Black Friday: Content, customers and ecommerce

We all know one of our favourite topics here in OMD Insight is Black Friday. After the sad whimper of Amazon Prime Day earlier this year, brands are gearing up for 2015’s retail scrum.

This mammoth date in the shopper calendar is growing in size, scale and, in some cases, stupidity each year, so I was keen to head along to an Innovation Week session with Emma Harvey from Future to hear about it.

TechRadar (part of Future) is one of the most well-known, visited and useful websites for tech fans all over, with a unique perspective in the online research and purchase journey.

Now for the scary part: BLACK FRIDAY IS ALREADY HERE.

You are probably shuddering at the prospect, but alas, it’s true. Emma spoke in depth about the heightened levels of traffic to their Black Friday pages (top 3 on the Techradar site since mid-October), the slow and steady growth in deal-hunting and researching behaviours on their site, and how these are set to snowball.

The implication? If you haven’t started thinking about Black Friday, then you’re already running out of time.

Media coverage amplifies the overall size and scale of Black Friday. If it weren’t for news channels repeating videos of grannies being stepped on in the name of a cut-price TV then the event would seem much less dramatic. In the US, where the event has been part of the fabric of their retail world for many years, this sort of sensationalist coverage is less impactful and widespread.

And what of Cyber Monday? Emma’s belief and experience is that this is the mop-up session for those who missed out on Black Friday deals and are desperate to be part of the action. So definitely the ‘difficult second album’ for retailers, and less of a focus for serious comms.

What can brands and retailers do to capitalise on the impending madness? Emma offered two pieces of valuable advice:

  • User Experience should not be underestimated. Seamlessly integrating offers and ads into the editorial content delivers the best click-through rate, and at Techradar they are AB testing all of the time to improve, finesse and optimise their user journey. Making the deal clear, accessible and part of the content around it helps to guide the user in the most intuitive and useful way.
  • Plan for Black Friday early. It is a well-versed joke that the moment Halloween is tidied away then Christmas happens, but this is visible already. She suggests that Black Friday planning should be considered at the same time as Christmas to allow for the best ideas and opportunities to present themselves.
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Frances Revel

Nosey by nature, Frances fell into the perfect career to satisfy her curiosities and obsession with trends. In her years of experience in marketing and media research, she has studied everything from engine oil in Indonesia to the contents of the UK's breakfast bowls.

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