Online Retailers: Are You Ready for Black Friday?

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be make-or-break for an online retailer. To add to the pressure, competition in the PPC space heats up as retailers ramp up spend on Google Shopping and Amazon. A good agency will work with their clients to create a plan of attack for the holidays. Here’s Omnitail’s holiday advertising checklist to prepare for Black Friday:

How Much Should You Spend on Holiday Advertising?

A hand holds up a receipt with question marks. How much should you spend on holiday advertising?
Spend the right amount. Too much spend can erase profit. On the other hand, many agencies cap spend which limits profit potential.

For retailers, this is a key concern during the holiday season. You need to spend enough to ensure ads appear, but a massive increase in spend can also erase any profit driven by the program.  It’s not wise to spend like crazy during the holidays without accurate revenue and profit metrics.

The opposite scenario also poses a problem. Many agencies will cap spend year round — including around the holidays. While this gives you a solid expectation of ad spend, it seriously limits profit potential. With a capped budget, you’re probably missing out on available sales. 

At Omnitail, we never cap spend — if an advertising program is driving revenue and creating profit, we’ll continue to ensure ads are serving. For clients who worked with us in the previous season, we’ll analyze last year’s spend as well as current trends to offer measured expectations for the season. As the holidays get closer, we offer updates regularly on performance trends. Learn more about our profit-driven strategy in our whitepaper: “Breaking Up With ROAS: Trading Up to Profit“. 

Which Holiday Promotions Should You Run?

Consider when your black friday promotion is, how long it will last, and don't forget to include the "promotion_id".
One-day promotions often do not allow Google enough time for approval—consider making your sale longer. Also don’t forget to include the “promotion_id”.

Now’s the time to begin planning your promotions (if you haven’t already!) Think about the deals you offered last year, and the outcome — did they increase revenue or average order value? Did these promotions come with any extra costs (like additional shipping or a higher return rate?)

When choosing holiday promotions, it’s important to consider your goals for the season. A good agency should be able to discuss your objectives and offer some simple suggestions on promotions to help achieve those. 

Because promotions will not be reviewed by Google until the first day of the sale, the length of the promotion is important. One-day promotions often do not allow Google enough time for approval. We encourage our clients to consider extending Black Friday sales through the weekend or Cyber Monday deals through the end of the week. 

Finally — don’t forget to add promotion IDs to your product feed if your promotion requires them. Without them, Google won’t be able to show the promotion on the appropriate products.

Your agency should also be reviewing the promotion on the first day it is set to go live, to ensure it’s been approved and is eligible to serve. (Omnitail offers this year-round as part of our basic product feed optimization services!)

Which Products Perform Best Around Black Friday?

There are two phones. One shows a christmas tree with a +$0.50 bid adjustment. The other shows a jack-o-lantern with a -$1.50 bid adjustment.
Identify top products from last year as well as any new products you want to prioritize this year. Be prepared to need to raise some bids if your business is highly seasonal around the holidays.

Take a deep dive into last year’s holiday season sales. Did some products perform better than others? Are the bids for those products set to allow them to perform well this year, as well?  Remember — with increased competition comes increased costs, so be prepared to need to raise some bids if your business is highly seasonal around the holidays. 

Your agency should work with you to identify top products from last year as well as any new products you want to prioritize this year. You may wish to segment out these products to be able to more closely track their performance (and to ensure they’re getting the spend needed to appear in qualified searches!) We segment all of our clients’ product feeds according to a number of variables, so it’s easy to tell which product segments or brands are the most profitable.

How to Direct Your Holiday Advertising Spend

While you’re exploring last year’s sales, it’s a good idea to take a look at your advertising dollars as well. How much revenue and profit did Google Shopping drive? Were there any areas of concern (like a low conversion rate?)

A good agency should offer an analysis of last year’s holiday season advertising, and provide suggestions for the upcoming season as well. You should have an idea of when they plan to ramp up spend, and when is a good time to begin cutting back so your ads don’t abruptly become inefficient and unprofitable after the end of the holidays.

How to Optimize Your Product Feed for Black Friday

A green tshirt with fields for ID, title, and description.
Optimize titles and descriptions, and ensure promotion IDs are synced to Merchant Center. This will increase the chance of your promotion running smoothly and your products serving.

Finally, ensure your product feed is fully optimized and ready for the holiday season. This includes optimizing titles and descriptions, and ensuring promotion IDs are synced to Merchant Center. It’s the most profitable time of the year—make sure you are putting your best foot forward! We offer more details on product feed improvements for the holidays our blog post: 4 Product Feed Fixes to Make Before the Holiday Season.” 

Author

Christina is the Marketing Manager at Omnitail. She spent several years doing content, PPC, and email marketing for retail and tech companies before starting as an SEM Analyst at Omnitail. Christina now manages Omnitail's various marketing initiatives and enjoys reading and writing about trends in digital marketing.

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