The ULTIMATE Guide To Black Friday

If you’ve not started your Black Friday preparations by now, it’s probably already too late. However, we’re sharing our insights into how you can make your Black Friday as successful as possible.

Black Friday is one of the biggest days of the year for retailers all over the world, with consumers now actively searching for temporary deals over the weekend following Thanksgiving.

In fact, many businesses have turned Black Friday into a week, or in some cases, even a month-long opportunity to promote products, attract new customers, and drive sales.

In addition to the proximity to Thanksgiving, Black Friday is also the biggest seasonal sale before Christmas.

Many advertisers who are working with clients, understandably, use Black Friday as a prime opportunity to drive growth and help them to reach business goals and objectives. It’s an exciting time for retailers and advertisers alike, who can, and often do, hit phenomenal revenue and sales numbers.

For example, 2021’s Black Friday promotions saw one of our retail clients hit 10x their 2020 figures (😱)!

Keep reading for Circus PPC’s ULTIMATE Guide to Black Friday, and all of the tips you need to make it the best one yet!

Pre-Event Preparation

Will Cheng, Operations Director at Circus PPC, discussed the preparation required to set yourself up for success on Black Friday:

“There are a number of problems that can face advertisers on Black Friday if they haven’t duly prepared, the main one being is that in order for it to be successful, every single step of the supply chain needs to be considered and planned in advance.

Some of the issues that advertisers might run into include not having budgets set aside or agreed beforehand, having a limited amount of stock, or a website that hasn’t been updated with the Black Friday promotions.

Ensuring that all of these things are taken care of prior to Black Friday might be the difference between a seamless, or stressful, run-up to the big day.”

Will also emphasised the importance of communication during the big day and the days following:

“During the Black Friday weekend, it’s all about communication. For example, when we hit budget thresholds, we need immediate responses from clients to know whether we can keep pushing, and equally, need to know if our clients don’t have the stock or money left to continue pushing promotions.

Letting your clients know what to expect during the Black Friday period beforehand is the best way to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to communication and their role in making the day a success.”

Black Friday Steps For Success

There’s a few non-negotiables that we stick to when it comes to Black Friday, all of which can help set yourself and your clients up for success.

Tip #1
Look into historical data 📈

The reason we look back at historical data is due to its ability to help guide us going forward, especially when it comes to seasonality and how shopper intent changes throughout different times and seasons of the year. This data will differ across various client industries, so make sure that when you do look at the data, it’s applied accordingly to planning for different clients.

Tip #2
Know your budgets 💸

Due to the success that many businesses experience during the Black Friday weekend, it’s likely that your client could provide extra budget to enhance and drive sales. However, it’s extremely unlikely that this budget will be unlimited, and remaining aware of budgets can help to drive your pre-sale PPC planning.

Tip #3
Use countdown timers ⏰

Using countdown timers prior to offers and discounts going live can really help to get consumers excited about the upcoming offers, whilst also acting as a reminder for consumers to visit your website when they do go live.

Tip #4
Adjust targets 🎯

Just like budget, targets might also change during the Black Friday weekend. If you’re spending more and expecting an uplift in website traffic, chances are you’ll also experience an increased conversion rate and in turn, adjust targets to better represent and drive what you’d like to achieve.

Tip #5
Refine your audiences 👩🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾

You could create and run the best Black Friday ad ever, but if it’s not tailored to your desired audience, what’s the point? For example, there’s no point showing a car advertisement to someone that doesn’t drive, is there? Knowing audiences and creating campaigns to best appeal to them – such as ad copy, keywords, and visual aids – can help you to target the right people, and in turn, drive website traffic and conversions.

Tip #6
Update your keywords 🔎

Consumers are going to be looking for Black Friday specific offers, which means that they’ll be using different search terms that include phrases like ‘Black Friday,’ and ‘Cyber Monday.’ Make sure your keywords are updated to reflect this!

Tip #7
Add in a backup payment method 💳

Black Friday can be stressful enough without the added issue of failed payment methods within accounts. Speak to clients about having a backup payment method in place – just to be prepared!

Tip #8
Tap into seasonality 🎄

November and December are statistically, the biggest shopping months of the year, with summer months often generating up to 30% less ecommerce sales. Due to the increase in shopping during this time, it’s worth creating campaigns based around seasonality, taking attributes such as ad copy and keywords into consideration.

Tip #9
Fix any issues… quickly ❌

If there are any issues related to your accounts – whether that be tracking, budget allocation, or location targeting – make sure that these are fixed before Black Friday comes around! For one, you want your accounts to be in the best possible shape for the Black Friday weekend, and secondly, you want to be able to focus fully on driving campaigns and monitoring success, not having to see to other issues that could take up valuable time.

Tip #10
Have fun 🎉

Despite the excitement and anticipation surrounding Black Friday – it doesn’t have to be stressful, and you can still have fun! Stay connected to your colleagues and fellow PPC experts during the Black Friday weekend and even take part in some friendly competition 😉

Performance Max & Black Friday

Advertisers will now be somewhat familiar with Performance Max, which has officially replaced Smart Shopping.

However, due to it being new this year, we’re yet to discover how well it performs when it comes to Black Friday and the high demand that comes with it.

Operations Manager, Meg Wilson-Taylor, talks Performance Max and whether it will be able to live up to advertisers’ expectations on Black Friday:

“One of the best things about Performance Max is that it allows us, as advertisers, to access Google’s entire inventory (YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps) through a single campaign type meaning one campaign can reach the same customer across multiple touchpoints, which we know typically make up a customer’s purchase journey.

In turn, with Performance Max, we can reach the right person, at the right time, in the right place – which over the Black Friday period, should mean that we are getting in front of our target audience and potential customers, no matter where on the internet they may be.

So far, we know that advertisers who are using Performance Max are seeing an average increase of 12% in conversion value (revenue) at the same, or better, return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), so it’s possible that we’ll see improved results this Black Friday, compared to last year when Smart Shopping campaigns were still in play. “

Whilst Performance Max can assist with improvements in revenue and ROAS, it’s important that advertisers are using Performance Max in the right way in order to see such results. Meg expands further:

“Some of the ways that advertisers should be using Performance Max to best set accounts up for success include leveraging first-party data, aligning description assets with Black Friday messaging, and ensuring that promotion extensions are added to Performance Max (not just Search) campaigns.

It’s also important to check your historical data. Conversion rates are likely to improve during the Black Friday period, so you may want to make the necessary changes to allow yourself to capture more traffic than usual due to higher purchase intent.”

Read more from Meg on the effects that Performance Max could have on Black Friday this year, and how advertisers can best set their campaigns up for success, here.

Some Final Black Friday Thoughts

In addition to the steps for success, there’s a few more things we’d recommend keeping in mind to ensure that you’re fully prepared for what’s to come…

This year, the UK’s Royal Mail strike coincides with the Black Friday weekend, which means that your client’s shipping and delivery expectations need to managed duly. It’s also important to make it clear to consumers upon purchase that there could be a delay in when they receive their purchases.

Equally as important as managing delivery expectations, is communicating with your client to understand stock levels and restrictions. Hopefully, your client’s promotions will drive conversions and purchases, but this needs to be supported by ample stock levels. If the worst does happen, and stock runs out completely, make sure consumers are informed when going to purchase, or at least told that delivery will be significantly delayed as a result of stock issues.

Clear information across your client’s websites is one thing, but actually making sure your website can handle a potential surge in traffic, is another. The last thing you want on Black Friday is for customers to leave items in their basket due to struggling site speed and a negative user experience. There’s going to be a lot of competition with fellow retailers, so ensuring both your desktop and mobile websites are performing well is essential.

It’s also worth checking with your clients what other marketing activity they might be driving in order to best align campaigns.

Another important thing to consider is the current state of the economy, and how this might affect consumer intentions and even the promotions that businesses are offering. Again, this is something to think about when it comes to appearing strong against your competitors. Client Services Manager, Anna Wood, said:

“Given the current cost-of-living crisis, one of the biggest obstacle for clients is margins. Understandably, businesses could be more focused on maintaining higher margins and profits, leading to less adventurous or attractive offers across products.”

And remember, Black Friday doesn’t just last for one day. Over the years, it has turned into a weekend-long event, which should be taken into account when making initial plans with your client. The weekend ends with Cyber Monday, which is another big day, so make sure you discuss and consider the different offers and discounts with your clients if they will be applied on different days.

There’s not one-size-fits-all solution to ensure a successful Black Friday, and rather, it’s individual to each and every business involved. However, taking the above tips into consideration can help you to best understand how to approach such an important annual event and growth opportunity for your clients.

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