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Confusing Black Friday results.

It was a massive Black Friday for our retailers and for most of the industry in general if the media is to be believed. I did notice a shift in search volume this year though; not as many queries directed at “What is Black Friday?” and the like. I have a couple of theories on why that is and why it might signal a shift to eCommerce in this country.

  • Stellar results for the Black Friday weekend
  • Why some retailers don’t participate
  • How lockdowns affected Black Friday
  • Why Black Friday search volumes were down.
  • Watch out for more webinars in 2021


Hey, welcome back Rankers! How you going? Wow. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. How did it go for you? Went gangbusters for our retailers and had a few discussions on Shopify. And there’s a few articles on Shopify. Had a few discussions on LinkedIn about Shopify because Shopify have got a big article out about how all their retailers made record numbers. Really, really great to see and, I forget what the number is. Sorry Jodi. It was something like 5 billion dollars or something. Incredible. And our merchants did really, really well across a range of platforms. One of them was Shopify, but we had others. There was Open Cart. There was Kentico, there was WordPress, WooCommerce, but a couple of Shopify ones as well.

Where was the Black Friday search volume?

But interestingly, and this is, this is the sort of stuff that makes me think and makes me wonder, tends to do my head in just a little bit, the search volume wasn’t there for Black Friday this year in Australia. Now I’ve got a couple of theories about this. Look, we had some retailers that have doubled their revenue since last year, but they didn’t do Black Friday because of that reason. They just didn’t need to. So we’ve got quite a few retailers that just don’t even bother with it because of the nature of their product. They’re doing really well. They don’t need to do discount. And others use it as basically a big revenue stream at that time of year. So it just depends on the business. Certainly it works really, really, really, really well for some.
But look at that. What I’ve got here is obviously a number of large Australian retailers, certainly no pure play retailers in there. These are all bricks and mortar and they’ve all gone online as well. But the interesting thing about this year and that green spike represents searches for Black Friday in Australia. I think last year was a bit of a breakout year. And as I did the show at the end of last year, talking about Black Friday. I’ll probably do another one in January about how Boxing Day compared this year to Black Friday. I think there was a lot more media about it. Now I don’t watch television so I don’t really know, but that’s the feeling I get from the things I see online and people talking about it. There wasn’t as much “What is Black Friday?” type searches in the search results. Whereas last year there was. There was a lot more of, “Why is it called Black Friday?” Because to Australians it sounds stupid, right? It sounds like a bad day. It doesn’t sound like a day you have a sale. Why do you call it Black Friday? Isn’t that Friday the 13th? Anyway.

So there was a lot of that last year in Australia. And of course, all of this comes out of the US. Their Thanksgiving Day weekend. I hope you all had a lovely weekend. But what you can see here, over the course of that year, that big dip there, of course, is the lockdown coming into place, in Australia. And then this is the subsequent spike of people looking for toilet paper and trying to buy things online because they can’t get out of the house. And then you can see how that travels for the rest of the year. So when you look at the difference between say 2019 and 2018, throughout the course of the year. I guess the easiest one there to see is JB Hi-Fi. You can see there’s not a lot of difference between the two years. But this year, there is.
Now that will mean a lot of, obviously, people who already know the brand and people who are maybe shopping at the stores, but not this year, because they can’t because the stores are closed. So they’re going online. Also a lot of new users who may not have bought from the brand or only occasionally bought from those brands, are also being forced online. Now, when that happens, all of these businesses of course have got EDM’s, because they’re all… Obviously, you’re building your list like everybody else. And once they get their abandoned shopping cart, emails, their thank you emails, all of these follow-ups that we do… Well, not we, because I’m not a retailer. But retailers do, we do it for our clients. All of that is where the long-term value is for the business because they’re building the list and they’re building that relationship with the customer.

So I think what we’re seeing here, because when we look at say 2018 versus this year for Black Friday, we’re still on an upward trajectory. I think this was a bit of an outlier. And I think a lot of this search volume for just that phrase, Black Friday, like what Black Friday deals are, where are they, who’s got them. There’s a lot more EDM’s going out this year because those lists with those retailers have grown. You can see here, this one is… What’s that? Maybe 50% up, 50% up from last year say on average. So if you’ve got that much more people hitting your site and people buying from you and you are marketing directly to them, maybe the things that they would normally look for, for the Black Friday deals, they’re already finding out through their email.

Now, I don’t have any hard evidence of this, but I’d be interested to know what you think. So they’re my two theories. However, when we go and have a look at the United States, because these are the things that interest me. I really should put on my glasses. When we go and have a look at the United States, we can see a different picture altogether. Now, obviously it’s very different over there. It’s almost like a stable date, it always happens, it always happens, it always happens. Except this year. It didn’t happen at all.

Now you could say, Oh, well that reflects Australia. Maybe. Maybe similar things, but obviously there’s a lot more going on in the US than what there is in Australia. And there’s a lot more upheaval, there’s a lot more people out of work. In Australia, we’ve had a lot of corporate welfare if you like this year. I put my hand up for that. Don’t worry about that. A lot of others did too. And so there’s been a massive change, I think, in obviously the shopping habits this year, but I think it’s impacted that Black Friday thing in a few ways. But none of our retailers have had a bad sales season because of it. So you would have to say, well, the search volume for people searching for Black Friday is down, but it doesn’t seem to have affected sales.

The rise of BNPL

I’d love to know your theories, what you think. If you’re going to have a look at the data yourself, because it’s fascinating. You can dive deeper into some of those related queries. You’re not going to find much though, as opposed to looking directly at a brand and those sorts of things. But what we saw in the lead up to Black Friday was a lot more people looking for buy now, pay later. So Klarna, Afterpay, all of these services. So there was a lot of that going on this year as well, which wasn’t happening last year. Maybe they’re buying through those apps as well, like Zip Pay and those sorts of things. Maybe they’re buying through the Shopify app and those sorts of things. So we’re not actually seeing it in the search volume. It’s interesting. Love to know what you think.

Now, next year, we will be doing another show this year, but next year, I’m going to be doing less reveals on the show that we’ve always done in previous years as far as, look what we just discovered. I’m saving that for private webinars because we’ve been giving a lot away for 16 years, and the stuff that we’re doing now is just extraordinary. I’ve had, the first time in my career, I’ve had so many emails from clients saying, “You guys are just amazing.” Because we’ve been focusing on revenue. They don’t say that when you’re focused on SEO and rankings, and then I decided that we can just focus on that, but when you’re focused on everything and you’re focused on revenue goals and you’re working with your client and you’re pushing your client and the client is surprised at you saying, no, we need to lift budgets. It makes for a much different relationship. And it makes for a more exciting work environment and partnership if you like.
But it’s been extraordinary. So thank you to those clients, if you haven’t been watching. They’re probably not because they don’t need to, but thank you to Richard, Kara, Toby, Debbie. I’m going to forget a bunch. Dave, Rob. Anyway, you know who you are. So thank you for all those emails and next year, if you want to find out the really interesting money making stuff, I’ll be talking about the webinars here that we’re going to be doing. And I’ll bring you more of my show, obviously just on the general YouTube channel, but subscribe to the YouTube channel because that’s where I’ll be telling you about the webinars and how to get in on that. Hopefully, that’s helpful. Hopefully, you had a good year. And please let me know your thoughts either on LinkedIn or on YouTube. What do you think? Why is this happening? Love to know.

Please share, like, subscribe. Tell your friends. Hopefully, it’s helpful. See you next week. Bye.

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