By Aaron Goodall, Frances Roche and Ryan Skeet

With £1.4 billion spent online during Black Friday and Cyber Weekend 2017 in the UK, and the event growing in popularity throughout Europe, it's one of the most important periods in the calendar for many e-retailers. Digital media is a core part of the marketing mix in the race to provide your customers with the most relevant experience and ensure they don't miss out on your great offers. We've put our heads together to provide five key tips to make the most of this exciting time of year.

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Black Friday

Build Up to Black Friday

With consumers typically holding back on spend in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, use this opportunity for branding. Utilise your digital channels to generate buzz and fuel your remarketing audiences in the days leading to up the weekend. Analyse BAU campaigns to understand which targeting drives the best engagement, and utilise this within your build-up strategy. Look to generate brand recall to spark interest before the big day, and ideally high CTR to increase digital footfall; maybe driving users to add to basket or to their wish list through your prospecting activity and generic search. Then on Black Friday utilise these bigger audiences to target users personally based on previous on-site activity. 

Stand Out From The Crowd

Stand out from the crowd

Black Friday and the subsequent days will be an extremely competitive time in the digital advertising world. Every year interest in the event continues to increase and CPMs/CPCs continue to rise during Cyber Weekend; so, it’s important to get the most value for your money by standing out from the crowd. Call out what makes you unique and use-catching visuals to enhance your promotions. These ads should be thumb-stopping content, be that in the form of video ads or branded collections, the aim should be to break up people’s content and get their attention. This content should create urgency and anticipation – you want your customers to know that this sale won’t last long and the discounts won’t get better than this!

Consider the following;

  • Live Countdowns to ensure people are fully aware of when the deal ends - and to trigger an immediate response from them.
  • Stock counts on every product page, pulling through to your ads where possible. This allows users to understand stock levels, and whether they need to act immediately, for fear of missing out.
  • Calls-To-Action such as ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Sale Ends on X’ reinforce the urgency messaging and really fuel that "got to get it" mindset.
  • Link dynamic feeds to targeting – if you are selling a range of goods, make sure the dynamic feed is appropriate to the audience targeted.

Apply Learnings from Black Friday to Cyber Monday

For some advertisers, Cyber Monday actually proves more fruitful than Black Friday. It is therefore important to adapt your strategic insights from Friday to Monday. Quick analysis of your data is key to make sure you don’t miss out on driving even more conversions. Don’t let one successful Friday prevent you from having an even better Monday! 

Here are a few things to look at:

  • Dynamic Creative Reports (DV360), Purchase Detail Reports (SA360) - Which products are driving the highest engagement? Can you up-weight bids here to capitalise?
  • Time of Day Reports - When are users engaging/converting with your ads and when should you be up-weighting budget for maximum efficiency?
  • Creative Messaging  - Which CTA is driving users to site more effectively? Could you be updating your other ads to capitalise on this?

But remember, although Black Friday’s data will provide insightful feedback, make sure you don’t solely focus on one day’s results when re-strategising for Monday’s campaign. Consider last year's Cyber Monday performance and any macro changes in your competitive landscape. 

Check out this case study around the impact of real time data if you need more convincing.

Plan for Mobile

In 2017, 40% of Black Friday transactions in the States took place on mobile phones


This figure has been on the up for the last five years at least. It's likely you’re already optimising your digital campaigns towards mobile so inevitably a high proportion of your spend is already going here (this is especially true for Paid Social as the vast majority of social networking is done on phones). For Paid Search, you'll want to be utilising mobile IF functions to customise ads for your handheld shoppers and of course make the most of the various extensions available from calls and messages all the way through to mobile-preference for your site-links. Don't forget location extensions to catch those active shoppers on the move - digital advertising doesn't just fuel your digital revenue.

The challenge, though, is that mobile shoppers have the shortest attention span. Any hiccup and they give up and look elsewhere - with up to 30% increase in bounce rate for every additional second the page takes to load. Customers now expect a good user experience on-site, regardless of whether it's mobile or desktop. It’s vital to have mobile friendly landing pages, storefronts and checkouts. Even if you have the best marketing strategy in the world, if your site isn't up to scratch, your campaign will not live up to it’s potential.

Have a Backup In Case Something Goes Wrong!

E-commerce backup

Sites crash, tracking fails and spending issues always seem to happen when you’re under the most pressure. Planning for the unexpected ensures you don’t lose out during the biggest weekend of the year. Consider having a custom rule in SA360 to pause all of your Search activity in the event of a site crash - you don't want to be spending your marketing budget and driving users to a broken site. During your run-up period, trouble-shoot any potential tracking issues early. You may even want to consider a development blackout period for November to ensure that nothing jeopardises this key time.

In Summary

Plan ahead, use the highest-impact formats you have available and learn from previous successes. If all of this sounds like way too much to handle, get in touch with one of our team, we can help you out!