Under the Microscope: Gymshark’s Black Friday 2020 Campaign

4 Dec 2020

SEO Under the Microscope

Megan Boyle

Megan Boyle

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Black Friday is possibly the biggest date on the sales and marketing calendar. And each year brands try to pull out all the stops to maximise sales and wow their fans.

In 2020, one brand to nail their Black Friday campaign was – in our opinion – Gymshark.

Gymshark only has two sales a year – their birthday and Black Friday – so there was already a hype in the run-up to November. But, as you’ll see throughout this piece, not only did Gymshark start the promotion and build-up of their sales early in November, but they worked hard to build tension and suspense about when exactly the sale would be launching. It kept people coming back for more, and ultimately helped to convert when discounts actually went live. They also showed just how well they know their fans and customers, peppering these elements throughout the entire month.

Let’s put the campaign under the microscope.



BDE started flying around the internet around 2018. If you don’t know what it means, we’re going to let you do a little Google now. Got it?

Gymshark’s new tagline #BigDealEnergy hijacks the original meaning of BDE and turns it around on them. It’s short, catchy and topical. Everything you want in a tagline.

A cross-platform strategy

Gymshark is a brand that absolutely smashes their social media. So it’s no wonder that it’s where they did the majority, if not all, of their Black Friday promotions. The only exception would likely be email marketing. 

So let’s take a deep dive into what Gymshark did across their main social media channels in the run-up to one of the biggest sales events of the year.


Instagram was a huge platform for Gymshark’s Black Friday strategy. As we’ve already talked about above, they started early.

2nd November

On Monday 2nd Nov, they posted the below video, using the hashtag #BigDealEnergy but, as you’ll notice if you watch the short clip, it cuts off early before giving the start date for its ‘biggest ever Black Friday sale’. Done in a newsdesk-style announcement video, it was an incredibly creative way to kickstart a sale.

And talk about a nail-biting cliffhanger.

They certainly reaped the benefits. The post’s comment section was filled with people either demanding to know more, or posting multiple muscle emojis. It is a gym clothing brand, after all. It also raked in 431,916 views.

They also saw their followers skyrocket. According to Gymshark’s social blade, they gained 11,693 followers the day after the video launched, the most in a long time. This above average gain continued for the days following as more hints were revealed.

4th November

Gymshark fans didn’t have to wait long for the next installment. Their second Instagram video arrived on 4th November and featured YouTube-come-rapper KSI. 

Did you spot it in the background? As soon as the video loads, you can see a poster for Big Deal Energy. They’ve really kept that theme running right through their campaign. This video brought in 269,386 views.

But we still don’t have a launch date. A clever way to keep people checking back for more details.

5th November

Possibly my favourite clip of them all launches on 5th Nov, and it just takes the concept of a cliffhanger to a whole other level. Check it out below.

The caption just twists the knife further for those on tenterhooks. This video brought in 285,704 views.

Their final Instagram video on the subject launched later on 5th Nov, but now it’s time to turn our attention to Gymshark’s YouTube channel.


Gymshark has never shied away from using influencers in their marketing campaigns, so why would their 2020 Black Friday strategy differ from their signature style?

Their three and a half minute YouTube video launched on 5th November and quickly gathered 1,415,354 views. It featured hugely popular influencers including YouTuber/rapper KSI and YouTubers Behzinga and Calfreezy.

Take a look at the full video below. 

It’s impossible not to get hyped up when you watch the video. It follows a few different storylines, with the focus on a different YouTuber each time, and while it may make you think “what on earth did I just watch?” the underlying theme is BIG. It’s over the top, it’s loud – you really can’t miss it!

You can see the impact on their video views below. Before they launched their campaign they were getting mid-thousands of views per day, which quickly jumped to upwards of 200,000.


Because Twitter is so fast-paced, Gymshark’s account was used a little more sporadically compared to their other. The clips that were shown on Instagram were peppered throughout the normal Twitter activity, again teasing the launch date of the sale and really building up the hype.

Why does it all work?

Gymshark has worked hard across their social media to create a brand that stands out, and one that really connects with their audience. And it works so well because they really know who their audience is.

What Gymshark has done throughout this entire campaign is perfectly demonstrate their ability to speak the language of their young audience. From hijacking the term BDE to make it mean Big Deal Energy, right the way through the heavy focus on social media and selfie taking in their YouTube advert. They know that their audience is on social media, which is why it plays such a huge role in everything they do. 

It also puts a huge role on a topic that’s really hot at the moment, and that’s inclusivity. There’s not just one colour and one size featured in their advert; you’ll see a hugely diverse collection of creators throughout at all 3 minutes and 26 seconds of their advert, all featuring in their own uniquely recognisable content.

What can you learn?

So, whether you’re a start-up or a booming business, what can you take away from Gymshark’s Black Friday campaign?

  • Know your brand – Gymshark knows who their brand is, inside out. It can be something as minor as their tweets – you’ll notice they don’t capitalise the start of any of their tweets. It may irritate you language sticklers out there, but it’s all part of their brand voice. Have your brand down to a tee to really connect with people and keep customers loyal
  • Know your audience – As well as knowing themselves, Gymshark know their people. They know their habits, preferences, and language. You can see this from their YouTube ad, which features big-name YouTubers that their audience may already be fans of, but also touches on using social media and taking selfies. Do you know who your audience is? If not, find out!
  • Start early – As we’ll touch on soon, your Black Friday strategy should be something you think about all year round, but don’t be afraid to talk about the big day ahead of the competition. Gymshark started their campaign at the beginning of November, and you can too!
  • Cross-platform – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Utilise all your social media channels, either in exactly the same way or in such a way that they complement one another – just like Gymshark. That way you’re hitting as many existing and potential customers at once.

What could they do better?

It’s safe to say that Gymshark’s social media Black Friday strategy isn’t lacking in any way, shape or form, but there is one area they could improve on. Their SEO strategy.

If you’ve already read our guide to Black Friday SEO, you’ll already know that our team is a huge fan of having a strategy in place for Black Friday all year round. You can get more detail from our guide, but here’s a recap:

  • For the majority of the year (for example, after Cyber Monday to the start of the next November), your page consists of long-tail keyword questions and answers 
  • At the start of November, that content moves down slightly and a banner with ‘Coming Soon’ or something similar is added
  • On the day, your deals go live
  • Repeat once the day is over and the deals are done

By utilising a strategy like this, Gymshark can start to optimise for the long-tail keywords such as ‘black friday gym’ and ‘black friday gym clothes’. 

By weaving these keywords into a page that exists all year round, that page will continuously build relevance for those terms, and they can switch the content around depending on the time of year. That way, they can concentrate their efforts on social media – targeting their existing loyal customers – while an ongoing SEO strategy can help to bring in new customers who are just looking for ‘black friday gym clothes’. It would hit all stages of the sales funnel. 

Whether Black Friday has been and gone, or whether it’s just around the corner, it’s never too late or too early to start. After all, even if you don’t get it right this year, there’s always the next! 

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