Consumers Will Receive 11 or More Texts From Retail Brands This Black Friday. Here's How Yours Will Stand Out
The retail spending outlook for holiday 2023 is bright, as researchers are predicting it to increase 4.5 percent to a whopping $1.3 trillion in the weeks soon upon us.
Yet if we’ve learned anything these past few years, it’s that no holiday season for retailers is ever the same. This might be the year to really center on innovative mobile marketing as your key Black Friday/Cyber Monday engagement driver.
We’re seeing three key trends at Vibes that will likely impact your mobile marketing approach this year:
- It’s not just about Black Friday. One of the fundamental changes in recent years is it’s not just about Black Friday Activity around this day and other key days like Cyber Monday have increasingly spread to surrounding days, and retailers don’t need to batch-and-blast SMS on one or two days.
- Holiday seasons are starting earlier. Statista found over half of consumers started their holiday shopping in October last year, up from 45 percent in 2021. This trend is only predicted to continue this year.
- SMS market saturation. While text message marketing is having a resurgence thanks to trends like data crackdowns and artificial intelligence, as a channel SMS is becoming more saturated. Sending a single message on Black Friday is no longer as impactful.
So what’s a marketer to do next?
It’s important to understand how and when your customers engage with your brand, then adjust accordingly. Findings from recent research conducted on the best SMS send times show that, contrary to common practices, sending before noon on the day of a sale isn’t always a retailer’s best bet.
Somebody somewhere once decided that 10 a.m. local time was the best time to send a message. Don’t do that if you want to stand out, which is the point of SMS. If you’re one of five messages a consumer receives within a span of five minutes, it’s not going to be as effective.
4 New Rules for How SMS Fits Into Your Holiday Marketing Playbook
Here are four ways you can set yourself apart and stand out.
1. Be intentional on the days you send your messages.
We’ve never had a holiday season with this many brands utilizing SMS marketing. That means consumers are going to see an unprecedented number of messages at key times during key days. In fact, we expect the average person to receive an average of 11 marketing messages on Black Friday this year, for some as many as 30-plus.
Being just as intentional in October, November and December can be more important than solely relying on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the only days to drive strong sales. As you think about whether you do or don’t send messages on Black Friday this year, keep the following in mind:
- Sending text messages earlier in the season will help you properly target and personalize holiday content that gets you into the shopper’s consideration set
- Recent research that Vibes conducted estimates that Saturday, November 11th and Tuesday, November 14th will be exceptionally strong days for customer engagement via SMS.
- Sending your text messages slightly later in the season may help you avoid getting buried in what could be a very crowded SMS inbox.
- The same research by Vibes estimates Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 — the weekend after Cyber Monday — will see higher engagement than Black Friday.
2. Be intentional with the times you send messages.
It might be as simple as not picking a round number (e.g., picking 12:14 p.m. vs. 12:00 p.m. like everyone else does) that can catch more eyes that otherwise may have missed your message among four others they also received right at the top of the hour.
3. Keep in mind how often you send your messages.
Some of the most successful retailers during the holiday season increase the number of messages they send — with some sending multiple messages in a single day. This is because they’ve learned when their audience is in the mindset to shop, it's wise to target them appropriately in these moments.
If it makes sense with your audience to send multiple messages on a certain day, this is the time of year to do it.
4. Be creative with content.
MMS is one exciting and customer-friendly way to stand out. When considering if you send MMS vs. SMS, here are a few ideas based on the top-performing holiday MMS messages from Vibes' customers last year:
- Showcase a preview of upcoming sales to help subscribers start preparing for the abundance of deals becoming available on Black Friday (and send the message the weekend before or any day up to the Wednesday before Black Friday).
- Visually highlight an added benefit that catches shoppers’ eyes, such as free shipping on qualifying orders or on all orders.
- Animate a gift guide preview that shuffles through different gift guide categories.
These are the tactics and tweaks that allow a retailer to soar above the generic, still-stuck-in-2016 crowd filling consumers’ smartphones with unread offers this holiday season.
Alex Campbell is one of Vibes' co-founders as well as chief innovation officer. For over 20 years, Alex has helped shape mobile marketing both within the company as well as the industry.
Related story: How Mobile Bridges the Gap Between In-Store and Online
Alex Campbell has long been recognized as one of mobile marketing’s original pioneers, working tirelessly to educate marketers on the value of mobile as a viable discipline. A true entrepreneur at heart, Alex oversees Vibes’ innovation strategy. The company’s intelligent mobile engagement platform enables marketers across a variety of industries to connect with consumers using SMS, MMS, dynamic Mobile Wallet, mobile app push notifications, and performance analytics to become the backbone for these brands’ overall digital engagement strategies.