Lucie Heseltine

By Lucie H


How to create the perfect Black Friday PPC strategy

Black Friday is just around the corner, so here are our top tips on how to make the most out of your PPC strategy over this year's festive season.

How to create the perfect Black Friday PPC strategy

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 (now virtual) 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 a PPC consultant, 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 27th November. The rise of online shopping has also given rise to the creation of Cyber Monday, which this year will be ‘celebrated’ on the 30th. It is by far the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

In fact, according to Think With Google, online sales spike over this weekend, with transactions on mobiles increasing by a massive 40% when compared with the rest of the year!

For obvious reasons, last year’s Black Friday weekend was a bit of a digital game changer. According to Statista, the number of people taking advantage of deals in store fell from 23% to just 12%, meaning online shopping accounted for a huge 88% of all Black Friday sales in the UK.

In 2021, with shops back open and restrictions lifted, some of these shoppers will undoubtedly return to doing their sales shopping in person. However, for a huge proportion of shoppers, the switch to online, whether that be online plus delivery or online transaction with in store collection, is a permanent one, making it more important than ever to adopt a clear digital strategy for this most crucial of weekends.

So, what can you do to ensure your client makes the most of this online shopping goldmine?

1. 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.

2. Create Black Friday specific campaigns

Preparation is everything. 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.

3. 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).

Google Ads Example
Promotion examples on Google Ads

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!

Google Shopping Promotions
Discount codes on Google Shopping Ads

4. Supercharge your 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.

Countdown Timers on Google Ads
Countdown Timers on Google Ads

5. Work Your Audience

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!

Finally, if you have a list of customer email addresses, why not upload these to Adwords and serve them with Black Friday themed gmail ads using the customer match targeting option? Depending on your product, it is likely that if a user has bought from you once, they will consider doing so again, especially if you have an enticing enough offer!

6. Try new things!

This is the perfect time to try using 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.

YouTube Advertising
YouTube Advertising Example

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.

6. And finally, START ASAP

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.

Need some help with your digital marketing this festive season?

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Paid Media Lead

Lucie is our lead on all paid media activity, overseeing our talented paid media team and managing the strategy and implementation of all paid search campaigns across multiple platforms. Fully Google qualified and working directly at Google prior to joining Extreme, there's not much Lucie doesn't know about PPC!

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