How to plan a successful 2023 Black Friday programmatic campaign

Have you planned your 2023 Black Friday programmatic campaign yet? Read on for advice to ensure your ads are successful this year.

Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, and it’s a great opportunity for brands to reach their target audience and increase their sales with programmatic ads.

Many brands start offering deals as many as two or three weeks earlier than the official Black Friday which lands on 24 November this year, hoping to attract some early bargain hunters.

In this article we’ll look at what happened on Black Friday last year, the predictions for this year’s shopping events, and share seven tips to help you plan a successful Black Friday campaign for 2023.

What happened on Black Friday last year?

Black Friday 2022 was encouraging for retailers, as shoppers searched for deals both in store and online.

Barclaycard, which processes around £1 of every £3 spent on UK debit and credit cards, noted a 3.2% increase in transactions compared to 2021. Footfall across all UK retail destinations was also up 9.2%. And Nationwide reported that last year’s Black Friday was its busiest day on record.

In the US, Black Friday 2022 saw sales of $9.12 billion, while Cyber Monday achieved sales of $11.3 billion – both surpassing all previous years. In-person shopping also saw an increase of 2.9% compared to Black Friday 2021.

In Australia, meanwhile, more than an estimated $7.1 billion was spent over the four-day Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping event. Spend was up 20% compared with the week before.

What are the predictions for Black Friday 2023?

So what are the predictions for Black Friday 2023? Here are three trends that we expect to see this year.

1) ‘Black Friday creep’ will continue

In previous years we’ve seen brands coming out with deals earlier and earlier in an attempt to secure sales before their competitors – a trend that has become known as Black Friday Creep. And it doesn’t look like 2023 will be any different. In 2022, many major retailers even started hosting pre-Black Friday sales in October!

2) Mobile sales will keep growing

Over the past few years, mobile sales have increased during Black Friday, and 2023 is predicted to see more of the same. Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Week set new mobile records in 2022, and the numbers are not expected to drop this year.

3) Buy now, pay later will be more popular

The cost of living may have impacted people’s available cash, but it hasn’t dented their desire for Black Friday bargains. Buy now, pay later orders increased by 85% during Black Friday 2022, and the trend is expected to continue in 2023.

Seven tips to help you run a successful 2023 Black Friday campaign

With so many retailers offering Black Friday deals, there will be more competition for shoppers’ attention than ever before in 2023, which means you will need to find creative ways to stand out from the crowd and attract shoppers to your deals.

Here are seven tips that will help you steal a march on your competitors this year.

1) Plan your Black Friday campaigns well in advance

As you might expect, Black Friday is a highly competitive time to advertise, with thousands of brands competing to get their ads and products in front of the same consumers. So it’s important to plan your campaign early – ideally before the start of September.

Your planning needs to include identifying what you want your campaign to achieve, deciding on your budget and choosing your target audience(s), ad formats and placements.

2) Choose the right target audience

Choosing the right target audience is so important it merits its own point. Programmatic advertising enables you to target your ads to highly specific audiences – and not just types of consumer, but where those people might be in your customer lifecycle, and whether or not they have previously engaged with your ads.

So it is vital that you use this advantage and target your ads to the precise people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

3) Use DCO ads

During Black Friday, consumers are looking for ads and deals, so it is important your ads don’t just reflect that, but catch their attention in a highly competitive advertising landscape.

This is where dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) really comes into its own. Unlike static campaigns, where a set of ads are designed at the outset, and shown without modification to a wide audience, DCO ads can be tailored precisely to someone’s situation and place in your customer lifecycle.

This is because DCO ads are designed as sets of elements, or ad components, which are assembled in real time, based on a number of factors, including the time of day, day of the week, season, weather, location, browser behaviour, etc., to create ads. This means you can personalise both your messaging and your deals.

So, for example, if it’s a sunny day, you can show ads with an offer on sunglasses. Or, if someone has previously bought a tent from you, you can serve them deals on camping stoves or sleeping bags.

4) Retarget people who are already in your customer lifecycle

With access to the right data, you can accurately target people based on where they are in your lifecycle. And as we know people often require a number of touch points before they are ready to buy, you can use that data to retarget people – and use DCO to serve them highly personalised ads which have been proven to increase engagement and conversion.

You can also cross-sell and up-sell to customers who have already bought from you, increasing your customer lifetime value. This is a particularly powerful strategy during Black Friday when you have already built the know, like and trust factor, so people are more primed to respond to an offer.

5) Make your campaigns mobile – and attention grabbing

If you want to reach the widest possible audience on Black Friday, it is essential that your campaigns are fully mobile. According to data from Adobe, mobile shopping represented 48% of all Black Friday digital sales in the US in 2022.

It’s not enough simply to display ads on mobiles either – you need to ensure that your campaigns actually get in front of your audience, and generate genuine engagement. And for this you need to work with a programmatic partner who is able to accurately measure attention time.

6) Focus on sustainability and social responsibility

An increasing number of consumers are becoming conscious of environmental and social issues.

According to a report by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), 93% of global consumers expect brands to support social and environmental issues – and they are choosing to support businesses who make these issues a priority. So it’s worth highlighting your sustainable credentials in your Black Friday marketing.

7) Track your results

And finally, it’s important to track the results of your campaign, so you can identify what’s working and what’s not. You can then use the data you gather to optimise your campaign and get more from your budget.

And while it’s traditionally been fashionable to track your cost per acquisition (CPA) or your conversion rate (the number of people who click on your ad), we recommend instead tracking your customer lifetime value (CLV) – the total amount of revenue you can earn from a typical customer.

Increase your CLV and you will grow the value of every advertising dollar you spend. And you’ll ensure that you don’t just have a bumper Black Friday, but you are increasing your revenue all year round.

Crimtan are the global programmatic experts for retail. If you’d like help planning an intelligent Black Friday campaign for 2023, get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to help.