The Best Black Friday Marketing Campaigns: How to Up Your Game in 2023

Looking for Black Friday campaigns to level up your BFCM weekend efforts? We’re dishing out what you can do now and in the future to challenge the norm and win over more prospects than ever before.
The best Black Friday marketing campaigns (2023): how to up your game

In 30 seconds:

  • Black Friday 2023 prep? You’re lagging behind. Don’t worry – we have some insights to put you ahead this year and next.
  • What are the Black Friday trends this year? We’ve got the answers.
  • We’re diving into the top examples of Black Friday marketing campaigns and what you can learn from them.

Looking for Black Friday Marketing campaigns? You’re already late to the game.

While you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, forward-thinking brands have been gearing up, perfecting their strategies and keeping their fingers on the pulse as to what’s working and what isn’t – all for the biggest shopping day of the year. 

But don’t panic just yet. There’s still a chance to gain traction before the big day. How? Learning from the best examples out there. We’ve scoured the industry for brands doing Black Friday right. Now, we’re revealing their secrets to boost even the most last-minute campaigns to take you through to Cyber Monday and beyond. 

But first, some basics. 

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving. The date changes each year slightly. So here’s a rundown of what to expect this time round. 

When is Black Friday this year?

In 2023, Black Friday will be on Friday, 24 November. That means you have just over a month to build a strategy and break new marketing ground (don’t worry, we’re giving you some help). 

What is it known for?

Black Friday’s function is to smash down prices and offer great sales to customers in preparation for Christmas. It precedes Cyber Monday, which is principally for online retailers and e-commerce businesses. However, as a larger portion of all retail sales take place online, Black Friday – and Black Friday offers – have become online too. Many stores offer discounts for the entirety of Black Friday weekend, culminating with Cyber Monday sales.

Where does the name Black Friday come from?

In the 1960s, police officers in Philadelphia used to refer to the day after Thanksgiving as “Black Friday” due to the overcrowding, shoplifting and general issues it caused them. This name stuck. Businesses started using “Black Friday” as a marketing tactic to capture Christmas shoppers with limited-time sales to create a sense of urgency. It became a national phenomenon in the USA and now tends to mark the start of the holiday shopping season. The UK has now adopted the Black Friday tradition, with brands finding clever ways to win over customers looking for a bargain in-store and online. Over the years, this holiday has attracted controversy as well as positivity, with brands like Patagonia calling it out for consumerism. 

But amongst all this noise, there is a simple point to be made. The competition around this holiday season couldn’t be harder. Last year, consumers in the UK were found to have spent a total of £8.71 billion on Black Friday deals. In the US, online sales alone hit $9.12 billion, a record high after the spending dip in 2021. Eighty-five per cent of US retailers were planning to offer Black Friday promotions in 2022. 

The competition is tough. In 2023, your Black Friday marketing campaigns can’t just be “good”. They need to be exceptional

Black Friday trends in 2023

How are people approaching Black Friday in 2023? What are consumers looking for? Here are some of the trends you need to be thinking about.

1. Better discounts

Customers will be looking for value now more than ever. With a lot of financial difficulties after the pandemic, globally, people are searching for higher discount rates on products and want access to the best deal. When asked about black Friday in 2022, Vivek Pandya, Lead Insights Analyst at Adobe, stated that “Black Friday this year stands out from the past as higher discounts drove larger spend.”

Discounts in 2022 peaked at an average of 25%, and we’re not expecting that to lower this year. Although inflation is beginning to plateau, times are still tough for many people – especially with the cost of living crisis in the UK. 

2. Optimise for mobile and socials

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, mobile will be huge. The majority (78%) of U.S. web traffic during BFCM in 2022 came from mobile devices. Plus, checking out through mobile is growing. Forty-eight per cent of online sales came through smartphones – 4% more than in 2021. 

Social media and digital marketing during the BFCM weekend has never been more crucial. Traffic referrals from social media hit an all-time high in 2022 (up 23% from the year before). Creating the right Black Friday marketing campaigns on socials is essential. 

3. It’s not just a weekend

Black Friday marketing should last well over a week. Many brands create a six-day campaign, but it can even sometimes seep into your Christmas campaigns too (it does after all signify the beginning of the holiday shopping season). So when you’re creating your campaigns, be ready for a longer period than just the post-Thanksgiving weekend. Make sure your website is optimised to deal with heavier traffic and plan your Black Friday campaigns around this. 

Why do you need a Black Friday campaign now?

This year, BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) is set to bring in even more than last year when it comes to spending. In 2022, people from around the world spent over $40 billion online. It’s anticipated that we will be setting another record this year.

So why are people so into the Black Friday special deals? The cost of living crisis has affected purchase behaviour massively in the UK over recent years, and globally, people are also feeling the pinch. In the UK, a staggering 83% of consumers said that their purchasing habits have changed due to the crisis. In fact, according to a 2023 survey from The Office of National Statistics, around two-thirds (65%) of adults are spending less on non-essentials because of the rising cost of living.

Young people are disproportionately affected by the cost-of-living crisis, with over 76% feeling concerned the crisis will restrict their ability to get a secure job now and in the future. 

Black Friday sales are, therefore, especially important this year.

UK households are set to have £3 billion less to spend on Christmas this year. To help with their festive shopping, they’ll be looking to Black Friday sales like never before.

Of course, this means that Black Friday deals will be oversaturating the market at the end of November. It’s the job of your Black Friday marketing campaigns to make you stand out. 

Since you’re late to the game – we’ve got the examples you need to change the game. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

The best Black Friday marketing campaign ideas:

We’ve got some powerful Black Friday marketing ideas for your campaigns. But first a note about timings. 

1. Don’t start “early”, 2024 starts now

If you’re just beginning to plan out your Black Friday strategies in October, you’re already behind. 

To become a leader in your industry, you need to start your Black Friday marketing strategy early. In fact, for BF 2024, you actually should be starting now. Okay, we’re not necessarily talking about the intricacies of your individual 2024 campaigns (those should happen in summer), but what we are talking about is collecting the right insights and audience interaction. Posting a Black Friday ad and hoping for the best is just not going to cut it. 

To plan the best Black Friday campaigns, you need to leverage the power of the community.

Build (or nurture) your community before BFCM

As people (especially younger generations) are becoming more and more blind to traditional advertising, community marketing has become of vital importance if you want to get ahead. 

The most successful brands won’t simply be dishing out ad campaigns during the Black Friday time period. You need to understand your audience inside out and build that vital trust between you and them in the long-term. 

How can you do that? By learning from the best, of course. 

We released an in-depth report on The Top Brands Going Community-First On Social. It includes an in-depth analysis of how new brands are leveraging their communities to build better long-term strategies for socialIn 2023, you need to be doing the same.

2. Optimise your e-commerce store for mobile

Second on our list of Black Friday marketing ideas is optimisation. With the majority of online sales coming through mobile and a large part of those through social media platforms, you need to ensure your online shop isn’t just okay for a vertical screen; it’s made for it.

Get your development and SEO team to check over your website before the big day. Look for Black Friday keywords that are relevant to your offering (especially product-led keywords) and long-tail Black Friday keywords to help bolster your content. Use these in title tags, headings, alt image tags and image file names. Make sure your website is healthy, too. Resolve 404 error pages, 301 redirects and optimise page speed. Ensure your customer support systems are running smoothly – you’ll likely get more enquiries and feedback over this period. 

Your website banners need to be clear – and create memorable imagery. Simply slapping a discount sticker on your pages won’t do the trick. And since plenty of shoppers will be coming from social media, you should continue this journey seamlessly.

Black Friday campaign example: ELF Cosmetics

Elf Cosmetics knows how to create the right online experience for shoppers. With 6.5 million followers on Instagram and 1.1 million followers on TikTok, the team at Elf has consistently shown up with their social media strategy. 

For their Black Friday campaign last year, they created clear, eye-catching posts on Instagram and TikTok detailing their deals. They harnessed the power of email list sign-ups, building a Black Friday campaign where people who joined their “Beauty Squad” for free would get exclusive access to a box full of goodies for a discounted price. To get the message out there, they partnered with influencers and created product-specific videos (more on why this works later).

But what Elf mastered, more than anything, was their website optimisation. When you click through to their e-commerce site, you are greeted with eye-catching promos and a simple user experience (UX) design. Elf understands their link to social media, too and include easy-to-watch videos from their social channels featured on their website, so they can remind users of specific products and how creators have used them.

Creating great mobile web experiences is a vital step to turning young audiences into a loyal customer base, and on Black Friday weekend, this couldn’t be truer. 

3. Go live

Globally, 31% of consumers said that live-stream purchasing channels enabled them to shop smarter and make more informed buying decisions. Going live is becoming ever more popular, and on Black Friday, it’s a creative way to activate social listening, learn about your consumers and gain sales. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok rank as the main social networks for purchases during live-streaming sales events, so ensure you are utilising these in the run-up to the big day.

You don’t have to offer a live-stream event just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, though. Create exclusive early bird lives on your most active channels to generate hype, give your customers a sneak peek of what is to come and bring people back for the actual event. 

Black Friday campaign example: Charlotte Tilbury and Olaplex

Partnering with the right influencer on a live-stream can really pay off. Amelia Olivia (@amelia0livia) hosted a Black Friday sale LIVE on TikTok, showcasing her favourite products from brands. This kind of partnership isn’t just a smart call, it’s genius. 

Ninety per cent of consumers said they’re looking for authenticity when deciding what brands they’ll support (up from 86% in 2017). We all know how influencer marketing can help brands build authentic connections with their consumers, and with this great example, this couldn’t be a stronger point to hammer home. How many times have you seen a salesperson talk about their favourite products, and it all ends up being affiliated with one company? 

Since Amelia talks about quite a few different products in her LIVE, it shows she really is demonstrating her favourite products. An important point to note here is that she didn’t decide to promote these products overnight. 

Collaborating with influencers in the long-term can pay you double. Amelia does lots of partnerships with Charlotte Tilbury and Olaplex, and you’ll see plenty of videos with them featured on her account. She is a genuine customer of these brands – that’s what makes the difference. And since there were over 55k views on her LIVE announcement video, it’s clear that her followers were there for it. 

@amelia0livia I can not contain my excitement for tonight’s live!!!! 5-7 I can not wait to see you❤️ ad #blackfridaydeals #affordablemakeup #tiktokshop #beautydeals ♬ All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey

4. Focus on one product, gift more and add free shipping

If you’re strapped for time on your Black Friday marketing campaign, you need to focus in. Often, we can get so caught up in brand awareness KPIs that we forget how using highly targeted promotions can be a winning strategy. Sometimes, creating promotions around one well-chosen product rather than shouting about all of your offerings is the best way forward. 

Firstly, it makes it easier to target specific consumer bases, and when you do find the right target audience, you’re more likely to get them to click that ‘buy’ button. Make sure you are utilising your best-selling products here, compounding the potential of sales from both the product’s success and your campaign efforts. 

Honing in on one product can be a better way of generating sales, but if you want to generate customer loyalty, adding free gifts and rewards like free shipping to purchases creates an experience. Good customer experiences are proven to result in repeat sales, which is invaluable to customer retention. Giving away bonus items can be particularly useful incentives for luxury brands, who may find that Black Friday sales damage the brand image. The per unit cost of a free gift or a free shipping special offer will be less than the perceived value, and as attracting new customers is far more expensive than retaining current ones, you’ll recoup the costs before long.

Black Friday campaign example: Ecovacs

This is a prime example of how to do product focusing well. Vacuum cleaner tech brand, Ecovacs, shows some real knowledge of what sells on socials. On TikTok, they collaborated with comedy skit influencer @jakebsweet to promote their hero product – the Debot X1 Omni. With a funny, creative video, this influencer shows just how quickly the product works, plus the Black Friday deal they have on it. 

With over 225k views and a highly active comments section, you can see just how much bringing one product to the social media table works. 

@jakebsweet This Deal is CRAZY! It was £1499 but now it’s £849 You can save £650 up until the 28th #Ecovacs #X1Omni #BlackFriday #AD @ecovacsuk ♬ original sound - Jake Sweet

5. Get personal

Sales can feel so impersonal. To stand out, you need to make things hyper-personalised. According to Salesforce research, 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, and 52% expect all offers to be personalised. Creating a personal experience over Black Friday can help you gain serious traction, especially if time isn’t on your side. 

Larger companies need to think like small businesses. Over two-thirds (67%) of consumers claimed that the increase in the cost of living has had no impact on their decision of whether or not to shop at small businesses. That’s partly because of the more tailored and intimate experience you get from buying from an SME. Big corporations need to think small and tap into this.

Using customer names on email drives sales. It is a quick win and will differentiate you from the sea of Black Friday marketing emails. Allow personalisation on gift cards to help people make an impression with their Christmas gifts. Build into your strategy an exclusive loyalty programme so people can feel a part of something and offer exclusive early access to deals. You may see even more conversions if you can give your customers a truly personal experience by sending bespoke product recommendations.

Black Friday campaign example: Dell

Dell’s Black Friday email marketing focused on personalisation. Within their email campaign, they wrote, “This offer was picked for you.” Using insights, they discovered what their customers were looking at most, tailoring this Black Friday campaign specifically to them. Combine this with impactful visuals and great copy, and you get results. They leaned into customisation to turn casual interest into conversions. If you’re looking for fast sales over this quarter, you should think about doing the same. 

6. Offer transparent hourly deals

Right price, right time.

Add hourly deals to create variable rewards. Schedule different sale items or special discounts throughout the Black Friday weekend and use website banners to showcase the possible discounts on offer. Your potential customers will be motivated to buy because of FOMO.

Rather than offering mystery rewards, a clear schedule of hourly deals with different offers signposted will inspire your customer’s trust. Items won’t languish forgotten in shopping baskets – they will be motivated to complete the sale to ensure they get the best price before it’s too late.

Nearly 70% of customers, on average, abandon their shopping cart. So, set reminders to complete the purchase and stick to your promotion times. Even better yet, get live-streaming with an influencer to communicate each deal, when it is and what to expect. 

If you do this right, people will come back for more. 

7. Challenge the status quo

To be exceptional, you need to be seen as the exception. Move against the current. Create something unusual. Take risks.

What could that possibly mean? We have a few creative Black Friday ideas. Call Black Friday out for what it is. In a sea of promotional material, why not use humour to poke fun at the day (as long as this aligns with your brand)? As an added bonus, collaborate with an influencer to do that for you (see the example below).

You could also forgo the flash sales entirely and donate to charity instead. Show your audience that you’re giving back to speak about wider conversations. This will build that all-important trust and understanding, plus it will reward loyal customers. If you still want to create an irresistible offer, combine charity with a sale. Give people money off and donate some of the money they spend to an appropriate good cause.

It’s a great route to customer satisfaction. Purchasing discounted products from brands that “give back” via charitable donations feels good. If you are targeting a younger demographic, it’s worth noting that charitable causes are especially popular amongst them. People aged between 18 and 24 (predominantly Gen Z and Millennials) are more likely to give to charity than other age groups.

Black Friday campaign example: Lucy and Yak and Amazon

Lucy and Yak have been redefining Black Friday since 2018, contributing to positive change through charity donations rather than massive blanket sales. Of course, this fits in with their ethos perfectly since they are hot on their sustainability. They post about this clearly on their social media, taking to Twitter (now known as X) to let people in on their plans every year.

Amazon also knows how to challenge the status quo, collaborating with comedian and creator @grayskitz. In his video, he compares what Black Friday was like in 2010 compared to what it’s like now with online shopping being so prevalent. This video directly mocks the whole idea of Black Friday, offering a refreshing perspective. 

Ninety-one per cent of people globally prefer brands to be funny, yet 95% of business leaders fear using humour in consumer interactions. So be the 5%, challenge the status quo and use comedy in your influencer partnerships. It clearly pays off. 

@grayskitz222 #AD Amazon is offering a huge range of products and Christmas gift ideas, whether it’s top brands or local small businesses! 🎁🎅🏼 #AmazonUK #AmazonBlackFridayWeek #DeliveringMore #grayskitz ♬ original sound - grayskitz

8. Forget funnels, create a loop

Gone are the days of a straightforward funnel on socials. Now is the time of the product “loop”. Here’s the cycle: a customer discovers your product through a Black Friday campaign and makes a purchase. 

But instead of their journey ending there, social media gives it a fresh twist. Thrilled with their purchase, this owner talks about their experience on their channel. They might craft a video review or snap a great photo. This user-generated content (UGC) contains valuable information, landing in followers’ feeds and turning casual viewers into prospects. 

The best part? These are peer recommendations. They are the definition of authenticity, and according to BCG, word-of-mouth was two to 10 times more effective than paid ads, making it the perfect opportunity for brands to utilise

Your customers become your content creators, keeping the loop alive and spinning. This continuous cycle not only fuels sales but knits together a community. It helps turn “consumers” into loyal fans. 

Black Friday campaign example: Tangle Teezer

Tangle Teezer created this Black Friday campaign with a set of highly engaged influencers. They allowed each creator to talk about the products and showcase them in their own way. As for UGC – the proof really is in the pudding. Here, you can see an original creator video plus a post about the products a couple of months later. 

Tangle Teezer generated hype around their products with influencers, then allowed Black Friday shoppers to do the heavy lifting. Build out influencer campaigns that encourage UGC. Monitor the best performing ones, then redistribute these out. Get influencers to ask their customers to participate. Soon, you’ll be part of a never-ending circle of sales. 

@ellie_pembs Black Friday deals anyone?🥰 Try a brush for every occasion…will never go back to using anything other than @tangleteezer !! I love them♥️ #TangleTeezer #Ad #hairtok ♬ Sunroof - Nicky Youre & dazy

For more information on how to use TikTok for Black Friday marketing, read our article, Black Friday TikTok, How Brands Can Boost Sales in 2022.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday influencer marketing

We don’t need to tell you how crucial influencer marketing is for your business. With 93% of marketers using it, we’re not here to teach you to suck eggs. What we are here to do is teach you how to do it right. 

Influencers know their audience. They also know how to execute result-yielding creatives. For Black Friday, you need to make sure you are making the most of these partnerships. Here are some ideas to keep you fuelled:

Unique discount codes

Add a sense of exclusivity with a discount code that’s unique to that influencer. Ensure the influencers you work with share the same brand values as your brand, and if they are championing a product, they need to be an actual fan. Consumers are hyper aware of promotions, so you need it to be as authentic as possible from the get-go. Share discount codes (using a QR code for this is a simple way of gaining better CTR), gift cards and vouchers with that creator so they can promote these over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and make sure it’s for a limited time to create a feeling of urgency and drive conversions. 

Tutorials, unboxings and reviews

Using influencers to create tutorials, unboxing, and review videos is a great way to show individual products. You can collaborate with an influencer to answer frequently asked questions on items and inspire trust. If you want to generate even more transparency, create a gift guide for that influencer to share. Gift guides provide clarity on your Black Friday marketing deals and help the influencer to make the right creative decisions, too. 

Social listening

If you’re looking for more Black Friday promotion ideas, you might want to listen to your followers on socials. Understanding your audience, what they want and how you can give it to them is key to not just Black Friday but all of your campaigns. It’s a good idea to take note of the comments section and actually engage with your audience. When you do this, it can help you create better content, make more strategic marketing decisions and keep up with the trends you need to be a part of. 

Long-term influence

Influencer collaborations shouldn’t just be for a one-weekend BFCM extravaganza. They should be for the long-term, too. Integrating influencers as part of your long-term marketing strategy can help you build key insights into what will work for Black Friday campaigns. You can begin understanding which of your influencer partnerships perform the best and utilise those relationships in further social media campaigns. 

Ensuring your best Black Friday marketing campaign yet

With such little time to go before Black Friday 2023, creating the right campaign can be daunting. Still, by taking note of key success factors, you can develop your own creative solutions for this deal-packed weekend. 

Take time to understand your customers, create great customer experiences, and communicate your values. It’s a tough climate out there, but brands that can align with their audience over the long-term will ultimately change the Black Friday marketing game. It’s less about last-minute sales and more about listening to your audiences so you can build a robust, insight-driven, successful campaign to win over the hearts of your prospects.  

Black Friday is becoming a more and more oversaturated time of year, so if you want to become a leader in your niche, you need to be thinking about how to build authentic relationships with your audience. If you’re left feeling stumped on that, we can help. We work with brands to win over their potential customers through insight-led, creative influencer campaigns.  

Curious to see how it’s done? Get in touch, and we’ll talk you through it. 

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