Megan Crome

Megan Crome

Helping Small and Medium Businesses Achieve Their Full Marketing Potential | Digital Marketing Expert

Insights From Black Friday: What You Should & Shouldn’t Do

Over the last few years, we’ve been keeping track of how consumers have been behaving over the Black Friday period and the results are always surprising.

Here are our findings from 2020, what we learned in 2021 and what we are predicting for Black Friday in 2022.

How much do people spend during Black Friday?

In 2020, consumers spent just under $8 billion and for the first time, online sales overtook offline sales, likely due to the restrictions at the time during the COVID pandemic. This was the first time since 2016 that sales have fallen YoY.

In 2021, with the risk of COVID significantly reduced, consumers spent a whopping £1.74 billion MORE than they did in 2020, with online sales still taking a significant lead over offline sales.

How does this compare with previous years?

On 2017, consumers in america spent $5 billion in 2017 which was up by 16.9% from the year before.

In 2018, consumers in America spent $6.2 billion up by 23.50% from 2017.

Following the trend, consumers spent just over $7 billion in 2019.

What we learned in 2021

Sales focused messaging. We found that hitting the consumer (visually) in the face with a bold, impossible to ignore offer in the creative was most effective in driving results. The more simplistic, the better.

Convincing ad copy. When it comes to ad copy, we have seen how effective short, to the point copy can be for inexpensive products. However, for items that mean the consumer has to dig a little deeper into their pockets, longer, more detailed copy was necessary to convince the buyer to make a purchase.

Simplicity is key. Across both paid search and paid social, we found that straightforward black Friday messaging was key. For our Google clients, particularly jewellery brands, we ensured that the offer was mentioned several times in the copy with the actual words ‘Black Friday Sale’.

Prepare your audience. Warm up your audience prior to Black Friday with lead generation ads encouraging users to sign up to your email list so they feel as though they are accessing an exclusive campaign.

Build up your audience pool. Prior to key events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday & Christmas. It’s important to allocate 70% of your budget on finding new ‘cold’ traffic, so that during key periods like Black Friday, you can spend more of your budget on retargeting people who’ve shown interest rather than trying to convert a cold audience on Black Friday.

5 Lessons We Learnt From Black Friday

  1. Our best performing ads weren’t product-specific or lifestyle images/videos, but single-images with the focus being on just the words, “Black Friday”, and then the percentage our client was discounting
  2. Even with big discounts, consumers still won’t buy unless the value for the product/service exceeds the price paid
  3. Make use of accelerated delivery on Facebook Ads in order to expedite your ads
  4. Have your ads tested beforehand and know what works for your specific client
  5. Be firm but fair with losing ads

Let’s delve a little deeper into the 5 lessons above…

Forget The Fancy Creative - Keep It Simple

The acronym, K.I.S.S. really did come into its element this Black Friday!

We assumed beforehand that focusing just on the discount rather than the product or lifestyle the product promotes was going to work best, but we wanted to test it anyhow to avoid our own biases.

Lo & behold, that’s exactly what happened!

For example, here’s what we used for one of our clients:

(And yes, we did get past the 20% text rule Facebook penalises ads for with this one.)

We had our doubts though…

Because even though this is clear as a whistle, the client sells hair extensions; and with a product such as this, we honestly thought that our target audience (young women) would respond well to the hair extensions being used or the product on its own, in the adverts.

However, sometimes that’s all you need in the marketing world when you’re selling a product – a big discount that gets the punters out of their armchairs with credit card in hand!

What is our own personal opinion as to why the ad above worked better than product-specific or lifestyle creative?

Well, Black Friday is known world-wide and it’s an annual sale event on the same scale as Christmas day.

And people are expecting big discounts from absolutely every business out there, so they don’t want to see the usual ads that are running year-round.

They want massive discounts and they want them…NOW!

Despite Black Friday being extended to over the weekend and now there is Cyber Monday, it still creates an urgency in both businesses and consumers.

Big Discounts Won't Sell a Product/Service That Isn't In Demand

Just because you’re slicing the price by 50% or more, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to have people breaking down your front-door trying to buy your product or service.

The product or service comes first, then the big discounts.

We noticed this with some of the ads we were seeing online where companies that don’t have a great product/service were dropping their prices by as much as 90%!

Black Friday aside, we’ve noticed this with clients of our own who launch a product or service that just isn’t up to scratch and doesn’t provide enough value to the customer to warrant the price charged.

You have to test the waters with new products or services. So we aren’t saying this is necessarily something you should avoid as a business, but you must learn from this simple mistake.

Don’t try and pull money from your customers or target audience for the sake of temporary money, because it can prove very damaging in the long-run with customers not trusting you.

Use Accelerated Delivery For Limited-Time Only Offers

FYI – This lesson applies to Facebook.

When you have a short-period of time to get an offer out such as events like Black Friday, you must make sure your ads get seen and heard before the show is over.

Businesses and advertisers are piling in on platforms such as Facebook so your competition is competitive no matter the space you’re in.

Give yourself at least a chance to be in contention.

What is accelerated delivery?

Accelerated delivery is where Facebook aims to spend your budget as quick as it can which may cause higher ad costs.

This is the dice you roll with accelerated delivery which can put you at risk of higher ad costs.

But, in our opinion, it’s a risk you should take for a brief period of time such as Black Friday.

The learning phase can take up to 48 hours and therefore you don’t want your focus on optimisation. Instead, you want your focus on getting as many people seeing your ads as possible so they can take you up on your Black Friday offer.

Prepare Your Ads Beforehand

You can actually get a headstart on your competitors by simply testing your ads beforehand in non-related Black Friday ads.

Try that new image or test that headline which is a bit out there a couple weeks or months beforehand.

Just like a footballer wouldn’t test a new pair of boots in the World Cup Final, you shouldn’t be trying out new ads during the biggest selling event of the year.

Get your ducks in order beforehand, and know which ads work for that particular client or particular product/service so you avoid any unexpected mishaps!

With our own clients, we know which ads work for them because we may have been working with them for a considerable amount of time; and even then, we don’t take it for granted that we know best.

Proper preparation gets you optimal results.

Cut The Losers Out of Your Life

Ok, so we don’t mean your friends with this one, but your losing ads.

Just like in our first example – with our hair extensions client – we knew which ads were getting the results and which ones weren’t quite early-on.

Time is not on your side during Black Friday so you can’t be resting on your laurels here and letting your ads fall by the way-side.

Keep checking up on those ads and be firm but fair with them.

If they haven’t been running long or they are showing promising signs, then give them a bit longer but don’t be scared to cut them.

Ensure you’re monitoring your results daily, if not a couple times a day during this hot period. Then, once you determine a clear winner & loser – focus your budget on what’s working & cut away the excess.

Again, you should have a good idea before Black Friday which ads are going to get the best results.

So, what will happen in 2022?

In 2022 and beyond, we have a sneaky feeling that consumers will be expecting bigger and bigger deals to entice them into spending their hard earned money.

A standard 10% offer will not be enough to convert, and only offers over 25% will be strong enough to stop the user scrolling and consider a purchase.

As consumers grow wiser to the sales tactics during Black Friday, they will be more likely to save their money for the Christmas sales, which is why your offer must improve every year.

As a brand, you can expect a slow in sales in early November as consumers prepare to spend their money on Black Friday weekend.

With the cost-of-living criss in full swing, we can expect some consumers to choose to save their pennies for Christmas deals rather than splashing out on Black Friday.

What you can implement NOW to smash Black Friday 2022

Focus on building your email list ASAP. This not only means you can warm up your subscribers with Black Friday emails, but you can also retarget these people with your ads. If they are familiar with you prior to Black Friday, they will be more likely to convert.

Test different offers to see which ones work. This could be in the form of a payday sale offering 20% off all products. If it works well – you can repeat this type of offer for Black Friday.

Prepare your creative. The offer should be in big, bold letters that grab the users attention as they scroll through. Consider features such as neon colours, unusual fonts, anything that stops them scrolling.

Keep your copy simple and sales focused. For most eCommerce brands, the copy should be short and sweet, making the offer clear and appealing to the consumer.

Spend wisely. Attribute 70% of your budget on cold customer acquisition leading up to Black Friday. Then, you can drop it to 50/50 or even swap it so that 70% of the budget is retargeting the audience pool you built up previously.

Next Steps For You...

Fortunately for you, the digital marketing world doesn’t stop after Black Friday and there is now Christmas coming up and then before you know it, Boxing Day sales!

Increase those sales of yours and boost your profits in the next couple of weeks by getting your ads in order for the Festive period.

Have a project in mind? We can help.

Just schedule a call with us and speak to one of our team.

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