The Rising Influence of Black Friday Shopping on YouTube

If you think seeing candy corns and pumpkins at your supermarket in August is way too early for Halloween, advertisers often spend the better part of an entire year gearing up for one single day in November: Black Friday. And, as we reported last year, Black Friday-related videos on YouTube are about so much more than just crazy mobs of shoppers fighting over flat-screen TVs. Whether it’s a Beauty Guru doing a haul video about the amazing makeup deals she found, or a consumer electronics influencer unboxing the latest must-have tech, Black Friday on YouTube is changing the way consumers understand and evaluate the year’s biggest day for holiday sales.

Using ZEFR’s BrandID technology, we tracked the rise of Black Friday’s influence on YouTube over the past several years, and pulled some of our favorite examples of the kinds of videos making an impact on holiday shoppers.

Black Friday Views

Unboxing Black Friday: Consumer Electronics Deals

In our eBook “Beyond Reviews”, we analyzed twelve different styles of YouTube videos influencing shoppers. Of these, “unboxing” videos have the biggest share of attention among more mainstream outlets, along with a recent must see parody of an iPhone 6 unboxing.

When Black Friday comes around, unboxing videos take on a whole new level of intrigue, as many brands use the “holiday” to sell special “bundles” and “box sets” of their products, all in an effort to woo the day’s deal hunters. Once the hunters return home with their prey, they happily record themselves on video, unboxing each element one by one.

This trend is particularly popular among consumer electronics fans. To help illustrate, here’s a classic unboxing for the XBOX 360 Holiday bundle:

“I’m unboxing the XBOX 360 Holiday Bundle… all this for $200, a really good deal. So, I don’t know if Best Buy still has some, but if they do, go ahead and go pick one up as soon as possible, because they’re running out.”

As the quotation above suggests, these YouTube videos are all about sharing information and starting a dialogue, which continues via the comments section:

Black Friday Comments

Here’s another example for a Westinghouse flat screen TV, with much of the discussion surrounding whether it’s a particularly good TV for playing video games:

“…I got it on Black Friday, but we’re doing the unboxing for it now. I got it for $250… I think the original price was $399, so, if the sale’s over, that’s the full price. But again, check the description for a link. It is full 1080p…”

Black Friday

Hauling Black Friday: Beauty & Fashion Deals

Another popular trend influencing shoppers is the haul video. Most commonly seen from the world of Beauty Gurus, these videos feature detailed descriptions of the often large amount of stuff that has been “hauled” from their latest shopping sprees. On Black Friday, when the deals are everywhere, apparently these creators go by the old playbook of “how much stuff can I possibly fit into these three shopping carts.”

Here’s a popular 2013 Black Friday Haul from Beauty Guru Ingrid Nilsen, aka missglamorazzi, who took trips to Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, and Bath & Body Works:

“I was getting a lot of tweets, and you guys wanted me to do a Black Friday haul… I went shopping at midnight when the stores opened, and I can’t believe I got this much stuff in like, an hour… I went to Sephora, and I actually ran into quite a few viewers, which was really cool… it was awesome meeting you.”

Before the haul, of course, is the actual shopping itself. YouTube star Bethany Mota’s Black Friday video from 2012 takes the viewers with her to the mall, giving full access to her first ever Black Friday shopping experience:

“I have never been actual Black Friday shopping before. I actually normally prefer Cyber Monday… but this year, I thought you know what, I’m just gonna try Black Friday and see how it goes. So, you guys are coming on this journey with me.”


The video examples above, along with the millions of views they’ve generated, all point to the fact that YouTube influences holiday shoppers in ways that only social video can make happen. Before, during and after the biggest shopping event of the year, YouTube creators are there capturing every moment, creating trends and starting discussions over the year’s must have items. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, advertisers looking to get ahead of those trends would do well to start watching some YouTube.


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