Black Friday 2017 – Digital Marketing Tips

It’s that time of year again: where shoppers go crazy both in-store and online for the best deals of the year. But what should retailers do to prepare for the onslaught of online checkouts?

The e-commerce landscape moves very quickly during these days. Preparation is key but the ability to be nimble and adapt your tactics quickly will bring the best results.

Although a US idea, Black Friday was introduced to the UK by Amazon back in 2010, but, why does it work so well over here?

In the current climate, Black Friday time performs well partly because the state of the economy, and partly because of the media overhype.

Retailers know UK consumers are looking for value – money is tight, so they won’t spend full value on higher priced items when they know – especially on Black Friday – they can get them cheaper.

A trend we see creeping in, for the above reasons, are retailers stretching out Black Friday for up to a week in advance of the actual day. Amazon usually sets the benchmark, and we’re likely to see offers start appearing tomorrow (17th November).

Online retailers took approximately £2.8 billion in sales in 2016 – up 20 per cent from £2.3 billion in 2015 (, of which the majority are largely driven by PPC, and by voucher codes, discount and cash back sites.

Two years ago UK retailers started turning their back on Black Friday, and this was stepped up last year as bigger players such as Ikea, Asda and Next didn’t take part (partly due to in store fighting).

Such is the economy and consumer-seeking value, we would expect this trend to reverse this year, and more retailers take part, especially pure online players.

However, whether consumers have the same appetite for Black Friday this year remains to be seen, as some sources are predicting a considerable downturn in spending.

Major retailers will be running pretty significant paid media campaigns around Black Friday, but there are a few things to bear in mind.

With regards to paid media campaigns, optimisation should be on a more frequent basis to ensure that you are capitalising on all possible opportunities. According to the Vouchercloud data, more shoppers spend money at more irregular hours over Black Friday – Vouchercloud said it saw a 46 % increase in pre-6am traffic, with a 208% increase in traffic at 5am on Friday morning. As such, make sure those PPC ads are running at all times over Black Friday!

Also, a deal may only work very well for an hour as competitors might adjust their pricing accordingly so work with shorter timeframes when optimising your account.

For example:

  • You may see a large surge in mobile traffic during the early morning which switches to desktop later on, so you might want to change your mobile bid modification during this timeframe. Ensure that you also measure cross-device behaviour as many users will be looking for deals on their phone and purchase when at work
  • Take your learnings from last year’s data, and combine this with recent changes within the landscape
  • Ensure that you utilise all your paid search extensions to highlight any possible deals and key messages, such as around delivery or returns It’s also very important to ensure goal tracking and external payment gateway tracking are set up so that success can be evaluated properly.
  • Any digital media space is more expensive during Black Friday due to the competition so start early by
    • collecting email addresses which can be used in email marketing at a later date
    • having a pre-Black Friday teaser page on which you could capture email addresses, and optimise for SEO
    • create early black Friday deals for members (as users need to sign up you have their email addresses for campaigns at a later stage)

Whilst you want to remain competitive during the Black Friday promotions, it is also important to keep a close eye on stock, margin and competitor pricing, to ensure you maximise revenue, but also build for future campaigns and work out the LTV of the customers that have purchased during Black Friday.

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