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Preparing for Black Friday

Black Friday grows larger and larger every year, and as a direct result of Covid-19, we are expecting to see even larger growth figures through the digital discount week in 2020.

Rhys, Marcus and Conor got together to discuss this on our latest podcast episode, but we needed to dive a bit deeper in order to understand the trends and the tactics we believe will be key this year.

Why black Friday will be bigger this year

Certain industries are seeing much stronger than expected growth because of the behavioural shifts underway as a result of the pandemic. Consumers are being forced to bring their spending online due to restrictions, and even when they have been lifted, a level of fear surrounding entering retail stores still exists. This has hit the fast forward button on a gradual trend away from the high street to online, cramming years of growth into months.

Consumers, such as older generations, who may have never previously shopped online will now effectively be forced to make the switch. A study from Google Ads found that 78% of people plan to shop more online for Christmas this year, and to avoid us playing favourites, we can also lean on some data from Microsoft Ads that shows 50% of their searches are now from people aged 50 and above, up from 40% in March.

All of this will create a double edged sword. Smaller brands will be able to compete for the high street customer, but they will be at risk of being bullied out of the market by the big high street names trying to make up for the loss of in-store revenue. I think this will result in very good offers for the customer – however, I strongly believe it will be those brands who think further than the discount that will have the most successful Black Friday period.

What’s more important than a discount?

It’s important to ensure that your brand is visible throughout the whole month and to not just conserve budgets for the main days. Consumers have a lot more time on their hands at the moment and will likely be researching throughout November and after the event itself, so ensuring your brand is visible for these initial interactions is crucial. Another advantage of spreading your budgets further is to take advantage of the non-peak days over the cyber week, where traffic is likely to be far cheaper than on Black Friday itself.

And it’s not just you who will be looking for the best prices, consumers are much more likely to be shopping around for the best deal, considering the economic climate, so we expect lots of comparison searches to be happening. Of course price is the main factor here, but it will be super important to consider things like product reviews and offering a meaningful brand story. People are not just money conscious in 2020, they are also brand conscious – so make sure you’re not just focussed on price and give consumers more reason to buy from you.

Delivery is another huge factor in winning a conversion, with 78% of people in a Google Study saying Free Delivery was the biggest driver for them. This time around, it is also worth considering that those unable to visit friends and family at Christmas may shift to sending presents directly from an online store – making gift wrapping a particularly useful add-on at checkout.

Specific Considerations for Online Advertising

For Google Ads specifically, if your account uses smart bidding you should monitor it throughout the day to ensure that it is keeping pace with the changes to the conversion rate on your site. You can use seasonality adjustments for smart bidding to inform the algorithm of the potential changes coming to your site so that it can adjust accordingly – although these need to be significant to warrant you using the tool.

Another thing to consider would be ensuring that your ads are uploaded well ahead of schedule to iron out any issues that may come up. Ad review times are longer at the moment, so the last thing you want is ads stuck in review on the day of the event. In order to make them go even further, make sure you have lots of ad extensions across your account as CTR gets higher the more you have.

For all your Online Advertising channels, make sure you also have your audiences set up well ahead of time. Customer Match lists for previous purchases will be useful, as well as cookie based lists for website visitors starting now.

Lastly, having budgets agreed well in advance will help you do the best planning possible. However, it is also worth having a conversation to discuss how flexible you are able to be in the case that performance exceeds your expectations.

In Conclusion

It’s going to be a fascinating time for anyone with an interest in online retail, and for those who have a stake in driving online revenue, it has the potential to be a really successful period to round off what has been, without a doubt, a really difficult year.

To summarise our advice: Plan and prepare early; consider more than your pricing; and make those shopping online for the first time feel welcome.


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