Black Friday and Cyber Monday always mark the start of the busiest online shopping period of the year.
But 2020 was supercharged. With the previous months of lockdown increasing our adoption of online shopping, Black Friday sales surged 21.6% year-over-year. We also spent a record $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday and traffic to ecommerce sites spiked by 80% .
These online shopping bonanzas, which take place every November, are highly anticipated by shoppers and dominate our social media feeds. With almost every brand launching unbelievable sales, Instagram turns into the scrollable version of Times Square. We’re inundated with ads at every turn.
This can make engaging your consumers even more challenging. The pressure is on for brands to cut through the noise and connect with their customers, if they want to boost sales during this lucrative shopping period. So how can brands succeed on social media?
Five ways to break through the clutter and maximise sales
Our tips can be applied to any major shopping event. Cyber Monday, Black Friday, 11.11, 12.12, or your brand’s regular sales. Put simply, they’re best practises for brands who want to stand out and convert social scrollers into shoppers.
#1 To reach Gen Z, get in early
Many consumers, particularly Gen Zers, will use the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to start shopping for Christmas. In fact, by the end of November, 95% of male students and 83% of female students have started shopping for the holidays already.
This means Gen Z shoppers will be looking for brands who can offer them the best deals in advance. 33% will start looking for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals the week before they start. 26% will begin their search as early as two to three weeks before the sale period starts.
So to beat the crowd and gain the attention of Gen Zers, it’s best you start drip-feeding your deals towards the start of November – or even earlier! Last year, Best Buy took it to the extreme by offering shoppers a “Black Friday in July” sale. This sneaky strategy leveraged the buzz of Black Friday with big discounts on open box and clearance items.
#2 Gamify your strategy
What better way to gain a competitive edge and to keep customers engaged than by turning online shopping into a game.
Gamifying your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns is a unique way to promote your sales. It’s also likely to attract more new customers. This entertaining way of online shopping will spark curiosity with those who haven’t shopped with you previously.
Walmart’s Black Friday 2020 TikTok campaign turned the sales period into a fun, engaging and gamified experience. The brand created a shoppable TikTok filter that allowed consumers to “unwrap” virtual deals and discover Black Friday surprises. Shoppers were also encouraged to use the brand’s #Unwrapthedeals hashtag. And if users liked the product they won, they were given a seamless path to Walmart’s website to buy it.
Chinese brands, including China. JD.com and Alibaba, have also tapped into the gamification trend to drive Singles Day sales. Also known as 11.11, Singles Day is a popular sales period in Asia and it reportedly drives more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
#3 Hold live events
As social distancing has seen us swap in person events for virtual, both brands and social users have become more comfortable – and interested in – live social events.
Instagram and Facebook live events not only reach your customers where they are (on social media) but around these busy sale periods they can help build awareness and excitement.
It can also be a great sales opportunity. In 2016 the US underwear brand, MeUndies, held a live Facebook event over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. It was one of their most successful campaigns, which included a DJ and dance contests, that attracted more than 13.3k viewers, who converted at a rate of 25%. As more people joined the live, the brand unlocked bigger and better deals. This encouraged viewers to open their wallets to score some of the brands best offers.
But this wasn’t just a conversion-boosting tool, it also drove mass brand awareness. MeUndies invited just over 300k followers to their live event, but the news of it ultimately reached 660k people.
#4 Engage with relevant influencers
It’s obvious how ‘influencers’ got their name. But do you know just how persuasive they can be? In Australia, 2 in 5 people are more likely to purchase a product they see an influencer post about. And on top of that, Gen Zers and Millennials are among the most influenced social users. In the US, 56% of Gen Zers and Millennials have purchased a product after seeing a post from someone they follow.
So why is influencer content so effective? It’s more authentic and relatable to shoppers. Their organic recommendations are trusted by customers, making them the perfect advocate for your sale deals.
During these major shopping events, engaging with relevant creators is a great way to drive website traffic and conversions. Provide influencers with discount codes and trackable links to your ecommerce site that can be placed in their Instagram bio’s or as a Story swipe up. This seamlessly gives customers a place to go and spend their money with your brand.
If you’re in need of some persuasive content for your own social accounts, creators can also generate bespoke content for you to share directly. This a cost-effective way to generate high-quality content that showcases your hottest deals.
#5 Use Instagram’s shoppable features
Let’s face it, consumers are impatient. A slow-loading webpage or one too many checkout steps is enough to make them lose their shopping mojo, especially during peak sale periods. Luckily, Instagram’s shopping features are making strides towards a frictionless shopping experience.
These features – including shoppable posts and Stories, Instagram Shops and The Shop Tab – allow brands to covert social scrollers into shoppers even faster. Considering 130 million accounts tap on shopping posts to learn more about products every month, they can help you close those deals.
By tagging shoppable products in your feed posts and Stories, you give customers the option to make an on the spot purchase. Once clicked, the tag provides shoppers with further product information and allows them to tap through to your website to finish their checkout. These posts are then added to your Instagram Shop on your profile for customers to come back to later, and The Shop Tab for potential new customers to discover your brand.
But that’s not all. Instagram recently rolled out Live Shopping in the US. Now brands and creators can tag shoppable items and drive people to shop, while hosting a live. This is a great way to share new product recommendations, reviews and demos, and answer questions, all in real time, to aid shopper’s purchasing decisions. Once this feature is rolled out globally, this will be the perfect opportunity for brands to drive those sales.
Best practise in action
Beautiful creator content, combined with their authentic recommendations, drives brand awareness and conversions at unrivalled scale. When a retailer partnered with Vamp creators to promote their 2020 Cyber Monday Sale, they generated hundreds of purchases and achieved 16.5x return on ad spend, 6.3x higher than platform benchmark.
Vamp engaged 15 fashion, lifestyle and parent influencers with a strong presence in their local region. Each creator generated Instagram in-feed content which showcased items from the brands Cyber Monday Sale, that were cohesive with their personality and style. This not only showcased the variety of items available for purchase, but allowed content to sit authentically on the influencers’ feeds.
These organically shared Instagram posts were then boosted by Vamp to maximise their reach, drive further awareness of the brands sale and push for conversions.
16.5x return on ad spend, 6.3x higher than platform benchmark
425.5k total impressions
1.6% boosting engagement rate, 2.4x higher than platform benchmark
Beautiful content generated by creators fuelled an effective boosting campaign, during one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. With these authentic assets, Vamp was able to reach and effectively engage social users and drive them to purchase, resulting in a benchmark-beating ROAS.
Find out more about running seasonal campaigns using FB Discovery Commerce system here.