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Socially Aware Blog

The Law and Business of Social Media

Our List of Lists

Posted in Compliance, Disappearing Content, E-Commerce, Livestreaming, Marketing, Privacy, Wearable Computers

January is the month when lists—lists of predictions, lists of trends, lists of feats and lists of failures—pervade social media newsfeeds and publications’ headlines. Here at Socially Aware we’re making an annual tradition of curating a “List of Lists”—an inventory of the roundups that we think will be of most interest to our readership.

We’ll update this page throughout the month as additional pertinent content is published.

Happy 2016!

Apps

The 100 Best iPhone Apps of 2016

The 100 Best Android Apps of 2016

Social Media (General)

What’s ahead for social media in 2016?

11 pivotal social media trends for 2016

Social Media Trends 2016

Virtual Reality Takes Off and 4 Other Social Media Trends in 2016

Social Media Sites You’ll Be Seeing More of in 2016

Beyond Twitter: The Other Social Media Platforms 2016 Candidates Are Using

Social Media Content

Top 10 social media misfires of 2015

Top Social Media Stories of 2015

Twitter’s Top Social Media Moments of 2015

Digital & Social Media Marketing

Five things great brands will do differently on social media in 2016

20 Things Social Media Professionals Can’t Ignore In 2016

Skills Social Media Managers Will Need in 2016

From Likes To Tweets: Marketing Land’s Top Social Media Marketing Columns Of 2015

10 Steps To Improve Your 2016 Social Media ROI

21 Content Marketing Predictions for 2016

Legal Tech

The 10 Most Important Legal Technology Developments of 2015

4 Legal Tech Trends To Watch For In 2016

What Technologies Will Most Affect Big Law in 2016?

Startups

146 Startup Failure Post-Mortems

15 interesting startups to watch in 2016

10 Business Trends for 2016 Success

Tech, Privacy and Social Media Law

Five Privacy and Security Stories That Mattered in 2015

Wired.com’s Predictions on the Intersection of Technology and the Law in 2016

Tech trends 2016: Cybersecurity in the connected world

 

 

An FTC Warning on Native Advertising

Posted in Compliance, FTC, Marketing

brand advertising word cloud

“Native advertising”—ads that may blur the distinction between advertising and editorial, video or other content—has been a hot topic in recent years for both marketers and regulators. It is popular with marketers because it is apparently an effective advertising model. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on the other hand, contends that it may be deceptive when the advertising content is not readily identifiable to consumers as such, and it has just issued guidance on how advertisers can stay on the right side of the law. On December 22, 2015, the FTC released an Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements that focuses in particular on “native” advertising, along with guidance for businesses on native advertising that further fleshes out the FTC’s expectations.

The Enforcement Policy Statement defines “natively formatted advertising” as communications “that match the design, style, and behavior of the digital media in which it is disseminated.” For example, an advertisement may be integrated into a newspaper website, with a “headline” and then a few lines of text, so that it appears similar to substantive, publisher-generated news articles posted on the website. Native advertisements may also appear on social media platforms and may be delivered as videos or through other media.

Regardless of format, the rule is the same. As the Statement puts it:

Deception occurs when an advertisement misleads reasonable consumers as to its true nature or source, including that a party other than the sponsoring advertiser is the source of an advertising or promotional message, and such misleading representation is material.

In light of this principle, the FTC may deem an advertisement that looks like an ordinary news article to be deceptive if consumers are not provided with sufficient information to differentiate the advertisement from publisher-generated, non-advertising content. This information may be inherent in the nature of the advertisement, or it may require a separate disclosure indicating that the advertisement is a marketing communication. For example, in FTC v. Coulomb Media, Inc., as well as other cases, the FTC alleged that defendants deceptively used fake news websites to market açai berry products. Similarly, and more recently, in FTC v. NourishLife, LLC, the FTC alleged that the defendants misrepresented that a so-called research website was an independent source for information about the speech disorder apraxia, when in fact the website advertised the health benefits of the company’s products.

A disclosure may be important because, even if the substance of the natively formatted advertisement is not deceptive, the nature of the advertisement itself can be deceptive. In this regard, the FTC has recently brought enforcement actions and warned about advertising that appears to be user-generated commentary about a product or service but is in fact marketing content created by or on behalf of an advertiser. You can read more about these enforcement actions here and here.

To put it another way, the Enforcement Policy Statement holds that “an ad is deceptive if it promotes the benefits and attributes of goods and services, but is not readily identifiable to consumers as an ad.” But what, exactly, does that mean? The Policy Statement and the guide for businesses offer some considerations of what may make an advertisement “readily identifiable.” The guidance lists 17 mini case studies that provide examples of what does and does not require a disclosure. (The fact that 17 examples are necessary suggests the potential complexity in determining what does or does not constitute an advertisement that requires a disclosure.) The recurring theme of the examples is whether the consumer can reasonably ascertain that the advertisement is paid marketing material and not content organically generated by the publisher (or by a user in the case of social media or video-hosting websites).

For cases in which native advertising requires a disclosure, the new guidance recaps the FTC’s .com Disclosures guidance for businesses, which lays out basic requirements for making “clear and prominent” disclosures. The guidance also adds some new considerations, such as the need to disclose that the native content is advertising near the focal point of the ad, or in front of or above the “headline” of the native advertisement. (This disclosure needs to convey to the consumer that the material is advertising before the consumer clicks through the ad to the main advertising page.) In addition, the guidance suggests that, for multimedia ads (such as videos), the disclosure should be made in the video itself before the consumer receives the advertising message. That is, if the advertisement is only a small part of the overall video, the disclosure must be “delivered as close as possible to the advertising messag[e]” itself. Finally, the guidance affirms that the disclosures should include terms likely to be understood, such as “Ad,” “Advertisement,” or “Paid Advertisement,” and not terms such as “Promoted” or “Sponsored,” which are ambiguous in this context and could imply, for example, that a sponsoring advertiser funded the content but did not create or influence it.

As the FTC continues to scrutinize various mechanisms for delivering advertising online, companies should make sure that consumers are aware when they are being marketed to, even as the participants in the digital advertising ecosystem come up with new and innovative ways to deliver those marketing messages. All participants, including the companies whose products are being marketed, are potentially at risk of an FTC enforcement action if their advertisements are found to be deceptive, and thus every participant should pay heed to the FTC’s recent statements and guidance. In light of the FTC’s aggressive approach in this area, making sure that innovative forms of advertising meet the FTC’s timeless disclosure standards should be on every company’s radar.

Influencer Marketing: Tips for a Successful (and Legal) Advertising Campaign

Posted in Compliance, Endorsement Guides, FDA Regulations, FTC, IP, Marketing, Online Endorsements

Word Cloud with Influence related tags

In an age of explosive growth for social media and declining TV viewership numbers, companies are partnering with so-called “influencers” to help the companies grow their brands. Popular users of Instagram, Vine, YouTube and other social media sites have gained celebrity status, generating millions of views, impressions and “likes” with every upload.

Capitalizing on the shift from traditional media to online platforms, advertisers have begun to engage influencers in marketing campaigns. In a May 2015 study, 84% of marketers said they expect to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign in the next 12 months. Of those who had already done so, 81% said influencer engagement was effective. In a separate study, 22% of marketers rated influencer marketing as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method.

So what is an influencer, anyway? By its broadest definition, an influencer is any person who has influence over the ideas and behaviors of others. When it comes to social media, an influencer could be someone with millions of followers or a user with just a few loyal subscribers. One thing that all influencers seem to have in common is that their audiences trust them. As such, influencers can be powerful advocates, lending credibility, increasing engagement and ultimately driving consumer actions.

Influencer marketing can be an effective tool, but it’s important to do right. As recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigations demonstrate, online advertising is an area of relatively active enforcement, and influencer marketing presents a number of potential legal issues. The following tips can help companies lead successful influencer marketing campaigns while lessening the risk of liability.

Disclosure Is Key

In September, the FTC settled a case with Machinima, a company that paid popular video bloggers to promote Microsoft’s Xbox One system through YouTube. Despite the hefty sums paid out to the gamers (one of whom pocketed $30,000), Machinima did not require them to make any disclosures. The FTC alleged that the failure to disclose the relationship between Machinima and the gamers was deceptive, in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. In its Endorsement Guides, the FTC has taken the position that a failure to disclose unexpected material connections between companies and the individuals who endorse them is deceptive.

This case raises two important questions: (1) when is a disclosure required and (2) what constitutes adequate disclosure? Continue Reading

Frying Small Potatoes: Will Amazon’s Pursuit of Individual Fake-Review Writers Pay Off?

Posted in Endorsement Guides, Litigation, Online Reviews

Reviews glossy green round buttonAmazon’s customer reviews have long been a go-to resource for consumers researching prospective purchases. Unfortunately, fake customer reviews—product critiques commissioned by merchants and manufacturers in an effort to bolster their own products’ reputations or undermine their competitors’—have been around for almost as long.

Now, in its quest to maintain the integrity of its customer reviews, Amazon is targeting an unlikely group: the fake-review writers themselves, all 1,114 of whom advertised their availability to write the phony reviews on Fiverr, a website where freelancers offer services like converting documents from one file format to another for as little as five dollars.

In its other attempts to crack down on phony product evaluations, Amazon has named as defendants the websites where phony-review writers solicit work. Unlike those defendant sites, however, which had URLs including and similar to “buyamazonreviews.com,” Fiverr, in its own terms of service, reserves the right to remove gigs that violate the terms of service of third parties, like Amazon.

This latest attempt by Amazon to quash the phony product reviews on its site is reportedly the first to go after individual reviewers. Because they probably don’t have particularly deep pockets, fake-review writers who advertise on Fiverr might seem like unlikely defendants in a suit filed by a retail giant like Amazon. But, as Computerworld’s Evan Schuman points out, what’s really at issue is how Amazon’s customers are likely to perceive the intention behind Amazon’s legal crusades.

“[W]ith Amazon, the credibility of online reviews is crucial and Amazon users would see people who write fake reviews as enemies,” Schuman writes. “Amazon sends the best possible message to its customers when it’s seen as proactively and aggressively seeking out such evildoers: ‘We believe in our products and services and know that honest reviews will be of the greatest value.’”

To uncover the real names of the fake-review writers—as opposed to naming a bunch of “John” and “Jane Does” as defendants—Amazon undertook an elaborate undercover sting operation  that included actually hiring several fraudsters who had advertised their services. The fact that the company went to such great lengths to uncover the real culprits should help to boost customers’ confidence that Amazon is making a good faith effort to protect their best interests.

It may also serve as an effective deterrent to the wrongdoers.

“If it’s done enough,” Shuman opines, “you plant the seed of doubt in the mind of the criminal: ‘Is this prospective client real or an undercover Amazon investigator? And is it really worth $5 to find out the hard way?’”

On the other hand, Amazon’s efforts to eradicate online fake reviews may well turn out to be a giant game of whac-a-mole, with new wrongdoers springing up to take the place of the ones driven off the market all the time. Great conveniences often come at a price, and—in the Internet age—that price takes the form of nuisances like fake product reviews, spam, trolling and pop-up ads.

Creative Commons Works: Free to License, But Not Necessarily Free to Use

Posted in Copyright

copyright_stamp_iStock_000072935747_DoubleCompanies love to use third-party content for free. In this era of belt-tightening and slashed marketing budgets, why pay to create photos and videos for advertising and other commercial uses when compelling photos and videos are readily available online for licensing for commercial use at no charge?

Perhaps the most important source of such works is Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that promotes the free sharing and use of copyrighted works. Creative Commons publishes user-friendly copyright licenses that are free to use, and relatively light on legalese; some of these licenses allow for even commercial use of the licensed works at no charge. Since the first Creative Commons licenses were made available in 2002, the organization estimates that hundreds of millions of works have been distributed under the Creative Commons regime, and counts Google, Wikipedia and even the White House as users.

Despite such popularity, there have been surprisingly few court decisions involving a Creative Commons license—Creative Commons identifies only nine such decisions total, and only two in the United States. A recent decision by the D.C. District Court, however, highlights potential pitfalls of the Creative Commons licensing regime for both licensors and licensees when a Creative Commons work is used for commercial purposes.

Creative Commons Licensing

Each of the Creative Commons license variations permits use of a copyrighted work without paying a licensing or royalty fee, provided that the licensee complies with certain conditions. The chart below summarizes the primary distinctions among the six license variations:

*  Licensee must attribute the work to its author.
**  Licensee may modify the work and create new works using the work.
***  Licensee must distribute derivative works under the same license terms as the original work.

The Art Drauglis Decision

The case at hand, Art Drauglis v. Kappa Map Group, LLC, involved the commercial use of a photo on the cover of an atlas under the Attribution-ShareAlike license. While the photographer apparently did not intend his photo to be incorporated into a for-profit work, the D.C. District Court found that the disputed use fell squarely within the terms of the license.

The photographer, Art Drauglis, posted a landscape photograph entitled “Swain’s Lock” to his public page on the photo-sharing website Flickr. Flickr offers its users the option to make their photos available for use by third parties in one of two ways: (1) By dedicating the work to the public domain (thereby waiving copyright protection), or (2) by licensing the work under a Creative Commons license (and retaining copyright in the work). Rather than selecting one of the more restrictive Creative Commons licenses, Drauglis chose the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, which allows anyone to “copy and redistribute the [licensed work] in any medium or format” and to “remix, transform, and build upon the [licensed work] for any purpose, even commercially.”  (Emphasis added.)

Kappa Map Group, which publishes a variety of maps and atlases, selected Swain’s Lock for the cover of its 2012 “Montgomery Co., Maryland Street Atlas,” which it sells for about $20. Kappa included an attribution notice on the back cover of the atlas identifying Drauglis as the photographer, as follows:

Photo: Swain’s Lock, Montgomery Co., MD

Photographer: Carly Lesser & Art Drauglis, Creative Commoms [sic], CC-BY-SA-2.0

When Drauglis discovered that his photo was being used on the atlas’s cover, he filed suit against Kappa, claiming that Kappa was in breach of various conditions on which the license grant was predicated and therefore was infringing his copyright.

Specifically, Drauglis argued that (1) the atlas (or at least the atlas cover) was a derivative work of his photo and, per the license’s ShareAlike requirement, Kappa was obligated to distribute the atlas under similar license terms for free; (2) the photo attribution notice displayed on the atlas was insufficient because it did not include either a copy of or a URL link to the license terms; and (3) Kappa failed to comply with the license’s attribution requirement because the attribution notice (which was displayed in 7-8 pt. font on the back cover) was not as prominently displayed as the copyright notice for the atlas as a whole (which was displayed in 10 pt. font on the inside cover). The court dispensed of each argument rather summarily.

Regarding Drauglis’ first argument, the parties agreed (per the plain language of the license) that only “derivative works”—as distinct from “collective works”—must be distributed free of charge pursuant to the ShareAlike requirement. Indeed, the Attribution-ShareAlike license makes clear that “collective works” and “derivative works” are mutually exclusive categories – terms applying only to derivative works do not apply to collective works, and vice versa. A “collective work” is defined in the license as “a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology or encyclopedia, in which the [licensed work] in its entirety in unmodified form, along with a number of other contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.” Because Kappa incorporated the photo into the atlas cover “with no major deletions or alterations” and the atlas itself was a compilation of individual maps together forming a “collective whole,” the court found that the atlas was a “collective work,” and therefore the ShareAlike requirement did not apply.

Regarding Drauglis’ second argument, the license requires that the attribution notice include “a copy of, or the Uniform Resource Identified for” the Attribution-ShareAlike license, together with information identifying the licensed work and its author(s).  (Emphasis added.) Although the attribution notice used by Kappa did not include a URL link to the license terms, the court found that it did sufficiently identify them. “CC-BY-SA-2.0” is, in fact, the shorthand identifier used by Creative Commons to refer to version 2.0 of the Attribution-ShareAlike license, and the first result in a search for “CC-BY-SA-2.0” in Yahoo!, Google or Bing links directly to the license’s summary page on the Creative Commons website.

Regarding Drauglis’ final argument, the Attribution-ShareAlike license requires that the attribution notice be displayed as prominently as “comparable authorship credit” appearing in a collective or derivative work. The court found that the appropriate point of comparison in this case was not the atlas copyright notice, as Drauglis argued, but rather the copyright notice for each individual map within the atlas, to which the photo attribution notice was sufficiently similar in both font size and prominence.

Takeaways

Although Drauglis’ arguments were thin, and Kappa’s use of the licensed photo was found to be well within the scope of the Attribution-ShareAlike license, the court nonetheless denied Kappa’s request for attorneys’ fees. Paying a negotiated license fee or investing in the creation of original cover art presumably would have been less costly to Kappa than 14 (long) months of discovery and litigation. Further adding to the cost of what was expected to be a fee-free license, Kappa ultimately replaced Drauglis’ photo with a new cover photo (as seen here), presumably in an effort to mitigate potential damages while the trial was ongoing.

Anyone considering commercial use of a Creative Commons work will want to take note of this case and bear in mind the risk of litigation, as commercial uses under a Creative Commons license are seemingly more likely to be challenged by the licensee than non-commercial uses, and had Kappa not carefully complied with each applicable license requirement, the decision might well have gone the other way.

Licensors making their work available under a Creative Commons license should also take care to understand the various uses permitted under each license, rather than assuming that all Creative Commons licenses necessarily prohibit licensees from turning a profit.

Wow! Socially Aware Made the Blawg100!

Posted in Uncategorized

We are delighted to announce that Socially Aware has been included in the 9th Annual Blawg 100, a list of “100 excellent legal blogs” selected by the staff and readers of the ABA Journal, the American Bar Association’s flagship magazine, which is read by half of the nation’s 1.1 million lawyers every month.

The ABA Journal’s editorial staff notes that it compiles the BLAWG 100 list as a service to its readers, “pointing them to a collection of some of the very best legal writing and commentary on the Web.”

We’re honored to have been selected from among the thousands of blogs dedicated to disseminating legal news and information to professionals and consumers. And we’re flattered to be listed alongside many of our own favorite law blogs, such as Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog and Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log.

We’d like to thank our many contributors to the blog, our wonderful readers and Gabe Meister, our former colleague and Socially Aware co-founder who left us to join the NBA (as a lawyer, not a player).

Here’s to another great year!

Cross-Device Tracking Attracts Interest From Regulators, Prompts Guidance From Industry Group

Posted in Compliance, FTC, Marketing, Privacy

Woman using multiple devices phone laptop and tablet lying in a wood bench in a park

Cross-device tracking is a hot new issue for regulators. Companies engaged in the practice should take note of two recent developments. On November 16, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hosted a workshop on the issue and, perhaps not coincidentally, on the same day the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) addressed the applicability of its interest-based advertising (IBA) self-regulatory regime to the practice.

Cross-device tracking enables companies to ascertain—either definitively or with a high degree of probability—that multiple devices are connected to the same person. There are two ways to do this.

The first way is through deterministic identifiers, such as login information. For instance, if a user logs into web-based email on two devices (a laptop and mobile phone, for example), the email service can determine that the two devices belong to the same user.

The second way is probabilistic identification, which uses information collected from separate devices (such as an IP address, location, and activities on those devices) to infer that the devices are used by the same person.

At the FTC workshop, panelists, FTC staff and FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez all expressed concern that cross-device tracking is inherently different from tracking users on a single device. In particular, they noted that, while the technology provides benefits to consumers (such as a seamless cross-device experience), it has the potential to be harmful from a privacy perspective because it crosses physical borders that consumers may intentionally establish between their devices. That is, consumers may not want anybody to know that their work devices, their personal laptops, and their tablets all reflect activities by the same person.

The FTC seemed to differentiate two aspects of information collection and use related to cross-device tracking: (1) information collected and used for the purposes of tying two or more devices to the same user and (2) information collected and used for IBA purposes, which may include information collected to tie devices together.

At its workshop, the FTC appeared to signal that it expects companies to provide a robust notice and choice regime not only with respect to the ways in which data is collected and used to facilitate cross-device tracking (i.e., to simply tie devices together), but also with respect to the use of data collected and collated across devices for IBA purposes. That is, first parties (such as website publishers and apps) should disclose that information may be collected from users for purposes of cross-device tracking, and users should be able to opt out of the collection of information from a device for purposes of linking it to other devices—and not just for purposes of IBA.

Furthermore, FTC staff also suggested that a failure to precisely describe the scope of an opt-out (such as by suggesting that opting out of cross-device tracking by a user from one device would propagate to all of the user’s devices) may be considered an unfair or deceptive practice in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

The new DAA cross-device principles do not go as far as the FTC would appear to like, but they do apply the DAA notice and choice regime to cross-device tracking. (For more on this regime, see our June 19, 2015 Privacy Minute on the DAA’s mobile guidance.) As a result, the new guidance require entities that collect data for IBA purposes from one device for use on a different device to provide notice that, among other things, “data collected from a particular browser or device may be used with another computer or device that is linked to the browser or device on which such data was collected.” In other words, users need to be provided with notice if their browsing activity on one device may be used to deliver advertising to them on another device.

In addition, the principles affirm that users must be provided with choice regarding the collection and/or use of their information for IBA from a particular device or from sharing with another party. That is, instead of requiring a global opt-out, which is what the FTC seems be advocating, the DAA requires only a device specific opt-out from: (1) collecting data on the device to deliver IBA on another device and (2) delivering IBA on a device based on information collected on another linked device.

In light of the DAA’s foray into cross-device tracking, and the FTC’s heightened interest in this space, companies should tread cautiously if they track and/or target users across devices.

Infographic: Social Media Marketing

Posted in Infographic, Marketing

We’re happy to publish our latest infographic, which highlights key social media marketing trends for both B2B and B2C companies. Among other things, the infographic points out that, although companies continue to increase their social media marketing spend, they don’t do a particularly good job at engaging consumers through social media, and they still struggle to determine the return on their investment. Enjoy! And please feel free to share this infographic with your marketing colleagues.

10_28-Coporate-Use-of-Social-Media_v4

Cyber Monday, Social Commerce and the End of an Era

Posted in Marketing

Cyber Monday - online shopping and marketing concept -  text in letterpress wood type blocks on a laptop with a cup of coffee

Online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend—Cyber Monday—have continued to increase year over year since the day was first christened “Cyber Monday” in 2004. As social media enthusiasts, we were surprised to learn that social networks drove only 1.5% of the avalanche of online orders placed on Cyber Monday in 2014.

Social media platforms, however, are poised to become much more important players in Cyber Monday 2015.

Indeed, many industry experts are considering this holiday season “a testing ground for social commerce,” as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are at various stages of implementing the “buy button”—a feature that allows social media users to purchase products they see in the brand posts that appear in their feeds without even leaving the platform.

Because Facebook’s buy button program is still in its early stages, only a small group of retailers are involved, and Facebook users might not even see a buy button on Monday. Pinterest’s buy button program is much further along, however, and now features more than 10,000 businesses, some of which are reaping great benefits as a result of their partnership with the online pinboard.

How Monday’s buy button results will affect marketers’ social media efforts in the future remains to be seen. In the meantime, here’s a rundown of consumer behavior on Cyber Monday last year:

  • U.S. online sales amounted to more than $2 billion, up from $1.74 billion in 2013
  • 23.9% of sales originated through email marketing
  • Online search results that were paid for by retailers generated 18.8% of sales
  • Online search results that were paid for by retailers generated 16% of sales
  • Average value of online purchases originating from Facebook: $123
  • Average value of online purchases originating from Pinterest: $97
  • There were 339,959 discussions about Cyber Monday on social media, a 75% increase over 2013
  • The brands mentioned most often were Amazon, Etsy, Motorola and EA

Of course, as we noted in an earlier post, in recent years consumers have started their online shopping earlier in the holiday weekend. As more Americans have access to high-speed Internet connections at home, they no longer need to wait until arriving at work on the Monday after Thanksgiving to do their online binge purchasing. In fact, online sales on Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving famous for long lines at brick & mortar retail stores—increased 26% in 2014 over 2013.

So, even if social media is successful in goosing Cyber Monday sales this year, will Cyber Monday itself increasingly be viewed as a relic of an earlier age, having been pushed up to merge with Black Friday?

Black Friday: It’s Not Just About Brick & Mortar Stores Anymore

Posted in Marketing

Caution Sign - Black Friday Ahead

Here at Socially Aware, we’re focused on Thanksgiving dinner, but we’re well aware that the day after Thanksgiving—Black Friday—is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and a critical sales day for brick-and-mortar retailers. So we were intrigued to stumble upon some statistics indicating that, although U.S. consumers are still interested in scoring retail bargains on Black Friday, they increasingly prefer to do it from the comfort of their living room sofas. Here, a rundown of consumer behavior on Black Friday last year:

  • At U.S. brick-and-mortar stores, consumers spent just over $9 billion. That was a 7% decline from 2013
  • Online sales amounted to $1.5 billion, up 26% over 2013
  • Due to heavy traffic, the e-commerce sites of Best Buy Co. Inc. and outdoor gear retailer Cabela’s Inc. both went down for a while that day
  • Referrals from Facebook resulted in orders averaging $109.94
  • Referrals from Pinterest resulted in orders averaging $100.23

In our next post, we’ll take a look at Black Friday’s hipper younger brother, Cyber Monday.