Black Friday: Turning Risk into Reward

October 11, 2019

Black Friday has become a pivotal moment for many businesses across the world. As digital marketers, we spend weeks or months working on a strategy that will maximize visibility and revenue opportunities for brands and products on the weekend itself. However, to make the most out of Black Friday, a great strategy and a well thought out activation plan are not enough. Throughout this post, we will be discussing how to tackle unexpected spikes in demand, competitor disruptive activities and technical issues, which can jeopardize months of planning. 

Setting the scene 

In recent years, Black Friday has become an established holiday event, often associated with images of customers fighting over the last remaining TV in fits of panic. It is also commonly associated with established consumer markets such as the UK, Netherlands, and the US among many others. Whilst this might be the case, it is also extremely important to remember that emerging markets should not be ignored throughout this critical weekend. Research suggests that in fact, Romania has one of the highest rates of consumer participation when it comes to Black Friday. 

Discounts are something that are likely to be set by external teams, but competitor research from previous years can provide fantastic insights as to where to benchmark savings. The average discount that consumers expect over Black Friday weekend globally is around 20% – 30%. 

Before the big event 

Of course, when it comes to reacting quickly, Paid Search is the crème de la crème of digital tactics. This does not mean however that longer-term techniques should be ignored. A multi-faceted approach is best practice, with a combined effort between PPC and SEO. Tactics and activity that we suggest implementing ahead of the weekend itself are: 

  • To create pages of content (on the blog or category pages) that are set up to capture consumers at various touchpoints. Before Black Friday people will be researching longer tail phrases, so make sure you are ranking for these less competitive, lower hanging fruit.
  • To follow on from the above point, having a true understanding of your customer profiles will help in creating this content.
  • Ensure the hreflangtag is working correctly to accommodate consumers from every market. 
  • Create alerts around low stock levels, when your competitor’s site goes down and when organic rankings change.
  • Knowing who your customer base is vital. Be wary not to frustrate loyal customers by making them less of a priority over the weekend. 
  • Remember that people will look for deals in the lead up to the weekend. For some brands, Thursday is the biggest spending day, so do not lose this critical traffic. Having your Black Friday pages live and in place will capture these eager consumers.

So, it’s Black Friday weekend… 

As previously mentioned, Paid Search is critical when it comes to making snap decisions across Black Friday weekend. Although most brands have their digital strategy in place months before the event, there are last-minute hacks and tools that can make or break whether your brand makes an impact this year. 

  • Be flexible with budget over the quarter, dependent on how your budgets are set, this quarter is the most critical of the year, so needs to be treated differently.
  • Make sure you understand market nuances. For example, payment systems can pose a challenge. By law, Russian consumers must input passport details to make payment. Dutch payment methods are also highly different from the rest of the world.
  • What do you do with traffic earlier on in November? We touched on this within SEO, but using a DDA model can be useful for observation,optimisation, and reporting. You can compare DDA performance against your last click data, which may show you that earlier spend phasing (which is often undervalued and cheaper traffic) could likely result in much higher conversions later on.
  • Break up the month into 4 phases: ‘Research Stage 1′ – an opportunity to gather initial interest, ‘Research Stage 2′ – an opportunity to be open for last-minute changes, ‘Black Friday weekenditself’ and ‘Post Black Friday.’
  • UtiliseAd Customizers, they are a great time saver for making bulk changes within ad copy and helps automate last-minute changes to messaging. 
  • Monitor signals from competitors and customers – set up a ‘war room’ for your team, filled with screens monitoring real-time insights, this can aid with making agreed actions without losing time.

The tools you need to win 

Of course, there are vast amounts of tools that are available to make your Black Friday weekend as calm as it possibly can be. Below, we have listed our four favourites and why they are our top picks. 

Tweetdeck – This helps with scheduling tweets, which can help when it comes to changing offers. You can also use it to see how people are interacting with your brand. 

Crimson Hexagon – A social listening which helps you see how consumers are interacting and will alert you to things such as people having issues with your payment methods 

Talkwalker – This looks into specific mentions, as you can set up specific mentions for words phrases and mentions on your brand and your competitors 

Google Trends – We should all be confident with this one, but it is worth noting that this tool has an API to plug into your internal dashboards 

Of course, this is more a top-level look at the kinds of tactics and techniques we recommend to make your weekend run as smoothly as possible. Making sure your team is as prepared for last-minute changes will put you ahead of the competition and keep panic to a minimum. 

If you are interested in registering for one of our next roundtable events, please keep an eye on our events page, which is updated regularly. 

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