Retailers Battle It Out on Social for Black Friday Supremacy

Drew Neisser Founder & CEO, Renegade

Posted on November 25th 2013

Retailers Battle It Out on Social for Black Friday Supremacy

With only four days left until the single biggest shopping day of the year, it is almost impossible to avoid Black Friday ads on any medium, including social media.  There are literally thousands of tweets, posts and ads compelling us to “Save Early!”, “Preview the Holiday Gift Guide”, and hurry up because “Special Prices Start Now….” And while it is too early to tell which retailers will ultimately come out on top, the research team at Shareablee, a social business intelligence platform, has identified which brands are leading the pack along with suggestions on how the laggards might be able to catch up.

Walmart Has Most Engaged Fans on Facebook

Among the top 25 retailers on Facebook in the first half of November, Walmart accounted for 27% of the total shares by fans on this all-important platform. The next nearest competitor is QVC with 9% of the shares followed by Macy’s and Nordstrom’s both at 8%.  What this means is that of all the content being posted on all 25 of these retailer Facebook pages, Walmart fans are sharing 3 times more content than its largest rivals.  “Sharing is particularly important when it comes to retailers” explains Tania Yuki, CEO of Shareablee, “Because there is no stronger measure of the pass-along value of a retailer’s message or offer, than having customers amplify it for you.”  


BestBuy Has Most Engaged Followers on Twitter

On Twitter, it's a different story altogether with BestBuy being the dominant player.  According to Shareablee’s data, BestBuy fans were responsible for 30% of all the retweets in the category, followed by Nordstrom at 9% and Ebay and Target at 8% respectively.  Walmart, on the hand, has 5 times smaller share of the retweets with a mere 6% of the RTs.  Just like shares on Facebook, “retweets are the best indicator of word of mouth velocity,” adds Shareablee’s CEO.  “If your followers bother to retweet your content, it’s a strong sign that they actually care about what you are saying at least enough to share with their friends,” she adds.  


Bloomingdales is Leading on Facebook Loyalty

When it comes to keeping fans coming back for more, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus own the winning formula with over 40% of their fans returning to engage with content in the first half of November.  By comparison, only 10% of Walmart fans returned to engage with their Facebook page during this time frame.  This is a critical metric instructs Yuki since “most retailers rely on repeat sales and customer loyalty for revenue growth and profits.”  “Motivating a broad base of loyal fans to get the word out about promotions could lead to huge returns.” she adds.


Target Posting Most Often But Not Most Effectively

Lest anyone forget what’s happening this coming Friday, Target has outpaced all competition in the retail category with six times more Black Friday posts than any other brand, reports Shareablee.  However, it is interesting to note that all this activity has not necessarily motivated Target’s over 22 million Facebook fans.  Notes Yuki, “Target’s best performing post generated less than 18,000 actions – activating just 0.08% of their fan-base.” “There is still a lot of opportunity to grow engagement in time for the big shopping event - other retailers have benefited from specific calls to action and post-strategy diversification, helping to cut through the clutter of the newsfeed and inspire engagement.” she adds.  


JC Penney’s Solitary Black Friday Post Wins!

In contrast to Target, JC Penney released just one Black Friday post in the first half of November, but it earned the highest level of engagement with over 54,000 actions (combined total of likes, comments and shares).  Shareablee credits the success of this particular post to a combination of best practices including the use of a playful question, a photo with an embedded offer, a hashtag and a call to action that links to Pinterest for deeper discovery.  “It is clear,” offers Yuki, “that the folks at JC Penney took the time to make their post more socially effective, by including many of the levers that the most engaging content shares across categories.”


The Bottom Line: Black Friday is About Sparking Inspiration

Though there are less than 100 waking hours until the big day, “there’s still time left to optimize, engage and ultimately rally your fans,” advises Yuki.  “Tap into your social messengers by encouraging them to share your content on each platform in each post,” she adds.  For the brands with highly loyal fan bases, there is still an opportunity to reward them with special offers on Facebook.  And finally, make sure your ads on social channels have social components that will in turn drive engagement and extend your reach so the biggest crowds go out shopping with your brand in mind!  Good luck and good shopping to all!  



Drew Neisser

Founder & CEO, Renegade

Drew Neisser is CEO & Founder of Renegade the NYC-based social media and marketing agency that helps inspired clients cut through the nonsense to deliver genuine business growth. A frequent speaker at industry events, Drew’s been a featured expert on ABC’s Nightline and CNBC. In addition to blogging for SocialMediaToday, you can find Drew’s articles on, MediaPost and TheDrewBlog.

In the last few years, Drew and Renegade created PerkZone for Time Warner Cable Business Class, built the @TalkingBench for the NCAA, charged up the prepaid card market launching MAGIC by Magic Johnson via events & social, unleashed the AXA Gorilla on Twitter with audio tweets and a virtual retirement party, introduced young adults to Harlem Liqueur and made a splash for Davidoff Cool Water on Facebook.

Also at Renegade, Drew hatched numerous award-winning campaigns for a long-list of blue chip clients.  His ideas for HSBC, Panasonic and IBM were all recognized by BRANDWEEK as Guerrilla Marketers of the Year.   Among these is the legendary HSBC BankCab program, a restored Checker, that has been delighting HSBC customers since 2003 with free rides (and now informative tweets).  

Drew’s creative accomplishments include naming and launching the Toughbook for Panasonic and penning numerous taglines.  These include “Like money. Only Magic.” for MAGIC by Magic Johnson prepaid MasterCard, “Where Family Comes First.” for Family Circle Magazine, “Fire things up,” for Toasted Head wine and “Great tech support. Good karma.” for iYogi.

Diapered at Wells Rich Greene, trained at JWT and retrained at Chiat/Day, Drew founded Renegade in 1996 as a place where the best ideas can sprout from any corner and collaboration trumps ego.  Drew earned a BA in history from Duke University and lives in Manhattan with his wife and the agency’s mascot, a French bulldog named Pinky.  A native Californian, Drew dreams of becoming a surfer but is a long way from hanging ten.

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Posted on November 25th 2013 at 9:36PM

What a great article for all companies to read and learn from.  Companies should realize that when people go to shop for Black Friday, it is extremely important for the brand to be in their minds.  That day is so hectic that if the brand doesn't stick in their minds, they won't think about it at all during Black Friday.  Companies need to embrace social media as an easy channel to keep brands in the minds of their consumers, especially on days like Black Friday.

Karine Heyden
Posted on November 27th 2013 at 6:03PM

Hi Drew

Not sure why and who created these pie charts and if the creator actually visited FB pages, but ....if you want to set Walmart as a good/great example of how everyone should use social media...well, you should update this article.


So, let’s see, Walmart official page totaling whooping 34 million Likes gets some really disturbing number of shares (FB manager should be sacked together with a guy that decided to piss all potential customers). The average number of shares (taking the last 10 posts) is 1.119 shares per post, which is quite low especially having in mind that number from the beginning of this paragraph (34 mil).

Furthermore, they decided to force their employees work instead of being with their families for the holidays so their FB page is flooded with something like this

I can go on and on, but this kind of sums it up