Last Updated on 26th February 2024

Ideas For a Successful Black Friday Digital Marketing Campaign

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two biggest dates on the consumer calendar. In the States and Canada these two events need no explanation, with hoards of citizens calling in sick to take advantage of the shopping bonanza. However, the concept of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is still fairly new to us here in the UK.

Traditionally, the dates see stores across the US and Canada offer up crazy deals on consumer products – at the peak of the Christmas build-up. So it’s easy to see why the event causes a storm as people hustle for the best deals at an expensive time of the year. Even Apple gets in on the action with annual offers on its products and now the firesale is starting to gain motion on British soil.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving – which may not mean much to UK residents.  Naturally this changes every year.  The name ‘Black Friday’ is thought to originate from the connection between ‘black’ signally a profit (think of “being in the black”) versus ‘red’ which might be associated with financial or retailing loss.  In other words it is known traditionally as a day when retailers make a profit (and hopefully some consumers make great savings too).

What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is simply the following Monday after Black Friday.  Again, it falls on different dates each year (usually at the very end of November), and the two events are very similar – except one key difference.   Cyber Monday came about as a marketing initiative which was created by Scott Silverman and Ellen Davis back in 2005 and very quickly took off to become an annual event, and one of the largest shopping days in the online shopping calendar overall.  According to Wikipedia, “In 2017, Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record $6.59 billion, compared with $2.98 billion in 2015, and $2.65 billion in 2014.”

On Black Friday stores slash their prices for one day only and open their doors to a flood of bargain hunters. Meanwhile Cyber Monday takes a break from the hustle and bustle of the high street and gives shoppers a chance to snap up deals from the comfort of their own home. However, the line between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a little blurred here in the UK and you could find big deals online across the entire weekend.  Some retailers, both online and offline have extended the Black Friday marketing initiative so that it extends across a full week. 

This is largely for two reasons:

a) Prevents issues with capacity management which can lead to frenzied rushes and even accidents in retail outlets offline as well as issues with website slow downs and even server outages when there is too much traffic simultaneously to a site. 

b) Maximise on the opportunity and generate more sales. So, expect to see more and more ‘Black Friday Week’s which start on the Sunday, or Monday, including, preceeding and leading up to, the traditional Friday after Thanksgiving.

Why is Black Friday Important for Digital Marketing?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now fairly established in the UK and it’s another opportunity to create a buzz about your services and products.

Sure, it’s a little gimmicky, but what isn’t at this time of year? The most important thing is that people have bought into Black Friday, and that gives you a chance to build up a bit of pre-Christmas hype.

Naturally, this depends on your ability to drastically slash prices for a couple of days (although there are plenty of other ways you can jump on the bandwagon without having to give too much away (more on that later in our Black Friday campaign ideas section), but Black Friday, and Cyber Monday could be something worth considering in your holiday marketing strategy. Naturally, it depends on the nature of your business and the type of services you offer, but there is growing hype about these two days in the UK and that gives you an opportunity to take advantage.

Cross-channel Black Friday Promotion

Advertise Black Friday deals across various digital channels, including social media, email, and your website, to maximize reach.

Black Friday Campaign Ideas

Don’t forget to get creative with your offers and artwork and really go to town with the ideation.  There are some great examples of creative campaigns out there and here are a few ideas to get you started with a cross-channel Black Friday digital marketing campaign strategy.

Start Early with Black Friday and Build Anticipation

Early Bird Specials:

Encourage early shopping by offering exclusive discounts to customers who make purchases before a specific time on Black Friday. Maximise on traffic and sales potential by starting with an early Black Friday campaign, but be careful you don’t go too early with this or it will just begin to look ridiculous.  We all know stores which seem to have a continuous sale on and not only is this potentially borderline in breach of Advertising Standards Regulations (not so much the Black Friday specials but the ‘always on’ sale), it also begins to potentially devalue both the impact of the sale and discount itself, but could impact your brand.  So, be sensible.  Starting your Black Friday campaign on the Monday leading up to Black Friday is perfectly fine as long as you do this well.

Social Media Countdowns & On-Site Countdown Timers:

Using social media countdowns ahead of Black Friday campaigns in marketing can offer several benefits to businesses. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Builds Anticipation: Countdowns create a sense of anticipation and excitement among your audience. By teasing the upcoming Black Friday deals on social media, you keep your followers engaged and interested in what your brand has to offer.

  2. Generates Buzz: Countdowns generate buzz and interest around your Black Friday promotions. As the countdown progresses, more people are likely to share and talk about your upcoming deals, increasing the visibility of your campaign.

  3. Increases Engagement: A countdown provides an opportunity for increased engagement on social media platforms. Followers may comment, like, or share your posts, contributing to a higher level of interaction and potentially expanding your reach to a broader audience.

  4. Encourages Planning: Customers appreciate knowing in advance what to expect from your Black Friday sale. A countdown allows them to plan their purchases and make informed decisions, increasing the likelihood that they will participate in your promotions.

  5. Creates a Sense of Urgency: As the countdown approaches zero, it creates a sense of urgency. The limited time remaining until the Black Friday deals go live encourages customers to act quickly, making timely purchases and reducing the chances of them losing out on the promotions.

  6. Drives Traffic to Your Website: A well-publicized countdown on social media can drive traffic to your website as customers eagerly await the launch of your Black Friday deals. Ensure that your website is ready to handle the increased traffic and that the countdown links directly to your promotional landing page.

  7. Promotes Exclusivity: A countdown can make your Black Friday deals feel exclusive. By positioning your promotions as limited-time offers, customers may perceive them as special and be more motivated to take advantage of the discounts.

  8. Enhances Brand Visibility: Regularly posting about the countdown on social media increases your brand’s visibility. Consistent reminders about your Black Friday campaign help ensure that your brand remains top-of-mind for potential customers.

  9. Facilitates Teasers and Sneak Peeks: Use the countdown as an opportunity to tease or provide sneak peeks of the products and discounts that will be available on Black Friday. This strategy builds curiosity and interest in your offerings.

  10. Encourages User Participation: Consider incorporating interactive elements into your countdown, such as polls, quizzes, or challenges related to Black Friday. This not only engages your audience but also encourages user participation and creates a sense of community around your brand.

In summary, social media countdowns ahead of Black Friday campaigns can effectively create excitement, engagement, and a sense of urgency, ultimately driving more traffic and sales during the promotional period.

Use countdown timers prominently on your website too to create a sense of urgency and drive immediate action.

‘A Deal an Hour’

A deal an hour type campaign which doesn’t lay all the cards on the table has an element of surprise and also provides a great opportunity to keep prospective customers engaged across social channels as the deals are announced.  Of course, the bigger the brand, the bigger the impact this type of ‘reveal’ has so if you plan to implement something along these lines then you need to prepare for, plan and execute this well to avoid a damp squib campaign which gets little to no traction.

Seed the idea well and early in the minds of your audience and tell them from the beginning of November you’ll be launching this type of campaign to build up some FOMO impact. Tell the audience what time you’ll be revealing your ‘Deal an Hour’ deals and engage with influencers to spread the word far and wide beforehand. You don’t necessarily have to offer different products for each ‘Deal an Hour’ either.  You could simply switch up the discount levels depending on the particular deal, varying between 30% off to 70% off and anywhere in between for other hours.  You could throw in a ‘2 for 1’ offer or a ‘3 for 2’ offer, or specific discounts across whole brand ranges for just one hour. 

Be prepared with plenty of different pre-determined voucher codes and remember you’ll need to stay organised and co-ordinated across your whole operation to pull this type of fast moving, and ever changing (albeit just for a short time), campaign. Make sure you are well on top of post scheduling too across social channels and have everything aligned well in advance.  Most of the social media planning and posting applications such as SEMRush, Hootsuite and Sproutsocial have excellent scheduling capabilities.  Again, make sure you plan this all well in advance and certainly by the end of October you should be starting to get things organised.  To stay on top of the whole changing discounts scenario you could look at using apps which schedule sales such as Bold Discounts or one of the many Shopify apps which you can utilise to schedule your discount drives if you are using Shopify as your ecommerce solution.

Flash Sales

Create limited-time, high-discount flash sales on popular products throughout the day to keep customers engaged and excited.

Instill a Sense of ‘Feeling Special’

Limited Edition Products for Black Friday Only

Introduce limited edition or exclusive products specifically for Black Friday to create a sense of urgency and uniqueness.

Loyalty Program Bonuses:

Offer extra loyalty points or exclusive perks for members of your loyalty program during the Black Friday period.

Refer-a-Friend Discounts:

Implement a referral program where existing customers can refer friends and receive additional discounts or perks.

Exclusive VIP Access:

Provide early access or exclusive deals to a VIP segment of your customer base, such as long-time customers or high spenders.  Carry out a customer analysis segmentation exercise to identify those customers who you will offer the promotion to during Black Friday.

Geo-targeted Offers:

Utilize location-based targeting to send exclusive offers to customers in specific regions of the UK.

Make a Game of Black Friday

Mystery Discounts:

Implement a mystery discount code for customers to unveil at checkout, adding an element of surprise and excitement.

Gamified Discounts:

Incorporate gamification into your website or app, allowing customers to play games or spin wheels for additional discounts.

Interactive Quizzes:

Create fun and interactive quizzes on your website or social media, with discounts or special offers as rewards.

Bundle Up for Black Friday

Bundle Deals:

Create special bundles or packages with discounted prices for a combination of products.

Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) Deals:

Offer BOGO deals on select products or categories to entice customers to purchase more.

Incentives to Buy More

Free Gifts with Purchase:

Offer free gifts or samples with certain purchases to enhance perceived value.

Free Shipping Thresholds:

Set free shipping thresholds at slightly higher order values to encourage customers to add more items to their carts.

Black Friday Your PPC Campaigns

Retargeting Ads:

Implement retargeting ads to remind users about your Black Friday deals after they’ve visited your website.

Dynamic Ad Campaigns:

Use dynamic ads that showcase products based on users’ browsing history or preferences.

Get Social for Black Friday Success

Social Proof Campaigns:

Showcase customer testimonials and reviews to build trust and reassure potential buyers about the value of your products.

Influencer Collaborations:

Partner with influencers to promote your Black Friday deals and reach a wider audience.

Hashtag Campaigns:

Create and promote a unique Black Friday hashtag to encourage user-generated content and increase social media visibility.

Virtual Black Friday Ideas

Virtual Shopping Events:

Host live streaming events on social media platforms showcasing products, offering discounts, and engaging with customers in real-time.

Virtual Gift Cards:

Promote the purchase of virtual gift cards with added value for use during Black Friday sales.

Go Green

Green Friday Initiatives:

Highlight sustainable and eco-friendly products, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers.

Black Friday Email Ideas

This may seem entirely obvious but far too often brands publish their offer pages on blog posts and then do not connect up their channels at all.  There are plenty of excellent email tools out there, not least Mailchimp and Mailerlite which are very cost effective, particularly for customer databases of fewer than 2000 mailouts.  The drag and drop functionalities on these email suites provide the perfect functionality to be able to pull in your holiday season ecommerce campaigns easily so get those scheduled well ahead of the season.  Simultaneously share to social channels using your favourite social scheduling platform. Always ensure your data and email practices are compliant with relevant regulations, particularly around privacy and data protection, and particularly so if you are dealing with B2C markets.

Email Exclusive Offers:

Send out exclusive Black Friday deals to your email subscribers to make them feel valued and encourage loyalty.

Email Drip Campaigns:

Set up a series of emails with increasing incentives as Black Friday approaches, building anticipation.

Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails:

Implement automated emails to remind customers about items left in their carts, along with additional Black Friday incentives.

After Black Friday is Finished

Post-Black Friday Deals:

Extend the excitement by offering additional discounts or promotions for a few days after Black Friday to capture late shoppers.

Not only will extending the campaign length of your Black Friday promotions to Cyber Monday, you’ll be more efficient since you won’t need to create two separate campaigns.  You will likely find this particularly valuable if you do decide to carry out a heavy effort campaign such as the ‘Deal a Day’ mentioned earlier which has potential to go very wrong if not planned and executed well.  Better to make the most of a sterling effort than do twice as much work badly.