Ad Planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two most important events of the year for all retailers in general, and particularly for online retailers. In 2016, these events contributed over $6.5 billion to the total online spending, nearly 2% of the total American online spending of the same year.
You must have your PPC campaigns ready beforehand to be well-prepared for these events. It is not a good idea to have the same campaigns as the ones used during the year; you should definitely adapt them to the upcoming holidays. The closer you get to Black Friday (which will be held on November 24, 2017), the more it will be proved to be true. Using automated PPC advertising to sequence and flight your ads is one of the most efficient way to change. You would display a diverse set of ads that touch the different stages your consumers go through before these events start instead of running a static group of ads all the time.
The importance of careful preparation for Cyber Monday and Black Friday
Here’s a an undeniable fact: Consumers’ spending on Cyber Monday 2016 surpassed the initial estimates, reaching $3.45 billion online made it the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce.
In 2017, online spending for Black Friday is predicted to reach $3.52 billion, an increase of 5.39% compared to the figures of 2016. It is also estimated by Salesforce that Black Friday will become the busiest digital shopping day in U.S. history.
Forrester’s 2017 Online Holiday Outlook report for the US reveals that there will be a 3% increase in the total number of online holiday shoppers, while consumers spending will reach an average of $689 online, 8% higher than that of 2016.
Mobile shopping accounted for 47% of visits to retail websites and 31% of sales in 2016 is also a notable feature. If you don’t already have a mobile strategy in place, it’s time you take it seriously for this year.
Ads preparation for Cyber Monday and Black Friday
You will be able to increase your website’s traffic and sales thanks to the increase in the consumer’s interest in making purchases. One of the best ways to maximize both is by using flighting to run PPC campaigns that follow the consumer’s interest.
Flighting is a technique, in which you schedule your ads to run for a period of time (called a flight) followed by a period where you pause all ads for the advertised product or service. Such scheduling pattern is often used to support seasonal promotions. At the beginning, you would select a group of ads (known as “steps”) you want to “activate” during a specific time period (which could be an hour, a day, or even a week).
You will only promote the step you want to show during that given time. When the first steps reach the time condition, it will be paused, and the next step will be enabled. The process will continue until there are no steps left in your flight. The strong point of Flighting is that thanks to the increase of ad relevancy, you can lead your customers throughout the sales funnels towards a higher conversion rate.
Offering progressive promotions is a good way to leverage flighting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can launch your campaign offering a promotion with low percentages off, and as the weeks pass, increase the percentage off.
If you were to create a 4-week campaign for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here comes a tentative campaign :
- Step 1: From Oct 30 to Nov 5 – 20% off
- Step 2: From Nov 6 to Nov 12 – 15% off
- Step 3: From Nov 13 to Nov 19 – 20% off
- Step 4: From Nov 20 to Nov 27 – 25% off
You can schedule more than just promotions. You can implement by showing different messages in every step. You can use a conversion framework such as Chris Goward’s LIFT Model to create these messages.
The LIFT method has 6 elements:
- Urgency: You can add urgency to your ads by adding time-bound (flash sales) or by showing the limited product quantities still in stock.
- Clarity: Explain what the product is about to make the ad clear and straightforward
- Relevance: Anything that makes the product closer to the consumer’s intent can be relevance. In this case, this is the percentage off, as that’s the main parameter people use to gauge the quality of the offer. By mentioning the specific percentage off, you can increase the relevance of your ads.
- Distraction: Remove any kind of distraction from your ad. Instead of explaining what the product is about, mention exactly the product name, the percentage off, and a benefit.
- Anxiety: It’s a common practice among marketers to mention a number of products available for sale. However, this can sometimes create anxiety in the consumer. You can reduce the options available to lessen the anxiety.
- Value proposition: Mention the product qualities, features, and benefits. With this model, you can take your ads and create different ones based on each element. Combined with the progressive offers, you could end up running a powerful set of steps previous to the holidays.
5 Bonus Advices for flighting Your PPC Campaigns
Here are five extra ways you can make your ad flighting more effective for the holiday season.
1. Enlarge your capital
Obviously, the increase in traffic will result in an increase of the competition. You must increase the budget of your campaigns to cover the increase in traffic, so they can get the impressions and clicks necessary. The budget increase works the same as the progressive promotions explained above: you would start with a budget slightly larger than usual, and as time goes by you would increase it. The closer your campaigns get to the events, the more your budget would proportionally increase.
Take a look at last year’s analytics if you don’t know how much you should spend on your PPC budget. Consider how many percents your sales increased, and then increase your budget for the same percentage. If you still wonder whether your competition will increase their budget over this percentage, increase your budget even further.
You should discuss with your boss and get his/her permission to have a large budget allocated specifically for these events. At the end of the day, if the increase in budget will bring more sales which will cover the investment, it’s a no-brainer for your agency or company.
You should also take a look at last year’s sales times and days, and identify when you saw the majority of your sales. And then, with that data, you can use bid scheduling and day parting to increase the budget even further for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
2. Get powerful words included in your ads
In the previous part, according to the LIFT method’s elements, you saw the significance of creating different ad variations. Another way to boost your ad’s copy is by using power words which are words that are often used by copywriters to make their ads look more powerful. Some of the words you should use in your ads include:
- Percentage Off
- Cyber Monday
- Black Friday
These words will not only add a punchier look to your ads, they will also increase their relevancy. In the case of Google Adwords, if someone searches for your product plus the term “Cyber Monday” (or any of the other mentioned terms above), Google will bold the text that matches this term.
3. Understand Your Keywords Positions
You must also be aware of the desired keyword position for your ads. If you are aware of the specific position that brings the best cost-effective results, make sure you keep it by adjusting your bid. As the CPC increases along to the increase in bids from your competition, you may need to increase your bids as well.
Don’t doubt on increasing your bids even further during this weekend because Cyber Monday happens after the weekend following Black Friday. In 2016 Cyber Monday draw more $110 million sales than Black Friday, so you can expect a further increase in sales during this date.
4. Add Your Copy to the Structured Snippets Extension
Google released a non-clickable ad extension called Structured Snippets in 2015. This extension allows you to choose and edit the text in Structured Snippets , at the same time increase your ad space, which boosts your ad relevancy and click-through rate. You can set these ad extensions at the account, campaign or ad group level.
On these snippets, add each of the previously mentioned conversion-focused copy. If you want to highlight your special offers, simply enter one offer in the snippet. The closer you get to these events, the more aggressive you should get with your copy.
5. Add Your Copy to Ad Customizers
Using ad customizers is great way to increase your CTR during Black Friday and Cyber Monday . Ad customizers enable you to customise your ad text based on the keyword the user is searching for, the device they are using, the location and even the date, time of day or day of the week.
Since you know people are often more price-sensitive during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can use these ad customizers to insert the percentage off, the remaining time left before a sale ends also, and any other anxiety-focused or urgency message.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be the most important time of the year where you will make a big part of your yearly sales. You must have your PPC campaigns ready in order to attract the most amount of traffic to your store.
Note that you should break down your campaigns by week, and follow the five tips above. This will help you have a better Christmas season and increase your sales in the process.