Black Friday and Social Media Buzz

Today our friends in the US are taking the day off to enjoy some time with family, friends and some turkey. While this may be a restful day for most Americans, all that will change tomorrow on the US’s biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. We’ve all seen the videos of people lining up the day before and some people getting trampled on Black Friday just so others can get a TV for a super cheap price. With such a big hype around the deals and savings for Black Friday I decided to check out the buzz in social media about it.

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I searched the social web for mentions of Black Friday. Since the beginning of the month I was able to find 434, 497 blog posts, 37,961 online news articles, 108,209 forum posts and 701,564 tweets talking about Black Friday.

I tracked the conversations all the way back to then beginning of November and we can see that as Black Friday draws closer the talk about it continues to pick up steam.

A look at a heat map of the USA shows us that all the sates seem to be tweeting about the shopping day. California is the darkest on the map meaning the most talk about Black Friday is coming from there, followed by New York, Texas and Florida.

I then thought that diving a little bit deeper into all of this information could help show what people were going to be looking for on the Black Friday shopping trips. I started with the buzzgraph, which shows us the words being used most in conjunction with my search term, but didn’t seem to get anything here. The words that seem to be most connected are more general such as “Thanksgiving,” “cyber” (as in cyber monday) and “retail.”

I also found the same sort of results when I looked at a word cloud using the same search terms.

To delve a little bit deeper I decided to see if our entities tool could help pull out better information as it searches the content for proper nouns. Searching Twitter led to very few results, but searching through the blog and forum posts about Black Friday yielded some insights into what people will be shopping for. On blogs I was able to pull out a few items that seem to be on people’s shopping lists like HD tv’s and new cameras. As well, we can also see people talking about where to get the best deals like Best Buy and Amazon.

I then moved over to forums, because as I’ve noted in a previous blog post, forums seem to be used the most when it comes to sharing deals. In forums though, the results seem to be a bit more scattered. We can still see some products like “notebook computer” and “PS3,” but they seem to only be a minor part of the conversation. We also see places to get some of the best deals again like “WalMart,” “Best Buy” and “Amazon.” However, one thing that seems to be more apparent here than in blogs are numbers. Some of these may be product codes as it’s easier for people to search for products online using those codes, but some may also be savings codes to help people save even more money. Some of these actually look like phone numbers to me. It’s hard to say exactly what all the codes are for, but it’s quite apparent that they are there.

Then, just for good measure I decided to take a look at the other end of the upcoming weekend at what is known as Cyber Monday. Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is known as a day to get good deals, except most of these deals are for online shopping only. Since the beginning of November I found 118,217 blog posts, 10,287 online news articles, 5,371 forum posts and 31,417 tweets about Cyber Monday.

I also pulled up the entities list for forums talking about Cyber Monday. Here we can see much more of a product orientation, with electronic and digital products being the main focus.

From what I was able to see here today, it looks like electronics are what everybody will be shopping for over this upcoming weekend. Do you plan on taking advantage of these deals? What are you looking to pick up?

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  • Sheldon, looks like the US is up for sale! For brands using social intelligence to understand how to differentiate themselves from the noise is key to [revenue] success. That involves an analysis of where are my customers and what are they focused on; together with an analysis of how my competitors are driving consumers to their brands/stores/bargains.

    The data is there as shown above – just need to mine it to find the gold!


  • Sheldon Levine

    Hey Mike,

    That’s all very true. If I were a specific brand I would have dug a lot deeper than this and probably been able to gain some real insights into my customers and their thoughts. I just did this as a high overview of some very general things and just for fun though.