Within the business of Black Friday Deals websites


(Bloomberg) — If you Google something about Black Friday you will probably land on a website owned by Ziff Davis Inc.

The publicly traded digital media company operates three sites with Black Friday in the domain name. So is BlackFriday.com, which was the top organic search result earlier this week Google for “Black Friday Deals.”

Black Friday arrives in the US this week as the traditional kick-off to Christmas shopping. This year differs from 2021, when consumers spent money after pulling back during the pandemic. Excess inventory and more frugal shoppers have raised expectations for more discounts this year.

Bloomberg recently spoke with Frank Minervini, vice president and chief marketing officer of the group that manages Ziff Media’s store-themed websites, about the evolution of Black Friday deal websites that began publishing digital scans of the mailers sold in local stores. newspapers were stopped.

The content on these sites revolves around telling readers about deals and discounts. How does the company collect all this information?

We have active Slack channels of deal hunters — people who put together product deals all day, every day. They are at all hours. We have them all over the world.

With so much competition to appear high in the search results of other deal sites and retailers, how important is it to get firsts?

Getting the leak or the first copy available certainly increases engagement. Same of Google‘s perspective – being the first to have news gives us authority. We’re going to get ranking out of that. That, of course, drives the eyes.

Why are there three websites dedicated to Black Friday (Blackfriday.com, Bestblackfriday.com and Theblackfriday.com)?

We thought there were probably a few different offerings. One could be an evergreen asset. One could be predominantly an advertising scan and then one would be the prime minister a bit. [Editor’s note: ad scans initially were copies digital of printed Black Friday deals published in mailers and newspapers].

We saw it as a form of diversification.

Ziff Davis, which generates annual sales of approximately $1.4 billion, uses acquisitions as a core part of its growth strategy. (It’s also added sites like Mashable and RetailMeNot to its portfolio.) What was the thinking behind buying Blackfriday.com in 2017?

The intent of the original owners was how you benefit from getting ad scans live, get your programmatic display revenue and not really worry about the experience or trying to establish a direct relationship with the customer.

We didn’t really want that transient audience. We want that evergreen audience all year round. We want them to sign up for our email newsletter. We want them to get involved with our other products. If you look way back, there wasn’t much content. It was just the ad scan. We really try to keep the best of the prices, the predictions and the comparisons. The kind of knowledge that helps users and makes them want to come back to us.

An improvement you made to the so-called ad scan is inserting links to the retailers and getting a share of the sale when a customer makes a purchase. What has that done for your affiliate marketing business?

It’s now the bulk of the revenue.

Retailers have shifted their marketing to digital, meaning that the advertising brochures older generations grew up with are not being produced as often. But your Black Friday sites are recreating digital versions. Why?

They’re moving away from physical copies and switching to digital, and it doesn’t look the same. It’s not the same feeling. We curate and create one so that the people who are used to browsing through an ad scan have the same experience [as a printed flyer.] Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited and shortened.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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