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Is Black Friday an opportunity or a threat for brands?

As Black Friday is now a major event in most consumer’s minds, how does it affect brands – even those that don’t participate – in the discounting frenzy?

Here are our top TV planning considerations for Black Friday

  • Industry is king
  • Nail the offer and messaging
  • Shorter is better
  • Get in or get out
  • Phase the airtime to your advantage

Website visits by industry
From Hitwise, we can see that only some industries saw a bump in site visitation over Black Friday 2018. Last year, some industries were clear winners, with clothing retail increasing traffic by 62% vs. November traffic on Black Friday alone! Unsurprisingly, the electronics industry saw a similar healthy bump with 44% more visits vs. November. However, we also see that finance had a 6% decrease and motors had a 20% decrease on Black Friday, both with the softest Fridays in November.

It’s important to remember that advertising at this time of year is heavily offer-led. If you want to go toe-to-toe in these industries, your messaging needs to compete with big discounts from big brands, best done with a compelling offer that will incentivise consumers enough.

Source: Hitwise

Total TV viewing

Source: BARB



Black Friday 2018 saw 11% fewer advertisers year-on-year (YoY). Despite overall TV impacts dropping slightly YoY, TV viewing over Black Friday remained strong. Adult impacts (viewers) were only down 1% YoY on Black Friday 2018, and viewing actually increased 25% week-on-week (WoW), as viewers tuned in for ITV’s I’m a Celebrity. Historically, shorter second lengths work better for promotion led clients, as the lower spot cost not only drives more efficient instant response performance, but also helps to build frequency.

Source: BARB

Effect on TV attributed visit response rates
Looking across a range of clients who were live across Black Friday 2018, but did not participate with an offer, we can see a negative trend on visitation. The chart below shows an index of web visit response rate for November. Generally, we saw a 30% drop in visitation response rate vs. month average, however, this recovered by Sunday. Keep in mind that Black Friday only has a short-lasting effect, mostly in the run-up. Tactically deploying your airtime around this weekend will help to balance out your performance for the rest of the month.

Source: ARMalytics

What does this all mean for advertisers?

  • A brands’ TV response rates are usually affected by Black Friday, whether they are participating with a discount or not.
  • Depending on your industry, if you do not have a Black Friday offer, consider reducing airtime for Black Friday to Sunday. Prioritise your most efficient tiers and consider ending airtime earlier to avoid being outgunned by big branding spenders in peak timebands.
  • If you’re a finance brand, consider upweighting in the lead up to Black Friday and shortly after to fuel greater demand as people overspend on Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas.

If you are participating in Black Friday, consider deploying airtime tactically, i.e. shorter second lengths to access and take advantage of increased viewing over the weekend.

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