Black Friday: 5 measures to guide your paid search strategy

Lewis Griffiths,

With Black Friday looming in the distance on November 27th, retailers may already be missing out if they haven’t had a Black Friday strategy signed off and approved yet. And with 38% of UK shoppers waiting until Black Friday to purchase and 53% considering it important for Christmas shopping decisions last year (Smart Shopper Research Kantar/Google 2019), a solid strategy is needed to attain key sales during this Golden Quarter.

To drive marketing performance over this period, we've pulled together a number of go-to measures to put in place when it comes to paid search: 

1. Uncap your budgets

Demand sees a huge increase in the lead up to Black Friday, so making sure that your ads are unhindered and consistently running to capture these shoppers is essential if you are using a targert return-on-ad-spend (tROAS) strategy. 

2. Use automated bidding

Using automated bidding is vital for optimal auction-time bidding as a rigid manual strategy would result in many lost conversion opportunities. tROAS is typically the bidding strategy retailers use for shopping campaigns, however if you do not have a target return on ad spend, consider using 'maxmise conversion value' bidding.

3. Don’t neglect the upper funnel

Black Friday searches typically begin in the first week of November (so if you’ve not got your assets and budgets approved do it now!) and will usually be in the Awareness/Consideration part of the customer journey funnel. Putting your brand in front of these people early will put you in a great position to attract new customers once shoppers decide to buy later in the month.

Display and video will shine here for generating impression share and can contribute effectively to your retargeting strategy. Dynamic Search ads can also be pivotal tools in discovering relevant search queries not currently in your keyword lists so that you’re staying on top of Black Friday trends.

You may also want to consider Smart Shopping Campaigns (SSCs) as they will combine all aspects of your paid search activity to guide a customer through the whole conversion journey. Advertisers have seen up to a 30% increase on conversion value on average when using SSCs and this is even higher during Black Friday. Note that a dynamic remarketing list of at least 100 active users is required and best practice is to have at least 100 conversions in the past 30 days.

4. Structure your campaigns effectively

Identifying your best sellers and high margin products will allow you to effectively structure your campaigns on business goals. Rather than a blanket tROAS for all products, if you separate the best selling high margin products into their own campaign with a lower tROAS, you can put your products in front of more people and ultimately achieve higher ROIs by increasing conversions. After this, you could set a higher tROAS for your other products.

5. Be prepared for shipping demand

With a second lockdown in place, shoppers will be looking online to shop now more than ever, so make sure you have the necessary inventory and shipping arrangements in place. Consider doing an early bird promotion to offset some of the traffic and manage inventory levels better. Free shipping is becoming increasingly important for customers so make sure prices account for this and possibly introduce a minimum spend threshold to encourage new customers to spend more.

If your paid search team have these measures in place then you will be in the best position to attain new customers and maximise existing customer conversion value.

Ask your team to see if this has been implemented, and if you’re looking for further support on navigating the busiest shopping period of the year, download our Golden Quarter Report or contact our team of experts.

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