Black Friday weekend is an important time of the year for business owners.
One great Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) ad campaign can bring a ton of new customers to a brand. Customers who will return in the future.
But Black Friday isn’t like other shopping holidays. You’ve one got one day (two, if you count Cyber Monday) to make your impression. Oh, and all your competitors are working their hardest to win customers, too.
Suffice to say, you’ve got to plan your Black Friday ad campaign just right. In this guide, we’re going to talk about Black Friday PPC advertising, and how you can use it to make your sales skyrocket this holiday season.
How to Get Your PPC Campaigns Ready for Black Friday Weekend
Before you write any ad copy, you need a plan. Ask yourself the following questions to prepare:
Choose your Black Friday promotions carefully. You want customers to choose you over your competitors, but you don’t want to run out of stock. Think of a mindblowing offer you can fulfill if you get a lot of buyers.
But how do you decide on which product to promote? Once you do, how do you get your ad in front of people who will click on it, instead of scrolling past?
Next, we’re going to discuss how to use keyword research and buyer personas to create a killer Black Friday ad campaign, and how you can win at PPC bidding without busting your budget.
Step 1: Create Buyer Personas and Do Customer Research
If you’ve been doing business online for awhile, you’ve probably heard of buyer personas by now. Buyer personas are a type of customer research entrepreneurs use to define their target audience.
Simply put, a buyer persona is a picture of your ideal customer. It includes their:
When creating a buyer persona, ask yourself two important questions: what type of person shops at my store, and why?
Buyer personas are useful year-round, but you can optimize them for Black Friday.
Buyer Persona Example
For example, let’s say your business sells video games and gaming accessories. Who buys video games and gaming accessories on Black Friday (or Cyber Monday)? You might think of:
Knowing who you’re selling to makes creating promotions easy. Following the example above, a person buying video games probably wants a deal on the newest titles and accessories.
Customer research shows what your audience expects from your Black Friday promotion, taking a lot of the guesswork out of your ad campaign.
You can do customer research by reviewing last year’s Black Friday winners. If you were in business last Black Friday/Cyber Monday, take a look at your sales.
Which promotions paid off, and which didn’t? Which products did your customers buy and why?
If you weren’t in business last Black Friday, you can learn from other brands in your niche that did well.
For example, the video game company above might look at GameStop or Walmart for inspiration – two of the industry’s leading retailers. What promotions did they offer to attract customers? Why was their target audience drawn in by their offer?
Now apply the answers to your Black Friday PPC campaign. What products do your customers want to see on sale, and why should they choose your promotion over a competitor?
Step 2: Brainstorm a List of Keyword Ideas
A great Black Friday promotion only works if it reaches the right audience. It’s better to reach 100 people who will buy your product than 1,000 who aren’t interested.
But how do you reach the right audience with Black Friday PPC ads?
Here’s a hint: it involves keyword research.
You can make sure your promotion reaches the right audience with effective keywords.
Finding the right keywords starts with brainstorming. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: what would you search to find your Black Friday promotion?
It’s important to write as many ideas as possible during the brainstorming stage. Right now, there are no wrong answers – as long as they’re relevant to your Black Friday promotion.
Feel free to add holiday-specific and evergreen keywords. Keywords with “black friday” in them can help you reach a low competition audience.
Don’t add “black friday” or “cyber monday” to your list alone. You’ll see a larger return on investment (ROI) if you use “black friday” together with another keyword.
Step 3: Check Your Keywords Using a Keyword Tool
Once you’ve finished brainstorming keywords, you need to find out which ones are worth bidding on.
Fortunately, you don’t have to use guesswork to find out!
If you’ve run PPC ad campaigns before, you might be familiar with the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. If not, the tool is straightforward a very beginner-friendly.
Using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, you can find:
You’ve already done the hard part by brainstorming a list of keywords. Next, you want to validate them with the Keyword Planner.
Start by selecting the “Get Search Volume and Data Trends” section of the keyword planner’s home page. Enter each keyword into the blank area, select a relevant location, and search. Google will do the rest.
Your results page will show you:
Keywords with the highest search volume usually have the highest suggested bids. We don’t recommend taking the “suggested bid” seriously yet. It can change dramatically the week before Black Friday (but we’ll talk about that later).
Your goal is to find out which of your keywords are on-target, and which you can improve. Don’t scrap any of them yet, though. Use them as a basis to work from. Google may recommend other keywords that are relevant with lower competition or higher search volume.
Learn which keywords have the highest search volume with the lowest competition. That’s your sweet-spot.
Step 4: Fine-Tune and Organize Your Keywords for Peak Black Friday Performance
Fine-tuning keywords sets successful brands apart the from the rest when it comes to PPC advertising.
Consider the theme of what we’ve said so far: you want your ads to end up in front of people who will buy your products.
What your customer’s search for says a lot about their buying intentions. For example, a person who searches for “best guitar” might want to buy one, and they’re looking for the best option. But think about a person who searches for “best hollow-body guitar under $1000”…
…the second person sounds a lot closer to buying a guitar, right?
In digital marketing, we call these “long-tail keywords.” They’re highly specific, reaching a target audience. They can be wildly useful for Black Friday and Cyber Monday ad campaigns.
It doesn’t matter what niche you’re in or what products you sell. Long-tail keywords are one of the best ways to increase your PPC conversion rates.
Take the keywords you researched in Step 3 and think about ways you can fine-tune them. How can you turn them into long-tail keywords that will reach buyers?
Also consider using branded keywords. There’s a misconception that branded keywords are a waste of money, but that’s a myth. According to Fathom, a leading digital marketing agency, branded keywords convert 2-3x more than generic keywords.
Think about related terms, too. Using the guitar example above, consider adding “guitar strings” or “guitar amps” to your keywords list. Someone searching for the “best guitars” might search for these related accessories, too.
Use Keyword Intent to Drive More Sales
Your goal is to reach audiences with a high level of intent. Your ideal keywords have:
Take a look at the chart below for examples of ideal keywords for a product versus negative keywords:
By advertising to people with a high intent to buy, you can avoid bounces or no-click ad impressions.
Instead, your conversion rate will soar and your Black Friday promotion will be a success!
Step 5: Establish Your Budget and Prepare for Black Friday Cost-Per-Click Spikes
As we mentioned earlier in the guide, everyone advertises for Black Friday. There’s a lot of competition, especially if you aren’t in a small niche.
You won’t know what this year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday costs-per-click will be until the week before the big day. However, the Google AdWords Keyword Planner can show you last year’s cost-per-click for your keywords.
Using a previous year’s costs-per-click is a great way to start your budget for this year. The price may vary, but it will give you a general idea.
Be prepared to pay more for PPC ads during the holidays. Some keywords can soar as much as 15x their average price during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, depending on their popularity!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t help to have an excellent list of keywords if you can’t afford to advertise for them.
Your goal is to create a maximum budget and work from there.
Once you know how much you want to spend on your campaign, you can decide which keywords to bid on.
Narrow your list to the keywords with the lowest competition and the highest search volume. As we mentioned above, your keywords should reach customers with a high intent to buy.
Don’t use your budget on keywords that aren’t profitable. This isn’t a “throw all your darts at the board and hope you get a bullseye” situation.
You want to spend as little on advertising as you can without sacrificing your conversions. The key here is to only include the best keywords in your PPC campaign.
Step 6: Write Your Ad Copy and Optimize Your Ads
Most of the tips you’ve seen so far aren’t specific to Black Friday PPC strategy. Marketers use many of those strategies year-round to create high-converting ad campaigns.
When you’re ready to write ad copy, you start to factor in Black Friday/Cyber Monday a little more.
Black Friday is a big deal for shoppers, and your ads have to match their level of excitement. We’ve put together a few ways you can optimize your ad copy for Black Friday:
1. Reference Black Friday/Cyber Monday in Your Ads
This one is easy: mention Black Friday or Cyber Monday in your ad.
This is one of the easiest practices to grab your audience’s attention. If they’re searching for your product on Black Friday, they’ll immediately know to go to you. They won’t have to guess if you have a Black Friday sale.
Mention your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale anywhere in the ad you can. Put it in the headlines for maximum impact, but don’t be afraid to put it in the description, too.
If you make different ads for specific products, you can take this to the next level.
If you sell pet supplies, you may make different ads for dog leashes and fish tanks. Now you can have ads for “dog leashes black friday sale” and “fish tanks black friday sale,” reducing your competition.
2. Add the AdWords Promotion Extension to Your Ads
Have you seen a Google ad with a very specific deal featured under the headline?
It looks something like this:
It makes it easy for visitors to find your deals right away – no navigation needed.
You can add this feature to your Google AdWords campaigns easily. Best of all, it’s free!
It’s called the AdWord Promotion Extension, and Google has a quick guide to help you set it up.
You can use the extension to show any promotion on your site. As you can see in the screenshot, you can also say that the deal is a Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) exclusive.
Best of all, you can add a time frame to the deal, which appears after the link. Including a time frame is a great way to create urgency with your ad. Black Friday is a great time to use this classic marketing strategy, and the AdWords Promotion Extension makes it easy.
3. Use Highly-Specific Sitelinks to Generate Conversions
With PPC ads, you want visitors to find their product with as little navigation as possible.
The longer a visitor has to search for something, the more likely they are to go to a competitor. If your visitors aren’t landing on specific product pages, you’re at risk for a high bounce rate.
How do you avoid this?
Add highly-specific sitelinks to your advertisements.
Make it very easy for your shoppers to reach the products they want with as little effort as possible. A lot of brands overlook their sitelinks, but they can be an excellent tool for conversions.
Take a look at the example below:
Best Buy does a great job optimizing their sitelinks with this ad (albeit, not a Black Friday ad).
I searched for “computer keyboard,” and they returned with sitelinks for:
Guess what? If I were actually buying a keyboard today, I would have clicked one of those sitelinks. They’re specific categories of keyboards and they make it easier to find what I’m looking for.
Let’s look at another example:
The last sitelink is good, but the other three didn’t catch my attention at all. They aren’t specific and don’t give visitors many reasons to click on them.
When you create your sitelinks, you want your visitors to go “oh, that’s what I was looking for!,” and avoid any extra searching.
4. Add a Countdown to Your Ads
Nothing inspires shoppers to buy something more than a limited-time deal.
Creating a sense of urgency around your promotion is important. If your shoppers think they’ll see your Black Friday deal again before the end of the year, why are they going to care now?
By putting a countdown in your ad (and mentioning it’s a Black Friday exclusive deal), your audience knows it’s now or never. When they see “3 Hours Left, Black Friday Sale 75% OFF!,” they’re immediately incentivised to buy.
Adding a countdown to your ads is easy. You can do it from the “Ads & Extensions” part of your Google Ads account. Google has an in-depth how-to guide to walk you through the process, if you need a helping hand.
5. Write Your Ads Ahead of Time
If you’re familiar with Google AdWords, you’ve probably had a disapproved ad before.
You don’t want that to happen on Black Friday.
Write your Black Friday ads at least a week ahead of time and upload them to your AdWords account. This gives you plenty of time to see if your ads are approved or disapproved. If they’re disapproved, you can fix them and re-submit them before Black Friday begins.
Black Friday can create sustainable growth for your brand, but you’ve got to do it right. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year and you’ve only got 24 hours to make your mark.
What are your concerns for this Black Friday? How soon do you start preparing your ads before the big day? Are there any tips or tricks we missed that you think could benefit our readers? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!