NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In what looks to be a good sign for holiday shopping so far, marketers succeeded in getting consumers worked into a lather for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with buzz for both days exceeding last year's levels.
According to Infegy, a social-media monitoring firm, buzz surrounding Cyber Monday this year was nearly 2.5 times what it was a year ago, while Black Friday buzz was slightly higher this year. The buzz appears to be translating into increased sales and traffic, according to early data. The National Retail Federation said that 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites during Black Friday weekend, up from 195 million last year. Consumers also spent more, according to the NRF, with the average person spending $365, up from $343. Total spending is estimated at $45 billion for the weekend, defined as Thursday through Sunday. Retailers also saw a boost on Cyber Monday. According to CoreMetrix, sales were up 19% compared to a year ago. The average order value also increased to $195 from $180 last year.
Amazon was the most talked-about retailer this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Infegy, which said the online giant ranked just fourth in buzz a year ago. The retailer began billing Black Friday deals weeks ago and kept up a steady stream of Facebook and Twitter updates throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. Some two dozen updates @amazondeals on Thanksgiving Day whetted consumers' appetites, while nearly 50 updates were posted on Black Friday. According to FortiusOne, nearly 30,000 tweets mentioned Amazon this year. That's a big improvement from a year ago when Amazon appeared to be resting on its laurels as an early adopter in the space. A year ago its Facebook presence was outdated and traffic generated from Twitter dropped more than 30% on Black Friday. http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=140898
Target , Best Buy, Toys R Us and Walmart rounded out the top five buzzed-about brands. Target and Best Buy switched places this year, with Target snatching the No. 2 slot. The discounter worked for it though. It posted its first Black Friday update on Facebook at 3:10 a.m., garnering just over 2,400 Likes and more than 2,000 comments. It followed up with pictures from its stores later in the day. On Twitter, Maria Bamford, the star of the company's two-day-sale ads, started an account @ChristmasChamp. It's only grabbed 1,400 followers so far, but it's a nice social-media complement to the commercials, which, depending on where you sit, are either incredibly annoying or completely hilarious.
Best Buy's social-media presence is slightly less robust this year. A year ago, the retailer's Twelpforce Carolers were featured in commercials, while exclusive applications like Hint Helper, Secret Santa and Idea Giftr could be found on Facebook. But now the electronics giant is placing its bets on TV, despite its success in social media.
"TV has now become an almost unconventional medium, because people have followed the news," Drew Panayiotou, senior VP-U.S. marketing at Best Buy, told Ad Age this fall. "There's been an enormous amount of news [around] social and digital. ... Yes, we've been successful in social media ... but in my 16 years of marketing, I've learned that if you take an unconventional view of marketing channels, you get unconventional results."
Walmart, which generated the most buzz a year ago, fell to fifth this year. And, chances are, it would have fallen further, if not for Justin Bieber. The teen heartthrob exclusively released a new acoustic album at Walmart on Black Friday. Of the tweets that mentioned Walmart, about 41% of them also mentioned Mr. Bieber, according to FortiusOne. The average audience for each of those tweets was nearly 1,800 people. Walmart's presence on Facebook and Twitter was adequate but paled in comparison to Amazon, for example. Its mix of deals, tips for leftovers and interaction with consumers is commendable, however. A year ago the retailer seemed to be looking at Facebook as a broadcast channel; this year it posed questions, like "Share your Black Friday haul. What did you get today?"