Advertising for Black Friday During a Pandemic

black friday pandemic

No, we’re not crazy – we are advertising Black Friday in a global pandemic. With every country in the world still enforcing their social distancing measures, retailers are relying heavily on their eCommerce presence. 

We’re an agency that has done numerous (and also smashed each one, may we add) Black Friday’s for our large eCom client base. We’ve learned that one thing is paramount above all else: planning. We want to get the best possible performance for each account without any Black Friday disasters. As a Facebook Premium Partner, we know what we’re talking about. 

What will Black Friday bring this year?

According to Adobe Analytics, the volume of Black Friday sales are set to go up by 20%, as they have year on year in the past. A whopping 77% of last year’s Black Friday sales occurred online. Pandemic aside, this Black Friday looks to be no different. 

Retail Week found that only 13% of people planned to shop at high street stores this year. Making even more room for savvy online shoppers looking for a steal. Data released by Adobe, Shopify, and PayPal all showed that they had activity levels in April of this year similar to that of Black Friday. So what will the big event itself have to offer – and more importantly, are you prepared?

Tips and tricks for Black Friday planning:

Here at dmt, we have a massive client base all over the world – meaning we have to have solid processes and procedures in place in order to ensure our clients are ready for Black Friday with plenty of time to spare. And with the pandemic showing no sign of slowing, it is more intergral ever to be on point with your marketing. Yes, we usually get the odd Thursday request in asking for it to be live the following day. And yes, we do always end up doing it. But Black Friday? No way, Jose.

Are your ads ready to go.. like, right now?

We ensure every single one of our clients has their ads set up and ready to go weeks ahead of the big event. This includes taking them through checklists and making sure they themselves are prepared with stock etc. 

You may be wondering: huh, why are they prepared so early? It’s because the Facebook ad platform has crashed the past four years in a row on the big day. There’s only one thing worse than being a company that didn’t get Black Friday ads up during a pandemic. And it’s being the agency responsible for it. 

Keep your changes absolutely minimal.

Another one of our Black Friday/Cyber Monday best practices: keep your changes minimal over the period. You want to keep creative live to avoid sending campaigns into their learning stage/review stage again. The last thing you want is to be waiting around for your ads to go live – wasting both money and precious time. 

Scaling up in time.

Next on our list: scaling up in time. Ad costs over the Black Friday weekend increase dramatically. So you need to be making sure that during November you’re scaling up costs. Spend those pennies where they’re truly needed – getting your product out there. 

Using previous data.

Using previous data is also handy when figuring out your game plan and how to make decisions. For example, if last year you had a lot of activity with women’s clothes between the ages of 22 – 29, you’re not going to advertise to men aged 35 – 48, are you? Being smart with where you’re placing your money is essential during this period. Even more so during a pandemic. 

Okay, close your eyes. Imagine this with us: you’ve got your audience to see the ad. They love it. Not surprising if we made the creative though. Now they’re on your site. Is your website easy to navigate? Is all the relevant info displayed eg. returns and delivery information? 

Facebook research shows that Gen X and Boomers are the fastest-growing consumer groups, and there are a lot of them. We ask our clients to do a number of shopping experience checks ahead of the Black Friday festivities.

Customer service is key.

Is your live chat ready? If a customer has a question about a product, do you have a knowledgeable person there to answer those questions? Bad customer service can put a customer off for life. This is handy to know considering that once someone buys, they’re 32% more likely to return. And customers who buy twice have a 54% higher chance of returning. By this point they’re invested in your brand, and you should dedicate the time to be invested in them too. 

Testing your speed and servers.

Having your web devs do thorough checks beforehand to save a lot of stress in the long run. A glitchy site might make users think your site is either dodgy or they might just not want to sit through broken links. Bringing us back to our earlier point: making the shopping experience as easy, stress-free and enjoyable experience as possible. 

Install and test tracking pixels.

These tiny snippets of code will make sure you better understand your audience and what they want. Then pushing the right ads to the right people for retargeting.  Tracking pixels might be a teeny-tiny, practically invisible piece of technology – but they play a huge role in your current and future digital marketing landscape.

The most important tip yet.

We’re keeping it short and sweet for our final tip: test, test… and then test once more. You don’t want any nasty surprises and you need to make sure your path to purchase is optimized for conversions.  


If you’re still scratching your head when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday prep, we’re here to help you. Give us an email at hello@digitalmediateam.co.uk, or find us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram 💌 We’re also hosting a very special Black Friday webinar with NatWest – register for free here.