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Preparing Your PPC Campaigns For Black Friday

Black Friday is when we ALL get very excited about crazy bargains and mega sales, but the day started so much earlier than you’d think. The day after Thanksgiving (the last Thursday in November) has long been considered the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season. The Friday after Thanksgiving really became famous when big department stores such as Macy’s started their Christmas parades on this day and these boosted holiday sales for retailers.

If you own a shop yourself, you’ll know that the festive period or ‘peak’ means big business. The peak season is the time of year when demand for goods is at it’s highest and this typically falls during gifting periods.

So, have you reviewed whether your search strategy fits with the current Black Friday trends? In this blog, we’ll be talking you through what to expect for the holiday season and how to plan your strategy.

When is Black Friday & Cyber Monday In 2019 ?  

The key dates to remember are:

  • – Black Friday Week 23rd-28th November
  • – Black Friday 29th November
  • – Black Friday Weekend 30th November – 1st December
  • – Cyber Monday 2nd December


What’s changed since last year…


  • – More time to influence throughout November
  • – Peak shopping season days will roll into Christmas shopping
  • – Higher demand as later shoppers have motive to shop during the peak


Planning your PPC strategy for Black Friday

The first step in making sure that you’re PPC strategy is on point is to make sure that you understand the search behaviour around Black Friday. When searches peak and when they drop off. Below is a little snapshot of some of the behaviours we have seen.

Key Black Friday search trends


  • – Searches containing ‘Black Friday’ ramp up around 2 weeks prior to Black Friday week
  • – Grey Friday (22nd Nov 2019), shows ‘Black Friday’ search volume increase showing confusion with the real Black Friday date
  • – Most ‘Black Friday’ search activity happens a week before Black Friday
  • – Searches containing ‘for him’, ‘for her’ and ‘for kids’ increase from November
  • – On Black Friday itself, Branded search terms outpace non-branded, the research has been done and consumers know where they want to shop
  • – Searches for ‘presents’ and ‘gifts’ increase after Black Friday Weekend

Black Friday Weekend Search volume (courtesy of Microsoft Advertising)

How to prepare your account for Black Friday

As the old saying goes “Fail to prepare then prepare to fail” and that’s especially true when it comes to preparing your account for Black Friday and the Holiday Season in general. So to help make sure those accounts are ship shape we’ve compiled a list of top tips below:

  • – Start activity as early as possible
  • -Be prepared for increased activity across all campaigns – use last year’s data to predict for this year and recommend an increased budget
  • – Use broad keywords to capture new variations of generic non-brand terms
  • – Consider new DSA campaigns for this time to capture even more & use findings to build out your campaigns
  • – Consider adding ‘for him’, ‘for her’, ‘for kids’ keyword variations
  • – Consider expanding ‘gift’ and ‘present’ search terms for after Black Friday


Make sure you don’t limit your campaigns

We’ve all hears about glass ceilings. Putting a roof on the potential performance of campaigns. When it comes to Black Friday and PPC that usually means not allocating enough budget and optimising what you did last year. So when it comes to making sure that your performance isn’t limited it worth considering the below tips:

  • – Consider adjusting smart bidding strategies for expected increase in Conversion Rate
    ( -ROAS, +CPA)
  • – Adjust for seasonality by setting an adjustment between 0 and what is inline with previous similar events. E.g. Conversion Rate jumped from 5% to 15% for just 24h, Google recommends the following:
    – Most conservative: Make no change (0% adjustment) and allow Smart Bidding to handle seasonality on its own
    – Most aggressive: Set an increase of 200% since CvR jumped from 2% to 6%
  • – Consider Black Friday feed optimisation – review high converting terms from last year to edit titles and descriptions.
  • – Use Shopping Showcase Ads to appear for top level generics in the lead up to Black Friday


Consider using audiences for peak

The key festive periods provide significant opportunity for utilising existing audiences in your ad account. Here are some ideas for using those captive audiences:

  • – Capture last minute shoppers that have been researching your brand in the run up to Black Friday – use short look back windows on peak days (e.g. 2 day lookback on Black Friday)
  • – Capture last minute shoppers on 23rd Dec (or your client’s last delivery date), with relevant copy offering free shipping, next day delivery etc.



So, what can we learn from the above?

  • – Be date savvy! Things have moved around a little in terms of peak dates – Black Friday now encompasses a whole week.
  • – Remember your client’s last delivery date – forgetting this can cause huge fulfilment issues.
  • – Review search terms e.g. consider ‘gift’ and ‘present’ search terms to maximise Christmas sales.
  • -Don’t limit your campaigns – review high converting terms from last year, adjust bidding strategies accordingly.
  • – Utilise audiences to capture those who have spent time researching your brand to ensure they make THAT purchase.
  • Black Friday
  • Black Friday Weekend
  • Cyber Monday
  • Grey Friday
  • microsoft advertising
  • peak season
  • Search
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