Preparing for Black Friday: 5 essential considerations for your Black Friday paid social strategy

Stephen McCance October 12, 2021

Omnichannel commerce is clearly an important factor going into the busiest time of the year for eCommerce businesses, and Black Friday is undeniably one of the biggest days in retail. It goes without saying that if you haven’t started thinking about your Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertising strategies and deals yet, time is quickly running out. As we are now approaching peak shopping season, it is important for online businesses to start planning for their Black Friday marketing strategy as soon as possible, or risk being left behind by those who were prepared. The old adage of “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” definitely holds a lot of truth when it comes to Black Friday digital marketing. But what are the things that you need to consider? And where do you start? Here we’ve covered a few top tips to help you begin your Black Friday preparation if you haven’t already.

Communicate Your Offers In Advance

It can be really difficult for small businesses to compete with big brands in terms of special offers, particularly on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so if you are offering a discount, it’s important to make sure people know about it. That might seem obvious, but Black Friday and the shopping season in general is one of the most competitive times of year for advertising, especially when it comes to Paid Social media advertising. There’s an increase in competition, an increase in the cost of ads, and a wealth of offers for prospective customers to choose from. Get a head start and communicate the discounts and/or promotions your business will be offering during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This can be a key step in building anticipation and maximising engagement throughout Black Friday. If you’re reluctant to release exactly what you’ll be doing as an offer, you can look at alternative ways to communicate them such as teasers, countdowns and sneak peaks rather than explicitly stating what the discounts etc will be. By communicating that you’ll be taking part in Black Friday in general, you’re making people aware that there will be something to check back for closer to the time.


Stand Out From The Crowd 

Black Friday is the time to get creative with your content. Remember that your business may be competing with unprecedented numbers of others, all fighting to get the attention of their (and your!) ideal customer. Get creative and think about how you can stand out from your competition. Utilise a mix of different creatives such as videos, gifs, or images and make sure your brand communicates a clear story, one that shoppers recognise right away, even without excessive copy or slogans. We’d recommend that these are heavily branded, so that any new customers acquired during the Black Friday period can then become more familiarised with your brand and turn into a potential recurring customer too.


Offer More Than Just A Discount

Every shopper expects to get a discount on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So what if a saving alone isn’t enough to get them to purchase? With so many other businesses offering the same amount of discount, or perhaps even more, it pays to give your customers an extra incentive to buy from you by offering them added value where possible. For example, you could offer them free shipping and returns, a free gift when they spend a certain amount, a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal or even limited edition products in smaller runs that won’t be available outside of your Black Friday promotion. With so many companies competing for the ad space at this time of year, it’s increasingly important to differentiate yourself from the competition in other ways that make your proposition more appealing to customers.


Master Your Retargeting 

Facebook and Instagram Ads

Facebook Ads are a MUST especially before and during BFCM. On Facebook you can not only target multiple interest groups but you can also segment your potential customers based on their age, gender and location. However, the most powerful tool for Black Friday is the Facebook Pixel. If you haven’t implemented a Facebook Pixel on your website, stop right here and get it sorted! The Facebook Pixel will help you retarget all your website visitors and segment them based on the action they took on your website. Traffic and sales won’t just magically appear during Black Friday without building up your audiences in advance. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to plan your Black Friday marketing strategy in advance and collect the data which you can later leverage. This is one of the most important steps for a successful BFCM strategy because during the BFCM period the cost of advertising rises and the number of competitors increases significantly. Taking action ahead of time pays off! Think about it this way,  you don’t have to compete as hard for warmed up audiences that you’ve already collected. There’s no better foundation to a Black Friday campaign than starting with users who have already shown an interest in your products at full price and without any additional offers. Whilst Facebook and Instagram are amazing tools for remarketing, you may want to also consider lesser used platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest if your target audience is aligned with any of these channels. The reasoning behind this is that they’re often more cost effective as they tend to have lower costs per mille (CMP – cost per thousand impressions) due to having less competition for ad space than the more widely used Facebook and Instagram. More on this later.

Who should you be retargeting? 

After building up your pixel data in advance, you need to think about who exactly you are going to serve your ads to. Almost everyone who visits your website may be classified as a potential customer, but should be treated in different ways depending on their positioning within your funnel. Here are a couple of good higher level examples of audiences you should consider targeting:

  • People who added to cart but did not purchase
  • Previous purchasers
  • Lapsed customers
  • Email customer lists

If you’d like more detail or ideas on who to target, get in touch and we’d be happy to help.

*Top Tip*

Retarget outside of social media too

Paid social media isn’t the only way you can retarget your customers with Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions and offers. Wider web retargeting is a powerful (and often neglected) method of capturing users who have previously shown an interest in your products by visiting your website and performing certain actions. Platforms such as AdRoll or Criteo are great for this as they offer you the ability to target users across multiple ad networks all from one dashboard, meaning you can manage your display remarketing easily and ensure your strategy across all networks is coherent.


Other Ads – TikTok Ads

TikTok has gained amazing levels of popularity in a short space of time, and now has more than 1 billion monthly active users. This is a huge audience base that can be used by businesses for marketing their products. TikTok uses a unique algorithm different to other paid social media platforms, which helps people and businesses get higher engagement on their content with much less effort. Videos can go viral even if the user account is new or has zero followers. 

The Tik Tok advertising platform is still fairly new, therefore a smaller number of brands are currently using it which provides a great advantage due to less competition. Before you start running ads on TikTok, make sure to install the TikTok pixel to help you collect data before Black Friday – if you’re thinking of using this method of advertising then you need to be installing your pixel now if you haven’t already as it should be collecting data for as long as possible before you run your TikTok ads.

When running ads on TikTok, their advertising platform allows you to select Custom Audiences to target based on the following factors: 

  • Website Traffic – you can target people who visited your website or who performed a certain action like, for example, adding to cart, visiting a specific page, clicking a button, and more. 
  • Engagement – you can target people who engage with your ad content in a specific way like, for example, watching your ad for at least 6 seconds, watching more than 50% or 75% of your ad, etc. 
  • App Activity – does your business have an app? Then you can definitely benefit from TikTok Ads! Retarget people who installed your app or took a certain action on your app. 
  • Customer File – you can also upload a customer file and match your customers with TikTok users. Show your existing customers a new side of your business by retargeting them with unique content. 

Whilst there is certainly much more that could be said about creating the perfect BFCM paid social marketing strategy, these points will have given some idea of how to prepare for Black Friday. The most important takeaway is to focus on what’s best for your brand, plan ahead (as far in advance as you can!) and keep your customers at the core of your activity.

If you’re struggling with your Black Friday paid social media strategy, aren’t confident in your ads being managed where they are during the upcoming peak sales period, or you simply don’t know where to start then get in touch and we would be happy to advise you based on our many years of experience – 01617110888

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