A Guide To Holiday Season Marketing: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas

The countdown to the holiday season is on and you’re likely putting the final touches to a well planned marketing campaign. That’s understandable. The importance of the holiday season for marketers across the globe cannot be overstated.

From Thanksgiving; to Black Friday; to Cyber Monday; to Singles Day; to Christmas. For retailers in particular, these days can make or break a business.

Just how important are they and what can you do to capitalize?

Key Statistics

Sales Trends

(i) 30 percent of annual retail sales in the US occur between Black Friday and Christmas.

(ii) In total, online holiday sales alone are estimated to account for $129 billion dollars in 2017, up from $115 billion in 2016.

(iii) In China, Alibaba generated $25 billion of sales in 2017 on Singles Day (11 November).

(iv) Cyber Monday 2016 was the biggest day in US ecommerce history, with a total $3.45 billion spent online.

Consumer Spending Habits

(i) 47 percent of consumers start thinking about holiday gifts before November.*

(ii) Black Friday is now celebrated by 1 in 3 people in the world, up from 1 in 4 last year.*

(iii) 62 percent of people report doing most of their holiday shopping in December. 1 in 4 make purchases between December 11-20.*

Mobile Habits

(i) 37 percent of mobile-first shoppers make impulse purchases on their mobile phones and return them later.*

(ii) In the 2016 holiday season, mobile conversions surpassed desktop globally for the first time ever. A total of 53 percent of conversions took place on mobile.*

(iii) 40 percent of global shoppers agree that their mobile devices allow them to make more informed holiday shopping purchase decisions.*

Social Media Habits

(i) Time spent on Facebook starts accelerating in early October, reaching a peak around New Year’s Eve.*

(ii) 49 percent of holiday shoppers say Facebook is influential in their holiday shopping.*

Ad Spending Habits

(i) Digital advertisers spent 17.9 percent more on Black Friday and 13.8 percent more on Thanksgiving in 2016 compared to 2015.

Key Takeaways

That’s a lot of statistics. So what can you actually learn from all these numbers?

Spend on the right platforms

Multi-channel marketing is a necessity for online brands. The need to connect with consumers across different touchpoints is crucial to converting customers. However, consumer browsing habits change in the lead up to, and during, the holiday season. Understand where your potential customers are spending more of their time and ensure you are dedicating sufficient resources to connecting with them on these platforms.


Target the right people

Don’t miss out on opportunities to make sales by focussing on the wrong audience — or missing a potential targeting audience altogether. Facebook offers a wealth or targeting options. You can use these to target your potential customer on their journey to purchase. From interest and behavioral targeting to connections and custom audiences, find out everything you need to know about facebook ad targeting here.

Utilize retargeting

During the holiday season — in the lead up to Christmas especially — people research gifts to buy their friends and family. Make sure you don’t lose them during that period. Utilize retargeting to get your product back in front of people who haven’t yet converted. You can use Facebook’s Custom Audience feature to build retargeting audiences for your campaign. Retargeting on Facebook should be fine, as you’ll be targeting the direct user who visited your website. But be careful if utilizing display retargeting based on identification through cookies — on a shared computer, you could inadvertently reveal someone’s gift idea to the intended recipient!


Grab their attention

Ensure your messaging matches the holiday or deal you’re pushing. Write copy and use creatives that grab people’s attention and engage them to take action. Test multiple variations of message and creative to find what resonates to drive the action you want. Remember that you will be competing for attention against many other advertisers and, on social media, your audience’s family and friends. So, be original and be relevant.

Measure what works

Define your KPIs before you launch campaigns and ensure you know how to measure them. If your campaigns are multichannel journeys then make sure you understand marketing attribution. If you are using Facebook then ensure you install the Facebook Pixel correctly — this will allow you to track all conversions and build retargeting audiences. Use your data to not only optimize and improve this year’s campaigns, but also too plan even better campaigns for next year.



While it’s better to begin planning your campaigns early, it’s never too late to put something together. The holiday season is the time of year where an engaging campaign can take advantage of the surge in consumer spend and time spent online. Don’t miss the opportunity.

* 2017 The Facebook Holiday Guide