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Running Ads on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Circle Scott Dunroe On Google+




It is absolutely essential to take advantage of the two biggest online retail days known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Gearing your AdWords campaigns and landing pages can assist in taking full advantage of these periods to maximise your earning potential. I have seen many clients benefit from running ads on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and I recommend you do exactly the same. 



Should I run ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday at all?


Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most important days for retail traffic online. If you have a business in the retail industry then I would definitely suggest taking advantage of running ads during these periods in an attempt to maximise sales. Businesses that provide a service might experience less of an impact during these two days as the focus is generally on physical products, I would however still recommend reviewing whether there is still potential for your own website to benefit from these periods.

Can I take advantage of using AdWords alongside my special discounts?

If you are going to offer special discounts then you need to make them apparent on your ad text as well as your landing pages, there is no point offering them if potential customers aren't aware of them. You could create ad groups dedicated to Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday with ads relevant to each event and keywords divided to target each product group with a special discount. You then have the ability to activate these ad groups at the appropriate time and pause any original ad groups that may cause conflict.

Alternatively you could dedicate a campaign to each special day and set a start and end time to ensure your ads are running for the maximum duration of those days and no longer. It is important to check those keywords and ads are approved beforehand though as it would be incredibly frustrating for them to await approval while the special retail days occur. 

What changes should I make to my ad text and how can I efficiently change my landing pages?

Consumers are now aware of the terms Black Friday and Cyber Monday so it would be a good practice to include these phrases within your ads to draw their attention to the fact you are complying with these special retail days. Including percentage cuts and / or specific product prices in your ads will also improve your chances of generating a click and sale as people will be specifically looking for a bargain during these days. It might even be a good practice to make your landing pages stand out that you are participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make your special offers the most prominent things on the page so the customers can see instantly what is on offer.



Can I take advantage of certain AdWords features during this period?


With the addition of different Ad Extensions over the last few years it's now fairly easy to promote discounts and special days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday; it's just a case of deciding which ones to use and in what way.


If you choose to create / change landing pages specifically for these events then a natural choice would be Sitelink Extensions. As already mentioned, customers are now aware of the likes of Black Friday and will be actively seeking deals out on websites so giving them the opportunity to click instantly on a Sitelink called "View Black Friday Deals" for example will be much more attractive against an ad that isn't making any mention of Black Friday. In a similar style of psychology you could also utilise Callout Extensions to simply promote the fact you are Black Friday friendly.


If you use Shopping campaigns then don't forget you have that 45 character limit field of promotional text to go along with your ads. If you are offering a fixed deal or offer across all your products (a certain % discount or free shipping for example) then it is worth changing this for the duration of the two events, there really is no point of hosting the discounts if you aren't going to shout out about them!


The main idea is to take a creative approach and use these extra tools to your own benefit as much as possible.

Should I adjust my budget during these special retail days?

You should expect a large increase of incoming traffic leading up to and during these special retail days so it is wise to adjust your daily budget accordingly. Your aim should be to capture as much of the impression share as possible providing you have an established ROI (Return On Investment) to work with. If you believe that you do have a steady ROI that is unlikely to fluctuate then you can afford to increase your daily budget to a much higher value while using maximum CPCs as limitations. If you attract good quality converting traffic during this period which results in a good ROI then the last thing you want to do is limit this due to having a restrictive budget. It is important to monitor factors such as impression share, average ad positions,
conversion rate, average cost per conversion, etc, during this period as you will need to adjust your budget according to this activity.


Tips on running ads on Black Sunday and Cyber Monday


  • Understand your objectives during this period - Black Sunday and Cyber Monday are predominantly sales periods for retail industries but they can still be an effective time to enforce your brand image. Making use of the Display Ad Builder is a quick, free and useful way to accomplish this.
  • Don’t just change your ad descriptions - These special periods are incredibly important for online businesses; it’s worthwhile investing the time and effort into creating new specific campaigns, landing pages, keywords, etc, to fully utilise the potential of these days. Also don't forget to add or change different ad extensions as they can help to bring in extra conversions.
  • Be prepared for the additional business - If you are willing to increase your budget then you must be ready to expect a surge of orders / sales to process; this may require additional labour, stock or even website bandwidth allowance for example. It is also important to make use of Conversion Tracking and / or Google Analytics to ensure that you identify how these sales are being generated, you then have the ability to manage your AdWords campaign effectively using this incoming conversion data.

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about Scott Dunroe

I have been managing AdWords accounts for over 8 years now at an international marketing agency level and also as a freelancer. I am very passionate about Google's PPC platform and pretty much anything else that is Google related. My theory in life is to learn something new every day and this community is definitely a good place to do so; I would recommend anyone reading this to stick around as it's an excellent source of information with great people contributing to it.

Gerald Betts
August 2013
We would like to thank you all over again for the beautiful ideas you gave Jeremy when preparing a post-graduate research plus, most importantly, for providing all of the ideas in one blog post. Provided that we had been aware of your web site a year ago, we will have been kept from the unwanted measures we were implementing. Thank you very much.