The Social Shopper Clicks Their Way to Black Friday

The Social Shopper Clicks Their Way to Black Friday
By Tania Yuki


It’s undeniable – this Black Friday is set to be bigger than ever, with pre-Thanksgiving Sales already up 19% since 2013, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Data.As many big box retailers battle to differentiate their Black Friday sales in the eyes of overloaded consumers, social media has become an integral piece of the marketing mix. In just November alone, consumers have shared more than 120 million moments with retailers – sharing, commenting, retweeting and liking their way to the Black Friday sales. This reflects a 109% growth over 2013.

Nordstrom Dominates Social

In anticipation of the official day, Nordstrom wins the lead-up amongst major retailers, capturing 12% of all social engagements within the category. This marks a 45% increase in activity for Nordstrom since 2013. Although this increase covers all platforms, Instagram drives the majority of the growth year over year.

While Nordstrom utilizes visually appealing media across Instagram to score a year-over-year win, Amazon favors sweepstakes contests, which led the brand to dominate Facebook with an 8% share in the major retailers category. (Amazon sees slightly slower growth than Nordstrom – weighing in at 22% year-over-year). Along with the sweepstakes contests, Amazon also places focus on driving traffic from the social media platform and back to the retailer’s website. Referral traffic amounts to 3 times as many clicks as social actions on the platform (likes, shares, comments).


November 1-21, 2013 vs November 1-21, 2014

The top ten retail brands are measured by total actions:
post-level likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Macy’s Black Friday Preview Posts Wins

It’s no wonder that Macy’s comes in at number 3 on our list of top retailers. Hashtags related to specific campaigns (including #MacysParade and #BlackFriday) drove the bulk of their activity this month on Twitter and Facebook. In fact, the top Black Friday teaser post on Facebook goes to Macy’s that earned the brand nearly 164,000 actions (total of likes, shares, comments) in the first three weeks of November. This promotion has all of the elements that make a post effective—an image, offer, link, and hashtag combined with playful language that sparks excitement.



On Twitter, Best Buy dominates with content promoting #HintingSeason and Black Friday previews capturing 44% of retweets. These posts have also garnered more than 19,000 total actions on Facebook.



Competition to Own Social Heats Up, and Big Box Retailers Fall BackDespite the growth of consumer activity in the category overall, many Big Box retailers have lost significant share of voice in the lead up to the most anticipated retail event of the year, with many online and regional players rising up in the ranks.

In fact, 7 of last year’s top 10 have seen their social audiences decline, and four brands dropped from the top ten entirely, leaving room for Cabela’s, HomeGoods, Saks and iTunes to own customer attention this Black Friday.

It seems many Big Box retailers have taken a dangerous step back from social media, with brands such as Walmart posting 69% less on Facebook since the same period, and garnering 90% less engagement– leaving room for online and regional players, although it remains to be seen how this week will progress prior to sale doors opening.

Tania Yuki is founder and CEO of Shareablee, a leading provider of social content analytics for business. She has spent most of her career in digital marketing, measurement and analytics, and was recently honored with a Great Mind Award from the Advertising Research Foundation and featured in Fast Company and Forbes as one of 12 women driving digital in New York. She also received the 2014 L’Oréal Women in Digital Next Generation Award.