The term “Black Friday” originated in the United States and refers to the day after Thanksgiving, when congestion and competition in stores increases as the Christmas shopping period begins. More recently, it is better known to advertisers as the day when sales thrive and accounts move from the red into the black.
But Black Friday isn’t just a day for queuing outside of packed shopping centers and fighting through aisles to grab the last deals on quickly emptying shelves anymore. As bargain hungry shoppers continue to take their hunt online, they have changed the nature of this shopping phenomenon. For starters, it’s no longer just one day: it’s Black Fiveday.
In 2014, US retailers including Radio Shack and JCPenney started opening their stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Since then, the Black Friday period has continued to expand. It is now commonplace for retailers to continue their sales over the weekend and through the first Monday after Thanksgiving, now commonly known as “Cyber Monday.” Cyber Monday is quickly becoming one of the most significant days of the year for ecommerce sales across the world, with shoppers flocking from the stores to their screens to grab last-minute deals. This marks the end of the Black Friday craze, hence the period of the five-day sales now referred to as Black Fiveday.
With the Black Fiveday period falling a week earlier than in recent years, there is no time like the present to get preparing. Follow these five simple tips to get your search campaigns ready for the Black Fiveday madness.
While typically seen as best practice for any paid search campaign, ad scheduling may interfere with your performance potential over the Black Fiveday period. With many advertisers dropping bids during evenings and over the weekend, and some completely excluding activity altogether, the last thing you want is to not be eligible to appear for relevant searches during these five days. Give your ad schedule a once-over and ensure you are taking advantage of the unconventional buyer behaviour.
Similarly, you should consider time and day bid increases. Peak hours occasionally differ during the Black Fiveday period. For instance, the average peak hour for traffic and sales in the UK and Europe in 2017 was 4 p.m., meaning that usual lunchtime peak you typically see on Fridays may not be applicable.
It almost goes without saying that every marketer should be implementing device bid adjustments to their paid search campaigns. It is crucial to utilize device-specific aspects including user intent, conversion paths and content, and that need is only magnified during Black Fiveday.
According to Campaign Live, Black Fiveday 2017 saw 36% of all online sales made on mobile (49% on desktop and only 15% on tablet), an estimated increase of 15% from 2016. This could relate to the nature of Black Fiveday sales: shoppers are hunting for bargains at times that are less convenient for them, hence using mobiles for easy accessibility. At the same time, our society’s confidence in using mobiles to make purchases is forever increasing, suggesting that it is going to be another strong year for mobile devices.
With all of this mind, do you need to review your device bid adjustments? It is quick and easy to do using the new Google Ads interface. It could also make the difference between your ad showing to a potential customer who is browsing while in a coffee shop before work and missing out on that sale.
Black Fiveday opens up online shoppers to a world of new websites and brands they may not have previously been aware of. According to Think with Google, more than 8 in 10 shoppers of consumer packaged goods (CPG) are either considering multiple brands or have no brands in mind at all when shopping. This presents an ideal opportunity to get your ads in front of a new audience during Black Fiveday, and you can do so by using Google’s latest Search Campaign targeting methods.
Earlier this year, Google Ads rolled out “In-Market” and “Life Events” audience targeting for Search Campaigns. In short, ”In-Market” refers to customers who are actively researching for specific products or services, and “Life Events” refer to individuals who are going or who have gone through major life events, including marriage, moving home, and graduation. Matching those intents and occasions to your product or service and creating a campaign only targeting those audiences can be a great way to get your brand in front of a new set of eyes.
For example, a handmade home decorations company may want to target the Christmas shopping market with their new range of tree ornaments. In this case the “Christmas Items and Decor” In-Market audience would be a valuable audience to target. Another example would be a bridal wear store using the “Getting Married Soon” Life Event to promote their shoe sale to brides-to-be.
Remember, in order to target a new audience only, it is important to exclude your existing audiences lists from the campaign. This will stop your ads from being shown to users who have already engaged with your website, and it will free your budget up to be presented an entirely new audience!
Unfortunately, with the ever-increasing popularity of Black Fiveday, advertisers face inevitably higher levels of competition and CPC. And with many brands already facing budgetary constraints, it is not always possible to give your campaigns a cash injection before the big event. However, additional budget may not always be needed. Instead, a redistribution of spend before and after Black Fiveday could provide the funds to compete in search.
Consumers are starting their Christmas purchases earlier, with many making their purchases over the Black Fiveday period. As a result, December sales are slowing down, leading to a 1.5% decrease in UK retails sales in 2017. This is now being referred to as the “Black Friday Hangover,” as Christmas shopping surges shift from December to November. Similarly, as the build up to Black Fiveday begins, shoppers are likely to hold out for the promotions at the end of November rather than purchasing earlier in the month. This presents two opportunities to hold back slightly on spend and instead use those funds during the five-day period.
Look back at your account’s spend history from the previous November and December, and see if your spend was affected by the Black Friday Hangover. If you have found that you did not reach your allocated spend, then consider reducing your budget for that time period this year and adding what was unused to your budget for the Black Fiveday period. Even a small addition to your spend over Black Friday will improve your competitiveness and increase your opportunity to succeed.
Remarketing is a thing of beauty. It gives you the opportunity to create specific Search ads for individuals who have already visited or engaged with your website. Ad copy, scheduling, ad extensions and more can be customized using the user behavior you have already obtained. If you haven’t already built remarketing lists in your account then there is no time like the present. Go do it now!
If you do already have a bank of remarketing lists, then look at creating campaigns specific to the lists you already have. For example, target your list of non-converters with copy focused on promoting your Black Fiveday sales. Try to include USPs including price, delivery options, or savings in the copy to overcome the concern that stopped them from converting originally.
Similarly, you may want to create new remarketing lists to begin populating data in preparation for Black Fiveday. If you know a particular product or service is going to have a promotion over the five-day period, create a list of its page visitors who did not convert in order to target them again once the offer goes live.
Black Fiveday is no longer an optional event for companies to engage in. Customers now expect to see promotions and deals, even in countries which don’t celebrate the holiday it originates from. Therefore, implementing even the smallest of actions to your paid search strategy will help you over the five-day retail phenomenon.
About the author
Sophie Logan has over five years experience in digital marketing and currently works at Hallam. Alongside her interest in optimizing ad-copy and PPC landing pages, Sophie’s accreditations include Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Bing Ads Accredited Professional certification.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.