As arguably the biggest marketing “holiday” of the year, Black Friday is a time when marketers see an outpouring of online communication from consumers. Each year, millions of people worldwide digitally share their opinions, wants, and gripes about the post-Thanksgiving shopping day, as well as its newer offshoots Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. We used our social listening platform to dig into the conversations, numbers, and trends defining Black Friday weekend this year.
Our social listening query uncovered more than five million mentions of Black Friday keywords, phrases, and hashtags in the 30 days leading up to Black Friday 2022. And while that volume is significant, it was down by 3% year over year (YoY). Similarly, mentions the day of Black Friday 2022 (November 25) were 2% lower than on Black Friday last year (November 26).
The evolution of Black Friday conversations is much more dramatic when we break them down by country. In the United States, where the consumer holiday was invented in the 1960s, Black Friday conversations leading up to and on November 25, 2022, decreased by 21% YoY. But in Indonesia, they grew by more than 400% YoY.
Japan saw the second-highest growth of Black Friday conversations in the world at an increase of more than 170% YoY.
The higher volume of mentions in Japan is reflected in the top new hashtags in the global Black Friday conversation. In 2021, the second and third most popular hashtags were #cybermonday and #weverseshop (the Korean fan merch platform), respectively. This year, they are #ブラックフライデー (Black Friday) and #ドスパラ (Japanese PC retailer DosPara).
The topics of Black Friday conversations have also changed significantly since last year. Mentions of #crypto increased by 119% YoY, and mentions of #giveaway increased by 110% YoY. Notably, mentions of #unsubscribe increased by 62%, so be sure to keep those marketing emails high-value in the coming year.
As for keywords, mentions of “money” increased by 90% YoY, while mentions of “deals” increased by 72% YoY. These are likely related to the impact of inflation on consumer spending. New top Black Friday keywords of 2022 include ポイント (loyalty program points) and 当選率 (odds of winning).
The best-performing content of the Black Friday conversation also shed light on what most interested consumers this year. For example, some of the most-engaged Black Friday content offered gift ideas. Additionally, with a filter for the phrase “I want” applied to our original query, the most-engaged Tweet was one expressing disappointment that retailers aren’t offering more significant discounts.
Looking ahead to 2023, marketers should strive to be intentional in their pre-Black Friday communications or risk getting banished to the “unsubscribe” list. Overall, the data suggests that consumers are on the hunt for gift suggestions and the most significant deals. Marketers can provide value by pointing them in the right direction.
Small Business Saturday
Online conversations about Small Business Saturday took a much more notable dip this year than those about Black Friday. In the 30 days leading up to Small Business Saturday, mentions of relevant keywords, phrases, and hashtags decreased by 10% YoY, while conversations the day of decreased by nearly 30% YoY. In the United States, where the bulk of these mentions is generated, the conversation decreased by 18% YoY.
Many top hashtags in this conversation saw significant decreases in mentions in 2022 compared to 2021, including #smallbizsat, #blackownedbusiness, and #shopsmall. Meanwhile, the top new keyword in this conversation for 2022 is “economy.” Understood together, these trends suggest that small and local businesses were hit hard by inflation in terms of online conversations generated around supporting them specifically.
Looking forward, small businesses should mirror Black Friday strategies by building anticipation for Small Business Saturday early. Though conversations about Black Friday begin rising nearly a month before the day arrives, most mentions of Small Business Saturday occur the day of.
Cyber Monday online sales may have hit a record high this year, but social and media mentions of the retail holiday declined by 17% YoY in the lead-up to the day (November 28) and by 9% the day of.
Despite the slight global decrease in mentions, many countries saw significant increases in Cyber Monday conversations during this period, including Argentina at more than 3,000% growth YoY and Australia at 750% growth YoY. However, the majority of this conversation is still generated in the United States, where it grew by 132% YoY.
As to be expected, #cybermonday is the most popular hashtag in this conversation, but mentions of #blackfriday grew by 296% YoY, highlighting Cyber Monday’s continued link to Black Friday in consumers’ minds. #Ad also saw significant growth, at 280% YoY, possibly reflecting the rise of influencer marketing for this holiday.
Interestingly, while mentions of Black Friday grow continuously in the weeks that precede it, Cyber Monday mentions spiked twice, on October 31 and November 14, before starting to rise steadily on November 20, 2022.
The reason for these spikes? In Argentina, Cyber Monday is an annual, three-day online sales event that begins in the last week of October. Elsewhere, on November 14, multiple retailers and brands promoted early Black Friday sales that continued through Cyber Monday in the rest of the world, including Ray-Ban, WWE Universe, and Walmart.
This trend reveals how, as sales events creep earlier and last longer, Cyber Monday is increasingly significant as the bookend of the post-Thanksgiving holiday sales season. For marketers, this suggests that Cyber Monday promotions can never start too early, but they can start too late.
Unlike every other Black Friday weekend “holiday,” Giving Tuesday focuses on consumer donations to non-profit organizations, individuals in need, and other charitable causes. However, it also experienced an overall decline in online conversation. Mentions of Giving Tuesday keywords, phrases, and hashtags in the 30 days leading up to Giving Tuesday decreased by 7% YoY, and mentions the day of declined by 18% YoY.
Most of this conversation is located in the United States, where it decreased by 14% YoY. But in Nigeria and India, where the conversation is still quite small, Giving Tuesday mentions increased by 76% YoY and 29% YoY, respectively.
Interestingly, this year’s Giving Tuesday conversations focused more on helping teachers (in keeping with recent back-to-school social media trends). Mentions of #teachertwitter nearly doubled compared to those in 2021, while #clearthelist rose to become the 13th most popular hashtag of the conversation this year.
Looking to 2023, marketers in education can look into following up on back-to-school promotions with Giving Tuesday communications that highlight charitable and community causes.
Every year, online conversations about Black Friday — as well as Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday — give marketers a direct look at how consumer preferences and attitudes are changing. Our social intelligence platform scours these conversations to uncover the data-driven insights you need to shape your marketing strategy for the coming year. Schedule a demo today to learn more!