Does your Black Friday ad campaign have these four essential elements

Black Friday and Cyber Monday will soon be upon us – and with them two of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

But have you done enough to ensure that a substantial chunk of the anticipated £7 billion that will be spent comes to you?

Here are four things we recommend doing to ensure your digital advertising campaign reaches – and converts – Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargain hunters.


1) Plan for the FULL customer lifecycle

Too many brands make the mistake of focusing on last click attribution when measuring success – and planning new campaigns. But this is a mistake. As the pioneers of lifecycle marketing for display, we recognise the importance of a full funnel approach.

It’s this approach that has enabled us to secure clients like Miss Selfridge a 47% new customer rate on their campaigns, and 43% for Moss Bros.

So before you start running your Black Friday display campaign, check you’re not missing out on a valuable chunk of business by cutting your funnel in half, and gambling all your spend on the customers last action highlighted by last click attribution.


2) Plan your timing carefully – based on research

From analysing the annual successful Black Friday campaigns we run for our clients, we’ve learned a lot about getting the timing right for display ads around this promotion.

For example, the week before Black Friday, ad engagement is highest in the morning between 7am and 10am, and then again late afternoon and early evening between 4pm and 8pm.

However, during Black Friday weekend, users’ behaviour changes. And instead, ad engagement starts building first thing in the morning, before peaking at 7am and then tailing off over the rest of the day.

This tells us two things. Firstly, Black Friday bargain hunters are up early and ready to shop. So, you need to upweight delivery at this time of the day to reach more potential customers cost effectively. And secondly, customers use ads to discover the bargains on offer, then go directly to the site to buy.

The cycle doesn’t end there, either. Ad engagement rises again on Saturday, and peaks on Sunday before the pattern is repeated on Cyber Monday.

So if you’re running an ad campaign for Black Friday, you need to build up delivery in the week before to ensure maximum brand awareness and sales over the weekend. Then you need to time your ads on Black Friday and Cyber Monday carefully to ensure you don’t miss the early bird shoppers.


3) Think beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Don’t get hung up on the term ‘Black Friday’. Over the years the shopping window has increased with shoppers now looking for, expecting, and getting discounted purchases before the big day.

Indeed, in 2018, 67% of all discounts offered were introduced between the Monday and Thursday leading up to Black Friday itself. This was a 17% increase on 2017. And already this year we’ve seen retailers attempt to get ahead of the crowd by offering their Black Friday offers even earlier.

This trend is supported by customer search activity; Google revealed that Black Friday searches increased 80% between 2016 and 2018. Rather than wait to see what’s on offer on Black Friday (and risk regretting an impulse purchase), shoppers are researching and comparing the deals on offer and deciding what to buy.

So if you want to compete with both footfall and online business this year, don’t wait until the Friday to reveal your offers and start attracting customers.


4) Use dynamic creative

If your Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads aren’t leveraging the power of dynamic creative you’re not just missing a trick – you’re losing potential customers and sales.

Done well, dynamic creative will dramatically improve your results, with better conversion rates and ROI & higher engagement whilst reducing wastage.

One big advantage of dynamic creative is its ability to support ‘time based’ activity. With dynamic creative you can be confident that countdowns, assets and messaging are being scheduled, and are swapped out at the right times to ensure your activity in display is always accurate and aligned with your overall plan.

This is particularly important if you have different messages for Black Friday, Cyber Weekend and Cyber Monday – and can’t ask someone to do it manually.


When planning programmatic creative, there are four key areas you need to get right:


  • Design – your ads need to look good, be on brand, have a strategic message and a strong call to action.
  • Technology – your ads also need to allow dynamic content and enable different products and messages to be used for different audiences.
  • Optimisation – machines have to learn what messages, products and services work best for different groups.
  • Planning – work out what you want to be dynamic, what tests are important, and don’t make expensive template changes unnecessarily.


The good news is that dynamic creative doesn’t have to be overly complicated or expensive. Good people and the right tools can make dynamic creative cheaper and more effective than traditional creative when done correctly.


You can read more about how to create a dynamic display ad campaign here.