Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Which One Comes Out on Top?

Published: | By Yauhen Zarumba

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) have grown into massive commercial events offering brands the opportunity to increase sales and provide customers with the chance to bag a bargain or two. But which one is better for you to focus your marketing dollars and valuable time to realize greater sales?

Knowing when to showcase your best deals can be challenging. In this blog post, we’ll put these two commercial events head to head to help you decide which you should commit to your marketing efforts. So, without further ado, let’s get started! 

person carrying shopping bags-1Source

What's the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday?


Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both mass commercial sales events in November each year. So large in fact, that they have been given their own acronym BFCM.

Cyber Monday sales start on the first Monday after the Black Friday weekend. The main difference between the two is that Black Friday is an in-store and online sales event while Cyber Monday is for online sales only. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales tend to target the pre-Christmas shopping buzz. Retailers typically market items like clothing, kitchen appliances, and electronics at discounted prices for that period. 

What makes BFCM deals different?

Cyber Monday is well known for being the day customers can find deals on items such as home appliances, kitchen appliances, and technology items. They may also use timed-exclusive deals to drive traffic through different times of the day, which is hard to do in-store. As a traditional in-store event, Black Friday promotions will differ based on the type of store. 

More and more, though, these two events merge into one long event. Most physical stores have an online presence now, while eCommerce businesses recognize the benefits of increasing the sales window. As such, we’re seeing the deals and strategies harmonizing between the two.chart listing differences between Black Friday and Cyber MondaySource

Is one holiday sales day better? 

Neither Black Friday nor Cyber Monday is strictly better than the other. For retailers, it depends on the nature of your business and the products you’re looking to shift. Both events have the potential to increase sales. 

For physical retailers, Black Friday is the holy grail. But if you also have an online presence, it’s worth extending the event to include Cyber Monday discounts. 

Several online companies still make the most of Black Friday even though they don't have a physical presence at all. For example, Grammarly Black Friday is an online black Friday discount despite there being no physical presence for such a business. Many omnichannel retailers find success by varying the types of deals offered. You might offer price reductions during Black Friday, and BOGOF offers on Cyber Monday. For dedicated eCommerce stores, Cyber Monday is your event and a chance to drive more sales online.

Many omnichannel retailers find success by varying the types of deals offered. You might offer price reductions during Black Friday, and BOGOF offers on Cyber Monday. For dedicated eCommerce stores, Cyber Monday is your event and a chance to drive more sales online. 

The key to success is to start planning your marketing early. It can help create a business plan in advance using standard business document templates. This way, you can build engagement and develop a sense of anticipation. 

Preparing for BFCM

The key is to give yourself as much time as possible. You’ll need to factor in time for developing your marketing strategy, deciding which products to promote, organizing a deployment protocol, and engaging your target audience. 

Marketing Strategy

Start your Black Friday and Cyber Monday prep by creating a marketing strategy. The best Black Friday marketing strategies are omnichannel and include a combination of in-store and digital marketing. You can even use traditional mail to target customers near your physical stores.

The key is to make your promotional content as exciting and engaging as possible. For example, brands often spotlight their best holiday promotions in-store. Remember, physical marketing will cost more than a digital campaign - but with fewer competitors than online, they’re more likely to get noticed. 

The focus of your Cyber Monday marketing strategy should be online visibility and audience targeting. Cyber Monday shoppers are most likely to find deals through an online search on their laptop or cellphone. 

You can optimize your product listings for search intent by integrating the following SEO keyword types into your promotional content and product titles. 

  • Navigational keywords: terms customers use when searching for a particular product or specific brand. Terms like “toaster,” for example. 
  • Informational keywords: key phrases customers use to find information about a particular product or service. Phrases like “how to choose the best XYZ.” 
  • Commercial keywords: Phrases customers use to investigate brands or services. Phrases like, “what are Walmart's opening times on Friday?”. 

Transactional keywords: terms customers use when they are about to buy. Something like,  “where to buy a vacuum cleaner.” 

Product Promotions

Your discounts will make or break your business’ success during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Price discounts are the basis of both sales events, but other types of promotions will appeal to customers, such as product bundles, limited-time-only deals, BOGO offers, and free shipping. 

Free shipping is especially appealing for Cyber Monday consumers who will invariably be shopping online and limited-time offers encourage online purchasers to place more in their carts. 


The success of your cyber weekend sales relies as much on a successful deployment as it does on product promotions. Retailers must test and expand both their physical and online infrastructure to meet the anticipated demand. 

For online stores, this means stress-testing your website or app to ensure it can cope with increased traffic. Keep load times fast, while ensuring your website is optimized for mobile. 

Physical stores need to ensure that they have sufficient resources to cope with increased footfall. You’ll need more staff, extended opening hours, and a robust supply chain.

It is essential to consider your marketing budget. If targets are higher than your sales and deployment teams can handle, you’ll disappoint customers. While big numbers might seem like a success for your campaign, you might accidentally deter customers from shopping with you in the future.

people holiday shopping in a mallSource

Takeaways on BFCM

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are an opportunity for retailers to drive sales. Online retailers can usually merge the two into one long event with few consequences. It may be wise to separate stock and promotions across the two to manage traffic, demand, and deployment.

Brick-and-mortar stores can do this, too, if they have a website or e-store that can support it, but Black Friday is where you should allocate most of your marketing budget. When people hit the street on the big day, you want them to be thinking of you. Coming in-store to shift inventory, and cover those building and staffing costs.

When planning your marketing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the key to success is not which holiday you choose, but the preparation you put into it.  

About the Author

Author - Yauhen Zaremba - Pandadoc

Yauhen Zaremba is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, an all-in-one document management tool for almost all types of documents including this PandaDoc rental lease agreement template. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets.

Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.

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