Driving awareness is a vital first stride in creating conversion, but it's not the final step; it’s important to support your objectives with creative strategies which are aligned with consumers in the research phase of their journey.
It’s at this stage that an optimised paid media strategy comes into play. To help you avoid the most common issues brands face around this, I’ve put together my top 10 paid media recommendations for a smooth and successful Black Friday.
Extend your Black Friday period
In 2016, many brands began advertising their promotions as early as Monday and kept them running until Cyber Monday. These early birds were in a privileged position against competitors, and also saw their return on investment increase as a result.
Ensure all targeting audiences are created two months in advance; this ensures that target lists will be fully populated by the week Black Friday starts, allowing you to have an optimum pool of relevant people to target.
Consider your promotions and segment audiences accordingly. For example, previously converted users could be introduced to similar or add-on items, or you could expand on that pool using similar audiences. Once all your segments have been defined, build a tailored remarketing strategy around them.
Utilise analysis and testing tools
Make use of analysis and testing tools to ensure that on Black Friday you’re showing the most engaging ad at the lowest CPC possible to get optimum results. This can be coupled with using bid adjustments, as these will help when optimising your core bids and campaigns. That being said, it’s necessary to do all your testing months in advance so learnings can be applied across the Black Friday trading period.
Make use of Google Display Network (GDN)
Make use of GDN remarketing via cross-selling campaigns for previous customers and users who already know your brand. We saw brands gain more than 200 orders in four days using this tactic last year. It’s also beneficial to run GDN display campaigns two days before Black Friday to increase awareness and visibility of upcoming offers too, which will also drive an uplift in click-through rate (CTR).
It’s worth testing this strategy in markets where Black Friday is not as popular in order to identify the best creatives and messaging to apply, ideally among a similar audience set for optimum results.
Handle budget flexibly
Last year, we found that upweighting budget when KPIs were met was a very successful tactic. It’s beneficial to incorporate this into your planning to ensure that additional budget is available should higher than expected demand occur, so you can benefit from an uplift in conversions at key moments.
Use a promotion calendar
Create a detailed promotion calendar, signed off in advance, so that ad copy and scheduling can be implemented and approved to avoid last minute disapprovals. For social activity, all Black Friday ads should be in the interface a week before launch. This ensures ads are not missing any information and are approved by each platform in time (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
Make use of countdown ads
Countdown ads will automatically show how many sale days are left. These will help increase awareness and urgency, and we’ve found they generate a positive impact on conversions and, in turn, conversion rates when applied.
Promote on the website
Use your shopping feed feature to show promotional messages and price drops. This can be done by adding two new columns to the feed which contain the discounted price as well as when the sale ends – but be mindful to make sure the feed is amended in advance to avoid unexpected disapprovals.
Draw on promotional ad extensions
These are launched for ad texts specifically over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday trading period, and help to increase awareness on search engine results pages (SERPs) thanks to relevant extensions which make your offers clear and visible.
Make sure you’re happy before you launch
Avoid last minute technical changes on your site in the week up to and during the Black Friday period – any downtime or disruption is likely to cause poor user experience or issues when viewing products, which could cost you a lot in lost sales and frustrated users.
Maria Bestard is paid media analyst at digital agency Greenlight Digital.