part in Black Friday in 2020, compared to last year. In 2019, 42% of adults planned to spend whereas this year the number has dropped down to 39%. However as mentioned earlier, spend is forecasted to surpass last year’s figures. So, what’s happened there? The increase stems from a predicted increase in average spend per consumer, rising from £251 to £296.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of Covid-19 earlier in the year, we’ve seen industries experience contrasting fortunes. At risk of stating the obvious, we’ve seen brands in the home entertainment, homeware, fitness, and health industries prosper, amongst many more. If your product or service falls into one of these categories, then it’s highly likely you’ll benefit from a well thought-out, competitive campaign.

This doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t run a campaign if your product doesn’t fit into one of these categories – which brings us onto our next consideration.

What about the high street?

55% of Brits planned to shop exclusively online during last year’s sale. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that figure has risen to a whopping 66%.

Despite further lockdowns and restrictions being introduced, shopping plans haven’t taken as big of a hit as you might have thought. 35% of consumers planned to also spend in-store last year, whereas that number has only fallen to 28%, signifying a reassuring level of consumer confidence. But with Saturday’s announcement of a month-long lockdown, an-store promotion is an option only worth considering if you plan to run a campaign extending beyond Black Friday. That is, of course, unless you fall into the essential retail pot.

How can I subtly board the hype-train?

Your campaign and offers should never feel forced or unnatural when you’re planning them. If they do, you can bet they’ll look it too. Take a bank pushing a wellbeing campaign during mental health week, for example; the link there might just be too tenuous to make.

One clever trick to bypass this problem is to base your content marketing campaign on an emotion or experience associated with your brand. Make this an opportunity for people to remember your brand. Pieminister did this perfectly back in 2016, teaming up with homeless charity, Shelter, to give away pies to shelters on Black Friday. Dubbed ‘Black Pie Day’, this returned several times in the following years.

This campaign executes this idea perfectly.

If you’re able to develop a campaign idea that’s directly relevant to the Black Friday promotion, then you’re better positioned to connect with your customers and have your promotional message heard.

How can I analyse whether a Black Friday promotion will generate returns for my business?

Your chances of seeing a surge in sales is likely to come down to the demand for what you sell. If you’ve never considered a Black Friday campaign, the likelihood is you’ve also never looked into the numbers to see what the opportunity could really be for you. Doing this research could give you the reassurance needed that your market is receptive (or not).

There are plenty of tools out there to help you gauge how desirable your product is likely to be. And many of the good ones are free to use. We’d recommend using tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner to help you build a great understanding of your market’s intent. Or if you want to get a feel for what your competitors are doing, you can look to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter hashtags to view trends relating to your focus products and review your competitors activity.

Black Friday search volumes generated by Ahrefs

So there you go. Just remember, running a seasonal campaign is about being reactive and competitive, so don’t be scared to try and fail, testing and learning could be the key to your success. If you decide to go in for a slice of the Black Friday cake, good luck and we’ll see you on the other side!


If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today..