Black Friday 2020 Prep

Author: Michael Wickham
25th November 2020

In a year as unpredictable as 2020, are we about to experience another curveball on Black Friday?

Online retailers have had a hard time predicting demand this year. With so much economic uncertainty we’ve all been wondering if sales would drop, but with highstreets closed it’s only inevitable that online would pick up some slack. So what should we expect this Black Friday?

For any normal year you would expect a surge in search demand, but 2020 has been different and throws up more considerations. Take the below Google Trends graph, for example, which is looking at demand for ‘smart tvs’. The peak of each spike are previous Black Fridays, but what’s interesting this year is that we experienced that ‘lockdown wave’ where consumers were at home, spending less on leisure/events/travel, and ultimately shopping online for the all-important home ‘essentials’. So will this early buying curtail the impact of Black Friday?

We are Polymer Black friday

We think it’s unlikely – for online at least. We are now in another nationwide lockdown, and ultimately it means that we can’t shop on the high-street and we have more time to browse and research online. A study from Ipsos-Mori revealed that 73% of consumers planned to shop more online this holiday – in part due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

So from our point of view, despite the unpredictability of this year, we’re still expecting a big weekend online. We’ve therefore done a lot of work over the last few months to help our clients put the infrastructure in place to cope with the expectations this brings. Below are a few things we set up (or built) to help us make the most of this weekend.

1. Audience and messaging on Black Friday

It’s vital to make your message stand out. With all your competitors essentially advertising the same message it’s important to make use of all the assets you have. For Google ads make sure your sitelinks are relevant and accentuate some of your best deals. It’s an under-rated way to cross sell.

We’ve created sets of messaging and overlaid as many niche and relevant audience segments as possible to give our bidding algorithms more signals to be faster-responding and more relevant.

2. Be mobile-ready

Mobile shoppers will bounce for a site if it takes more than 5 seconds to load, so doing some of the simple tasks like optimizing your images could help reduce those speeds. We looked at this with a client a couple of months before BF in order to help increase site speed by 28%.

3. Monitor, monitor, monitor

These few days can get quite crazy, so staying on top of conversion rates, site performance and ultimately your budget is vitally important. The Google Ads App could come in handy over the weekend, but we’ve set up automated alerts using our tech platform, Signal, so that we can be notified if unexpected happens (for example if we’re close to approaching a budget cap at 4pm in the afternoon).

4. React and adapt quickly

This is probably the biggest opportunity of the year to really maximise your sales, so being able to react quickly can make all the difference. Bidding algorithms should be able to cope with the shift in demand (after all, they have several years of previous data to call upon now), but that won’t help if your products go out of stock. We’ve built a tool that will monitor live stock levels from their web platform and notify us when an item goes out of stock so that the related Google Ads campaign can be paused.

Good luck and we hope this Black Friday doesn’t disappoint! If you need any help please get in touch