Black Friday Deals: did they deliver for brands?

  • Date 14th December 2021
  • Author Caspar Yuill
Black Friday Deals: did they deliver for brands?

Hot on the heels of that other questionable American holiday export, Halloween, it’s fair to say that Black Friday has officially become a thing in Australia. A quick search of my Gmail inbox revealed around 6 gajillion Black Friday-themed emails in the lead up to November 26. However, if you’d prefer a more definitive source, this Google Trends data tells us the full story, with this year’s searches for “Black Friday” more than double the previous peak from 2019. 


Black Friday sales were undoubtedly bigger than ever, but while shoppers got great deals, what did brands and retailers get in return? (Beyond trading margins for clearing dead stock, that is.)

The answer is data. Participating retailers might have just had one of the biggest data boons in recent years. But the real question is: did they attract a valuable audience, and can they capitalise on them?

Valuable sales, or just bargain hunters?

The unbridled frenzy around Black Friday (and its offshoot Cyber Monday), makes it clear the shopping event presents a big opportunity for companies looking for extra sales, customer data and market penetration. However, there are two problems in judging the true impact of your involvement: the people who bought didn’t buy at full price (so you didn’t necessarily make a profit from them), and those people who bought may never purchase again, making that trade-off for their data worthless.

Additionally, what value can be placed on the media spend promoting Black Friday to a wider audience, if everyone knows a Black Friday sale is happening?

Comparing old and new

We recommend looking to your customer journey and onboarding comms as a potential measurement framework to determine the true value of your Black Friday activities and your new customers. As a starting point, segment your customers into regular customers and Black Friday acquisitions. Then review the performance of your onboarding and any other regular comms you send, comparing response rates and engagement across the two groups.

This should give you a clue on whether your Black Friday activity was worth it. But in order to evaluate whether the new customers who came through have a genuine lifetime value, it’s worth keeping an eye on this segment over following months to determine whether the penetration was maintained. Did you hold onto the new customers or were they just a one-off spurred on by the “CRAZY” prices?

Only then can you make an informed judgement on the impact of Black Friday for your business, and then assess your activity for 2023. Ultimately, you may decide Black Friday’s not for you. And indeed a number of brands have instead used it as an opportunity to reinforce their brand purpose, or some key brand messaging. Following are a few of our favourite examples:

  • American outdoor retailer, REI, have been running their #optoutside campaign as an antidote to the consumerism of Black Friday since 2015.
  • Patagonia also took a stance in 2011 with their “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad in the New York Times (although more recently, they’ve been participating in Black Friday but committing 100% of global retail sales to environmental NFPs).
  • Closer to home, Australian label Citizen Wolf launched their Black Fridye initiative in 2018 to promote dyeing clothes and renewing them.
  • And perhaps surprisingly, the man behind Click Frenzy, has just launched the complete antithesis to that, with Green Friday.

From an AFFINITY point of view, we believe your brand must be at the core of all marketing decisions you make. So perhaps consider what messaging you could use to strengthen your brand and invest in that, instead of solely focusing on short-term sales promotions.

What were your experiences from Black Friday? And would you do it again? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us at

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