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. 

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The Differences of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both major shopping events in the United States, but there are some key differences worth noting:

  1. Timing

    • Black Friday: Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, and marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Physical retail stores open early in the morning or even on Thanksgiving night to offer deep discounts and doorbuster deals.
    • Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving weekend, specifically designed for online shopping. It was created to encourage online retailers to offer discounts and promotions to compete with brick-and-mortar stores' Black Friday sales.
  2. Shopping Venue

    • Black Friday: Black Friday deals are primarily associated with in-person shopping at physical retail locations, although many retailers also offer online deals during this time.
    • Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday is exclusively an online shopping event, and the majority of deals and discounts are available on e-commerce websites as 'Online Only' deals. 
  3. Nature of Deals

    • Black Friday: Black Friday deals often include products such as electronics, clothing, appliances, and more. It's known for monster deals, that are for a limited-time and in limited-quantity meant to draw shoppers into their physical locations.
    • Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday deals are typically more focused on technology, electronics, gadgets, and online services. While other products may also be on sale, the emphasis is on online shopping.
  4. Shopping Experience

    • Black Friday: Black Friday shopping can be chaotic, with long lines, crowded stores, and the potential for early morning store openings. It has a more traditional, in-person shopping experience.
    • Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday offers a more relaxed shopping experience, as it can be done from the comfort of your home or office using a computer or mobile device. It's a convenient option for those who prefer online shopping or want to avoid the crowds.
  5. Duration

    • Black Friday: While Black Friday itself is a single-day event, many retailers extend their Black Friday sales throughout the weekend, with some deals starting on Thanksgiving Day.
    • Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday deals are typically available for just one day, although some retailers may extend their Cyber Monday promotions for a few days or even a week.

It's worth noting that in recent years, the distinction between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become somewhat blurred.

Many retailers offer online deals during the entire Thanksgiving weekend, including both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Additionally, the rise of e-commerce has led to an increase in online shopping on Black Friday itself.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Which is better?black-friday-sale

Neither Black Friday nor Cyber Monday is necessarily better than the other. Whether you should focus on Black Friday or Cyber Monday as a small business owner depends on your specific circumstances, products or services, and target audience.

For retailers with a physical store, 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 BOGO 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 Black Friday & Cyber Monday


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

Build a unique holiday 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.” 

Create special product promotions

What promotions you choose to offer can make or break your success during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

person carrying shopping bags-2


Special holiday sales discounts are the basis for either sales event, but other types of promotions will appeal to customers as well, such as:

  • Doorbuster deals: Create limited-time, high-value offers to attract early shoppers to your physical store. These deals are usually available in limited quantities and for a limited time, encouraging people to arrive early.
  • Product bundles: Combine related products into bundles and offer them at a discounted price compared to buying each item separately. 
  • Free shipping: It 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. 

Other product promotion ideas include:

    • Flash sales
    • Early access
    • Free gifts
    • Loyalty rewards
    • Mystery discounts
    • Gift cards
    • Extended return policy
    • Social media contests 
    • Charitable promotions

Influx of traffic in-store and online



The success of your holiday sales weekend 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 foot traffic. 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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