The days are getting shorter, the slow cooker is out of the cupboard and you’ve already had way too many pumpkin spice lattes. It can only mean one thing: Autumn is here.
Outside of the office, I am the type of person who starts counting down to Christmas and dreaming about cosy evenings watching Love Actually as soon as the leaves change. But in my role as PPC Lead, there’s a couple of other important dates which need to be addressed before we can crack out the old Buble album.
That’s right folks, get the credit cards ready, it’s almost Black Friday!
Black Friday is always the day after American Thanksgiving, and this year falls on the 25th November. The rise of online shopping has also given rise to the creation of Cyber Monday, which this year will be ‘celebrated’ on the 28th. It is by far the biggest shopping weekend of the year.
An American-born phenomenon though it may be, Black Friday continues to grow in popularity on this side of the Atlantic. In fact, last year, the UK accounted for over 10 percent of all online searches for Black Friday.
Marketing tips and tactics for your Black Friday PPC strategy
From creating some dedicated Black Friday campaigns to exploring performance max campaigns and 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.
1. Design a full-funnel strategy
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 of time periods, 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, if their vacuum cleaner has just broken), 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 may miss out on the sale.
For our take on how the customer journey has changed in recent years, and why that matters, have a browse of our blog; ‘The Sales Funnel In 2022’.
2. Invest in building your brand awareness
According to research by McKinsey, around 40% of shoppers switched brands during 2020 citing various reasons, including better value, convenience, quality and sustainability. In the run up to Black Friday, why not exploit this reduction in brand loyalty by getting your brand in front of your competitors’ customers?
An excellent way to do this would be through a display or programmatic display campaign, raising awareness of your brand and ultimately driving more traffic through to your site, traffic that you could then retarget with your Black Friday messaging!
For this to work, targeting is everything. Build audiences made up of users who regularly visit your competitors websites, or use contextual targeting to place your ads on sites that you know your ideal audience will be frequenting.
3. Create dedicated Black Friday PPC campaigns
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 form in the weeks leading up to their sale’s launch date for people to register their interest for receiving Black Friday deals. For example, this landing page from Game.
4. Build Black Friday shopping campaigns…or give Performance Max a go!
Following on from our advice about the creation of dedicated Black Friday campaigns, this advice also applies to Google Shopping. Separate out your most price competitive products into one or more Black Friday shopping campaigns to ensure they have their own dedicated budget. To maximise the visibility of the products in these campaigns, and ensure that they are, in particular, showing to users on the hunt for Black Friday deals, create a supplemental product feed and explicitly mention ‘Black Friday’ in your item title or description. That way when a user searches for ‘Hair dryer Black Friday offers’, your discounted hair dryer ad is more likely to show!
One of the biggest changes within the Google Ads world this year has been the introduction of performance max campaigns. These campaign types allow advertisers to show their ads across the whole range of Google products, including search, shopping, Gmail, Youtube and display, giving you the ability to attract both users who are actively searching for your products, and reach users who fall into your target audience. Performance max campaigns replaced smart shopping earlier this year.
You may have noticed that any Smart Shopping campaigns within your account have now been ‘upgraded’ to this campaign type. For Black Friday, why not create some dedicated performance max campaigns focusing exclusively on your core promotional offers. The success of these campaigns can hinge on your audience creation so give this some careful consideration. Use your own data to identify those users who are most likely to purchase; how old are they, what else are they interested in, what other websites are they likely to frequent? Perhaps test a couple of different audiences and asset groups (We would recommend to set up a completely new campaign for each. Performance max campaigns have many positive points, but the transparency of what is working and what isn’t currently leaves something to be desired!)
5. Update your PPC ad extensions
Ad extensions are an excellent way to highlight your Black Friday offers and deals - try creating specific site link extensions for key products you are wanting to push, such as ‘Black Friday TV Deals’. Promotion extensions can also be used to advertise specific promotions, giving you the option to add a promo code to be used at the checkout (eg BFRIDAY)
It’s not just search campaigns that can have all the fun when it comes to extensions. If you have a merchant center, make sure you apply to whitelist your account for ‘merchant promotions.’ Similar to promotion extensions, these allow you to advertise special offers in your product ads, including a specific code which can be used to secure discounts or free delivery!
6. Supercharge your Black Friday Google search ads
When building your dedicated Black Friday search campaigns, don’t just stick to the static text template; experiment with using ad customisers to give your ads an exciting dynamic quality. Using the countdown function allows you to create a sense of urgency by literally counting down to the start, and end of your sale, and inventory level customisers (eg ‘only 3 washing up bowls left!’) can play on people’s natural fear of missing out.
7. Make use of your first party data
Never underestimate the power of existing brand knowledge. Those audience lists that you currently have sitting in your analytics account represent a whole orchard of low hanging fruit. Alert those customers to your upcoming sales with specific Black Friday remarketing ads.
If you have over 1000 users on your list, you could also create a search campaign which purely targets this audience, bidding on ‘black friday deals’ related keywords, and broad keywords relating to your products. Refer back to point number three to ensure these ads are as effective as possible!
8. Experiment with PPC campaign types
This is the perfect time to experiment with a product which you haven’t used before. Why not think about launching a YouTube campaign to drum up some excitement about your upcoming campaign? By overlaying shopping cards onto your YouTube ads you can even link your shopping feed directly to your video, giving consumers the ability to click straight through to your product page.
How about venturing further afield than Google? (yes, there are other platforms available!). According to Searchengineland, Amazon is now the third biggest digital ad seller in the US, making it well worth a look if you have an eCommerce client. And let’s not forget Bing, where you can often secure cheaper CPCs and higher click through rates due to less competition from other advertisers - certainly worth a try.
9. Start as soon as possible!
Yes, it seems like Black Friday is ages away, but research shows that some online retailers start their sales as early as the start of November (Telegraph) meaning it is crucial to start planning and building those campaigns as soon as possible. So add an extra shot of coffee to that pumpkin spiced latte, and start planning for the biggest shopping event of the year.
Get in touch with our experts today if you need some help with your digital marketing this Autumn!