What to be mindful of before and during Black Friday

Contextual marketing has proven time and again to be essential to players in the retail industry, regardless of their objectives or scale.

25 days ago   •   8 min read

By Data Revolt

Amongst different occasions marketers have in mind when developing strategies, Black Friday has become the most important one throughout the years.

Moreover, 2020 and the Covid pandemic emphasized the growth of online shopping related to Black Friday discounts, and boosted an already solid trend.

This year, the expectations are as high as ever and most retailers are focused on competing on the market to the best of their abilities, while also investing a great deal of resources towards preparations, set-up and marketing efforts. And this is where we jump in.

In order to meet the need-to-know that is usually developing right around this time, we gathered the team and layed out the most important pieces of information & actions to be aware of when preparing and deploying your marketing strategy for Black Friday. Of course, with data at its core.

Check them out below:

Pre-Black Friday

As Google befriends more and more with correct, complete and specific information, a first step you should do with this in mind is creating a dedicated Black Friday page, with relevant text, images and information about how this event unfolds within the ecommerce you’re responsible for.

Best practice example:

https://www.argos.co.uk/events/black-friday

Make sure this dedicated LP is a HUB page. A page of this kind can include internal linking sections toward all of your ecommerce categories and also transactional elements such as a product carousel or listing, arranged under each displayed category, possibly accompanied by text, recommended brands area or recommended articles space.

Best practice example:

https://www.walmart.com/cp/walmart-black-friday-2021/1076614

  • The products you’re displaying in the campaign LP must be double checked, so that they won’t lead to status code 404 or 301 pages.
  • The loading speed of your landing page must be very good.
  • The metas (title, meta description, headings) and the content of your landing page must also be optimized.
  • You must add your campaign page to sitemap.xml. After the campaign is over, the products must be removed from this page. You will only keep the text, until your next Black Friday campaign, when the page will be repopulated with up to date products.

No listing page example (text only), displayed between two Black Friday Campaigns:  https://www.hp.com/gb-en/shop/offer.aspx?p=c-black-friday

Also during the pre-Black Friday period, it’s important for you to check if there are any server issues, caused by the intensive navigation during the campaign.

Internal linking recommendations

Black Friday LP must be displayed in all the website’s pages throughout the campaign, starting with the website’s menu and it also must be included in the sitemap.xml.

The campaign LP must also be supported by a backlinking strategy, implemented one day before the campaign starts, in order to benefit from the authority transfer and become relevant for the search engines.

The Black Friday campaign LP must be populated with text and labeled with FAQ structured data. The content you can display in this section must be interrogative - you can give answers to questions such as “When is Black Friday?” or “What is Black Friday?”.

You can use the “read more” feature in order to fully display the content, especially if you want your page to keep a clean, airy appearance:

FAQ structured data content example:

Your Headline 1, title, meta description and the menu anchor must contain the “Black Friday” keyword, followed by the current year.

You must also pay close attention to the redirect strategy:

  • If your Black Friday LP will replace your homepage, your teasing landing page must be redirected to homepage 301.
  • If your Black Friday LP is a dedicated one, your homepage must be temporarily redirected to it, with 302 redirect.

DATA

Pre-Black Friday

We must start with a tracking audit on the Black Friday landing page, to make sure the implementations work unequivocally

Usually, there will be a very high volume of data generated in a single day, and in order to profit from this aspect, we need that every campaigns to be utm-ised with all the 5 parameters: utm_source, utm_medium, utm_medium, utm_campaing, utm_content, utm_term. This way, we can do an extremely granular analysis afterwards.

See the examples below:

www.site.ro/?utm_source=paid-channel&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=bf-campaign&utm_content=buy1-get1&utm_term=product

www.site.ro/?utm_source=paid-channel&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=bf-campaign&utm_content=50%-off&utm_term=product

Thanks to Google Analytics attribution model (Last-Non Direct), we can observe the long-term effects of traffic that came from Black Friday campaigns, if this comes back through direct website traffic.

Check out the specific actions to be aware of:

  • Commercial analysis
  • Pricing strategy
  • Stock predictions
  • Audiences developing  

Real time dashboard with:

  • Traffic sources
  • Devices
  • Users
  • Demographics
  • Pageviews
  • JS errors
  • Server response time
  • Request per second
  • Detail views
  • Adds to cart
  • Checkouts
  • Transactions / Revenue
  • Distribution of users: homepage/landing vs, listings vs. products vs. checkout - excluding Thank You

Optimising GTM container

  • Loading speed: you will want to give up some Javascript libraries that load pages you don’t need - Hotjar
  • You will want to gather cookies for future remarketing

Direct Marketing

  • Planning the communication schedule ahead of time to avoid over and under communication
  • Establish a voucher policy during teasing period
  • Depending on the campaign type (a one time discount versus an advent calendar) the email frequency should be AT MOST one email per day during the BF period. Avoid spamming customers especially during this time
  • Segmentation is the queen of BF comms. Ideally you should communicate differently to every big customer segment. Remind dormant customer why they should come back to your website, and tell VIPs how important they are for you through BF sneak peaks emails
  • Dormant
  • Active
  • Vips
  • One time buyer
  • Ready to lose
  • Warm up your list before BF and continue to squeeze the juice after (Cyber Monday)
  • Write awesome content, be different. The customers’ inbox will be full with the same BF messages, so dare to have unconventional subject lines, GIFs etc.

Performance marketing

Before Black Friday

  • We define marketing campaigns with the objective of getting more newsletter subscriptions.
  • We send push-notifications.
  • We focus on getting micro-conversions.
  • We define audiences and make sure we identified the relevant Black Friday audiences, so that we can further use them in campaigns
  • We define the audiences so we can isolate users that accessed the site after Black Friday campaigns in order to use them for future contextual campaigns (Cyber Monday, X-mas sales, Spring Sale etc.)
  • We analyze product categories that will be in focus during the Black Friday period
  • We decide on the overall marketing budget dedicated to Black Friday
  • We settle on a budget split relative to the type of campaigns we develop, assuring both awareness and performance: visibility and transactions
  • We clearly settle the starting date for Black Friday timespan**

**this helps with budget correlation and incremental raising în campaigns that have profitability based bidding strategies, so we can avoid sudden spent-budget spikes that could destabilise the campaign

  • We create Black Friday Ads for Search campaigns (with whom we communicate discounts, product categories, other Black Friday details) and we set up starting day rules. Consequently, we make sure we stop other ongoing campaigns (the ones without Black Friday references)
  • We define teasing campaigns focused on awareness (video, display, discovery), to create expectancies and foreshadow future offers and discounts

During Black Friday

  • We check several times a day the spent budget of our campaigns - sometimes a daily set budget can be spent in only a couple of hours because of a raised search volume, reflected in costs increasing.
  • We relax bidding strategies focused on profitability (ROAS decreasing , CPA, etc.)
  • We verify the way the audiences perform in the display campaigns and stop those who don’t deliver expected results
  • We periodically verify website functionality

To better address our clients for Black Friday, we will split them into two broad categories, defined by their online shopping behaviour: the Deal Hunters and the Go Getters

Deal hunters

  • Have more time to compare offers and research products
  • Not necessarily loyal to a brand
  • They cross-check prices on multiple websites
  • They acces sections like ”similar products”

Go getters

  • They have a specific need and a certain product in mind
  • Are inclined to use the search bar, guest check-out and any other feature that helps them speed up the acquisition process
  • They know the price before the discount and if their favourite product is not already in the cart, they add it and buy it without further ado

During Black Friday, users’ attention span decreases, there are offers all-over, many tabs opened and therefore some extra motivation is needed in order to encourage a decision.

Concrete benefits and differentiators:

  • vouchers
  • free delivery
  • free packaging
  • free samples and so on

The importance of data collection after a high-traffic timespan in order to:

  • Platform optimisation
  • The ability to better follow the interest of the audience
  • We can determine rockstar products clusters
  • We can identify navigation and interactions patterns on the website
  • We can identify eventual errors

Left example:

  • The elements compete for user's attention
  • The design is crowded
  • There is no call to action
  • The word ”dress” can be found in 3 different boxes
  • Looks like there are more offers but in fact there are only 2: 30% & 50% discount
  • The colour is way to contrasting
  • The discount from each box occupies to much space giving the impression that all the info is the same

Right example:

  • We also have some products listed
  • The design is more airy
  • The products are logically clustered based on common attributes
  • The photos are cropped
  • There is less text

* What would be a good idea to add in the 2nd example: the discount % and a link + a button that leads to all discounted products

Extra info: The creatives and visual elements used in the performance campaigns it's indicated to be the same used on the website, to be easily recognizable by the clients

If you want to be fully prepared for Black Friday and not only, drop a line at hello@datarevolt.agency

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