Win the Black Friday Game for eCommerce: Target Ads Profitably

Black Friday has become a global game for both retail businesses and consumers with its goals, scenario, strict rules and risks. Although the process is the most exciting part of it, everyone aims to emerge the winner. Thus today, we would like to share with you some solutions which can help you make sales through your digital campaigns on Black Friday.

According to the Finder data, Brits are planning to spend an estimated £7 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2018. However, the popularity of this shopping day is rising in almost all countries around the world. Thus, Switzerland customers spent around 80 million Swiss Francs in online stores last year. In India, people searched for ‘Black Friday’ by 809% more frequent than in 2013. And in the US 30% of Americans are planning to shop exclusively online.

In the UK, the average bill per customer on Black Friday in 2017 was £304, but this is awaited to drop to £220 this year. Gen Xers (37-57 y.o.) have saved for this day, on average they are planning to buy discount products for £264.

Level 1

This is always a good idea to start elaborating your marketing strategy for Black Friday as well as for Cyber Monday in advance as users have become used seeking for items they want to purchase beforehand. This can explain why wise marketers stop their campaigns on Black Friday and businesses bump up the ad budgets at least 1-2 weeks before the ‘crazy days’.

As mentioned above, Black Friday is a game, and its scenario (i.e. marketing strategy) is obviously built on the base of the purchase funnel.

The first step you should start with is to come up with ideas what discounts you will offer your customers. There are a lot of ideas and tips you can implement on your Black Friday. For example, my favourite is the ‘Deal Of The Hour’ when you change a set of discount products every 60 min during the day to increase traffic and boost conversions within specific categories. You can examine more ideas following this or this link.

By the way, Black Friday is an excellent chance to convey an A/B test and check what approaches work better for your audience. Check out how to set up personalised offers for your customers in our previous post.

Okay, let’s imagine that you already have an overall idea of what Black Friday deals will appear on your website. Then, we would recommend you to divide your target audience into four groups.

  • Audience 1 🤑: Those who know what they want to buy and wait for Black Friday deals;
  • Audience 2 😎: Those who know what they want to buy and do not wait for discounts;
  • Audience 3 😱 : Those who do not know what they want to buy however wait for cuts;
  • Audience 4 😐: Those who don’t know what they want to buy and do not wait for Black Friday offers.

This solution will help to choose ad formats as well as target your campaigns since different groups of consumers expect different offers.

Thus, Audience 1 🤑(who know what they want to buy and wait for Black Friday deals) as usual seeking for:

  • official products with a guarantee
  • attractive prices
  • convenient order procedure
  • free and fast delivery
  • stock availability
  • excellent service and easy return process

In turns, Audience 2 😎(who know what they want to buy and do not wait for discounts) are interested only in temporal discounts.

For Audience 3 😱 (who do not know what they want to buy however wait for discounts) this is essential to offer:

  • hot deals
  • gift ideas
  • products with the highest temporal discounts

And finally for Audience 4 😐 (who don’t know what they want to buy and do not wait for Black Friday sale), this will be a good idea to offer:

  • temporal discounts
  • Gifts now and here

Level 2

When you’ve passed the first stage, it’s time to switch to the ‘Interest’ stage. Here you need to create Black Friday banners or videos and schedule time as well as places where these will be published. Try to consider all the channels you use. You can also ask popular resources and bloggers to include information about your offers into their ‘Best Black Friday Deals 2018’ posts.

74% of users do their pre-shopping research via a store website, other check emails, visit social media business accounts and browse mobile apps. However, to channel them to your site you need to run ad campaigns.
To choose a common format for your Google and YouTube campaigns, we need to return to the 4 audience groups you divided at the previous stage. Our marketing insiders have shared with us the most efficient formats which will deliver the best results for each:

Audience 1 🤑: Shopping Ads; Search Ads; Dynamic Remarketing Ads; Gmail Ads.

Audience 2 😎: Shopping Ads; Search Ads; Dynamic Remarketing Ads; Display Ads; Gmail Ads; TrueView Ads; Bumper Ads.

Audience 3 😱: Shopping Ads; Search Ads; Display Ads; Smart Display Campaign Ads; TrueView Ads; Bumper Ads.

Audience 4 😐:  Display Ads; Gmail Ads; TrueView Ads; Bumper Ads; OutStream Video Ads.

Let’s consider how to target these depending on the audience type.

Audience 1: RLSA (customers visited a cart page); Search (low/medium frequency keywords); Dynamic Remarketing Ads; Custom Intent; In-Market; Map; Apps.

Audience 2: RLSA (landing page visitors); Smart Display Campaigns; Affinity Audience; Life Events; Custom Intent (broad interests).

Audience 3: RLSA (site visitors); Search (high-frequency keywords); Shopping Smart Display Campaigns; Affinity Audience (interests); Customer Match (those who made a purchase last year); Similar Audience Purchased last year; Visited website; Visited landing page.

Audience 4:  Affinity (Excluding remarketing emails (users who visited site last 30 days))

Level 3

At the third stage of Consideration, users prefer to compare prices and analyse why they need these products. Thus you need to stay ‘easy-to-find’.

In email marketing, you can send your customers promo codes for discounts or claw back the abandoned shopping cart (by the way, almost 66% of retailers forget about this excellent approach ahead of the shopping season). But be sure that your email will stand out from the ‘promotions crowd’ since on average users receive 18 emails a day around Black Friday.

While assessing the campaign performance during the week before Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you may notice that reach and transaction decrease. Don’t panic! Consider association conversions – your customers have been waiting for these deals the whole year and will undoubtedly wait a couple days longer.

Level 4. Final

Most ecommerce businesses do realise that Thanksgiving Day will be fruitful and increase their ad budget by at least 25% for the pre-holiday period. However, most marketers suggest stopping the campaigns on Thursday or reduce spends for Friday since bids are unfeasibly high. The only thing you should ensure this day is to serve your customers promptly. Make sure all images and descriptions on your site are appropriately displayed, all links are active, all buttons work well. Make sure your Customer Service will cope with the order volume and your warehouse team will be able to deliver products duly.


When it’s over, congrats, you’ve won! The Christmas Ecommerce Game is waiting for you 😀, and its rules are extremely similar.


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