Data from the National Retail Federation shows that 179.8 million American consumers took advantage of the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday shopping period. To say that the actual numbers exceeded expectations would be an understatement: 21 million more shoppers made in-store and online purchases than the initial projection.
The tradition of in-store shopping remains alive and well. In fact, foot traffic rose to 104.9 million shoppers in 2021 compared to the 92.3 million shoppers the year before. Meanwhile, eCommerce and online shopping sites reported 127.8 million shoppers in 2021.
It’s worth noting that what is historically an annual frenzy found in malls, commercial establishments, and brick-and-mortar stores is no longer limited to in-store shopping. The rise of eCommerce has allowed consumers to look for the greatest deals and the lowest bargains from the comfort of their home. Black Friday has never been easier.
Interestingly, 49% of consumers purchase during Black Friday because of free shipping, 36% say promotions and limited-time sales won them over, and 21% attribute their buying decisions to an easy-to-use app or website.
But how do you lure eager shoppers into spending their money on your brand? Is it enough to offer huge discounts and once-a-year promotional deals?
To guarantee a successful Black Friday marketing strategy, you should consider a user-generated content (UGC) campaign. We’ll show you both why and how.
Throughout the five-day Thanksgiving 2021 weekend, shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on combined in-store and online purchases. Most of it was disbursed on gifts, apparel, and toys.
Here’s a breakdown of the top gift purchases in 2021:
Consumers’ willingness to purchase products and book services is at an all-time high during Black Friday and the days surrounding it. Black Friday marketing, therefore, is a way for you to generate more leads and boost sales during the five-day holiday shopping spree.
Black Friday was initially an in-store holiday shopping period. In recent years, however, it has become a major deal for eCommerce sites and online stores.
Take advantage of the increase in online traffic by modifying your marketing strategies specifically for the season. Create a buzz as the holidays draw near. Give people something to look forward to. Get creative through teasers on your social media pages, cart abandonment emails, and other marketing tricks to boost your margins.
Consumers are still interested in discount coupons and surprise price drops, but these aren’t the most convincing ways to convert leads into sales. You want to connect with your audience and get them excited to visit your online store on Black Friday. What better way to do this than with a cohesive marketing strategy?
In 2021, 66.5 million consumers went in-store shopping on Black Friday, while 51 million opted for Small Business Saturday. Black Friday also surpassed online buyers on Cyber Monday: 88 million chose to go online shopping on Friday compared to 77 million on Monday.
The five-day holiday running from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday is right around the corner and Americans are more than ready. But based on the above data, it’s clear that Black Friday remains the powerhouse day for both in-store and online holiday purchases.
Shoppers stay up all night or wake up at the crack of dawn to wait for the best deals and the lowest price drops. They’re not hesitant to shell out huge amounts of money during this period because they know they’re getting even larger discounts.
Given this information, it’s important—not to mention profitable—to invest in Black Friday marketing campaigns.
Optimize your Black Friday marketing strategy by implementing a user-generated content (UGC) campaign. But why should you opt for UGC marketing, you may ask?
Loyal customers already know what to expect from your brand. They purchase your products, trusting that they’ll get good quality out of it. If you want to expand your market reach, however, you have to consider general consumer behavior, and customers have a tendency to trust each other’s reviews and opinions more than anything else.
According to HubSpot, 60% of consumers trust customer reviews, which can potentially sway their purchasing decisions. If you’re still thinking twice about the importance of accumulating positive reviews, here are more findings to consider:
Alongside text reviews, UGC video reviews are also an amazing way to encourage other people to visit your brand’s website and check out a specific product page:
UGC Video by Bambassadors for Wednesday Cleanse Day
Yes, it matters that you post high-quality photos and engaging videos that showcase your products in the best light, however, people are more influenced by UGC than the content that comes directly from your brand. To them, UGC basically serves as a genuine recommendation that helps them make wise buying decisions.
As of January 2022, there are 4.62 billion social media users around the world. That’s 58.4% of the total global population on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. It’s also proof that we’re living in a social-media driven world.
If you want to enhance your brand’s trustworthiness, you have to play by the rules of the online community. A proven tactic is to include user-generated content in your marketing strategy to improve brand authenticity and customer trust, resulting in higher leads and sales.
UGC ranges from written reviews and testimonials, to product demos and unboxing videos. But of course, apart from UGC, you also have to pull your weight to ensure your brand is properly optimized for success .
Take a look at these Black Friday marketing ideas that might work for your brand.
Website performance optimization is one of the most important things you have to do before you jump into your actual Black Friday marketing campaign. Make sure that your online store loads fast and properly, and doesn’t crash with the high volume of website traffic on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the entire weekend.
If your eCommerce website loads within 5 seconds, it’s already faster than 25% of the web. And if it loads in 0.8 seconds, then it’s faster than 94%. But this isn’t just a race for whose website loads the fastest. Ultimately, it’s about user experience. When your website takes too long to load, or visitors have difficulty navigating your pages, they are more likely to exit and abandon their shopping cart.
Convince consumers to make a purchase by ensuring your website is performing well. You must have the bandwidth and processing power to accommodate Black Friday queue. By anticipating high traffic and optimizing your website for a seamless shopping journey, you’re more likely to convert leads into sales.
Consumers won’t leisurely browse your product pages on Black Friday. They would just visit those pages so they can add the products to their cart and check out right away. If they’re planning to purchase from you, they’re more likely to visit your website and explore your product pages in the days or weeks leading to the long-awaited sale.
There are various ways you can optimize your product pages:
UGC Video by Bambassadors for Sensibo
Develop a strong connection with your audience and share UGC to get more involved with the online community during Black Friday season. To achieve that, you must strengthen your social presence.
This goes beyond posting Black Friday deals on your Facebook page or Twitter account. You must find additional ways to amplify audience engagement. Consider these:
Worldwide email marketing revenue is expected to reach $11 billion by the end of 2023. This is widely applied through various campaign efforts, such as subscriber segmentation, content personalization, and email automation. Make the most of this marketing trend by growing your email lists before Black Friday.
First, revisit your lists to check whether there are changes in the demographics. Use the data to determine which subscribers respond to what type of content, then streamline those lists so your effort and resources don’t go to waste.
Next, in the weeks leading to Black Friday, start sharing offers and promotions according to the interests of each email list. Liven it up by inserting user-generated content in the form of customer reviews and previews of Tweets, Instagram posts, and videos made for social media consumption.
Of course, each email you send should have a CTA button, whether that’s to sign up for your newsletter or get free shipping coupons. It depends on your budget. Whichever way you choose to incentivize CTAs, make sure it emphasizes your Black Friday promos.
Pro Tip: As the anticipation heightens and the holiday sale season draws near, you can thank your email subscribers by giving them early access or an extra discount.
As unique as your brand is, many other eCommerce sites and online stores are from the same industry. And because everyone is anticipating Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the succeeding holiday shopping season, it’s imperative to get the timing right. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting buried in similar posts from other brands.
There are two things you can do: act early or be fashionably late.
Everyone’s doing Black Friday, so the earlier you start promoting, the better. You want to capture the attention of potential customers before they get distracted by other deals.
Get a head start by posting deal announcements as early as now. Try sharing UGC posts <link to Simply Guitar video> featuring last year’s holiday sale as well. Another great idea is creating online polls asking your followers what they’re looking forward to on the Big Day. Or go all out and advertise a “Black Thursday” sale—this could make people more excited for your bargains.
Early birds are only one tactic, and while they might work for people who plan their Black Friday purchases, other consumers are more spontaneous. For them, you can implement a late Black Friday marketing strategy instead.
Generate excitement or welcome latecomers by announcing last-minute too-good-to-miss deals. This hits two birds with one stone: getting people curious and encouraging them to come back to your page post-Black Friday to check for updates.
Surprises aren’t just a delight. Not in the world of marketing, at least. They can actually be a powerful tool if you combine the right content with the perfect timing.
Black Friday marketing surprises can range from flash sales and time-sensitive promos sent to your email lists, to additional discounts for people who use your hashtags or mention your brand on their social media posts. It’s a great tactic to drive online engagement.
Another way you can use the element of surprise is by sharing unique codes with your social media followers and email subscribers. When they use the code during checkout, they get either a free gift or a discount to another sale later in the year. But study your Black Friday budget carefully before implementing marketing ideas like this.
Contrary to popular belief, Black Friday isn’t a competition for which brand provides the most freebies and the highest discounts. In the marketing world, we consider it a battle of who captures and retains the most attention from our target audiences.
One way of accomplishing this is by getting creative with your email subject lines. You want your subscribers to click on your email, so craft catchy subjects that evoke curiosity.
In addition, revisit your social media content to ensure that they strike the balance between being authoritative and relatable. Converse with your audience in their language. Get in on inside jokes and pop culture references, whenever appropriate. Most importantly, respond accordingly to user-generated posts.
If applicable, use wordplay to redefine Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Here’s an example of a witty promo code from the clothing brand Storq.
You can take a witty or humorous turn to delight your audience. This is not always an option, though, as it depends on your overall brand identity and voice. Always focus on credibility and connection in every audience communication you make.
The Black Friday weekend revolves around time-sensitive discounts, promos, and offers. Consumers might also anticipate additional gifts and free shipping during this period, but the customer benefits shouldn’t have to end there.
Drive sales while cultivating customer loyalty by offering lasting gains that go beyond basement prices and free stuff. For example, you can offer cash-back or double the points earned from Black Friday purchases if you have a customer loyalty program. (If you don’t, this is also a good time to start one—buyers are primed to do anything for deals.)
Another tactic is rewarding them with additional discounts and free shipping coupons for a later date for every Black Friday purchase. This not only encourages buys but also entices customers to plan follow-up purchases when they receive their incentives.
You can adjust these benefits based on how much each customer’s purchase is worth. For example, if a $50 purchase can unlock the silver tier on a loyalty rewards system, then maybe a $75 dollar purchase can unlock the tier and offer a 10% discount at checkout. This might compel them to throw in a few more items into their online cart.
Some brands plan a consistent marketing strategy for the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But if you want to make the most of your campaign, and retain the attention of your audience, consider teasing them with your next sale.
For example, start promoting your Cyber Monday offers when Black Friday ends. The Black Friday fever starts long before the actual day and doesn’t end on that day, either. It’s the grand opening of a month-long holiday shopping frenzy, so you can tease your Christmas or New Year sale, too.
This marketing tactic is also an effective way to keep prospects interested in your brand even if they didn’t purchase anything from you on Black Friday.
Reminder: Plan out your sale period carefully. While extending it throughout the holidays could be profitable, overdoing it could make prospects lose interest.
Cart abandonment is when consumers add items to their shopping carts, go as far as the checkout page, and exit before they complete their transaction.
Here’s how to turn window shoppers into paying customers:
Authentic user-generated content such as product demos, tutorials, hauls, try-ons, and unboxing videos are a great way to hype consumers up for your Black Friday deals. They help your brand stand out by showing it off through the eyes of actual buyers. So, make sure featuring and sharing UGC is part of your Black Friday marketing strategy.
One of the best things about marketing is there’s no set rule about which is the most effective and most profitable strategy. It all depends on how your target audience responds to your campaigns. Observe what successfully takes them through the sales funnel, and those that make them exit. From there, you can optimize your initial marketing ideas.
Here are some Black Friday marketing campaigns that use UGC to inspire you to implement a unique and eyeball-catching strategy:
Adobe is known in creative circles for its comprehensive designing software. However, the brand’s creativity doesn’t end there. The company is immensely successful in its user-generated content campaign dubbed “Art Maker Series.”
The premise is quite simple: Artists and designers were encouraged to share their work and highlight their Adobe skills by posting them under a specific hashtag. These photos, videos, and artworks must be made using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or any other Adobe product.
Then, Adobe’s official social media page shared those to increase brand visibility, generate prospects’ interest, and show off its software capabilities.
They also launched the #AdobePerspective hashtag as a way for content creators to share their work for free. It was successful in garnering the participation of creators and growing the community that uses Adobe’s software products.
The most remarkable thing about Adobe’s UGC campaign is that it highlights the talent of artists, editors, and other content creators. To viewers, it’s authentic and organic.
Image via https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2022/04/apple-unveils-the-best-photos-from-the-shot-on-iphone-macro-challenge/
Apple has always been synonymous with innovation. So, it’s no surprise that the brand’s UGC campaign has seamlessly integrated itself into global culture.
Apple and Samsung users participate in an online discussion on which brand has better camera quality. The American tech company was well-aware of the ongoing debate and the general dissatisfaction with pictures shot in low light on their phones. In a joint UGC and reputation management effort, it launched the #ShotOnIphone campaign.
From new Apple smartphone users to professional photographers who want to experiment with iPhone camera features, everyone was encouraged to take photos with their iPhones and share them online using the hashtag #ShotOnIphone.
The most stunning and attention-grabbing low-light shots were featured under the “Shot on iPhone” campaign on YouTube. It was a success.
The community it built back then remains active today. People still use the #ShotOnIphone hashtag, thus keeping the campaign alive and improving Apple’s user engagement organically.
Coca-Cola’s marketing team has come up with some brilliant campaigns over the years. Share A Coke, which involves user-generated content, is one of its most impactful yet.
It all started with an idea in Australia: Coke printed 150 of the most common names on its bottles so people can “Share A Coke” with family and friends.
It’s worth noting that this campaign resulted in a 7% increase in Coca-Cola product consumption and over 18 million social media impressions.
Since then, the Share A Coke campaign has spread throughout the world via user-taken photos of the famous red bottle with different names printed on it. The company has made the necessary adjustments to match the culture and customs of each country, therefore making it a truly global UGC campaign.
The Share A Coke campaign in the US featured 250 of the most popular names among the millennial generation. This personalized marketing generated significant traction, resulting in over 125,000 social media posts between June and July 2014. Meanwhile, the campaign website features more than 353,000 virtual soda bottles from UGC.
This marketing campaign’s success lies in its appeal to individual consumers. People liked that their names were directly printed on a globally known product, therefore encouraging them to make a purchase and post their photos with it.
From $1.36 billion to $25 billion, Netflix experienced a massive growth in revenue in the last 12 years. Subscribers also increased from 22 million in 2011 to 214 million just a decade later. Nevertheless, the streaming service doesn’t remain complacent. Or perhaps, its marketing campaigns are the reason for its steady growth.
Netflix is known to spread the word about upcoming TV shows and movie premiers through user-generated content. The streaming service’s social media profiles promote the use of hashtags, then interact with fans’ posts to boost hype and anticipation.
Netflix took it a step further while promoting the second season of its original series, “Stranger Things,” through a UGC marketing campaign. The streaming service started using the #StrangerThings hashtag to get people interested. It also got other established brands to join in. True enough, people were buzzing about what’s going on.
When fans realized the intent of the hashtag, they also started using it to post photos, videos, and stories of strange things happening in their daily lives along with callbacks and references to the show. Some users even posted photo and video edits of the show.
Given the overwhelming response to the promotion, Netflix continues to use a similar social media strategy to improve engagement and boost anticipation for other new shows and movies. It’s safe to say that UGC is here to stay.
Despite the growing specialty coffee community, Starbucks remains unperturbed. It doesn’t have to do marketing, either, thanks to the steady stream of consumers posting Starbucks drinks, secret menus, and related content on their feed. Does that mean the multinational coffee chain never exerts effort into engaging with consumers?
Not quite. In 2014, they launched the #WhiteCupContest hashtag on Twitter, encouraging people to share doodles and artwork on their famous white cups. Since it was a contest, there were prizes—the winning drawings would be used as limited edition designs.
Starbucks resurrected this campaign in 2016, posting the #RedCupArt challenge on Twitter and Instagram. Like the contest two years prior, it created a social media frenzy, sparking creativity and subconsciously urging people to visit the nearest branch to get their own cup for art doodling. It was also easy to participate in and related to products people actually consume regularly.
Both UGC marketing campaigns proved that you can make a huge social media impact without spending a lot of resources. You just have to understand your target audience’s interests, then launch a simple campaign accordingly.
Social media is no longer just a pastime. Rather, it fosters online communities that look to each other for product reviews and gift ideas. It has also become a platform for brand discovery. You can drive visibility in the weeks leading to Black Friday by being creative with your social promotions and advertisements.
Direct more attention to your business by leveraging user-generated content. Share and publish images and videos from satisfied customers to impact more consumers’ purchasing decisions and, eventually, convert them into new customers.
UGC interaction matters because the more customers feel noticed by a brand, the greater their motivation to post content that features your brand. So, comment, like, and share their posts to let them know you see them and appreciate what they’re doing. Those in their online circle will likely notice and get curious about your brand, too.
Here’s a summary of what you can do to strengthen your Black Friday marketing strategy:
Note that your efforts don’t end when the Black Friday sales momentum drops. It’s only the beginning of the holiday sales season, which runs until Christmas. Then, there’s a second wave of shopping bonanza that you have to anticipate after Christmas.
People will stay festive and eager to spend their gift cards. With this in mind, maximize your UGC campaign to run effectively throughout the season.
Need help with your UGC? Get in touch with us here at Bambassadors to discuss how you can get authentic UGC at scale!