Black Friday, the shopping holiday, has become a global phenomenon. While other holidays and events (Christmas, birthdays, the Barbie movie) no doubt fuel commercial opportunities, there is no other annual calendar event whose purpose is shopping.
The origins of Black Friday are contested. Some report it comes from Philadelphia being overwhelmed by Thanksgiving shoppers, others say it’s due to the day’s reputation of bringing businesses from “in the red” to “the black.” What’s less contested is the significance of Black Friday for brands. As the unofficial herald of the gift-giving season that includes Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to name a few, this period brings in more than 50% of annual revenue for many retailers.
Especially for those of a certain age based in the United States, Black Friday or the day after Thanksgiving may evoke a vision of “stampeding customers crashing through doors, elbowing and shoving to get in on some incredible bargains.” Gradually the holiday grew from a single door-buster sales event to a weekend, plus Cyber Monday. You’d get in-person deals through the weekend and starting on Monday you’d get sales online. The lingering industry moniker “BFCM,” might stem from this more conservative version of the holiday, but the phenomenon itself has grown in scope. There are no more rules for the exact day of celebration (or sale-ebration?), format, or market, and “Black Friday” events or deals are marketed throughout the month.
The expansion of this “holiday” has made it accessible for brands worldwide, with 20+ countries celebrating it as of this year. Globally, free from its U.S. connection to Thanksgiving, Black Friday can signify any November shopping event.
And while Black Friday has historically been considered a primarily B2C event, an increasing number of B2B brands take advantage of the season’s shopping spirit. A German survey found that 57% of the B2B companies participating in Black Friday sales achieved a “significant increase in sales.”
If Black Friday is the harbinger of the gift-giving season, it’s also the starting line for many brands’ biggest end-of-year campaigns. The earlier that Black Friday events take place, the earlier that other holiday adverts can begin as well, with this year Macy’s Christmas ads starting as early as October.
But extra time for holiday marketing campaigns can also further exacerbate the year-long challenge of content proliferation and channel complexity for marketers. In an earlier analysis, CreativeX found that advertisers were wasting more than half of their media spend on low-quality creative (i.e. creatives that are not optimized for their platform or placement). Across the whole industry’s annual digital media spend, this would equate to over $200 billion of spend going behind non-optimized creatives.
A second analysis of over 3.9 million posts, just under a million unique assets, representing $3.6 billion in spend over 446 brands, 10 industries, and 141 markets from 2021-2022 not only confirmed this, but found that waste was worse than previously thought: 61% of media spend is put against ads that are not digitally suitable. For the U.S., the home of Black Friday and biggest advertising market, it’s even worse–at 65%. During the holiday season this equates to $642,140,911.04 worldwide and $288,988,303.30 in the U.S. of wasted advertising dollars.
→ Read Naughty or Nice? How Brands Holiday Ads Stack Up
These figures show both waste and opportunity at the same time. The fight for budget in an organization can be as challenging as the fight for attention in the market, but marketeers have the ability to build more effective campaigns without added campaign costs by improving the digital suitability of their creative with the Creative Quality Score (CQS).
Today, the average Fortune 500 brand has a 20-30% CQS, which means as low as one-fifth of their content contains the creative fundamentals that map to digital suitability. Some of the world’s largest advertisers, like Bayer and Nestle, use CreativeX to measure and improve their CQS. Brands that are equipped with the tools to navigate the increasingly complex advertising landscape can also better take advantage of seasonal market opportunities like Black Friday.
At the start of this season of gift-giving, kicked off by a holiday known for deals, it may comfort marketers worldwide to know that with the Creative Quality Score they can improve their creative content and ad effectiveness year round.
→ Curious about your brand’s CQS? Get in touch today.