Black Friday sees advertisers scrambling for shoppers’ clicks and attention. As bargain hunters browse online for the best deals, CPCs go through the roof. It can be difficult to know the best approach for Black Friday ads: is it just a case of increasing your budget, or does the rulebook go out the window?
We asked some of the leading voices in PPC their top tips for success. They shared their thoughts on what you shouldn’t miss from your campaigns and how it’s never too early to start planning for next season.
Tip #1: Extensions Are King
Extensions are a great way of giving shoppers more information without taking up any extra space. Here are people’s thoughts on the best ones to use for Black Friday.
Ensure your ads are optimized with strong call-to-actions and make use of all relevant extensions. Countdowns are great leading up to Black Friday, and promotion extensions are very useful during. This assists with overall account health, quality score, and taking up real estate in the SERP.
For me, it is key to utilize your extensions. Especially price and promo extensions; don’t forget them! Generally, make the most of scheduling across your accounts to take some of the pressure off you that weekend.
Also, a big one is your bandwidth! So many websites go down every year because the sites cannot cope with the traffic. Make sure your website is prepared to carry the potential demand.
Black Friday is the perfect time to use the promotion extension. The extension highlights your Black Friday promotion just under your ad and is guaranteed to catch the eye of any potential customers!
Black Friday has become a business opportunity even for B2B marketers like us at Sage. So make sure to use promotion extensions, countdown ads, and amend ad copy to highlight the Black Friday sales. It’s a big one, so it needs to be as impactful as possible.
The dynamic countdown feature is so underrated & a fantastic way to create an extra layer of urgency within ads, encouraging users, literally minute by minute, to take action there and then before it’s too late. The feature is also idea for the likes of Cyber Monday, too.
Tip #2: The Power Of Automation
How can you make sure automation is working in the best way for your campaigns? These experts explain all.
If you are using any form of automation, be sure to make your adjustments 3-5 days before Black Friday so the automation can adjust to the increased reach. Don’t immediately revert your automation after Cyber Monday as you will likely see great performance throughout Cyber week; allow performance to dictate when the changes should be reverted.
As Friday is a working day, lots of advertisers put in the work on Friday, but as Saturday and Sunday are non-working days, leave the same upweights and changes in place before reviewing on Monday.
Despite performance being good (and upweighted) for the entire weekend, there are natural peaks and troughs and the benefit of using automation here means you can continue to maximize and be as efficient as possible, without needing to work two extra days.
Budget and bid changes can go a long way to eeking out additional performance and impression share based on these natural trends across the weekend.
Tip #3: A Word From Unilever’s Head Of Performance Marketing
We chatted to Murad Vagabov, Head of Performance Marketing at Unilever Eastern Europe, about what advertisers commonly miss from their campaigns, and how to tackle the craziness of Black Friday.
What shouldn’t advertisers miss from their Black Friday campaigns this year?
Make sure you’re launching your campaigns early enough. Don’t start when everyone else starts: ads get expensive, competitive, and it becomes really difficult to compete. Some people can’t just do crazy deals.
Also, choose the right mix of platforms and ad formats for your goal. For example, Instagram reels work really well because the algorithm is prioritizing this format at the moment.
What is the biggest mistake people make with their Black Friday campaigns?
People don’t realize that a campaign needs to run for longer than just a day or two. The algorithms need time to notice your campaign, then weeks to get used to them. Start sooner, run them for longer, then retarget.
A lot of people ignore their retargeting opportunities – they peak on Black Friday then struggle until Christmas. Black Friday isn’t about just selling during high sales season. It’s about using the data you gather as a springboard for your all-year-round campaigns.
By running campaigns for longer, you can retarget your audience better. Make sure you’re using a dynamic and personalized retargeting strategy. After Black Friday, the worst thing you can do is go quiet – don’t let potential customers forget about you. Start something different and communicate a new message with them – do not be silent.
Tip #4: Optimizing For Success
Effective optimization is everyone’s goal, but how do you get there? Here are some tweaks to help your campaigns reach their full potential.
I think the key to optimizing your Google Ads campaigns ahead of the Black Friday sales is to ensure that your campaigns correspond to your overall marketing strategy, ensuring there’s an effective full-funnel approach in place, reaching your audiences with the relevant, targeted messaging at each of the different funnel points.
Utilizing different campaign types (Search, Display, Discovery, Shopping) where appropriate throughout your funnel can give you the opportunity to appear at as many customer touchpoints, in places where they are.
Make sure that, as you set up the various campaigns for your funnel (I find it easier to split using the AIDA model), you’re also excluding the audience from your other funnel elements to ensure they’re not seeing mixed messages.
With the explosion of online shopping over the pandemic, it is more imperative than ever to keep up with eCommerce trends and optimize your ad campaigns around online shopping. For Black Friday, the key to success is to plan ahead and to ensure your PPC campaigns are working closely with your email promotions.
For maximum success, you’ll need to make sure your ad campaigns have enough budget to stay afloat during the influx in competition over the holidays, and afterward, utilize audience lists to retarget consumers who had an interest in your products and are now familiar with your brand.
Tip #5: Audience & Targeting
Getting your message in front of the right people is the whole point of running PPC campaigns, but Black Friday means audiences often open up into a much wider demographic. These PPCers explain how they take advantage of new customers.
During these seasonal peaks, your audience expands to be almost everyone. Therefore it is super important that you adjust the scope and reach of your marketing activities, to not only target the “usual suspects”, but expand and also target more broadly. Could be the grandmother buying running shoes for her grandson or the wife buying fishing equipment for her husband – so make sure to see beyond your core segment when planning your marketing activities.
BF is a golden opportunity to expand your customer base, and you should take it. Combining it with adding seasonal IN-Market audiences to the campaigns would make it really powerful. And, don’t forget to increase your budget caps to make the most of the day(s).
I’m still seeing a slow uptake in the use of Google Ad’s ‘In-Market’ audience targeting in a lot of accounts. Utilizing this targeting option enables advertisers to reach an audience that is actively researching for their product or service. This level of intent is a valuable segment to implement into your campaign targeting, as it allows you to reach those already working their way down the sales funnel.
If you are going to be running PPC campaigns this Black Friday, particularly Display campaigns, then make sure you’re familiar with ‘In-Market’ audiences and which of the segments best suit your business. Getting your ads in front of someone who is preparing to make a purchase can help you to become a business they consider, even if you were not originally on their radar!
Make sure not to lose the holistic marketing approach as you get closer to Black Friday. The best PPC campaign during sales periods is the one where the campaign is working together with your other channels, messages, and strategies. Also, don’t underestimate the power of long-term audience segmentation.
The psychology of a hesitant shopper can be triggered by FOMO (fear of missing out.) A great way to capture the attention of website-hopping, hesitant shoppers is through adding scarcity into your ad copy. By implying a shopper may miss out if they don’t buy soon, they’re more likely to complete their purchase. Studies show that brands see better ROAS by subtly injecting elements of scarcity into their campaigns.
“Visibility and transparency are a paramount factor to PPC coverage this year. Appearing for rising terms relevant in your areas will be a core focus to deliver growth from the market as invested interest grows in Black Friday and Cyber promotions. I anticipate next-day delivery to be of high interest after last year and expected concerns of supply chain in some industries so be prepared for that.
Promotions via extensions and automation in responsive messaging will make it clear what we have on offer to support KPI’s across the board. Having these change to support urgency will boost your returns. PPC should focus on Audience, Automation, and Activation with direct response from what you have running. If you have a well-structured plan in those key areas, you will come out on top over this season.”
Tip #6: Testing
As we all know, testing your messaging is key. Here’s what these PPC gurus have to say about testing during Black Friday week.
Black Friday is the time of year where I nearly fully abandon the “always be testing” ideology. Every bit of testing that goes on throughout the rest of the year is about locking in core pillars and identifying my kingmakers to push during these key periods. I do still love testing though, so I sign up for a few early-offer email campaigns to see what sort of messaging competitors are pushing (or not pushing) and go from there for my own creative.
Make sure to get your ads going before the big day, in a teaser format, so that you can take some learnings from it and make sure you have the right budget! People search all month for Black Friday!
Tip #7: Thoughts From THG’s Jimmy Wu
We spoke to The Hut Group’s PPC Manager, Jimmy Wu, about what advertisers should and shouldn’t do during Black Friday.
What shouldn’t advertisers miss from their Black Friday campaigns?
For me, seasonality adjustment on SA360 is a must. Your campaigns should be in an automated bid strategy to maximize efficiency and benefit from all the available data. We can’t process it all with our human brains.
Be sure to use the countdown function on headlines – I found great success with this last year. You don’t want to run things too early saying the offer ends in 30 days because it doesn’t create a sense of urgency. Just use this in Cyber Week or a few days before Black Friday. I usually see strong CTRs on those ads.
What do you think the biggest mistake people make is?
People often make too many changes. They will have one offer Monday-Wednesday, then another offer Thursday-Saturday, etc, and it doesn’t give campaigns enough time to work.
It’s better to have an evergreen offer. This way, if there are delays in getting things approved (which happens a lot of the time), you’re covered. You also need to be prepared for those ‘what-if’ situations. If your ads don’t get approved, have a plan B already set up in your account as a backup.
On Black Friday week, CPCs and CPAs are super high. By this point, it’s too late to run any prospecting campaigns. I try to build up my audiences way beforehand, so on the day, I’m focusing on people who have been on-site and already have an interest. By remarketing rather than competing with the masses, you’re focusing on people who are most likely to convert.
Tip #8: Start Looking Ahead To 2022
It’s never too early to start planning ahead. Every year, Black Friday sales start earlier and earlier, and it’s easy to get left behind. If you’re feeling underprepared for this season, here’s how to make sure you’re ready for next year.
The key to Black Friday is your preparation. It’s having a solid plan and foundation for what you want to achieve. This includes the promotions you are going to run, optimizing your feed, Black Friday themed ad copy, and more. You would certainly stretch before running a marathon, and the same applies to Black Friday. It’s time to start stretching now!”
Preparation is everything. Don’t just think of Black Friday as a one-day campaign. I think creating a Black Friday landing page or even a form several weeks before the sale launch is key to capturing interest.
A common mistake people tend to make is just raising their bids and budget on existing search and shopping campaigns. Instead, I tend to look at it from a different perspective. a) Which products do you want to focus on? b) what kind of offers are people expecting? Once figuring out the answer to these two important questions I would then look at creating a dedicated campaign to reflect this.
Each year, we know what’s coming. Preparing for this shift in demand is imperative through PPC, and we can do this through seasonality adjustments. This feature allows us to apply an expected shift in demand to ensure our strategies can quickly adapt to any change in user behavior. The last thing we want is for our strategies to go back into a learning phase instead of harnessing this demand.
Tip #9: Don’t Let Your Hard Work Go To Waste
As well as record-breaking sales, this time of year always sees insane amounts of invalid traffic activity.
Last year’s Black Friday statistics paint a sorry tale: invalid clicks surged globally by 31%, and $20,000,000 of ad budget was lost in a single day to fraudulent and illegitimate clicks.
Don’t let your hard work go to waste – make sure your ads are protected this year.
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