As we clear the Thanksgiving dining table at my house my mind usually turns to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That's what spending 20 years in digital advertising will do to you.
The big innovation this year seems to be focused on making Black Friday come earlier with stores opening their doors Thanksgiving night and offering Black Friday deals at the beginning of the month.
The big miss so far has been that companies are not allowing people to benefit from sharing their information or using their influence to build brand awareness.
On Wednesday, Twitter, with research firm Compete, released a report that showed Twitter users buy 33 percent more than overall users. Additionally, 39 percent of Twitter users who saw either an organic or paid retail tweet were more likely to purchase things. Those who saw 12-plus tweets from a retailer were 32 percent more likely to buy online than consumers exposed to fewer tweets.
Brands benefit from working with other social media networks as well. A survey conducted in October revealed that 86 percent of retailers planned to use Facebook for holiday promotions like website and mobile ads, custom audience targeting, and Facebook Exchange. Seventy-five percent of consumers use Facebook for discounts, according to LivePerson.
Consumers who are willing to give brands a peek into their private lives by following them on Twitter or becoming their Facebook fan should be able to use their data in their favor.
According to Dimitri Maex, author of Sexy Little Numbers, 72 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to share data as long as they receive fair value in exchange. Consumers who once feared what companies could do with their data are now willing to take advantage of their data and develop closer relationships with the brand.
Although Maex lists various types of benefits that consumers can gain from data exchanges, most people are interested in receiving cash. Ninety-four percent of people will share data for monetary benefits. Fifty-two percent agreed that a cash reward was the most preferred exchange benefit while those earning more than $150k were more interested in receiving exclusive deals/discounts on products & services.
In many ways, brands that work with FourSquare take advantage of data by giving discounts to people who check in at merchants' locations. Toys R Us made a big play in this space last holiday season with the Geoffrey Holiday Badge. By checking in on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday, customers received a coupon for 15 percent off a purchase of $150 or more. Swarm deals were available when 15 or more people checked in to a specific store within a three-hour period.
Let's take this a step further. Imagine checking out at Best Buy, Target, or Wal-Mart and being automatically offered a 10 percent discount for tweeting about your purchase or updating your status on Facebook. Consumers would receive the benefit of discounts. Brands would get access to free advertising thanks to consumer's news feeds.
We should all benefit from our information as much as brands do.