When it comes to BFCM PPC strategies, the first thing to understand is that competition during the next couple of weeks will be intense. That means you have to reevaluate your platforms, budgets, bids and goals before Thanksgiving weekend, ensure you get the best coverage for your budget and can optimize in real-time.
With competition so high, there is no getting around the fact that you are going to have to spend more to make more. However, it is important to follow this strategically to ensure you’re not blowing your full budget five hours into Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend.
Additionally, your strategy should not be about catering to one or two peak shopping days. A good strategy should include much earlier email marketing and PPC remarketing campaigns, as well as pre- and post-Black Friday promotions, to cash in on other big shopping days such as:
- Saturday, November 24
- Saturday, December 1
- Saturday, December 8
- Saturday, December 15
- Friday, December 21
- Saturday, December 22 – Super Saturday
- Sunday, December 23
- Wednesday, December 26
- Saturday, December 29
It is also important to mention that one 2017 consumer study by Deloitte found that 50% of shoppers were shopping for themselves (in other words, looking for great deals on products that weren’t gifts) during the holiday season. This means that they were looking for great deals before and after the traditional busy days. The same study found that 54% of holiday shoppers did so AFTER Thanksgiving weekend, and one in five shoppers spent over 20% of their budget after December 23rd.
What could this mean in terms of your BFCM PPC Strategy?
It means you need a clear objective, budget and promotion strategy for Thanksgiving weekend; but that’s just part of your holiday PPC strategy. You need a plan that ensures you have the budget to cover those campaigns running before, during and after Black Friday and are getting the best results for your spend.
Pro Tip: Is your story ready for the holiday rush? Get a free store audit and site assessment here.
In this Ultimate Black Friday Cyber Monday PPC Strategy post, we will guide you through the five steps of creating the perfect Thanksgiving strategy starting today!
Step 1: Review Previous PPC Performance
Before you do anything else, you want to review your PPC performance from last year’s campaigns across all PPC platforms. The idea is to look at your metrics as comprehensively as possible:
- Which ads performed best in each PPC platform?
- As a whole, what percentage did your spend increase over Thanksgiving weekend?
- What bids performed best for positioning?
- What kind of messaging did you use?
- What keywords or product categories outperformed?
- What campaign types performed best regarding your target audiences?
- What remarketing campaigns did you run and which ones yielded the best ROIs?
- What bid strategies and timings did you adopt at the end of 2017’s Thanksgiving weekend to assess you didn’t lose money?
Step 2: Choose the Right BFCM PPC Platforms
Once you have a more detailed look at which platforms were successful for you and where you need improvement, it’s time to narrow down your PPC platforms and campaign types to maximize your budgets. Here are our suggestions for the basic campaign types you should include in your strategies pre- and post-Black Friday Cyber Monday.
1. Google Remarketing Campaigns
People are about to be bombarded with a million product messages and promotions. To stand out of the crowd and increase your chance of attracting and converting shoppers to your store, you want to ensure you’re running Google remarketing campaigns.
The ideal solution is to run campaigns up to the big shopping days and then create specific remarketing lists for Black Friday Cyber Monday shoppers. This means running campaigns that attract people who’ve visited your store before the Thanksgiving weekend and those who visit your store within the Thanksgiving weekend.
This should include display remarketing ads for remarketing with static images of your key products and Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) campaigns to remarket traffic.
Pro Tip: If you’re running manual search ads, you might want to consider implementing or updating your extensions to include promotions. Visit our Best Practices for Google Ad Extensions post for more information.
2. Google Shopping Campaigns
About two weekends before Thanksgiving weekend, you want to create a Google Shopping campaign that includes your most relevant products. These are products that you’re running Black Friday Cyber Monday promotions on and which are your most important pick. Ideally, you should structure your Google Shopping campaigns as single product ad groups, allowing you to keep a close eye on those critical products.
Shopping campaigns work well with dynamic remarketing, ensuring you’re covering all your bases. During the peak shopping days you want to do the following:
- Set up feed price fields ahead of time, ensuring Google automatically adjusts PLAs when sales start
- Add promotions to your Google Shopping
- Ensure each bid coincides with each product, by bidding at the SKU Level to ensure you’re spending more on those products likely to convert
- Increase your Google Shopping budget; as searches increase, so will the competition and spend need
- Keep your feed healthy: optimize titles, descriptions and keep a lookout for disapprovals
The last point is vital. Preparing and optimizing your Google Shopping feed before the peak traffic weeks hit will ensure you’ll definitely be displaying the right price at the right time. On the one hand, conflicting prices can result in product disapproval. On the other, displaying higher (incorrect) prices during this competitive time will cost you sales big time.
Pro Tip: Set your Google Shopping feed to update more frequently during Thanksgiving weekend. You can update frequency in the Merchant Center using scheduled fetches.
Ultimately, what you put in is what you’ll get out, and it’s super important during this time to keep a much closer eye on results in real-time and optimize continuously. Although this is a busy time for online sellers, don’t put your campaigns on the sideline. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, use tools such as Traffic Booster to manage and optimize your campaigns for you.
3. Facebook Carousel Campaigns
The first Facebook campaign type to consider for Black Friday Cyber Monday marketing is Carousel campaigns, which allow you to show your most important products in one ad. Facebook Carousel ads can be placed on desktop, mobile and Instagram, and are a great way to highlight specific product features per product in one ad.
Not convinced? Some brands have seen as much as a 72% increase in clicks since changing from single-image ads to Facebook Carousel ads.
4. Facebook Dynamic Product Ads
Facebook Dynamic Product Ads are a key component of a good BFCM PPC strategy because they offer remarketing display marketing on steroids. The huge plus of these campaign types is that as long as your Facebook Pixel is step up, Facebook handles retargeting for you, so you can conserve your valuable Black Friday Cyber Monday PPC management time – time you could spend on other campaigns and the increased admin that the traffic and sales boost brings.
Like Google Ads, even if you’re using hacks to automatically optimize your Facebook ads, you want to keep a close eye on your ads and make sure you’re targeting the right audiences.
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5. Facebook Collection Ads
Next on our list of BFCM Facebook campaigns are mobile-placed Collection Ads.
Once you’ve created a product catalog, Collection Ads can help you display your products in a visual, engaging way.
If you have at least four products to highlight this BFCM, then Collection Ads could be a great marketing tool. You want to ensure you’re set up for dynamic changes, to ensure these campaigns change as your stock availability and prices change over this busy time. If you’re new to Collection Ads, visit our Facebook Collection Ads guide.
Pro Tip: If your products and brand are visual and you have a bigger budget for more similar product types, you may want to consider Canvas Ads.
6. Facebook Link Click Ads
The last type of Facebook campaign type you may want to consider is link click ads: ads that drive traffic to specific pages. It is not just product pages you want to consider – if you have great blog content such as Christmas gift guides for different segments, increase traffic to your site, which you can then remarket with previously mentioned campaigns.
7. YouTube Ads
YouTube offers a variety of ad options for eCommerce, including YouTube search and in-stream ads. Here’s a breakdown of the main ad types:
- TrueView Ad: These are either pre-roll ads that are not skippable, or in-stream videos and bumpers, which are shorter videos.
- Video Discovery Ads: These are display ads that show up on YouTube home and search pages.
If you have videos of your product or relevant, informative content (like buying guides) for your target audience, then YouTube is a PPC must. For those of you without budget for video content, you can partner with content with video ad overlays.
Step 3: Create Ads that Convert
Once you have set your budgets and chosen your PPC platforms for Black Friday Cyber Monday, it’s time to plan your ads for your PPC strategy. BFCM ad text would be relevant to your promotions and reference the days your promotions are running – Black Friday Cyber Monday or other big shopping days mentioned in the intro. Here are some tips for creating your Black Friday Cyber Monday PPC ads:
- Update URLs for your campaigns to match specific product pages. For example, if you’re running a campaign for ‘running shoes’ terms, consider changing the ad link from your store page to the pair of shoes you’re running the biggest promotion on. Additionally, you can count down your inventory levels.
- Include countdowns to create a sense of urgency and/or excitement. For example, “Save 27% on [Product] Now – Sale Ends in 3 Hours.” Or for your pre-sales: “Only 3 Days Until Our Black Friday Sale!”
- Add ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ to your relevant promotion headlines.
- Plan and write your ads well ahead of time and schedule to ensure everything is loaded and approved ahead of time. Set up automatic rules to activate and pause ads.
Step 4: Optimize Your BFCM PPC Campaigns
There are a number of metrics to monitor and campaign tweaks to make to ensure you are able to capitalize on the busy shopping days. The first thing you need to do is set your campaigns up for optimization. This includes:
1. Having a Clear Goal
You need to have a clear goal for your budgets, objectives and campaign KPIs before you run any campaign. This will ensure you are able to measure the campaign metrics against your goals, to see whether or not the ad is working for you.
2. Reviewing and Updating Google Ad Campaign Keywords
You will want to create Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns that include not only your best performing keywords but also keywords specific to the big online shopping days. Try to keep them as specific and segmented as possible. In other words, it’s better to run a few successful, highly-targeted campaigns than one big campaign yielding average results.
3. Prospecting Your Customers
Before you launch your Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns, you want to review your current customers and their behavior, what products they are interested in for BFCM and when/how they are buying them. This will help you build a profile (demographics and/or interests) of the type of new shopper you want to attract. Yes, tools such as Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences will help with this, but you still want to assess this before your campaigns, to have a clear ideal shopper in mind.
4. Segmenting Your Campaign Audiences
When it comes to Facebook and Google Ads, the more segmented your audiences are, the more relevant your messaging will be. This doesn’t just include dividing your campaigns into new, remarketing, existing customers, etc. It means dividing those audiences into much more segmented groups to ensure you are marketing specific product promotions to very specific audiences more likely to buy.
Once you’ve set up your campaigns, you should closely watch a variety of metrics so that you can optimize your ads in real-time. Not only do you want to monitor metrics relevant to the campaigns (CPC, impressions, ROIs, conversion rates and costs), but you also want to look at your site stats:
- Store page views
- Product views
- Cart abandoners
- New first-time traffic (new potential customers)
Step 5: What to Implement After Black Friday Cyber Monday
As we mentioned in the intro of this post: yes, Black Friday Cyber Monday are big shopping days, but there are a number of big shopping days that follow Thanksgiving weekend. So what do you do with those new BFCM PPC campaigns or your old campaigns that you will update for Thanksgiving weekend?
You want to:
- Pause BFCM-specific ads and re-enable your evergreen ads
- Reinstate your old bids on those evergreen campaigns
- Review successful BFCM campaigns and see how you can adjust those ads (in terms of text and keyword/interest targeting) to fit holiday shoppers
- Review performance and assess which product promotions you want to take into the Christmas shopping season
You’re ready to crush BFCM sales with this ultimate Black Friday Cyber Monday PPC strategy guide. Yes, it takes dedication and management to achieve the right goals. However, with the number of shoppers online during this time, you don’t want to miss out on huge sales potential.