How to Track Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales
Written by Nathan T. Baker and published
Have your Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale all ready to go? In the midst of all the brainstorming, research, creating content, timing, and logistics… don’t forget about reporting. Make sure all your work translates into money.
Of all the metrics you can collect during a sale, roughly measuring something like brand awareness can be straight forward. Simply make sure you have a data tracker like Google Analytics properly installed on your website. Then check to see how many unique sessions appeared during your sale compared to an average business day. You might have some goals on social media as well if your goal is to introduce the largest amount of people to your brand.
Typically when running a sale you or your client is concerned about cold, hard cash earned rather than softer figures like awareness. Being more precise can take some work upfront, especially if you want to segment results from a specific sale, but it’s worth it since you can use the same process in the future twice as fast.
Here’s how to figure out the impact of a sale.
1. Figure Out Your Sale’s Primary Goal
First, decide the primary goal of your sale. It could be:
- Direct Sales
- Email Sign-Ups
Once you’ve clarified what success means for this sale, you can figure out the best way to measure how well it worked.
2. Measure How Many People Act
How you measure your sale will depend on your goal, your product, and how you’re advertising. Here are some of the most common and advanced ways to measure a marketing campaign. Knowing what you’re tracking will help you decide which technique or techniques to use.
If you sell things on your website and don’t already have a way to tracking your sales, consider setting up ecommerce tracking with Google Analytics. You’ll be able to see reports on sales and how much money you’re making from sales. You may need to work with a developer to get this setup.
Google Analytics Goals
Setting up a goal in Google Analytics allows you to track specific actions by users. For instance, you can record a goal on a confirmation page every time someone makes a purchase or signs up for an email list. This allows you to segment your website traffic in any way you want while still seeing how many people took meaningful action in each segment.
If you’re not using Google Analytics goals, this is a foundational step. When you use goals with campaign variables (see below) you can start to compare the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns based on the user actions that are important to you.
If you are tracking digital sales, one of the most flexible and precise ways to measure how effective different campaigns are is to use campaign variables. Campaign variables are strings of text and symbols you add after a URL to pass along information that is tied to a specific visitor. It sounds technical, but campaign variables are quite easy to setup.
Campaign Variables allow you to tag visitors from different sources within the same umbrella. For instance, you could tag a URL with the campaign name “Black Friday Sale” and use this link in email, social, and ads. After the sale, you could view all traffic from your campaign name to see the direct impact of all the links related to your sale.
If you are using traditional video or audio advertising, consider using a unique website address that redirects to a URL with a campaign variable. Then you can tie your visitors and their actions back to the exact places you advertised.
If you manage an ecommerce website, one advantage of using promo codes is that you can track how much money you made from people using a specific code. This can be especially useful if you want to know the impact of a sale period compared to everyday purchases.
Hidden Email Fields
If you’re running a contest or campaign with a goal of collecting email sign-ups, consider creating a unique page where you can track how many email sign-ups are a result of your campaign.
Most modern newsletter services allow you to create hidden fields when you create a sign-up form. You could create a hidden field called “Form Location” if you wanted to track if more people signed up on the homepage or from the blog. In the case of a holiday sale, you could create a hidden field called “Campaign” and assign the value “Black Friday.”
Later when reviewing email sign-ups, you can create a segment or filter that shows how many people provided their email address while on your Black Friday page.
3. Assign a Monetary Value to a Conversion
If you can log into an ecommerce system and filter by a promo code or tag you’ve setup beforehand, your work is done. Although if you are measuring the monetary value of an email sign-up, a lead, or a specific Google Analytics goal, you may have some research ahead of you.
Let’s use leads as an example. Say you’re running a sale for a local cleaning service that cleans your house every month for a monthly fee. Let’s also say their website has a form where people can sign-up to be contacted to see if they are a good fit.
To measure the value of each lead you send this company, you’ll first need to know a few things.
- How much money does the company make from a customer in a month after all expenses? ($20)
- How many months does the average customer stay with this company? (4.5 months)
- We now know how much the average customer makes this company $90.
- What percentage of people that sign up to be contacted decide to become customers? (1/3)
- We now know that each lead is worth $30.
- If it costs you less than $30 to supply 1 qualified lead, then you are making this company money.
In Google Analytics, you can assign a monetary value to a goal if you’ve already run the numbers. Being able to get this precise makes reporting on the value of your work easy once the foundation is laid.
4. Share How Much Money Your Sale Made
Here’s the fun part. It’s time to show off how successful your sale was. If you’ve laid the groundwork, reporting is the easiest part. Now you can create a marketing report focused on your conversions.
If you’ve been winging it this year, take some time over the next month to get everything sorted out. Then the next time you have a major sale, you’ll be prepared. Once your system is in place, you can quickly and accurately measure the impact of your work.