A quick search for Black Friday 2014 ads will reveal a plethora of Black Friday websites. But when you search for specific brands’ and retailers’ Black Friday ads, you’ll discover a couple things: not all the ads have been released, and for those that have, brand websites rank lower than affiliate sites.

Clearly, affiliate marketers are masters at SEM, but they are also masters at building hype. And, according to some definitions, marketing is hype.

Product Launches are Planned Hype

When you hear marketers talk about a “product launch,” they aren’t merely talking about opening the doors to a new product. Product launches are pre-planned hype-building sessions that can go on for months or even years.

Every year, then, when you hear the “buzz” about Black Friday, you can be sure that much of this buzz is due to the efforts of marketers and retailers. As with any product launch, new retail store opening, or company launch, marketers work hard in the period leading up to the launch in order to create hype that will snowball and generate large returns.

Here are a few specific channels marketers use to increase the hype:

  • Social media posts
  • Blog teasers
  • YouTube teasers
  • Coupons
  • Paid advertising
  • Press releases

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By using these channels to inflate customer expectations, they essentially create desire and demand for a product before anyone has even seen it. Black Friday is useful because we know what to expect, to an extent, but every Black Friday is different and new. So it can still be hyped.

If you build hype, you’d better be able to deliver. And if you do deliver, then you can expect the next launch to be just as profitable and successful. In many ways, this is why Black Friday launches are more successful than movie remakes and sequels: it’s easy to repeat Black Friday, but not always easy to replicate the quality of an entertainment product.

How Advertisers and Affiliate Sites Build Black Friday Hype

There are a few psychological tactics that are commonly used to increase the hype and buzz around a product. Most top marketing agencies, advertisers, and affiliate marketers are well-versed in building hype. We can look at how these ads and affiliate sites build hype in order to improve our own marketing tactics.

  • They create illusions of scarcity, exclusivity, and high demand – From site design to copywriting (such as saying that ads are “leaked”) and calls-to-action, the top-ranking sites for “Black Friday 2014 Ads” all hammer you with the idea that these deals are in high demand. Scarcity is reinforced in a few ways. They limit the time frame to a few days and there are many coupons that only offer deals to “early birds” and other shoppers that come early enough. Also, there is the implication that higher demand will reduce supply quickly.

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  • They exploit the psychology of discounts – All of these ads offer “incredible” deals that shoppers don’t want to miss. And, indeed, many of the discounts are far in excess of typical discounts.

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  • They leverage pre-existing hype – Black Friday already has lots of hype associated with it. Past experience has proven that the hype and buzz are validated by actual scarcity and high demand. 

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  • They create an atmosphere of intrigue and excitement – The affiliate sites and ad designs are all built to excite. Lots of exclamation points, bold-faced type, and stark designs contribute to the idea that Black Friday is an exciting, exclusive, intriguing time that only happens once a year.

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  • They draw out suspense – Marketers draw out the suspense for just the right amount of time. By leaking teasers and breadcrumbs at intervals for months and years ahead of time, it is possible to plant the seeds of a launch far in advance. People tend to have short memory spans, but by teasing over time and repeating at intervals, it’s possible to build up expectations and excitement.

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  • All the hype goes away once deals are actually released – Essentially, hype is excitement about something that we haven’t yet experienced. This is the go-to marketing method for movie companies, for example. Trailers are carefully crafted to build buzz and excitement, but once a movie is released, we can read reviews or watch the movie…and the hype is gone.

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Once you’ve been using the next iPhone for a while, the hype vanishes. There is lots of hype about wearable technology and the Apple Watch, for instance. But once the technology is released, we’ll have direct experience of these products and the hype will be gone.

When you put all these ingredients together, you get lots and lots of hype that works in conjunction with the actual Black Friday discounts to create one of the busiest, most chaotic shopping days of the year. Yet despite the inevitable chaos and noise, customers and retailers both love it. From one perspective, you could say that Black Friday hype is “marketing art.”  

Marketing Affiliate Marketing Lessons: Black Friday 2014