Which Retailers Are “Winning” Media Coverage of Black Friday?

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and the traditional start of the holiday season. Chances are, the merchants that you are planning to visit this Friday are on your radar because they advertised specific deals and/or received media coverage around their participation in the event.

The Parse.ly team thought it would be interesting to look at which retailers are “winning” Black Friday. Or, more accurately: Which retailers received the most exposure from Black Friday coverage in 2015?

To find out, we searched for mentions of the top 15 retailers in the United States, according to the National Retail Federation, within all of the posts in our publisher network that mentioned Black Friday. We then translated the number of articles into pageviews to get a better sense of retailers’ exposure.

Amazon has been the most mentioned retailer in conjunction with Black Friday across Parse.ly’s network of publishers. It is mentioned in 29.2 percent of all Black Friday posts, followed by:

  • Walmart, mentioned in 18.5 percent of Black Friday posts
  • Target, mentioned in 16.8 percent of Black Friday posts
  • Best Buy, mentioned in 16.6 percent of Black Friday posts

The fact that Amazon is the sole online-only merchant on the list of top retailers — and it received the most attention with respect to Black Friday — could reflect Black Friday transitioning from a physical retail event to an online experience, which Amazon is in a good position to dominate.

Amazon wins Black Friday! (click to tweet)

Or maybe Amazon’s dominance comes from its efforts to create an entirely new shopping holiday. In July, after the company’s first annual Amazon Prime Day event, Greg Greeley, vice president, Amazon Prime, reported that worldwide orders surpassed those from Black Friday in 2014 by 18 percent. Our analysis of the coverage demonstrated a solid showing, especially compared to “Cyber Monday.”

Although the media coverage of these shopping events cannot capture their success in terms of sales, it can serve as a powerful predictor of their scale and popularity.

Did Christmas Come Early this Year?

For Amazon, Christmas may have come early this year as a result of its popularity in Black Friday-related media mentions. But can the same be said for all retailers? Did media coverage contribute to this year’s “Christmas Creep” by mentioning Black Friday more often, or sooner, this year than it did last year?

The Parse.ly team looked at the frequency of “Black Friday” posts published across our network of digital publishers (this year versus last year) to compare the amount of media coverage.

So far, the media has mentioned Black Friday more frequently this year than it had up to this point in 2014. Will that play out in sales as well? We bet the retailers hope so — ho, ho, ho!

According to our analysis, in the two weeks leading up to Black Friday, the shopping event received about 23 percent more exposure across Parse.ly’s network than it did during the same period in 2014.

And just to prove that data puts us in the holiday spirit, we checked to see when Christmas would have to occur if media mentions of Black Friday in 2015 remained comparable to those in 2014. What did we learn? Christmas would have had to take place two full days earlier last year to keep pace with this year’s coverage. Or, put another way, Black Friday coverage started a little bit earlier — at a larger scale — this year than last.

Ho, ho, ho!  Christmas came the equivalent of two days  early this year! (tweet this)