- December 3, 2021

Sales holiday recap: the brands and content that came out on top

Odds are if you’ve turned on your TV, checked your email, or gone on social media in the past few weeks, you’ve seen brands advertising their sales and offers for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even an extended Cyber Week sale. Smaller brands celebrated Small Business Saturday, and non-profits and causes drove fundraising initiatives for Giving Tuesday.

We took a look back at some of the top content for 2021’s sales holiday sale season, and what marketers can learn from them to inform strategies for the rest of the year.

Black Friday

Black Friday was the biggest sales holiday with nearly 75 million engagements on content overall and over 5.3 million engagements on retailers’ content.

Influencers and celebrities drove the conversation with their brand partnerships.

When it came to retail brands themselves sharing promotions, the sales and products mostly spoke for themselves. A few brands used humor or famous models in their ads, but the main themes were high-quality images of products and creating a sense of urgency with phrases like “Now!” “Hurry!” “Before they go…” and “Offers end soon”.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday posts mainly came from public figures and politicians, promoting the important role that they play in the economy. Others were from influencers or fellow small business owners sharing the businesses they like to support.

Businesses big and small posted about the holiday, either promoting their own small business or showcasing other businesses for people to shop from.

Cyber Monday

Although virtually every sales holiday includes online deals now, Cyber Monday still brought in the content and audience engagement. There were nearly 14 million engagements overall on Cyber Monday content, and 1.3 million engagements on US retailer content.

Similar to Black Friday, Cyber Monday content by influencers and celebrities performed especially well, but a few brands like Venmo made their way to the top with exclusive deals and giveaways.

Retail brands again focused on showcasing their products and services and letting the deals speak for themselves, featuring high-quality creative and some user-generated content to catch the eye.

Giving Tuesday

On Giving Tuesday, the majority of top posts were not primarily from non-profits or charities like one might expect. Influencers and media pages shared what organizations they were supporting and encouraged others to get involved.

Though they didn’t get as much engagement as some major celebrities did on their posts, the non-profits and charities did post and see high engagement rates. They appealed to consumers’ emotions, showing the work they do and the impact they have. Charities that focus on animals and children did especially well, as baby and pet content typically get great engagement on social media.

Several major retailers also got involved, sharing what organizations and causes they would be supporting this year. Some brands like Alo Yoga promoted their own foundations, while others like Free People chose a charity to partner with.

The key takeaway here? The content that does well most of the year will also do well during the holidays. Brands and retailers with strong communities of customers and brand advocates will see engagement no matter what, and photos of puppies and kittens are cute no matter what the date is. But there are a few things that can deliver a strategic advantage:

  • Partnerships with influencers and other brands increase audience interest and help reach new people.
  • Create a sense of urgency in captions and other copy. A sale is more exciting when it’s something to jump on right now.
  • If it fits with your brand, memes and humor can go a long way. Great photos and graphics highlighting your product or service tend to perform well on digital platforms as well.

Have questions that weren’t covered here, or want to know how a specific brand performed on social during the sales holidays? Set up a quick chat with our experts and we’ll send you a free custom report.

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