Is Black Friday Actually A Thing?
Yes, it definitely is! Acknowledged annually on the fourth Friday of November, what was originally America’s way of celebrating the beginning of their Christmas shopping season has quickly grown into a weekend-long, global phenomenon, highlighting heavily promoted sales and offers both online and offline.
A regular in the UK’s retail calendar since 2013, the popularity of Black Friday has grown exponentially with UK consumers spending over £8.29billion in 2018 across the Black Friday weekend (including Cyber Monday), according to data from Statista. For the upcoming 2019 season, growth is set to continue, with Euromonitor expecting spending across Black Friday weekend in the UK to increase by a further 6.31%.
When it comes to search interest, Google Trends and internal data show Black Friday search interest has increased by 5% in the last 2 years, whereas the number of inquiries has increased by 15% from 2017 to 2018. So ultimately, yes Black Friday is actually a thing and yes, it’s only looking to get bigger!
What Preparations Do I Need to Make?
So, now we’ve established that Black Friday is a huge opportunity for brands to drive increased sales during this period, let’s discuss how you can use paid search to make the most of this opportunity!
Get Your Offers Ready
It should be fairly obvious, but you’ll need some decent offers ready in order to capitalise on the Black Friday traffic. The whole buzz for shoppers around Black Friday is that there are fantastic deals and discounts to be had. Shoppers simply aren’t going to visit your website/shop if you don’t give them a reason to – never mind convert! It gets very competitive and crowded with sales during Black Friday so having a strong offer to standout is key.
Prepare Your Ad Copy
Once you know what your offers will be and have the landing pages ready, it’s time to create your ad copy and ad extensions. We recommend tailoring headline 1 to your keywords but using the rest of your character allowance to discuss your offer and brand USPs with a CTA emphasising the sale is for a limited time so shop now. Below is an example of how to do this. This will maximise CTR and conversion rate.
Remember to roll out both Responsive Search Ad and Expanded Text Ad variants to maximise how often your ads are shown.
Prepare Your Ad Extensions
Ad extensions provide a huge boost to performance as they increase your CTR and incorporate in the Google Ad rank algorithm (e.g. ad extensions can boost quality score and reduce your CPC). Sitelinks directing users to a Black Friday offers page, callout extensions highlighting USPs and promotion extensions similar to the below work particularly well.
This next step is not going to work for every advertiser. If you have the budget to do so and enough room to manoeuvre in your CPA, then bidding on Black Friday based keywords could quickly increase your sales and revenue. Bidding on terms such as “Black Friday deals” will drive a lot of traffic but the conversion rate will be lower because the intent is much broader. But if you’re a multi-product retailer then this tactic might work for you.
We would recommend testing your top volume keywords with “Black Friday” within the search term as a starting point. The CPC will be steep, but you can expect the conversion rate to be a lot greater which will help your actual CPA. Even if you don’t add keywords, you should see a sizeable uplift in search impressions anyway.
Setup Dynamic Search Ads
There is going to be a lot of new search terms in the market which you’ll need to cover to fully capitalise on Black Friday. Your broad match keywords should help you with this, but we would recommend utilising Dynamic Search Ads in conjunction. This will not only ensure you match against new and relevant but also maximise CTR and conversion rate by letting Google optimise the ad copy and landing page based on the user intent. You should use either your specific offer pages or category pages as the target URL or run site wide and negative match non transactional pages such as the contact us or about us pages.
How Do I Optimise on The Big Day?
You should hopefully have prepared for the big day as much as you can but what can you do on the day to ensure it’s a success?
Adapt Your Bid Models
If you are using manual bidding then just keep on top of your bid management throughout the day. If you’re using Google Smart Bidding then you will need to tweak your bid model to force it to react to the increased intent and search volume. To do this, we recommend utilising seasonality adjustments. This not only helps your bid models prepare for expected peaks but also ensures your bid models don’t use data from this peak to optimise your bids when search volume and conversion rates return to their usual levels. You can also increase your bid model’s target KPI to force it to react to the peaks in traffic and conversion rate.
Keep on Top of Your Site Performance
You should make sure your site is ready for the additional traffic and the pressure that will put on your server. Unsurprisingly, having your website crash will ruin your conversion rate and the sales and revenue you will track!
Manage Your Budget Caps
We would recommend increasing your budget caps before the Black Friday through either automation or manual adjustments. We would still recommend monitoring your spend closely as you may find you’re hitting budget caps faster than you’ve realised – particularly if this your first Black Friday and you don’t have historical data to base your optimisations on!
What Should I Do After Black Friday?
Focus On Learnings
Aside from the obvious points of reversing your bid model and campaign budget changes to their usual levels, you should focus on reviewing your activity to find learnings for next year. Even the best campaigns can be improved so analysing the data you have available in Google Ads and Google Analytics will help you do this. Common areas to analyse include, search term report, ad performance and bid levels. It’s also worth reviewing your internal processes too. Ask yourself were there any difficulties you faced? What things would you change for next year?
Convert Non-Converters Using Retargeting
Our final tip is to use the spike in traffic to your website to setup and/or refine your existing retargeting audiences. Whilst a lot of the non-converting traffic probably won’t convert as they were after a bargain or converted elsewhere, you should try and convert as much as this traffic as you can through retargeting. Pick out audiences with high intent and think about tailoring your ad messaging and landing pages to the user’s intent and give them a reason to convert. You can setup audiences and preview their conversion rate using Google Analytics advanced segments.
Hopefully this article has been of use to you and thanks for reading it! If you’d like to discuss anything to do with Google Ads and how to get the most out of it, then please feel free to get in touch.