Black Friday & Cyber Monday Driving More Social Conversation Than Ever
Data shows strong growth in social media conversations about the kickoff to the shopping season. How the action converts to sales is an open question.
Black Friday’s importance for retail success might be waning — what with the National Retail Federation announcing an 11% drop in sales compared to 2013 — but the conversation on social media has never been stronger.
Black Friday 2014 was the most social ever, according to social media analytics firm Spredfast, driving more than 2 million Twitter conversations in the seven-day lead up to the day. That’s more than twice the number from 2013, Spredfast said. And though Cyber Monday is still with us, preliminary Spredfast data indicates that it’s also driving record Twitter interaction, with 340,000 conversations in the seven-day period, a 75% increase over 2013, as of noon Eastern time today.
Such results have been generally confirmed by other sources. Salesforce Marketing Cloud, for instance, reported over the weekend that it found more than 2.7 million social mentions of Black Friday in 24 hours with Kohl’s, Walmart, Apple and Target getting the most brand attention.
Kohl’s success was driven by a very effective sweepstakes campaign; the department store tweeted trivia questions all last week, which such tweets driving nearly 500% higher engagement than typical Kohl’s tweets, according to Spredfast.
— Kohl’s (@Kohls) November 26, 2014
Over the weekend, the marketing focus turned to Cyber Monday, but interestingly the social conversation didn’t necessarily use that term. Salesforce found that “sale” and “deal” were the most pervasive keywords in the discussion and the top hashtag was still #BlackFriday.
“This data reflects something we often tell marketers — look at what’s happening in real time and adjust your content to meet your customers on their
journey,” Kyle Lacy, director of global content marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, said in a release. “So, while many marketers may have planned to push the keyword ‘Cyber Monday’ on Sunday, it actually didn’t resonate as strongly as ‘Black Friday,’ or even just ‘sale’ or ‘deal.’ ”
But Do Conversations Drive Sales?
How much sales are being driven by the social activity is of course an open question. Adobe, which reported record online sales of $1.33 billion and $2.4 billion for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, respectively, said 2% of those sales ($74.6 million) came directly from social media, which is flat compared to last year.
Comparing platforms for direct Black Friday sales, Adobe found Facebook had the highest average order value at $114.45, followed by Pinterest ($93.20) and Twitter ($90.74). Those values all represented an increase over 2013 with Pinterest up 16%, Facebook 7% and Twitter 5%.
IBM reported similar Black Friday order value numbers for Facebook ($109.94) and Pinterest ($100.24), and noted that Facebook referrals converted online sales at more than twice the rate of Pinterest.