A Quick Look at This Year’s Black Friday Marketing Efforts on Facebook Pages

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By Sara Inés Calderón

Since the point of Thanksgiving is being thankful for what you already have, the holiday doesn’t lend itself to marketing as easily as most others.

The day after is a different story. A quick look around Facebook this week shows that big brands, as well as small businesses, are taking advantage of the Facebook platform’s offerings in order to spread the world about their Black Friday sales.

Most big brands require that Facebook users Like their Page before seeing the discounts available on Black Friday.

Among the brands that employed this technique were Target, Wal Mart, and Toys “R” Us; each had a different Black Friday offering on Facebook. Toys “R” Us had a well-developed Black Friday app that allows a user to check out its sales in a catalog right on Facebook. You click on a menu of different categories and then you can view individual items and their sale prices.

Target is hosting a $25 gift card giveaway in honor of Black Friday that requires users to register on Facebook; they can then publish this fact to their stream. Wal Mart posted an Open House event for Friday, but is also featuring Black Friday-type of merchandise on its CrowdSaver tab, which we wrote about last month. Best Buy and Gap also posted events to promote their Black Friday sales and both had upwards of 3,000 confirmed customers as of Wednesday.

Old Navy launched a virtual game with CrowdStar and Sibblingz that allows players move through a virtual Old Navy store, shop for merchandize, socialize with other players, as well as “gift” virtual fashion to Facebook friends. While playing the game players will be able to see Old Navy’s Black Friday sales. Additionally, Old Navy is advertising Friday-only deals on its Facebook Page and with an event.

Then there were retailers, big and small, that used Facebook’s status updates and posted links to advertise their sales. This was the case with pharmacy chain CVS, which posted a link in a status update to its holiday catalog, as well as with smaller retailers such as Krazy Vatos boutique, which has been advertising its Black Friday hours all week on its Facebook Page via status updates.

Finally, Facebook’s location service Places is also being used by retailers in a bid to drive business this Friday. Toys “R” Us is offering a 15% discount for the first 3,000 customers that spend more than $150. JCPenney and H&M are offering virtual coupons to customers who check in via Places.

The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas is set to give guests an extra night or room upgrade for free if they check in on Places. Old Navy is also going to give 100 minutes of free phone calls to troops to call home for Thanksgiving when 15,000 check into the store via Facebook’s Places. Other companies are using the holiday shopping spree as a forum for philanthropy; North Face is donating $1 to the National Park Foundation for every Places check-in while REI is donating to local conservation non-profits for Places check-ins.

For more detailed information about how big brands are using the Facebook platform to the advantage of their business, check out our Facebook Marketing Bible.