Updated: Oct 22, 2020
One letter. One number.
Scarier than Halloween, more exciting than Black Friday, and more stressful than Christmas (sorry, family).
Three months of high spend, and hopefully, high returns, all bundled together for a rip-roaring end to the year. For some brands, this is the big juicy cherry on top of the cake - the sweet treat that tops off a successful year, and for others, this is the cake itself - this is the cherry, sponge, jam, and cream; the rest of the year was merely preparing the ingredients.
We've had our hands in many a Black Friday pie (I'm quite hungry if you can't tell) as both marketers and consumers. If this was Bake Off, we'd be Paul Hollywood, just with slightly less hair gel and fewer affairs.
And, luckily for you, we've condensed our top tips into one easy-to-read checklist, so you can smash Black Friday through the roof and finish this strange and confusing year with a bang.
All of our steps are based exclusively around social, but the overall ideas can be applied to other channels. So, even if you're not a social-forward brand - why? - you should still read on.
Read it, save it, share it, bop it. We suggest bookmarking this article to refer to around any key sales date, as many of these tips aren't exclusive to Black Friday.
But first - why us?
What makes us qualified to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing?
For starters, we’re the UK’s #1 Social Media Agency. That’s a biggie.
Second of all, we made one brand £330k in 5 days last year - and that’s not even our best result.
Thirdly, they say you're a product of your five closest friends, and our friends are pretty damn cool. We’ve walked the walk with countless different brands in multiple different industries, giving us the experience, knowledge, and history to talk the talk. Just check out some of the brands we’ve worked with.
Lastly, you’ve already read this far - you’re clearly going to read the next steps no matter what I say. In all honesty, I'm surprised you're reading this at all - most people just skip to the good bit.
1. Prepare Your Assets
Creative is what drives performance. It’s what your audience sees first and the main bit they’ll use to judge you.
Creative decides whether they'll read the copy, click through your CTA, or just keep scrolling. In fact, creative drives up to 70% of results.
By Black Friday, you should already know what style of imagery works best - both overall and for each audience subset. Statics, carousels, videos, collections, DPAs (Dynamic Product Ads) - test them all, monitor the results, and use them in your plan of attack.
It’s also important to set up any Black Friday ads well in advance to avoid awkward review times. The big week itself will be full of brands uploading countless new assets, slowing down the rate at which ads can be approved. Set yours up the week before so that all you need to do is turn them on when it’s time to go.
If you need any help with your creative and aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered.
2. Increase Your Spend
A lot of brands wait to increase their spend just as Black Friday hits, but at that point, CPMs are ridiculously high, competition has multiplied, and you’re paying 2-4x as much to target the same number of people you would have beforehand.
By increasing your spend pre-key sales date (KSD), you get more customers into your funnel who you can then retarget at a cheaper rate once the weekend rolls around.
Yes, performance will be slightly lower in the lead-up, but if you’ve set everything up right, it’ll be more than made up for when Black Friday rolls around.
3. Consider Starting Early
Another trick to avoid the CPM increase is to start your sale before Black Friday - an idea more and more brands are catching onto.
By starting a few days early, you can beat the rush, getting results as soon as possible at a cheaper price. Even though more brands are taking advantage of this idea, it’s still a worthwhile discussion to have as the CPMs will be cheaper, and you don’t miss out on any results your competitors might be sweeping up.
4. Use Lead Generation
Lead gen ads help to build your remarketing funnel by offering on-app forms that your audience can fill with their contact information.
Not only does this allow a new way to retarget within Facebook, both directly and through lookalikes, but can also be used cross-channel with other marketing methods, such as emails.
Essentially, lead gen ads are an easy way to strengthen your retargeting pool, but they don’t have the same ROI buffer that conversion campaigns do, so their success is dependent on both your spend and the overall quality of the marketing channels you use the data for.
5. Be a Tease
To build hype and interest ahead of time, consider teasing the offers a week prior - these can also be targeted specifically toward customers who are interested in particular products.
For example, if you know that you’re offering 50% off a clothing range that a certain subset of customers always look at, running ads that say “50% Off X Line Starting on X Date” provides excitement and anticipation. These can be set up as basic graphic ads retargeting specific page views or as DPAs with particular product sets from your catalogue.
If you want a good example of a brand who uses this tactic, check out Gymshark. They rarely have sales, but when they do, every ambassador gets involved to let their audience know what to expect and when. On the day of or before the sale, they’ll even shut down their website.
Bold, but effective.
6. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor
We normally don’t suggest constant changing when it comes to ads, but increased spend means increased learnings, and with the sale being under a tight schedule, changes can make a big difference when done correctly.
Make sure to keep an eye on each metric from ROI to CTR, and don’t be afraid to add or cut areas of the campaign to improve the results.
This tactic relies on being prepared ahead of Black Friday, making sure that you’ve worked out the normal number for each metric as well as any kinks in the customer journey. Looking at the percentage drop off from viewed content - add to cart - initiate checkout - purchase can be an eye-opening exercise to see which stage is faltering.
7. Make Use of Referrals
Sometimes the best marketing strategy is the ones you don’t do yourself.
Consider giving your customers a referral link, so that when their friend makes a purchase, they each get a percentage discount or an exclusive gift with their order. This is a great way to build brand awareness alongside multiple purchases.
8. Bump Up Your Free Shipping
Whilst purchases should increase, AOV can drop over Black Friday depending on your business.
Make sure to plaster a free shipping threshold across your website that makes the AOV profitable for you. For example, if you need an AOV of £60, consider putting your free shipping at any orders over £50 to encourage customers to spend more.
This year could be the biggest Q4 of them all.
More people than ever are sat inside on their computers in need of some retail therapy, so failing to plan is planning to fail.