What Data Tells Us About Black Friday 2017

Posted by Abi Davies and Rajiv Patel 29 Nov 17

black Friday 2017As the Black Friday weekend came to a steady close, so our in-house data scientist, Rajiv, began to investigate the performance of this year’s annual sales event.

Looking closely at the data from over 100 retailers, he was able to draw the following seven conclusions about Black Friday 2017—each of which helps to shed light on just how important the weekend is for today’s retail marketers.

(N.b Where we’ve compared this year’s data to last year’s, we’ve taken into account the business growth between that time for each individual retailer looked at.)

1) More on-site visits (& more conversion) 

This year’s Black Friday saw a 150% increase in on-site visits compared to an average 4-day period.

Whilst this boost in traffic is to be expected for a day of offers and sales, it still affirms the belief that Black Friday is a brilliant marketing opportunity for retailers.

But how many of those visits actually converted?

Black Friday conversion rate
As you can see from this graph, at its peak, conversion rate was up 50% over Black Friday weekend compared to the preceding two weeks.

This proves that not only were more people visiting sites over the weekend, but a much higher proportion of them were converting too.

💡 Takeaways:

  • Set up cart and browse campaigns to make the most of the increase in traffic (but more on retargeting campaigns in point five of this post)
  • Set up a newsletter popup to invite new visitors to your site to sign up for your newsletter and/or other marketing messages
Download ecommerce marketing trends 2018 here

2) Number of orders continues to rise year on year 

Compared to Black Friday 2016, the number of orders were up 9% this year (on top of a 7% increase from 2015 to 2016).

Data scientist Rajiv thought the number of Black Friday orders would eventually plateau year on year, however the fact they continue to rise proves the event is still growing in popularity. 

💡 Takeaways: 

  • Have a well-thought-out post purchase campaign in place during popular events such as Black Friday to make sure you a.) keep first time purchasers engaged and b.) encourage existing customers to make a follow up purchase. Post purchase campaigns can also be used to invite subscribers to check out your social profiles and get involved in any ongoing photo-sharing campaigns or competitions. 

3) Revenue also up 

In terms of revenue, we saw an increase of 10% over this Black Friday weekend compared to last year (whereas it was -2% from 2015 to 2016). 

This suggests, when it comes to ROI, Black Friday does have money-making potential for today’s retailers - despite the inevitable loss in funds as a result of slashing prices. 

💡 Takeaways: 

  • To maximise your brand’s revenue making potential, harness the power of machine-learning algorithms to ensure all of your marketing is fully personalised and therefore more likely to clinch a purchase. (You can read all about what artificial intelligence marketing can offer retailers in our ebook, which can be downloaded here.)

4) Email and CPC the most lucrative channels

The key channels for revenue during Black Friday 2017 compared to the rest of the year were:

- CPC: 28% vs 23%
- Email: 28% vs 19%
- Search: 25% vs 25%
- Social: 5% vs 4%

💡 Takeaways:

  • If you’re not already investing in the above channels (especially CPC and email), do so. Email is the channel that has increased the most in terms of its revenue-making potential, but ultimately the channels you use during Black Friday will be dependent on the shopping habits of each individual customer.

5) More emails sent, more revenue made 

Here at Ometria, email is our speciality - so let’s take a closer look behind the above stat and examine how this channel performed between 24th and 27th November on a more granular level.

a.) Cart and browse abandonment emails

Comparing Black Friday to an average four day period, we saw:

- Three times as many cart and browse abandonment emails 
- Four times as much revenue from abandonment emails
- A 50% increase in conversion rate on abandonment emails

b.) Revenue from mass email

- Mass email accounted for 50% more of total revenue than normal.

As the numbers show, email as a channel still reigns supreme.

💡 Takeaways:

  • To ensure you get the most out of your abandonment emails, make them genuinely good. This will involve the template, copy, appearance and level of personalisation included in your message.
    Ditto mass email. For advice on how to make your newsletter impressively personalised, check out this blog post we wrote earlier this year (but is still relevant).

6) Mobile up (but desktop still the favourite)

Unsurprisingly, the most popular device used over the weekend was desktop - however, interestingly, mobile use has grown from 26% this time last year to 32% this year. 

Tablet usage was down slightly compared to Black Friday last year (14% vs 17%), however, it was still more popular than usage during the rest of the year.

💡 Takeaways: 

  • Whilst it’s interesting to see which devices were the most popular - and can be useful when bearing in mind factors such as web or app push notifications - the most important thing is to optimise your marketing messages for all devices and channels. 

7) Many 2016 Black Friday shoppers didn’t return this year (... but did shop throughout rest of the year) 

5% of customers who shopped during Black Friday last year shopped again during Black Friday this year.

Interestingly, however, the repeat rate of a Black Friday shopper is very similar to shoppers acquired during the rest of the year. 

This suggests a lot of Black Friday shoppers last year didn’t come back again this year but did shop throughout rest of the year. 

This is interesting as it’s been thought that this has not always been the case and that Black Friday shoppers tend to be one-off shoppers. Definitely food for thought. 

💡 Takeaways: 

  • If your Black Friday shoppers are existing customers, tailor deals towards products, categories, designers etc. that you know they are interested in the most. 
  • If your Black Friday shoppers are brand new, see the weekend as an acquisition opportunity. Encourage them to sign up to your newsletter and offer follow-up deals that should bring them back to the site even once the weekend is over.

Conclusion 

An American tradition, it’s always been difficult to tell whether Black Friday will really take off across the rest of the world, but - thanks to ecommerce - a wide range of retailers and customers are keen to get involved.

Now Black Friday is over, that doesn’t mean the event finishes here. The Christmas shopping season has officially begun, so use any data given to you during the weekend to deliver truly personalised correspondence to new and old customers in the lead up to Christmas. 

Topics: Black Friday, Black Friday 2017

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