The Evolution of Black Friday

Written By: Danielle Gazda

While the phenomenon known as Black Friday has questionable origins, potentially going back to the 1800s, the retail holiday as we know it today started in Philadelphia in the 1950s. This is when people from the suburbs flooded the city for an annual Army-Navy football game and a round of discount shopping. However, the use of the term “Black Friday” for the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree didn’t become a nationwide trend until the 1980s. Read more about the history of Black Friday and the myths surrounding its origin on the History Channel website.

In its 40 years of being an official retail holiday, Black Friday has evolved greatly. A significant development was the first-ever e-commerce transaction, which happened in 1994. As e-commerce has taken off in the past two decades, first with websites and now through social media, how people purchase what they want and need has transitioned away from physical retail locations. Black Friday is no longer the physical fight it used to be (well, it usually isn’t), but brands are still finding ways to entice people to shop online and in stores.

Here are some Black Friday best practices all retail businesses should know:

Month-Long Sales

Black Friday is no longer confined to just a single day or even the following weekend, which includes Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. In the past few years, many brands have opted to create pockets of sales throughout the month of November. These sales sometimes even start in late October.

You don’t have to discount items during this entire time, but it’s good to get a leg up on holiday shoppers who don’t want to leave things to the last minute or hate feeling limited to a single day, especially if they need to go in person.

These discounts can start small — for example, with free shipping — and ramp up throughout the month as it gets closer to Black Friday.

In-Store Exclusives

If you have physical locations and you’d prefer to have at least part of your customer base shop in person, then offering exclusive in-store discounts is a great option. It may be worth staggering your online and in-store deals, so you can draw more people into your stores. Start with limited discounts online and add further offerings in-store to reach that initial wave of holiday shoppers in your area. 

It’s a great idea to advertise in-store deals in marketing newsletters or on paid social media ads with proximity location targeting.

Special Discounts for Loyal Customers

If your brand has a rewards program, VIP group, or even a newsletter, you can target loyal customers with exclusive deals just for them. Repeat customers are more likely to actually make a purchase and to purchase a large number of items. They may be interested in buying for themselves or giving gifts to loved ones and friends who may, in turn, also become loyal customers. People often have more trust in brands that are recommended to them by people they’re close to.

Holiday Marketing

Competitive holiday marketing is key to making Black Friday sales work for your company. As with most things, it takes money to make money. Investing in ads across social media and Google is your best bet for reaching a wider audience or an audience that is most likely to complete a purchase. Other brands will be doing the same thing, so bids for display space may be higher than you would usually be comfortable with. Finding the right balance of creative assets, copy, landing page, and other elements may be difficult, but in the end, it should be worth it.

Newsletters, as mentioned earlier, are a great way to reach already interested customers. If they’ve signed up for emails from your brand, then they have probably made a purchase in the past, or, with the right deal, are likely to make a purchase in the future. Utilize newsletters to share sales, exclusive discount codes, promote best-selling or low-selling items, and inform customers about restocks and product availability. 

The last part of holiday marketing is promoting your business on social media. Aside from paid advertising, social media is how many people now find products and services they’re interested in buying. Don’t forget to keep up with your social media posting. Share your products, share online and in-store promotions, and run a few giveaways. Giveaways during the holiday season can get people excited about your products — and even if audience members don’t win, they may be more likely to look at your website and make a purchase anyway.

If you’re interested in stepping up your holiday marketing strategy, check out some of our other holiday marketing blogs. You can also contact us through our website, or email us at info@thisis270m.com, for help in working on your digital marketing strategy.

How to Utilize Google Analytics for Your Business

By: Danielle Gazda

Google Analytics is a free website traffic tracking tool. It takes user information gathered from each page of your website and compiles it into reports that help you analyze it. You can discover demographic details, bounce rates for each page, and much more. Most importantly, this information allows you to make better-informed decisions about products and user experience.

You can also connect your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts to combine user engagement ad campaign data with website data.

Here’s what you need to know:

Tracking Code

After you’ve created your account, Google Analytics will provide you with a piece of G4 tracking code that you’ll need to embed on each page type of your website. This is what enables Google Analytics to gather user data from your website.

The Hierarchy

Here are some primary terms to know after you’ve set up your Google Analytics account.

  • Account- Having an account is mandatory. You’ll provide some general information that relays what type of company you have.
  • Property- For each account, you can determine “Property,” which can either be a website or an app. If your company utilizes multiple websites or a website and an app, they will have to be set as separate properties. They will each receive their own unique G4 codes. You can combine data later in Reports.
  • View- Under each property, you’ll need to set up your “Views.” These determine what data Google Analytics looks at and pulls to process into reports. Limiting a View too much will result in missing information. Always keep a view of “Raw Data,” which contains no limiting factors, and another view that excludes internal company traffic and bots. 

Once this hierarchy has been established and code embedded, you can run Real-Time reports to see the metrics coming in. However, you won’t be able to generate accurate reports until after a few days later — it takes some time to gather enough data to make meaningful reports.

Dimensions and Metrics

Now we get into how to read the data you’re seeing in reports. Most of it is broken down into Dimensions and Metrics. These are the different user variables Google Analytics learns about and reports on.

  • Dimensions- Dimensions are categories of demographic information. This can include the browser and device being used, landing and exit pages, as well as specific user information, like location and customer type.
  • Metrics- Metrics are the quantifiable data that is collected. This includes information about sessions, session duration, page views, conversions, bounce rates, and numbers of new and returning users.

You also can make custom dimensions and metrics if there is specific data you want to see that are not standard options Google Analytics offers.

Reports

There are five different categories of reports: Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. Each report has an overview and then provides various breakdowns of the information.

  • Real-Time Reports provide you with insight into what’s happening on your website at that exact moment. This report won’t be used often. It’s good for checking performance when you implement new filters to ensure everything is running properly.
  • Audience Reports allow you to go deeper into the difference between new and returning users. It digs into demographic, geographic, and behavioral information. These can help inform your ad campaigns as you learn what your audiences are interested in.
  • Acquisition Reports break down traffic by the source. A source is what brought your user to your website. It includes organic, direct, referral, email, social, paid search, display, affiliate, and (Other).
  • Behavior Reports provide you with information about how users interact with your website. Some basics are Landing Pages, Exiting Pages, Page Speeds, Search Terms, as well as sessions and events.
  • Conversions Reports share user behavior as it relates to e-commerce business goals. First, you’ll have to establish goals in Google Analytics. These goals can include newsletter subscriptions, adding products to cart, completing an order, or making an account. If your website is for e-commerce, this will be important to set up.

Conclusion

Google Analytics is a great tool for any business with a website, whether it’s a company site, e-commerce site, blog, or any combination of these. If you have goals for how users will interact with your website, Google Analytics provides detailed reports about users and their behavior to help you optimize your website and ad campaigns.

Would you prefer to have a team manage Google Analytics setup and reports for you? 270M can handle all of your digital marketing needs. Contact us on our website, or email us at info@thisis270m.com.

Five Ways TikTok Can Help Grow Your Business

By: Danielle Gazda

The use of video content is a proven method of advertisement. Commercials have enticed audiences to try new products, visit new places, and make countless purchases in the decades since they first appeared on television. Now, video has become the best way to market products, services, and yourself on social media platforms, as well. Static visuals can be well crafted and beautiful, but short video content is what younger generations want to see more and more.

At the moment, no one does this better than TikTok. As Instagram, Facebook, and the rest try to catch up, TikTok has quite the monopoly on enticing, shareable, bite-sized video content. Vine, for those who remember it, was essentially an early version of this. However, it was rarely used for marketing purposes, yet it showed what kind of communities could be built. If your product or service is geared toward a younger audience, then TikTok is where you want to be.

Here Are Five Ways to Make TikTok Work for Your Business:

1. Post Genuine, Less Commercialized Content

Obviously, the goal is advertising and getting your business out there, but you shouldn’t be doing that in your company’s everyday posts. Audiences don’t want to feel like a product is being forced on them. Content should be fun and laid-back, and not always focused on a product or service. Show the people who work for your company. Show behind-the-scenes glimpses of how your product is made. And show your workspace and office — audiences want to know that there are real people behind companies nowadays.

2. Stay On Top of Trends

A great way to get TikTok to organically boost your content is by creating content that has the potential to go viral. Participating in popular trends can be a great way to do this. But you certainly don’t want to go viral for the wrong reasons, so know when to skip a trend and leave it to the influencers.

3. Posting Product/Service Content

Of course, you’ll need to post some product/service content so your audience knows what they’re buying. Videos can be a great tool to show off a product, answer frequently asked customer questions, do demonstrations, provide tips, and more. The goal is not only to make your product stand out but for the video to be interesting. It’s very easy for audiences to simply keep scrolling and move on, so think carefully about your opening visuals and audio.

4. Partner With Influencers

Working with influencers can seem almost necessary to get your business better known, and in a lot of cases, it’s true. Influencers can have enormous reach. If even a small percentage of their audience follows up and views your brand, that can mean hundreds of people with their eyes on your product. Working with influencers can be expensive, though, so if you’re a small business, you can initially reach out to smaller influencers who may be willing to post in return for free products instead of an actual fee. You can find creators to work with at TikTok Creator Marketplace.

5. Let’s Talk About Advertising

Now, down to advertising on TikTok. TikTok offers six forms of advertising: In-Feed Ads, Spark Ads, TopView Ads, Brand Takeover Ads, Branded Hashtag Challenge Ads, and Branded Effect Ads. Learn more about each of these ad types from this article at the Later blog. Each advertising option offers unique opportunities to engage with your audience and expand it. Some may work better than others for your brand depending on how you think you can best reach your audience.

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, TikTok continues to be the way of the future. Start your TikTok business account today with the help of the 270M Team. Visit our website, or email us at info@thisis270m.com.