How to improve your Black Friday sales

Pete Whitmarsh and Joe Hill


Black Friday is around the corner and with the UK lockdown meaning all non-essential shops have had to close their doors, getting online sales is more important than ever.


We know from the Spring that consumers spend more time on their phones during a lockdown, giving retailers ample opportunities to get in front of their audience during the Black Friday sales period.


The weekend sale has become increasingly popular over the years; last year, Google reported a 20% YoY growth in searches for ‘Black Friday bargains’, and their Holiday Shopping Study with Ipsos found that over half of British Christmas shoppers said that Black Friday weekend was important to their holiday shopping. This year, Black Friday is expected to be bigger and better than ever; the pandemic has completely changed the way consumers purchase and we are seeing a much bigger percentage of retail sales being made online.


The Black Friday period has an extremely short turnaround (usually between 24 – 72 hours, although many retailers choose to host deals for a week), which means there is no leeway for mistakes. Black Friday sales can be huge and missing out on sales over the weekend can have a big impact on your yearly sales.


Here, we will run through strategic considerations to be included when finalizing your Black Friday paid media strategy.

Increase or uncap your budgets


You have to spend money to make money, and when it comes to Black Friday the more you spend, the more you’ll make. Increasing or uncapping your budget across the sales period will allow you to capture as many sales as possible – for example, Amazon recommends increasing your budget by 200% over this period.


If you are struggling to find ‘spare’ budget, consider using Google’s shared budgets; this automatically allocates budget across your holiday campaigns depending on performance, so higher performing campaigns are prioritized over lower-performing campaigns.

Use smart-bidding strategies


Consumers do not behave the same during the Black Friday period as they would the rest of the year, which makes it difficult to predict their behaviour, and therefore difficult to manually adjust bids in real-time. Last year Google introduced seasonality adjustments for smart-bidding, making it better able to interpret sudden changes in behaviour that occur during seasonal periods.


There are various smart-bidding strategies that can be used to improve your campaign performance during this time depending on your objective. For example, Maximize Conversion Value bidding will help you to achieve the most valuable conversions within your available budget, while Target ROAS bidding will help you to drive additional revenue at your target return on ad spend.

Expand your targeting


Many people use the Black Friday sales to buy products that they would not usually get, including one-off, big purchases for themselves or presents for friends and family. Broadening your target audience widens your reach and ensures your ads are put in front of these shoppers.


Another reason to expand your targeting is that purchase intent is higher during the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday period, and users who may not have otherwise purchased from your store due to hesitation over barriers such as quality or price will be more willing to buy from your brand as Black Friday promotions reduce those barriers.


An easy way to widen your reach in paid social campaigns is to increase your lookalike audience pool percentage during the promotion. For your PPC campaigns, you may want to consider using Dynamic Search Ads to automatically capture search queries that aren’t on your keyword list as this will ensure new and relevant search queries are not missed.

Switch on shopping ads


People are interacting more with shopping ads now than ever; Microsoft has reported a YoY growth in retail clicks on product ads from 10% to 19%, and Google Shopping accounts for 65% of all Google Ads clicks.


Shopping ads are much more visual and information-rich than text ads and attract users with higher purchase intent; running shopping ads for your promotional items will help to drive more clicks and conversions during the Black Friday period.


Google suggests pairing Smart Shopping campaigns with Maximize Conversion Value bidding to make the most out of Black Friday. Remember to update the sale_price field with your new promotional price during the sales period as this will be used to adjust smart-bidding.

Brand your creatives


Black Friday is an extremely competitive sales period, and it is likely you will be battling against multiple competitors during the weekend. When running paid social ads, you need to ensure your brand stands out. Your creative needs to be distinctive – what unique visual elements will ensure a user knows that this ad belongs to your brand? Using fonts, colors and words that are recognizable to your brand will help to determine whether a user clicks on your ad or someone else’s.

Set up an Amazon brand store


Amazon and Black Friday go hand in hand, so if you haven’t tidied up your strategy now is the time to do so. Creating a brand store provides a greater opportunity to showcase your products and drive traffic and sales; each store has a unique URL which is linked to on every product so users can browse through your offering with greater ease.


Having a brand store also means you can run Sponsored Brands ads to target certain keywords and appear at the top of users’ searches; Amazon recommends running all three types of ads (Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Product Display Ads) during the Black Friday period to capture as many sales as possible.

Other useful tips to maximize your Black Friday sales


  • Link your promotion to your USPs – for example, if you are known for having hand-made items, you could promote deals that are on hand-made items. Linking deal messaging with the USPs that make your products better than everyone else’s increases clicks and conversions
  • Highlight free delivery offers in your ads. Free delivery drives as much as 79% of all online purchases (Global Web Index); highlighting delivery promotions on top of your Black Friday deals puts you one step ahead of other ads out there
  • Bundle products together for a stronger saving. Bundling items together means you can offer bigger discounts without sacrificing profit –a bigger discount is a more attractive offer and can push consumers to spend more
  • Reward your loyal fans. Use Black Friday to make your loyal customers feel special by offering exclusive deals for regular customers, either through email advertising or targeted ads on paid social. This tactic can turn regular customers into your loyal tribe who love to shout about your brand.

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