It is fair to say that 2020 has been a challenging year, so for advertisers its important they get their Q4 strategies right and for retail getting it right for Black Friday is essential. At Return, we pride ourselves on being prepared to ensure that we generate the best results possible for our clients during this busy sale period and so we wanted to share our Paid Search must do’s to help you in your preparation for this event.
This year, both offline & online shopping behaviour has changed due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. According to Kantar, trips to the supermarket decreased by 20% following the lockdown announcement. This is despite there being an increased demand for products due to more people working from home as well as bars and restaurants being shut and so whilst people were making less trips, they were putting 40% more items in their basket.
Despite the economic landscape this purposeful shopping approach is expected to be mirrored across all verticals leading up to the holiday period. People are going to be thinking carefully about each shopping trip and purchase they make, whether that is their weekly food shop or a shopping trip to their nearest city centre and shopping is going to be more online than ever before as more than 1/3rd of UK shoppers state that they will not be shopping in stores this year for the Black Friday event.
So how do you ensure you are ready to capitalise on Black Friday through Paid Search? Here are the must dos for us:
Prepare your Product Feeds to Accommodate Demand and Avoid Wastage
Google Shopping is a key channel for our e-commerce clients so one of the first things we will do is check product feeds in Google Merchant Centre to identify any product disapprovals. If there is, then we will pick it up and get it fixed as soon as possible.
Additionally, enable automatic item updates to ensure that stock levels are accurately represented in shopping results. This prevents items showing in the shopping results that are out of stock, preventing budget wastage, and helping to optimise ad spend throughout Black Friday and Q4.
Manage your Audiences and Tailor Campaigns that Convert Sales
With audience targeting it is possible to capture users who have browsed your site in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This means that with proper planning and set up, you can serve your ads to people who are in the consideration stage already as they might have been shopping around to get ideas,
Once your audience strategy is in place, targeting a returning user during a sale event increases the chance of a repeat purchase, whilst improving that customer’s brand loyalty and improving their lifetime value to your brand. For this we would recommend considering different promotional offers vs. a new customer to solidify that brand loyalty and preference.
Additionally, it is very likely that users will be checking their email inboxes throughout Black Friday to find the best offers available. These audiences can be added to discovery campaigns which target users through Gmail. By creating these audiences ahead of time, 1000s of users can be targeted throughout the period of a campaign.
Plan and Execute Promo Extensions
At Return, a feature that our paid search team utilises frequently is promo extensions. To use these, enable promo codes in the backend of your website ahead of time.
These promo’s can be set up in Merchant Centre in advance to allow enough time for the approval process to take place or any amends if required. Set up can take up to 24 hours, but in busy periods, can take even longer so we would always recommend setting this up in advance – our Paid Search team suggest doing this a couple of weeks beforehand if possible. Once approved, your promo will be visible alongside your product in the shopping results. A successfully planned and executed promo extension can lead to significantly increased conversions.
Give your Ad Schedules Room to Breath
Another factor our team consider is how current ad scheduling could impact performance over the Black Friday period. This involves reviewing existing ad schedules & day parting scripts so that required adjustments can be made ahead of time to ensure that ads will be visible throughout the whole weekend.
How Our Team Prepared in 2019
Adopting similar techniques for Black Friday 2019 helped us to deliver increased revenue of 4% with +45% increased transactions v. 2018.
With a large variety of offers to promote through Paid Search & a focus on Google Shopping we worked closely with our client to ensure we had the right process and strategy in place to deliver success.
Each offer was given a priority of importance and shopping campaigns were created to reflect this, with each of these then split by brand and Product ID with the offer for each item attached. This enabled us to set different offers live or pause them at different points across the Black Friday weekend. The granularity also gave us visibility of which products were performing best guiding an adaptive bid adjustment strategy. We also ensured that any promo extensions were created a week in advance, as well as being less restrictive with our 24–hour day parting script.