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How To Prepare Your PPC Campaigns For Black Friday 2019

Black Friday 2019

So, the clocks have gone back, Halloween and Bonfire Night are now a distant memory and the biggest event in the eCommerce calendar is upon us…

Black Friday and Cyber Monday – also known as the Cyber Weekend!

Last year, we gave you our top tips on preparing your eCommerce stores for this busy period (you can read that post here by the way) so this year, we are putting the spotlight on PPC and how to prepare your PPC campaigns for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Cyber Weekend – more commonly abbreviated to ‘BFCM’.

First things first, and just in case you didn’t know, Black Friday is now one of the biggest dates on retailer calendars.

Originating from the US in the 1980s, it’s been a major trading event in the UK since 2014. Cyber Monday has become more of a ‘thing’ in recent years, and as the name suggests, it’s an online-only event – however, now some retailers will run offers throughout the whole period and longer.

Black Friday is now one of the biggest dates on retailer calendars. Originating from the US in the 1980s, it’s been a major trading event in the UK since 2014.

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Many shoppers will hold off for BFCM, with some even using it as an opportunity to get their Christmas shopping sorted. Tech is a huge part of Black Friday, with some of the best offers for TVs, appliances, devices, etc.

Is Black Friday / Cyber Monday Right For My Business?

First things first, are you B2C or B2B? BFCM is probably most suited to B2C, however, to get a better understanding of what the search traffic is around your key products and brands is to use the following tools:

Google Trends

Google Keyword Planner

If you are B2B, many companies tend to shy away from BFCM, however, could be an opportunity to maximise sales during this time with an attractive BFCM offer that stands you apart from competitors.

Why not give it a try and see if it works for you this year?

Marcus Wincott

Marketing Manager

Media Lounge

When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, getting ahead of the game and using all the automation available to you in Google Ads is key. It’s an extremely busy time of the eCommerce calendar (and a weekend) so preparing ahead of time can make all the difference.

9 Tips On How To Prepare Your PPC Campaigns For Black Friday And Cyber Monday 2019

1. Plan Offers & Promotions

Plan your promotions and offers in advance so all of your team are aware of them and you have notified your marketing agency so they can begin to plan out your PPC BFCM strategy.

The offer and/or promotion needs to stand out from other offers you have run throughout the year. Many retailers know they have to have the best price to get the sale as shoppers are now so price savvy and tend to hunt for the best deal, so your offer must stand out from your competitors!

Ensure you submit your promotions to the Merchant Centre in advance to ensure these will be approved. During BFCM, approval lead times are much longer and the wait has already started from what I’ve seen on Twitter from other PPC’ers.

2. Review Performance From Last Year

Do some analysis around your impressions, clicks, conversions and conversion value for your campaigns from last November, to understand what was popular and what your target market was most interested in.

Did you run BFCM campaigns last year? Was there anything you remember thinking you’d do differently? Hopefully, you were nice and organised and wrote a list ready to implement for this year!

3. Agree On Additional Budgets

Get sign-off on additional budgets during your sale period for BFCM in advance. Every company is different, but you need to know how much you have to spend so you can maximise your opportunities during the planning process.

4. Get Ad Copy Written and Approved By Google

I cannot stress this enough – build your ads, get them approved in advance by Google and pause them off until you are ready to go live!

Like getting promotions approved on the Merchant Centre, Google will take AGES around Black Friday to approve ads and ad extensions due to the sheer volume of requests.

Google Ads is all about standing out against your competitors and getting the click, so for BFCM, it’s essential that you update your ad copy, especially on your top-performing campaigns, to include your Black Friday promotion. It’s also a good idea to make sure this is clear in your headline and description. One thing we’ve seen success with is creating a sense of urgency in your ads by adding a countdown timer for example.

Google Ads is all about standing out against your competitors and getting the click, so for #BlackFriday, it’s essential that you update your ad copy.

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5. Optimise Your Ad Extensions 

The use of extensions will improve the CTR (click through rate) of your ads.

Promotion extensions perform really well during BFCM and will make your offer stand out from the crowd:

Coats R Us Google Ad

Use Sitelink extensions to increase traffic to your BFCM sale and offer pages.

Use callout extensions to let shoppers know you are running promotions.

Apply these on campaign or account level depending on how many different promotions you have running.

When setting up your extensions for BFCM, consider using extension scheduling when you are setting these up, so they will stop showing automatically and you can keep the data to review for next years BFCM!

6. Additional Keywords To Consider

Consider adding ‘black’ and ‘friday’ as additional keywords to your top performing campaigns, i.e. +black +friday +purple +coats

Apart from this, keywords can stay the same but maybe re-enable some that have been previously paused off for extra exposure.

7. Automate With Scheduling & Rules

Use labels and rules to enable your ads when your sale goes live, to save doing a manual switch early in the morning. Alternatively, if this is a brand new campaign, schedule a start date and end date for the campaign.

8. Affinity Audiences & Seasonal Event Segments For In-Market Audiences

Affinity Audiences are users that are already searching around a particular topic or have demonstrated interest or a passion about this. Google has various audience categories to choose from, so take a look and consider adding these and potentially bid adjusting for them once you have some more data.

New seasonal event segments for in-market audiences for Search and YouTube campaigns are new this year and BFCM and Christmas are the prime times to take advantage of these.

You can read up on them here.

9. Use A Blanket Location Bid

As most of your keyword bids are in the right position, a workaround for BFCM is to add a bid increase to your locations (ie. the United Kingdom) to give your whole account a temporary uplift, rather than doing this at a more granular level.

Keep a very close eye on this, but if you know your industry gets a lot of searches on BFCM, then it’s a great way to make sure you are high in the SERPs without lots of work to change bids.

If you know your industry gets a lot of searches on #BlackFriday, then a blanket location bid is a great way to make sure you are high in the SERPs without lots of work to change bids.

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Do this with caution, as using a bid increase you are telling Google, for example, to increase ALL your bids on enabled campaigns, ad groups or ads by 20% which will involve a higher spend during this bid increase.

Summary

Organisation is key for Black Friday, make sure you plan in advance – start today if you haven’t already!

Get those ads, ad extensions and promotions approved by Google and paused off or scheduled in. Maybe use a Gantt chart or a task management tool to help you keep on top of your tasks and deadlines. We use Asana here in the Media Lounge office.

Good luck – and we’d love to hear what worked for you so get in touch with your results or tag us on social media!

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