No doubt you’re either in the Black Friday shopping scrums, or smugly congratulating yourself for dodging the melee. (Or maybe, like me, you’re watching the kids while a significant other is tossing elbows in an attempt to get one of the five loss-leader gadgets meant to lure shoppers…)

From an online marketing perspective, however, I’m more interested in Blank Friday.

That’s the day Facebook made a big shift that changed our search volume:

Takeaway? It’s wise to periodically review your analytics. Most businesses are still searching for the right baseline from which to measure their activity and efficacy — now we see that those baselines are subject to radical seismic shifts. If you’re not careful, you might become tied to benchmarks that have become irrelevant or even impossible to achieve.

If you have a story about your own “Blank Friday” moment, please share it in the comments.

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About Ike Pigott

Ike Pigott

In his previous life, Ike Pigott was an Emmy-winning TV reporter, who turned his insider's knowledge of the news cycle into a crisis communications consultancy. At the American Red Cross, serving as Communication and Government Relations Director for five southeastern states, Ike pioneered the use of social media in disaster. Now -- by day -- he is a communications strategist for Alabama Power and a Social Media Apologist; by night, he lurks at Occam's RazR, where he writes about the overlaps and absurdities in communications, technology, journalism and society. Find out how you can connect with Ike or follow him on Twitter at @ikepigott. He also recently won the coveted "Social Media Explorer contributing writer with the longest Bio" award.

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  • Wade Kwon

    I have a counter theory: I think Facebook clamped down on third-party scheduled posting. I saw a huge drop about the same time period, until I switched to live posting on each page.

    The reason I’m not entirely convinced it’s related to Privacy settings is because FB now groups updates by supposed topic (not a fan), and in my personal stream, I see just as many posts mentioning various brands, but they tend to get bunched up in those topical bunches.

    • JasonFalls

      You’re right about the third party app bug, but that issue was fixed a few weeks ago. We’re thinking is more than that.

      • Wade Kwon

        Thanks — I just started using Hootsuite again and it seems like it’s back to normal.

    • Ike Pigott

      Wade, this is an entirely organic measure of people mentioning “Alabama Power.” Our history of tracking the phrase shows ordinary Facebook users (our customers) who are unlikely to use third-party tools to delay their comment.

      We’ve got the same result from two different monitoring tools, and many other utilities saw the same drop. Why utilities? We don’t think we were singled out, but our traffic is so much lower than a retail brand, and so much of it is organic, that we’re in a position to notice.

      A major retail brand that has multiple efforts to drive mentions might not register the drop in organic mentions as easily. If Organic is just 5 percent of traffic, you might just think that your proactive efforts are a little down.

      • Wade Kwon

        What I meant is that people react based on updates from brands, that might be using third-party apps. Since the trigger is no longer as visible, people won’t make comments as often.

        Part of the reason of using social media is to help branding and awareness, so that’s my line of thinking.

        I think brands across the board are seeing a drop in mentions. 

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