5 Essential Strategies for Marketers to Win Black Friday 2021

Published by Dina Taitelbaum on

black friday marketing strategies

Originally established in the US, Black Friday has since become a global shopping tradition and the start of the busiest, most profitable time for retailers. However, as we enter the 2021 holiday season, there’s no expected let-up in the changing pace of today’s retail environment. Failure to meet the needs and wishes of this season’s shoppers can be detrimental, as holiday sales make up to 30% of a retailer’s annual revenue.

In a recent survey of 8,000+ consumers worldwide, Outbrain uncovered a range of trends for how consumers plan to shop this season — and what truly makes them click (and buy). In the lead up to Christmas, here are the main insights to consider when preparing a holiday marketing strategy. 

1) Digital channels win versus brick-and-mortar 

Once synonymous with in-store shopping, Black Friday is again expected to be an online-focused event — except, this time by choice. While the majority of consumers worldwide plan to use both online and in-store, there’s also a sizable portion (36%) who say they’ll exclusively shop online for Black Friday. In comparison, only 6% choose to shop exclusively in-store. Marketers should therefore prioritize digital channels for traffic acquisition and sales, as it can be a means where consumers start and end their shopping journey, or act as a key influencer for in-store traffic. 

2) Mobile is almost level with desktop for holiday buying

Mobile shopping is gaining share compared to previous years, as consumers worldwide are now almost evenly divided between mobile (42%) and desktop (45%) as the preferred device for making purchases. That means marketers need to provide a seamless digital experience across both platforms to maximize sales opportunities. Leverage ad formats like video and carousel to engage shoppers while making your landing page mobile-friendly for simplified checkout.

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3) Black Friday is no longer just about discounts

Unlike past years, Black Friday messaging around fast shipping is now just as important as the deal itself for creating buzz-building campaigns. In fact, shoppers rank speed of delivery (52%) over free/discounted shipping (38%) as the top factor that influences their purchase decision. That’s not to say discounts don’t matter, but advertisers would be wise to use delivery times as another conversion tactic. 

4) Back in fashion for the holidays 

Last year’s holiday season saw many consumers cut back on holiday travel and experiences for more practical goods due to circumstances over COVID. This season’s shopping list, however, is expected to return to normal: fashion, travel, beauty, technology, and entertainment are the top categories to see the greatest increase in consumer spending. Multi-category retailers should focus campaigns on products that consumers are looking to prioritize for the holidays in order to maximize opportunity. 

5) Ad engagement is about trust and personalization

The top-two factors that drive engagement for consumers are trusted ads that meet their personal interests. Consumers respond more favorably to ads on trusted editorial sites (call it a “halo effect” from high-quality journalism), and ads that resonate are personalized and contextually relevant. Build on your story with multiple pieces of content and qualify intent by driving traffic to interactive pages, like product finders or virtual testers, to personalize consumer interaction.

As evidenced by these survey findings from Outbrain, the leading recommendation platform for the open web, consumer shopping habits not only change but change fast in such unprecedented times. So long as you invest in the best experiences for your holiday shoppers, the greater the chance they’ll invest in your brand for a successful holiday season. 

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