How big was Black Friday this year?


Today marks the final day of the BFCM weekend (us being in the CM part as you read this), so it’s not too early to start looking at this year’s numbers – just how big was Black Friday this year?

TL;DR: It was pretty big. As in, the second biggest online shopping day of all time big. Here are the details:

  • Online sales topped $9B. The initial projection from Adobe earlier this fall was $10.3B, but don’t take the $9B as an underperformance. Sales were up more than 20% YoY, and the day was only second to Cyber Monday 2019 for total online sales. In a few hours, expect to add Cyber Monday 2020 to that list.
  • Shopify stores took a big bite. The company reported $2.4B in sales on Black Friday from brands using their platform. 67% of those sales were made on mobile devices.

The Crew’s take: E-commerce is thriving in the midst of a crazy year. If there’s anything we can take away from this year’s staggering numbers, it’s that having an online presence is more important than ever if you’re in the business of selling stuff.

Plus, 67% of Shopify purchases made on mobile? Treat your mobile experience with the respect it deserves!


The secrets are out

Along with lots of food and impressive online sales, the weekend also produced one of our favorite Twitter threads in a while, in which Matt Navarra asked social media managers:

“What’s your favorite little social media trick or tool others may not know about?”

There were plenty of golden responses, but these were our favorites:

  • Matt Navarra’s reply first, of course. He gave a shoutout to a screenshot bot, known on Twitter as @get_screenshot, which will take screenshots of Tweets if you mention it – and it’ll send those screenshots straight to your DMs.
  • If you have a square photo that doesn’t resize well for Twitter, turn it into a GIF. This way, the photo will stay square instead of getting cut off at the top and the bottom. This tip comes courtesy of Lauren Tibs Oxford.
  • Team members should publish LinkedIn posts. Jason Bradwell has been seeing massive engagement upticks when publishing company-related posts from team members’ LinkedIn pages, rather than the brand’s page. People buy from people.
  • Invite people to like your Facebook page. Lolitta Tracy recommends sending an invite to people who have recently reacted to your posts, asking them to like your page. This can be a great way to boost engagement.

We’re making an understatement when we say we didn’t even scratch the surface of the full Twitter thread. It’s worth checking out, and you can find it here.

P.S.: This is a great time to use the @get_screenshot bot on as many Tweets as you can! You’ll see plenty of others doing it in the thread.


Why doesn’t Google tell you anything about these 100 common SEO issues?


Issues that are stopping thousands of websites from improving their ranking in the SERPs.

And why doesn’t Google tell you anything about your domain and page-level SEO metrics? And what about SEO metrics for pages and keywords?

This data is muy, muy importante if you want to hit page 1.

While Google Search Console is a must-have tool for every SEO, it lacks these functionalities.

That is why Tripadvisor, Pinterest, eBay, and Expedia adopted Ahrefs Webmasters Tools.

In the last 7 days, 8,801 new users started using this free tool. Ahrefs Webmasters Tools makes up for all the limitations that GSC has:

  • You can scan up to 5K pages per month, and search for over 100+ pre-identified issues that can potentially harm your website performance. It also provides detailed instructions on how to fix these issues.
  • Learn what keywords your website ranks for and compare how you stack up against competitors in the SERPs.
  • Discover the real SEO potential of your website using actionable SEO metrics like Search Volume, Keyword Difficulty, and Traffic Value.
  • Know your backlinks: Browse your website’s backlink data and get actionable insights from your inbound and outbound link profiles with a variety of user-friendly reports and filters.

If you can verify ownership of your website (it takes a few clicks), you can start improving your SERP performance for free.

Try it here.


Do you really need all those headers?


A popular opinion in the SEO tribe is that the key to good content is structured content.

We’re talking about the use of headers, subheaders, tables, bullet and numbered lists, snackable paragraphs, short sentences, and all that good stuff that helps you acquire Featured Snippets.

Mordy Oberstein, in this Search Engine Land post, challenges the overuse of structured content. His point of view is that structured content doesn’t necessarily mean good content.

It’s always interesting when someone challenges the status quo. So, let’s listen to what Mordy has to say. Starting with…

“Structure is not content quality per se. It’s merely an element.”

Why the structured mindset can be dangerous

Google suggests to “write naturally”, and this means that the content is created in a way that maximizes two factors:

  • The scope of the content
  • Its ability to be received

This means that you can’t force the holy structure (H2s followed by pretty H3s and bullet points, followed by pretty H4s if you’re feeling extra) into everything you write. If you need to write a longer paragraph to get to the point, do it.

If a bullet list doesn’t make sense, skip it.

If you force an element when it’s not needed, you’re not matching users’ intent – you’re actually losing SEO juice.

And Google doesn’t need that structure for Featured Snippet acquisition. Mordy shares an example of a Featured Snippet that links to an article with virtually no “SEO structure”. Check it out here.

Google has become better at understanding content written naturally. Thus, you don’t need to over-optimize for structures, especially if they’re not needed.

The post is well articulated, and if you have a special place in your heart for structures, maybe you want to go deeper here.


YOUTUBE: Luba Yudasina posted some interesting YouTube statistics on Twitter about how many videos it takes to reach 1M subscribers. Take it with a grain of salt, though – publishing a few thousand videos won’t guarantee you a massive following!

ADVERTISING: Ever tried treating an ad as a PDP( product detail page), and the click-through link as an ‘Add to Cart’ feature? Zach Stuck says it’s been performing well for him.

FACEBOOK: It’s being reported that the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency, Libra, could launch as soon as January.

SEO: We wrote about structured content (and the problems with it) up above. But, want a couple tips


It’s (Cyber) Monday, so it’s time for a little guessing game. Which subject line from last week received the highest open rate?

💯 How’s your game?
🔑 Five keys.
❓ Ask me anything.
🤓 Know this!

Go vote on our Twitter poll here! We’ll be back mid-week with the answer.


Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things marketers like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

They’re not Fucking anymore


Bear with us for a minute… It’s not what you think.

This is a story about Fucking, Austria – a town with a name that, naturally, has attracted humorous media attention and silly tourists hoping to capture a photo of the iconic sign with the town name.

As it turns out, the locals in Fucking aren’t particularly pleased with tourists uprooting signs and creating a kerfuffle about the name. So, as of January 1st, the town will be known as Fugging.

It’s a disappointing blow to any of you who were making plans to travel between places with outlandish names, like this guy did in September when he biked 2.5k miles from Poo Poo Point to Pee Pee Creek.

Fucking or not, Austria’s a great place to visit, and it’s where we’re located! Come share a schnitzel with us when the pandemic’s over – or refer a thousand people to the newsletter and we’ll fly you out here ourselves.

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