black friday ultimate guide creativerace

CreativeRace’s ultimate guide to Black Friday

The arrival of this year’s Christmas adverts comes with the acceptance that the festive season is hurtling towards us at a rate of knots. Which means that another key date on the retail calendar is looming – Black Friday.

With just three short weeks left until that all-important event, we’re sure you’ve got your ducks in order for this year’s Black Friday.

However, if you’re looking to put yourself in prime position for Black Friday 2023, and future Black Fridays beyond that, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered tips and insights from our marketing specialists to ensure your brand is prepped and ready to have your best sales season ever.

Strategy 💡

Determine whether Black Friday is right for your audience

Before diving headfirst into sales and promotions, make sure to ask the question – is Black Friday right for my brand and audience? Also, as Senior Strategist, Ed Steele, points out – Black Friday isn’t causing as much of a frenzy as it once did.

“Be sure that Black Friday deals are something that your audience is aware of and interested in. According to YouGov data 64% of people didn’t spend any money on Black Friday deals in 2021 and Google trends shows interest in the topic has declined since 2018.”

With the cost-of-living crisis in full swing, it’ll be interesting to reflect on this year’s figures and how consumers shop.

Patagonia’s iconic ‘Don’t buy this jacket’ campaign back in 2011, perfectly resonates with its target audience and the idea of tackling consumerism.

Patagonia Black Friday - Don't Buy This Jacket

Be clear with your targeting

Ed also advises being clear with who you’re targeting and why, making sure to think about your long term goals, not just the short term sales.

“Make sure you are clear on who you are targeting with your Black Friday deals and why i.e. what is the result you want to gain by offering a deal? You need to reach new customers and ideally create an ongoing purchase habit. If you only reach existing customers, or people who are likely to have bought your brand in the near future, then this will increase short term sales but reduce profit.”

Make sure your deals are meaningful

In his final tip, Ed points out that buyers are more and more savvy, and won’t be fooled by deals that appear better than they are.

“Provide reassurance that the discount being offered is a meaningful one. A poll by YouGov and Price Runner showed that 83% of people in the UK are sceptical about Black Friday deals. Make it clear how long the ‘was’ price has been in place, or that this level of discount hasn’t been offered before.”

Creative 🎨

Be creative in order to stand out

It often takes something special to make buyers sit up and take notice. Try to think outside the box when it comes to your ads.

“Try something different with creative to standout! Often people run black ads and think that’ll do but you’ll just fall into the sea of sameness.”

asos black friday ad

Performance 📈

Consider your offering and remember Cyber Monday

Bhavisha, Head of PPC, says one of the first things to do is to confirm your offering around this key period. Whether this is in the form of a percentage discount, a certain amount saved in pounds, or something completely different. Delivery-related offers also tend to work well, such as free delivery, free click and collect, reductions in delivery charge and so on.

If your brand isn’t doing anything specific for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you should still be aware of potential uplifts in traffic and spend.

Align your ad copy with your on-site messaging

Where relevant, make sure you mention Black Friday/Cyber Monday in your PPC ads, alongside any discount or delivery offers. Align your ad copy with the messaging on-site, to ensure there is a consistent tone of voice.

If the offers are due to run for a short period, consider setting up countdown ads, to create a sense of urgency. (Read more about this type of psychological trick over in our blog on behavioural biases in ad copy).

Use specific Black Friday/Cyber Monday sitelinks, price extensions, promotion extensions and callouts where you can, to display extra information about your promotions and offers.

Use automated rules to make changes over the weekend

If you need to enable/pause your PPC ads at certain times over the weekend (for example when switching from Black Friday to Cyber Monday), it’s advisable automated rules to implement these changes.

Run Black Friday/Cyber Monday specific PPC campaigns

It’s likely that customers may search ‘black friday + product/service’ related terms, so capitalise on this by creating specific Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns and run them across both Brand and Non Brand.

ppc ad black friday

Reflect on previous years’ performance when planning

It’s crucial to look at previous years’ traffic and spend trends in order to give you a rough guide on the uplift you expect to see in the run up to, and during, Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Increase your PPC budget caps

Another tip from Bhavisha is to ensure you have enough budget signed off, or have an additional pot of budget available, should performance surpass expectations over the Black Friday period.

Also, don’t forget to increase your campaign budget caps to allow for the uplift in spend!

Optimise your product descriptions

Onto your website. It’s crucial to make sure that everything’s optimised for purchase, updating product descriptions and offering as much information as possible to the buyer, in order to encourage them to buy then and there. As our Digital Account Manager, Rosie, suggests:

“Optimise your product descriptions. Use sensory words to visualise how the item looks and feels to the customer. Include relevant keywords for SEO. Create an FAQ section to address buyers’ most common questions around Black Friday.”

Start prospecting early

On the paid media side of things, Head of Paid Social, Megan, advises to start prospecting early.

“Start prospecting activity early to build that upper funnel awareness and make sure the retargeting pot is full.”

Be mindful of rising CPMs

It’s a time of year when everyone is advertising, so take this into consideration when planning out your media spend.

“Be mindful and plan for the correct budget as CPMs will increase often more than double normal due to high competition”.

Communications 💬

Plan ahead

As Comms Director Amy Airey notes, it pays to plan ahead.

“You ought to have your Black Friday offers and comms finalised before the end of July (in an ideal world). We know the finer details of the offers and promotions may change but if you have the bulk of the detail, you can build your framework, whether that’s a press release, a ‘gift guide’ or a suite of assets to make sure you’re ready to launch content with a bang.”

Do your research when curating your media list

On the subject of comms, you’ll want to do some research when curating that perfect Black Friday media list.

“Search for journalists that have written Black Friday (or other seasonal) round ups before and start curating your bespoke media list. These won’t necessarily be your usual contacts but the more tailored your list is, the more likely you are to get pick up.”

Reach out to your contacts ahead of time

Relationships matter. Dropping your contacts a courtesy email ahead of time to find out their deadlines, may help your content get picked up when it matters.

“After you’ve built your media list, why not drop your contacts a courtesy email and ask what deadlines they’re working towards for Black Friday, and what format they’d like to receive submissions in? They may be too busy to reply but they may also appreciate the extra legwork you’re putting in to make sure you’re sending them relevant content…”, advised Amy.

Ensure your offers are competitive

In her final tip, Amy points out the importance of competitive offers and benchmarking.

“Have you benchmarked your offers against competitors’ promotions in previous years? If brand A and brand B are selling similar products but brand A’s promotion is more compelling, brand B isn’t going to see the light of day in any media round ups. Keep your ear to the ground and plan accordingly.”

apple black friday

And there you have it – our tips to help align your Black Friday 2023 plans. We’ll keep adding to this resource, so bookmark it for future use.

If you need any help with your Black Friday strategy and execution, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can help across Strategy, Performance, Communications and Creative, helping your brand stand out from the crowd.