15/09/2023 • Tom Berridge
Black Friday, the biggest shopping event, is evolving with a focus on online shopping, sustainability, and personalisation. PPC is crucial for success, offering hyper-targeting, quick results, and budget control. It's essential to balance sales-focused campaigns with brand awareness efforts. Prepare with clear goals, keyword research, and budget planning. Craft compelling ads, optimise through scheduling and A/B testing, and monitor with analytics. Leverage 1st party data for personalised campaigns, utilise urgency tactics, and analyse post-campaign for continuous improvement.
The UK “Summer” is disappearing, there’s a distant hum from marketing teams across the globe and brainstorming sessions on seasonal strategy are in full swing. It can only mean one thing: Black Friday is coming.
And this year it falls on the 24th November. It is by far the biggest shopping weekend of the year.
An American-born phenomenon though it may be, Black Friday continues to not only see a shift in popularity on this side of the Atlantic but also in strategy, as daunting economic factors hit home. Some predictions of the UK market for the Black Friday season are:
Black Friday 2023 deals are set to be bigger, more digital and more personalised than ever before. With extended sales periods, a larger focus on sustainability, and an ever-increasing shift towards online shopping, it's an exciting time for both consumers and retailers.
So let’s look at how you can best leverage the biggest shopping day/weekend/week/month of the year using PPC.
Picture this: It's Black Friday, and everyone's on the hunt for epic deals. The competition is hotter than ever. The online community is primed and ready to “add-to-basket”.
That's where PPC swoops in like an algorithm in shining armour. It puts your products or services right in front of your potential customers' eyes when they're ready to buy. Think of it as a bidding war for attention, and the winner turns users into customers. With PPC, you're the one waving the victory flag.
Black Friday is an intensely competitive market. Customers are actively searching for deals and discounts. PPC allows you to target users based on search queries, interests, viewing habits and so much more, ensuring your ads appear prominently to the right people, at the right moment.
Hyper-targeted Advertising: PPC platforms offer precise, ninja-like targeting options. You can narrow down your audience by demographics, interests, location, and more, ensuring your ads reach the most relevant potential customers.
Immediate Results: Unlike some marketing strategies that require time to gain traction, PPC delivers results almost instantly. As soon as your campaign goes live, you can start driving visitors to your website and converting them to customers.
Control Over Ad Spend: One of the key advantages of PPC is that you have full control over your budget allowing you to adjust your spending as needed to maximise ROI.
While Black Friday is synonymous with big discounts and skyrocketing sales, it's essential not to lose sight of a crucial aspect of your business — brand awareness. Incorporating brand awareness strategies into your Black Friday PPC campaigns ensures that you not only capture immediate sales but also lay the groundwork for long-term customer relationships. Building a strong brand presence during this high-traffic period can lead to continued success beyond Black Friday:
From creating dedicated Black Friday campaigns to exploring Performance Max campaigns or simply updating your ad extensions, there are a number of handy ways to give your Black Friday strategy the maximum chance of doing the business. As well as starting as early as possible, don't neglect brand awareness activity, either — it shouldn't all be about sales.
Although it can be tempting to assume that a Black Friday PPC strategy should be solely about driving sales, don’t forget everything you know about the ways in which users behave online. Even in the run up to this most lucrative period, when many shoppers will be more willing to part with their hard earned money, it is important to remember that ultimately no user is the same.
While one online shopper may make a split second purchase based on a trigger or a need (for example, their wireless keyboard just stopped worki…), another may spend hours researching, comparing and browsing before clicking ‘buy’. If your brand isn’t visible and present during this crucial research time, you’re going to miss out.
Before you dive into PPC for Black Friday, you need a game plan. Are you aiming to flood your website with traffic, rake in sales like a Black Friday guru, or raise brand awareness quicker than a viral TikTok? Having crystal-clear goals is your navigation for this journey.
In more detail, setting clear goals is essential because it helps you define your campaign's key performance indicators (KPIs). If your goal is to boost sales, you'll focus on metrics like conversion rate and return on ad spend (ROAS). Awareness or consideration? Keep an eye on lift metrics.
Knowing your goals and KPIs will help you measure the success of your strategy accurately.
The cornerstone of a successful PPC campaign. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner of your Search Terms Report to discover high-converting keywords. You want those keywords that Black Friday shoppers are typing furiously into their search bars.
Review last year’s performance and identify what bids got you into first position. Did any keywords turn out to be more or less competitive? Did generic terms add any benefit? Optimise your PPC campaigns by diving deep into your keyword data. It’s essential for bringing more traffic to your site from the most relevant audience.
Allocate your budget wisely, my friend. Consider boosting your budget during the Black Friday weekend when competition is fierce, and demand is high.
Your budget planning should be based on a thorough analysis of your historical data and market research. But also how ambitious you want to be. There’s always an element of risk so determine how much you're willing to spend through the Black Friday season. Be prepared to allocate more budget to campaigns that demonstrate strong performance and drive significant ROI. Keep in mind that higher competition during Black Friday may lead to higher bid costs, so flexibility in your budget is crucial.
Your ad copy should be attention-grabbing and persuasive. Use action-oriented language and highlight your Black Friday deals. You want people to read it and think, "I HAVE to check this out".
When crafting ad copy, consider the following elements:
Visuals matter more than ever in our age of doom scrolling. You want your ad creatives to pop. It's like being the Belle of the Black Friday ball — you want everyone's eyes on you.
Consider the following for creating eye-catching ad creatives:
Time your ads for maximum impact during Black Friday. Consider running ads during peak shopping hours and making real-time adjustments.
Take advantage of native ad scheduling options in your platform. Schedule your ads to appear when your target audience is most active and likely to make a purchase. Monitor the performance of your ads and make adjustments to scheduling based on data and user behaviour.
Using Google Ads? Consider Seasonality Adjustments to give the algorithm a heads up on any expected uplifts on conversion rate throughout the period.
A/B testing is your not-so-secret weapon for PPC success. Continuously test different ad elements, such as headlines, descriptions, and visuals, to refine your strategy and improve ad performance.
A/B testing (or split testing) involves creating variations of your ads to determine which elements drive better results and allows you to identify winning ad variations and fine-tune your campaign for better results. Not only will this level up your game during the peak season, but it will also inform your wider strategy for years to come.
Now, here's where the nerdy side of PPC comes in. You've got to keep an eagle eye on your metrics. Things like click-through rate, conversion rate, and return on ad spend are your best friends.
Regularly monitor your campaign's performance using whatever analytics and reporting tools you prefer.
And if you're adopting manual bidding, then your Google Strategist hates you. Also, consider these:
Preparation is key. Don’t just raise your bids and budget on your existing search or shopping campaign, spend some time planning which products you are wanting to focus on, and create dedicated campaigns to reflect this.
It’s also a great idea to create a Black Friday landing page. Some retailers even create a pre-sale form in the weeks leading up to their launch date for people to register their interest for receiving Black Friday deals.
In the world of PPC advertising, data is king, and 1st party data reigns supreme. What is 1st party data, you ask? It's the information you collect directly from your customers. This treasure trove of data includes purchase history, website behaviour, email sign-ups, and more. For businesses gearing up for Black Friday, 1st party data is your secret weapon:
Create a sense of urgency by incorporating countdown timers into your ads. Highlight that your deals are limited-time offers.
Use ad extensions to provide additional information, such as location, pricing, and more. These extensions make your ads more informative and appealing.
After the Black Friday rush, analyse your campaign's success. Identify what worked and what didn't, so you can fine-tune your strategy for next time. Keep refining your approach to stay ahead of the competition.
Black Friday 2023 promises to be a digital, personalised, and competitive retail battleground. PPC is the knight in shining armour, delivering your ads to the right audience at the right time. To conquer this market, prepare with a well-defined strategy, efficient budgeting, and targeted keywords. Balance sales-driven campaigns with brand awareness efforts for long-term success. Craft enticing ad copy and visuals, optimise through scheduling and testing, and analyse performance meticulously. Harness the power of 1st party data for personalised campaigns and embrace urgency tactics. After the frenzy, assess your campaign to refine your strategy for the future. With PPC as your ally, you'll win the Black Friday battle.
A monthly round up of our expert insights, tips and careers - straight to your inbox.