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Black Friday: Worth the hype
It’s pretty much official at this point: Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday season. Since ‘traditional’ Black Friday shopping involves waiting in line for hours (and maybe getting punched), purchasing goods online has become increasingly popular: in 2017, Black Friday accounted for online sales revenue of US$ 2.36M. This represents a steep increase from the previous year’s online revenue, which summed up to a total of US$ 1.97M (Source: statista.com).
While most statistics focus heavily on US ecommerce performance, European online retailers also get a piece of the cake: Black Friday is increasingly big in the UK, with more than 75% of retailers promoting special Black Friday offers (Source: pwc.co.uk). And in Germany, online shoppers spent more than €1 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016 (Source: einzelhandel.de).
Save the Date: Black Friday is on November 23
What does Black Friday mean for online retailers?
Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) has been marking the beginning of the shopping season since the late 19th or early 20th century. The term ‘Cyber Monday’, however, is new and was created by ambitious marketing and ecommerce businesses to persuade even more people to buy even more — online instead of in the brick-and-mortars. Promoting products, brands and online deals strategically has become crucial to grab the attention of potential clients, especially for small retailers who will find themselves competing fiercely against retail chains with huge budgets. No matter the budget, however, retailers selling winter clothing, kitchen equipment, Christmas decoration, consumer electronics, toys or jewelry are generally in an advantageous position as these are by far the most popular product categories on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Try it out: With Orbiter we offer a free seasonal heatmap that helps PPC Marketers see at one glance how brands and product types performed during the weeks around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Marketers managing Google Shopping campaigns with Whoop! can translate these findings directly into ‘Advanced Bid Strategies’, pushing exactly those product groups that perform well on Black Friday — without having to create a new campaign. Most importantly: it will only take them one click to remove or pause those strategies and to return to ‘business as usual’ once Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) is over.
Download your seasonal heatmap: Which brands and product types performed well on Black Friday?
But there is more to success than just the promotion of products and special deals: you have to ensure that you stock up on the right products, don’t end up with a pile of products you couldn’t sell, and don’t run out of goods to ship halfway through. Here’s a piece of advice: don’t underestimate the traffic. The volume is growing every year.
Tips and Tricks: How to make the most of the holiday season?
Make sure that your product feed is up-to-date and as accurate as possible: shipping costs, availabilities and prices need to be accurate at all times — not only in the feed but also on the website. If you use Shopping ads, feed titles and descriptions will help you outshine your competition. Strive to describe your products in a compelling and informative way because Google will not only reward you with a better ad position — shoppers will also know exactly what they are in for when they click your ad. Relevance is king.
But that’s not all. In Google Shopping there are two factors that make or break performance: (1) the data feed quality and (2) the bids. Especially on Black Friday, when product prices are lower than usual, bidding efficiently is essential as costs can otherwise run quite high. Machine learning tools can not only help increase efficiency but also make sure that you have time for more than just bid adjustments. BSTN, for example, managed to increase conversions by 180% during Black Friday 2016 while improving the cost-revenue ratio by 45%. Whoop! users like BSTN can also use custom labels to strategically push certain products or categories. Paired with the intuitive dashboard and advanced bid strategies, custom labels help them make quick adjustments — something that’s crucial on a busy day like Black Friday.
Another option: Taking advantage of double presence with CSS
Along with ‘Advanced Bid Strategies’, merchant promotions and remarketing lists also come in handy if you overestimated sales of certain products on Black Friday. You may want to push these items ahead of Cyber Monday (or other days in November or December that performed well in the past) with even higher discounts — especially if a pile of unsold products would harm your logistics and finances. You can, for example, offer an exclusive discount to loyal customers or apply merchant promotions that indicate free shipping, special offers, or a price drop. Sounds like a lot of work — but it definitely pays off. That’s why we prepared a checklist to help you with your final preparations:
Snatch those holiday shoppers in 3, 2, 1 …
☑ analyze the performance of previous years and identify top seasonal items
☑ check your ad schedule and identify demand peaks
☑ increase the daily budget: it should be high enough that it doesn’t run out halfway through
☑ define goals and success metrics
☑ check your search term report(s): add high-quality queries as keywords
☑ don’t forget about updating your negative keywords
☑ upgrade your ad texts, product titles, and descriptions
☑ indicate a price decrease by adding the ‘sale_price’ attribute to your feed
☑ check the health of your feed and tackle disapprovals
☑ upload your new (improved) data feed at least one day before Black Friday
☑ set up ad extensions and merchant promotions
☑ apply custom labels to bestsellers and trending or seasonal goods
☑ don’t underestimate traffic and keep stock levels & supply chains in mind
☑ ensure smooth communication and information flow between departments
☑ get priorities right: does everybody in your team know what to focus on?
☑ check your analytics tags and make sure conversion tracking works
☑ solve technical issues that might prevent smooth browsing of your online shop(s)
☑ review remarketing lists, remarketing tags and targeting settings
☑ if you qualify: add similar audiences lists
☑ analyze device performances in Google Ads and adjust device bid adjustments
☑ or: adjust Whoop!’s bid strategies for your device-specific campaigns
☑ decide on strategically clever bid strategies (don’t forget about your ABS)
☑ don’t wait till the last day & target those deal hunters asap
If you need strategic input or help with promotion tactics, please contact your account manager or CSM.
Black Friday: and then what?
For decades, retailers have built ‘Black Friday’ into a worldwide sales paradise but the holiday season is clearly not over after Black Friday — or even after Cyber Monday: for most consumers the shopping season just started. With Christmas coming closer and closer, chances are that traffic to your online shop stays at an above-average level – if your paid search campaigns perform as they should. Even a few days before Christmas, text ads and Shopping ads can help you make the holiday season a success for both your business and those last-minute shoppers. It’s the perfect time for advertising short delivery times and assuring people that their order will arrive before Christmas. Another option (if you have local stores as well) are local inventory ads which drive quick, stress-free pickups for your shoppers and offline conversions for you.
And then, finally: Christmas day has come and people are ready to enjoy jolly holidays with their families and friends. Presents are exchanged and everybody is happy – well, maybe not everybody. Gift returns and exchanges are a big topic after Christmas. And what about all those coupons that have yet to be redeemed? Don’t you want to target those people by advertising an easy exchange of goods or a large product assortment to choose from? As you can tell, it definitely pays off to continue your seasonal marketing efforts in January.
smec wishes you successful PPC campaigns and jolly holidays