​The Britton Digital Update—Week of November 27, 2017

​Five minutes to get you up to speed on this week’s digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news

There have been many articles written since Black Friday trying to proclaim who “won” the day or weekend in 2017. In reality, the answer is both anyone who shopped and anyone who owns Amazon stock. Consumers spent 16.9 percent more on Black Friday this year than last—a record $5.03 billion, reported Retail Dive. With final numbers being tallied, Cyber Monday didn’t disappoint either, taking in an estimated $6.59 billion, which would place it as the largest online-shopping day in US history. It’s part of a trend that shows more and more retailers getting a jump on early discounts and sales to grab as much share of the available consumer dollars before anyone else.

While it is typically referred to as the largest shopping day of the year, Black Friday usually ranks more like fourth or fifth on that list. The two weekends prior to Christmas often see more purchases than Black Friday. Consumer spending has progressed so much on Thanksgiving and the days prior that some analysts are now saying that the month should be referred to as Black November. I’m not sure that consumers are ready to go that far just yet.

It should be noted that the consumer backlash from stores being open on Thanksgiving seemed less prevalent, especially since more consumers are shopping on their mobile devices. I fought the urge to head out on Thanksgiving Day, and, for the second year in a row, I completed half my Christmas shopping—with some pretty big discounts—in just minutes on my phone, not long after my tryptophan-induced nap. It should be no surprise that some of those dollars made their way through Amazon.

Clearly, I was not the only one to spend time (and money) with Amazon. Dealerscope reported, “Amazon’s share of all online transactions on Thanksgiving was 45.1 percent, more than triple that of the next-closest online retailer (Walmart) and more than the rest of the top 10 combined.” On Black Friday, Amazon’s share was north of 54 percent. Astonishing.

The news of a big Thanksgiving weekend is great for anyone who owns stock in Amazon. It’s been near all-time highs, with predictions that Amazon could beat out Apple in the race to become the world’s first company valued at more than 1 trillion dollars. As you can imagine, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a few shares lying around. This stock increase has helped propel him past Bill Gates as the richest person alive, and last week Bezos became the only person living currently with a net worth of more than $100 billion (Gates did it back in 1999 but has since made contributions to his philanthropic efforts, causing his net worth to dip).

Since so many holiday deals still await us, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest digital, business, social media, entertainment, and marketing news in just five minutes with this week’s Digital Update. We are covering other retailers with big wins and big headaches from the start of the holiday shopping season, Snapchat’s redesign, and more!

The Best and the Rest

As mentioned above, Amazon saw 45 to 55 percent of the online sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. What were the top-selling items? Amazon products, of course. The Amazon Echo Dot, Echo, and Fire TV Stick devices were at the top of the list for the holiday weekend. Amazon heavily discounted those items, and for good reason—members of Amazon’s Prime service and owners of Alexa-enabled devices have demonstrated higher spending in the past. Additionally, Amazon wants to get as many people in the “Amazon ecosystem” as it can before losing them to Google Home devices and a Google-Walmart partnership.

Other retailers enjoyed a strong start to the holiday shopping season, too. While Walmart came in second for sales, others in the top 10 came away with some badly needed wins. That list includes Best Buy, Kohl’s, Target, Macy’s, GameStop, and Toys R Us. Cyber Monday numbers are still being reported, but eBay claims that it was its biggest day in company history. The company hasn’t reported sales figures, but it has been working on shifting consumer perception from being an auction site to a retail site. eBay told TechCrunch that “auctions only comprise around 19 percent of the site’s sales in 2017.”

Even though Macy’s saw great enthusiasm from shoppers, it was not without headaches. Digital Trends reported that the department-store retailer saw credit-card machines go down for several hours because of capacity demands, leaving shoppers without a way to pay for discounted gift items. Macy’s wasn’t the only retailer with capacity issues, either. Lowe’s saw so much traffic on its website that it crashed. J.Crew suffered the same fate because of heavy online traffic pursuing large Black Friday discounts. With online spend only expected to increase, retailers now have less than a year to get their online presence able to handle the stress of more shoppers.

Social Impact

What kind of impact did social media have on the Thanksgiving weekend of deals? Black Friday–related tweets and hashtags led to more than 785 million engagements on Twitter, according to data from Sprout Social. The social network, which just expanded its character limit from 140 to 280 characters, saw nearly 2 million tweets referencing Black Friday.

Facebook and Instagram shared in a blog post this week that more than 130 million users, between the two platforms, participated in conversations from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. That led to more than 369 million interactions on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook reported that the most engaged users came from the states of Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee. While Black Friday took up much of the conversation, it was Small Business Saturday hashtags #ShopSmall and #ShopLocal that saw the highest use on Instagram.

Social Media on Autopilot

As many social media managers know, there is no such thing as off time. You are on call 24/7/365. That being said, it’s not unusual to use popular automation tools to help with some of the daily tasks, such as posting preapproved content. I’m guessing that the McDonald’s tweet on Black Friday was not preapproved. It was more of a placeholder, reading “Black Friday **** Need copy and link****.” Ouch.

That wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part came when the Wendy’s social media manager didn’t take the day off. Wendy’s retweeted McDonald’s tweet with the message “When the tweets are as broken as the ice cream machine.” Double ouch.

As stewards of the brands we represent, we take every precaution, with multiple layers of checks and balances to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Mistakes happen, but when it comes to social media, they happen very publicly.

Snapping Back?

Earlier this month, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced that a major app redesign was in the works. Snapchat has been losing its battle to gain new users after Instagram copied most of its popular features. At one time Snapchat had relished its complicated design—it attracted younger users and kept older demographics away. With growth a necessity for survival, Spiegel announced the company would redesign the app for easier use and easier communication with friends. This week, Snapchat unveiled its new user experience.

“Today we’re making Snapchat more personal,” started the video unveiling the redesign. Spiegel explained that the company is separating the social from the media, meaning that all your friend’s content is shuffled into one section, and content created by publishers and creators is placed in another section of the app. Previously, it was all combined. Snapchat hopes that this makes the app feel more personal. But will it see additional growth as a result? We will be watching throughout 2018.

For the rest of the news this past week, here’s a compilation of the best news stories that we don’t have time to expound upon but that you should probably take notice of:

If you liked this, check out our previous Digital Update posts or the Digital Update on Flipboard.

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Photos: BMDG

Dave Goode

Dave Goode

My name is Dave B. Goode (yes, it is my real name). If it sounds like a radio name, it is—well, it was. I had a 22-year radio-broadcasting career as a brand manager and morning-show host. I’m an amateur photographer. I love to cook. I am obsessed with social media. I have come to the realization that Chia Pet seeds do not work on a human head and that it is OK to be bald.

Meet Dave Goode