Black Friday Best Practices for Brands Working with an Agency

Black Friday 2020 is fast-approaching (FYI it’s November 27th, before you check your calendar) – time to prepare yourself for a deluge of ’10 must-read Black Friday tips’ articles and a shed-load of white papers in the run-up to the event. However, this is the first-ever Black Friday taking place in the midst of a global pandemic – a curious point and something we’ll discuss in later articles.

In this blog we’ll be running through the Black Friday best practices we’re sharing to our clients. As a busy agency with an ever-growing client list, we rely on thorough policies and procedures in order to remain highly organised whilst offering each and every client that personal touch. This blog will give you an insight into how we stay on top of the workload during busy periods like this, whilst offering the best practices for brands to follow when preparing for Black Friday. Let’s dive in.

Black Friday best practices for paid social campaigns

Start your ads early

It’s a HUGE rookie error to set your ads live on Black Friday itself. We’re in the right seat to tell you this – Facebook’s Ads Manager crashed on BF for four years in a row, causing many a meltdown in offices across the globe. Your agency can’t guarantee that the ads will go live on the Friday itself if they are scheduled that day. We strongly recommend going live with BFCM ads on Wednesday at the latest, earlier if possible. Facebook’s official recommendations to advertisers are to go live with Black Friday ads on Monday 23rd November.

Make minimal changes to ads over the BFCM period

The best-performing adverts over the Black Friday period will be the ones that are kept live over a prolonged period. Keeping creative live means you’ll avoid sending campaigns back into the learning phase during this period. Again, another key error that rookie marketers make is tweaking the ads too many times once they’re live.

During the learning phase, Facebook’s delivery system is still trying to figure out the best way to deliver your ads, generally leading to unstable performance and higher CPAs until it’s worked its magic. Thus, over the Black Friday period we would advise having relatively generic engaging creative that generates clicks, rather than changing creative on the Thursday/Friday/Saturday etc. Your ads will drive customers to site, where you can change the offers as much as you wish over the weekend.

Avoid last minute edits

As there is a chance that Ads Manager will go down, and you’ll want to spend the weekend optimising your account, it’s strongly recommended to make zero edits if possible from the Wednesday 26th November to the 1st December.

Big budgets

Due to the massively increased competition, it’s unsurprising that Facebook ad costs increase massively over the Black Friday period. With this in mind, we would recommend upping your budgets to 5x your business as usual spend over the weekend. Where possible, we would recommend slowly scaling throughout the month of November.

Best ad formats to run

We’ve found that the best types of creative to run over the BFCM weekend are the following formats:

– 1 Collection Ad
– 1 Single Video + Story
– 1 Single Image + Story
– 1 DPA carousel pushing bestsellers using a template

This will cover all FB and Instagram placements and will allow your promotion to reach maximum exposure.

Best practices for Google Ads

Plan your promotions early

Your marketing agency will require all promotion information as soon as possible so that they can create a strategy and scale your account effectively. Ask yourself the following questions – what worked last year? What didn’t work so well?

Black Friday promotions are happening over an increasingly-longer period of time, so it’s important to plan your go-live date. We recommend going live with BF ads on Wednesday 25th November at the latest.


Consider your stock levels

Understand what your stock levels will be ahead of time and if necessary, get more stock in to cope with the additional demand. Your agency will use stock level information to inform their PPC strategy e.g. pushing x budget into specific products. Ensure your delivery times are clearly listed on-site and be open and honest with customers if there are to be any delays.

Types of promotions to run

Search: Texts ads and extensions.
Shopping (where applicable): Price-drops on-site will be updated as your product feed is refreshed daily. For discount codes – a promotion submission is required.
Display Assets: Requirements vary dependent on campaign type. The minimum sizes we require are below – we recommend Display assets are consistent with your website banner:
Landscape: If you choose the upload option, bear in mind that your landscape image should have a ratio of 1.91:1 and be greater than 600 x 314. The file size limit is 5120 KB.
Square. If you choose the upload option, bear in mind that your square (1:1) image should be greater than 300 x 300. The file size limit is 5120 KB.

Make minimal changes over the BFCM period

As your PPC agency will be leveraging Google’s automated bidding strategies, there is an amount of learning/conversion data required. We recommend making as few changes as possible (aside from budget increases) for campaigns to perform at their best.

Review Times

Unsurprisingly, increased activity on Google’s advertising platform leads to longer review times. Search copy will take longer than usual to review and approve, along with Display creative and Shopping promotions. To avoid disappointment, it’s important that everything is uploaded and approved in advance, minimising any delays on the platform.

Review previous performance

When planning your promotions, ask yourself what worked well last year and whether you were happy with the results. Data is everything – use previous data wherever possible as a key factor in your decision-making process.

Budgets

We recommend increasing your Google Advertising spend up to a minimum of 3x your monthly BAU spend. This is to account for the increased competition and cost-per-clicks along but also to help you capitalise on the high conversion rates available throughout November.

Need a hand with your strategy ahead of sales season? We’d love to help share some more Black Friday best practices. Drop us a line via hello@digitalmediateam.co.uk and we’ll give you a call back.