It's the most wonderful time of the year! Black Friday is back, and you need Google Ads operating at peak performance. Whatever your client's budget, product or audience, Google Ads is your most powerful marketing tool. As a top-performance marketing agency and Google Premier Partner, we know how critical Google Ads is to your client's success. Here are our top 5 Google Ads tips for a record-breaking 2023 Black Friday.
1. Plan for Success
Lock in the following five points before spending a single ad dollar. Every strong building begins with a solid foundation; get the fundamentals right, and set yourself and your client up for stunning success.
- Budget: You can't make any decision until your budget is locked in. Anyone can plan or research tactics; if you want to execute, you need the resources. Be bold and forecast a strong return based on trending performance. Secure your budget, and then plan your campaign tactics accordingly.
- Promo calendar: Work with your client and establish a clear, comprehensive promotional schedule. This will inform your creative needs, campaign types, budget changes, etc. Consumer demand will peak, and the market will be saturated with deals. Ensure your client has aggressive, margin-crunching offers so they stand out and can attract new consumers to the brand.
- Conversions: Scaling growth-centric, high-spend campaigns require conversion data, and your conversion setup needs to be flawless. Ensure your Primary and Secondary conversions in Google Ads are correctly configured; turn on Enhanced Conversions; leverage Google Tag Manager and GA4 to ensure tags and events are harmonious, cohesive and consistent. Give Google Ads the best conversion data it needs to optimize and target.
- Back-up: Like the man said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Things will go wrong, unexpected challenges will arise, and even welcome surprises - like your client deciding to 5x their budget - will require a swift, purposeful and controlled reaction. Map out some scenarios and be prepared to adjust. In the heat of the moment, it's a lot easier to follow a script than write one.
- Buy-in: Don't assume clients will see your brilliance - make the business case early, persuasively, and to all relevant stakeholders. It's your responsibility to communicate risk and reward accurately and to maximize the value to your client. Get the buy-in at the table, and then get to work.
2. Performance Max - Black Friday Opts
We love Performance Max so much. It drives both ecom and lead-gen success, is incredibly scaleable, and leverages the best of Google's AI targeting and optimization. Black Friday's demand tsunami obliges smart performance marketers to configure Pmax differently - after all, Performance Max depends on past conversion data and audience signals for its success. New consumer behaviour means new data inputs. Here are our top three Performance Max Black Friday 2023 recommendations:
- Throttle Budget Up, Target ROAS Down: Scale your budget up incrementally - too fast, and campaign volatility will offset any conversion volume gains. To ensure your PMax campaigns can spend, throttle target ROAS down. You may lose some margin, but you'll gain profit.
- Create a Seasonality Bid Adjustment: Anticipating a short burst in consumer demand, you can use Seasonality Adjustments to accommodate an expected increase in conversion rate. Campaigns will optimize their bids accordingly during a sale, and you can easily return to typical performance post-promo.
- Optimize to Store Visits: Use Store Visits and Sales to measure the complete revenue impact of your campaigns. You can then leverage Performance Max to increase its reach, capture more consumers, and dominate your competition.
What's your favourite Performance Max tip? Have you seen success creating separate holiday asset groups? Dedicated BFCM creative? Hit us up with your top opt.
3. Start Early
It's not just you: Black Friday marketing starts earlier every year, and so do shoppers. If you're not meeting consumers when their demand starts to peak, your competition will. Black Friday 2023 has massive early buyer enthusiasm. Kicking off the Black Friday season earlier means capturing consumers when they're ready.
- Launch Early: Almost 30% of consumers have completed their shopping by October. What used to be prime prospecting period is now high-intent shopping time. Convince your clients to launch a Pre-Black Friday event; prospect with gift ideas to grab attention; observe the customer journey as they make multiple touchpoints before converting. Whatever you don't convert, you can later nurture into sales.
- Email Signups: Savvy shoppers wait for brands to market to them. Incentivize consumers with exclusive upcoming offers via email. Build that list, and then leverage it as 1st-Party data in your Google Ads campaigns. Oh, and be sure your email marketing manager knows who to thank.
- Go Beyond Promos: Black Friday shoppers want a deal, but early shoppers want to find the perfect gift. Work with your clients to differentiate your offers beyond discounts and think of the right gift for the right buyer. Consumers love wishlists, free delivery and returns, and high user ratings. Position your client's brand to deliver value, not just discounts.
- Remarketing: Strong prospecting and early launches will result in massive, high-intent remarketing audiences. Now it's time to close. Whether you leverage RFM methodology to create intent-based priority segments or lean into Google's machine learning and audience signals, remarketing works. Pair it with powerful, simple creative to drive efficient, high-volume sales.
4. Invest in Creative
Do we love AI and data and slick campaigns? Absolutely. But we never forget creatives. Strong, simple, effective creatives are critical to Black Friday marketing success. Stand out from your competitors and be impactful with these tips:
- Tease, then Excite: 70% of searches containing "Black Friday" happen in October - clearly, BFCM is a marathon and not a sprint. Build awareness and anticipation with early teaser ads in October, and then close with explicit, simple, exciting ads in November. Early shoppers and searches will take their time and perform research. Late shoppers want a deal - make sure your messaging appeals to the right consumer at the right time.
- Foment FOMO: Emotion drives purchase and urgency drives immediacy. Check out this ad campaign by Yoox; it dared users not to click the "skip" button on its YouTube pre-roll ad by offering an exclusive discount - if users didn't click on the ad right away, the discount was gone forever. Consumers will react to an intensive, high-stakes offer with emotion - if thoughtful creative is employed.
- YouTube is Search: More than 55% of consumers search for a product on Google and then learn more by going to YouTube before purchasing. Leverage YouTube not as an acquisition but as a discovery channel; work with your client to build longer-form videos that will appeal to both early shoppers and Black Friday deal-seekers. Think wishlists, not immediate purchase.
- Simple Works: If budget and time are constraints, keep it simple. Consumers are already conditioned to purchase in November. Your marketing seeds have been planted throughout the year. Launch simple, bold creatives that clearly call out Black Friday sales. Use value-laden language, arresting imagery and ensure consistency across your ad creative and landing page.
5. Embrace Black Friday for 2023
Every Black Friday season is unique, and 2023 has its own challenges and opportunities. Anticipating and observing macro trends in the market can help inform your 2023 Google Ads Black Friday decision-making.
- AI: How could we not mention AI? Use ChatGPT as an extra marketing resource: write ad copy, produce creative, generate subject lines, generate keywords - and so much more. If able, try incorporating AI chatbots into your website and help consumers with their purchases.
- Austerity Rebound: Consumers will be eager to spend after a year of inflation and self-imposed austerity. Nimble agencies should be prepared to meet a huge uptick in demand, especially for value-based products and brands.
- Anticipate: Don't model current tactics on 2022 Black Friday trends alone; post-pandemic consumer behaviour will help shape 2023 but consider larger trends to influence your decisions. Some takeaways from the <imajery> team:
- Experiential will be huge. Travel, events, self-care: ensure these are well-positioned as gifts and big opportunities.
- Luxury will be huge. Affluent shoppers are less affected by economic insecurity and will spend heavily.
- Value will be huge. Savvy shoppers will respond hungrily to deals (not just discounts). Know your brand and how to communicate its value.
- Borrow from 2024: Don't let budget cap an opportunity; smart performance marketing agencies will recognize unique moments and how to balance risk vs. reward. Plan with your client on how to potentially leverage 2024's budget to capitalize on successful marketing campaigns. If demand and performance are aligned, be prepared to scale budget accordingly and capture sales.
Well-structured, flexible, and responsive Google Ads tactics are the key to driving high ROAS and performance. Follow our agency's tips and ensure your Google Ads campaigns drive maximum value to both your clients and their consumers.
VP Growth and Marketing
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