Black Friday 2018: Why Social Media is Key for Driving Sales

Social media is now a key channel for product research around the world. But is it being used for more than just research?

With Black Friday and Cyber Week just around the corner, our latest survey on 111,899 internet users reveals how essential it is for brands to place a key focus on social to reach UK and U.S. consumers. Here’s why.

Social commerce is rising.

Since 2015, social media has continuously been playing a more central role in the consumer journey.

42% of consumers now conduct research about brands, products and services through social networks.

This places them just 10-percentage points behind search engines.

This growth is being driven by developments in product search functionalities across social platforms like Instagram, which recently introduced product tags to support its native product discovery.

Black Friday campaigns drive more social shopping.

Another study we conducted on 3,500 consumers in the UK and U.S. revealed 49% of UK and 53% of U.S. consumers are now converting through social networks.

Facebook takes the lead here with 39% of UK consumers having made a purchase through the platform.

The same research shows when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, social shopping rises by as much as 66% in the UK.

In fact, only a quarter of respondents say they wouldn’t make a purchase through social media after seeing a sales offer during the discount weekend.

Trust in social networks is growing.

One of the most popular platforms for purchasing after seeing a Black Friday or Cyber Monday advert is Instagram.

A quarter of UK respondents say a key driver for making a purchase on social media is having a better preview of the product.

This rises to 31% in the US.

Social platforms also allow for a better user experience, giving consumers the chance to see the latest trends and influencer posts (20%) and what their friends have engaged with or purchased (20%).

These reasons rated higher than any discrepancy in price between social media and other platforms.

Crucially, social networks have reached a point of maturity among consumers.

27% of UK and U.S. consumers say they could trust the platform to handle the payment process in much the same way as a brand or retailer, proving to be a vital factor in their decision-making.

Winter season is a marathon, not a sprint.

Marketers tend to dedicate a large part of their budget to the lead up to Black Friday, and for good reason:

A quarter of UK shoppers expect to have spent over £250 by the close of Cyber Monday.

Despite this, just 17% of consumers feel they will be able to do ‘most’ of their Christmas shopping during the Black Friday weekend.

This tells us while Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be priority for brands everywhere, the winter period should be seen as a marathon, not a sprint.

Social media needs to be taken seriously as social commerce continues to grow, but brands should think carefully about how to allocate spend throughout the entire winter sales period.