Advertising Insights From Black Friday 2020

Published by Dina Taitelbaum on

No matter what industry you’re in, Black Friday 2020 campaigns are probably at the top of your advertising priorities during the fourth quarter. This time every year, we all prepare ad creatives for social media campaigns to convert existing and new customers. However, this year, the stakes were higher than ever. 

Due to the global pandemic, many businesses (especially in the retail industry) have had a hard time keeping up with their average sales benchmark in 2020. Thus, this year’s Black Friday sales came early in efforts to make the most out of the holiday sales as well as to gain a competitive advantage, of course. Some started their ad campaigns at the beginning of November.

In comparison to 2019, there’s been a total increase of messages about Black Friday 2020 by 175.5% and a 968.5% increase of engagements. All likely due to the fact that consumers are buying online to stay safe from COVID-19. The “Buy Now” searches increased by 50% from 2019 and almost doubled from the first wave of the pandemic. 

Total increase of interactions across the media related to black friday during the month of november in 2019 and 2020

In this article, we will dive into various campaigns across social media and use to analyze their creatives. We will learn what worked for advertisers and what didn’t in order to make the most out of your Christmas campaigns, increasing CTR and ROI.

Black Friday 2020 ads 

black friday 2020 word cloud

The top 3 countries with an increased growth for Black Friday sales interest were Brazil with a whopping 48%, the USA & Australia, both with 34% of searches. According to Semrush, those spending over $1,000 a month on digital ads increased their YoY budgets by an average of 11% in October, with the largest growth seen among the $10,000-$100,000 ad budget holders (18%).

The context of these campaigns and their creatives also had an interesting shift due to the pandemic. We’ve noticed an increase in environmental awareness campaigns, self-care products, and a focus on leisure and comfort. In fact, “shopping sustainably” searches have grown by an average of over 650%! This indicates a significant change in consumer behavior that should be noted for all future campaigns. 

With the overall increase of ads across social channels, consumers’ attention span has lowered from 8 to 1.7 seconds, according to Facebook, which means your customers are spending less then 2 seconds looking at any given creative!

Nevertheless, the numbers of combined video views were still as high as 450 million on Facebook alone, during Thanksgiving and Blackfriday – all related to online shopping.

Pudding AI’s Black Friday 2020 Advertising Creative Analysis

Black Friday 2020 advertisement insights report by #PuddingReport

With the change in consumer behavior observed above and the incredible drop in attention span, it’s important to know what types of creative elements positively affect your ads.

For instance, we observed that gadget & tech consumers are 48% more likely to engage with an ad that has a human presence in them, even if it’s just a hand. In fact, our AI shows a drop of 47% in CTR in ad creatives that show the product without a human presence. 

Here’s Apple’s example of a human touch in creative.
Disclaimer: Apple is not using and analysis did not include Apple’s ads.

In general, a human touch is showing to be working for ad creatives. Is it true only this year or has it been so for a longer period of time? We believe people want to connect with people. Pandemic or not, don’t forget to use a human touch, business transparency, and care for issues larger than your business in order to succeed in today’s world. 

Let’s move on to other insights we’ve gathered for your creatives.

In the fashion industry, we see a 29% decrease in performance for creatives that include mostly dark frames. This means fashion consumers are more inclined to engage with an ad creative that has bright and/or light colors. Some of the retail giants like Amazon, Kohl’s, ASOS, and others are in fact using light colors in their ad campaigns this year. 

Notice how these examples are mostly squares? That’s no accident either. Pudding AI shows that across most of our clients’ advertisement data combined, square creatives are performing a lot better than horizontal ones, verticals vary across different industries (mostly fashion, as you see in the ASOS example). 

ads creative report CTA

As to videos, we aren’t seeing very much change – people still like short videos. More so with today’s short attention span, make sure your videos are short, to the point, and aren’t loud

Here’re some Pudding tips for your video creatives: 
  • Don’t use more than 7 scenes (ideal, scene count is 5)
  • Keep your videos up to 15 seconds short (ideally, under 10 seconds)
  • Make sure your videos don’t start with a loud, interruptive sound

Content-wise, we have a few Use and Avoid suggestions: 

ad copy suggestions from use vs avoid words

Emojis perform well when used appropriately so please, 🙏 don’t overuse them. They can actually hurt your copy performance. 🤦‍♀️ 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Yes, everyone’s favorite holiday is right around the corner and we can’t wait to binge on Home Alone, Elf, and Nightmare Before Christmas. We’re all looking forward to wearing ugly sweaters and hoping for Christmas morning snowfall.

In fact, this year, there will be an additional miracle – a “Christmas Star” on December 21st. An extraordinary sight that appears once in 800 years when Jupiter and Saturn are at their closest to each other and appear to us as one giant glowing star. Come back to watch a livestream of it here if you won’t have outdoor access:

Finally, a can’t-be-forgotten part of Christmas is of course, gifts!

Thus, for advertising agencies, marketers, and businesses it’s a very busy time – better make sure your advertising campaigns are at their top performances and the creatives act as true “lead magnets”. 

We’ve decided to compile a list of tips and suggestions for your Christmas campaigns, based on the recent Black Friday observations across industries and Pudding’s AI insights.  
  • Video is still the best medium for discovering new products – based on Facebook insights
  • Leverage mobile video – consumers still use mobile more than desktop
  • Use bundle deals – it has worked for 81% of brand campaigns
  • Create urgency (and excitement) with a countdown 
  • Offer at least a 30% discount to beat competitive prices
  • Offer free & fast shipping. Many companies experienced great delivery delays after Black Friday, which is disappointing for consumers
  • Use digital selling tools, virtual and in-person experiences simultaneously
  • Create early promotions – you should’ve started running ads already!
  • Use dynamic ads (by the way, helps you see the creative analysis of all ad variations Facebook creates – you can request a demo, we’ll show you)
  • Add gifts to your offer – it’s Christmas after all, shouldn’t your consumers receive some gifts from you too?
  • Continue your campaigns post Christmas and onto a new year (with new creatives of course). Hopefully, adding a positive spirit to a new 2021!

We hope these holiday insights were helpful to you and your advertising team. Please, feel free to share and comment below.

Got additional ideas regarding advertisement creatives, Facebook ads, holiday campaigns, or a miracle Christmas Star? Talk to us about those or anything else, really 🙂

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