Black Friday Retailers Should Get An Early Social Media Jump

Yesmail Interactive report on 50 major retailers’ social campaigns shows that engagement peaks in the days before stores open for the shopping frenzy.


Holiday shopping e-commerce


As retailers push Black Friday opening hours farther back into Thanksgiving Day, they should consider starting their social media campaigns earlier in the week, according to a report by Yesmail Interactive.

Yesmail reached that conclusion after comparing the engagement of 50 major retailers’ social and email campaigns during the last two holiday shopping seasons. More stores opened on Thursday on 2013, Yesmail noted, and the highest engagement rates shifted up in the week. The apparent effect was most striking on Facebook, Yesmail noted in a blog post:

  • In 2012, when many stores were still closed on Thanksgiving, the day before the holiday was the worst day of the week to deploy a Black Friday campaign on Facebook, seeing 39 percent less engagement than the week’s daily average. In 2013, the day before Thanksgiving turned into the best day of the week for Black Friday campaigns, seeing 57 percent higher engagement than the daily average.
  • Conversely, Thanksgiving went from the best to the worst day of the week for Black Friday campaigns. In 2012, social engagement on the holiday was 23 percent above average for the week, compared to 44 percent below average last year.
  • Apparently, consumers don’t pay attention to Black Friday deals until the day before they plan to go shopping. Brands that plan on opening their doors earlier this year should plan to give consumers at least 24 hours’ notice via social media campaigns.

Yesmail didn’t find the same phenomenon on Twitter; in both years Tuesday was the best day of the week for engagement. But the worst engagement day on Twitter was Black Friday itself, checking in with a rate about half as much as the daily average during the week.

“Despite that, it’s the most popular day for brands to tweet out deals, accounting for more than 35 percent of campaign deployments,” Yesmail wrote. “By shifting some of their Twitter campaigns to earlier in the week, marketers should see more retweets, giving their promotions a higher chance to reach a larger audience.”

Another notable finding: retailers’ Black Friday-week engagement on Facebook dropped 59 percent in 2013 compared to the year before, almost certainly a byproduct of plunging organic reach for posts from Facebook Pages. Facebook’s most recent News Feed change, the throttling of overly promotional posts, won’t go into effect until January, but retailers would be wise to start aiming to produce content with those factors in mind.


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