With less than a month until Black Friday, Aitarget shares tips from e-commerce brands about getting ready for the sales stampede
On 29 November, the holiday shopping season will rev its engines and take off around the world as Black Friday dawns. From the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas and into the New Year, this is a vital time for retailers to connect with customers and boost sales.But what should you be doing to get ready for Black Friday?
Aitarget, a Facebook marketing partner, has surveyed e-commerce businesses from the beauty, fashion, DIY, and electronics industries to gather insights on how they’re getting ready for the sales season, and tips for you to speed your way to sales rather than crashing.
Each year a growing number of stores run ad campaigns and make special offers in relation to Black Friday. The internal Black-Friday. Global data for 2018 in the United States shows a 2063 percent increase in sales compared to an ordinary day.
So how do you launch the most effective advertising campaign in a highly competitive market to net the largest number of buyers? In this guide Aitarget, ILE DE BEAUTE, Aizel, OBI, and M. Video share their tips for successful campaigns in the lead-up to Black Friday.
Don’t hate Mondays
Our main advice: in all the hubbub about Black Friday, don’t forget about Cyber Monday, especially if you have an online store. While Black Friday was originally focused on bricks and mortar retailers, the following Monday has always been devoted to online shopping.
Shopaholics eagerly wait for both days, and your competitors will be preparing for them.
It’s best to lay the foundations for your campaign in advance rather than leaving them until just before the big sales on the days themselves.
OBI, a multinational home improvement store, is announcing its promotions a full week before the massive sales start, said Daniil Shcherbakov, Digital Media Planner at OBI.
Okay, so you want to start early and focus beyond Black Friday, but how do you do that?
“In several pieces of research the largest brands noted that they earned the highest profits from their own channels and audience,” says Shcherbakov of OBI. “We use the standard pool of channels, but are also trying to attract a new audience for whom such promotions will help them become acquainted with our brand. For such activities we may use methods like thematic icons in the navigator, placement on the general ground dedicated to the action (Black Friday Sale), and opportunities for customers to sign up for an email posting a week before the start of the promotion with the CTA: ‘Be the first to know about discounts’.”
Polina Ross, Head of e-commerce advertising at cosmetics chain ILE DE BEAUTE, also advises not to limit sales to weekends only, but to start, on average, a week earlier.
“We expect even greater growth in competition not only on Black Friday, but also on Cyber Monday and ‘Bachelor’s Day’ (11 November), since all of these shopping holidays are gaining more and more popularity in Russia,” says Ross. “To extend the commercial effect of Black Friday, this year we are increasing the duration of our announcements and local activities, which traditionally end with a big sale. We try to use the most attractive and ‘clean’ creative with a truly advantageous offer for the client. So for your offer to be attractive for customers, it’s better to focus on quality, not quantity.”
Social media users love video content, so take advantage. But keep it short: your video clips should not be so long that the user’s attention gets scattered.
Aitarget recommends that on average your video should be no longer than 10 seconds. This is the sweet spot for interesting a potential buyer without fatiguing them.
Optimise your video ad for different formats: square for news feeds, vertical for Stories.
Remember you can play with more than just the length and format.
For example, use Stories stickers, including interactive ones. Add call-to-action elements to your ad: swipe, arrows, bright CTAs to buy right now.
Experiment with your video and find ways to entertain the audience. For example, for advertising in the News Feed, you can use AR-creatives (augmented reality).
Don’t go overboard though. Sergey Ilyushin, a specialist in targeted advertising at Aizel, an online apparel retailer advises against persistent promotions. ‘Nothing aggressive – swipe up and other classic methods that ‘do not press down’ on the user.’
Share the festive spirit
By the time Black Friday rolls around at the end of November, people are already looking ahead to the rest of the holiday season and thinking about gifts for friends and family for Christmas and the New Year. So don’t limit your focus to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Demonstrate to users that they can use Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts to buy goods not just for themselves, but to get ahead with their holiday shopping and stock up for loved ones. Shoppers will appreciate your advice, and may return to you for purchases even after the November sales and promotions have passed.
Harness the power of Dynamic Ads to bring customers back.
At a time of the year when users are actively looking for the best offers, they will make their shopping choices by comparing several product pages. Sergey Ilyushin of Aizel advises using dynamic ads to remind buyers they’ve already seen a suitable product on your site.
“We ride on dynamic advertising, one of the most effective formats today,” says Ilyushin. “If you have a powerful creative, then static banners will be profitable. It’s better to use the widest possible targeting in conjunction with retargeting in order to quickly lead the client through the funnel.”
Your offer should be very clear, making it easier for a customer to make the purchase.
Pavel Ivanov, Internet Marketing Manager at consumer electronics retailer M.video highlights the need for creativity in your online advertising.
“Our offer is the value that we give the audience, and call to action is part of the offer, not a separate entity,” he says. “To convey the main idea to the audience, it is important to use advertising formats to their maximum. Creatives are more about emotions, so they should contain a minimum of text information, only the main benefit.”
Keep it clean and clear, says Ivanov, with text like ‘Discounts up to 70%’, ‘Black Friday’, and ‘Cashback 25%’.
“It is important that sentences are short, using numbers and verbs. Your title can be used as an additional CTA or time restriction, for example, ‘only until 5 December’ or ‘Hurry, sale only on until everything is snapped up’.”
Use what you already have
Do you need an idea for a Black Friday ad? Just look at your product catalogue – you already have enough there to create an effective announcement. Launch catalogue sales advertising, but boost the standard elements with brand design and individual overlays.
Better product information leads to higher conversions.
Transfer the description, price information, branding and discount, delivery terms, and product rating from your catalogue directly into your creative. Harnessing the power of the Aitarget tool, this data will automatically appear in dozens of your catalogue ads.
Here’s a look at how the beauty industry does it:
Ad created using the Aitarget Tool
And here’s how the DIY industry does it:
Ad created using the Aitarget Tool
“For the DIY industry, it is important to announce not a specific product, but a product category,” says Shcherbakov of OBI. “An exception may be a brand product at a super low price. But the DIY industry doesn’t just contain power tools, and it’s necessary to offer customers a wide range of discounts within the same product category.”
Therefore, continues Shcherbakov, OBI uses three main components: a large logo, category and size of the discount, and the terms of the action. “For creatives aimed at creating knowledge about the action: logo, maximum discount, bright inscription Black Friday.”
Appeal to everyone
Have you already chosen your products that will form your special offers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Great – but just make sure that your list contains products of different price categories. Even if you are a ‘luxury’ brand, it is best to create an image of inclusiveness for everyone during the holiday season and for seasonal discounts.
Focus on your customers; doing so can encourage customers to buy more and pay more in future because their gratitude for your customer focus is more valuable than price.
Embrace the holiday spirit
Lean into the season, and the holiday theme, by creating ads that will be associated with the holidays, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Mention the reason for the promotion directly in your ad image or video: the buyer will know this is a temporary offer and act more quickly.
A good tip is to ensure your advertising communicates the main message strongly, without being too flashy, says Sergey Ilyushin of Aizel. While there is no clear understanding of what makes the best creative, it is important to try new things and experiment as much as possible, says Ilyushin. He recommends aiming for three main things:
- Don’t include all your features in the text: it’s better to try to convey only the most important things that separate you from your competitors.
- Dream with your catalogue: add something to the product card to distinguish your offer.
- Don’t overdo it: emphasising everything in bright red and all caps descriptions won’t generate revenue, and will only mix you in with other offers and make you invisible for customers and become part of the noise of the season.
Ad created using the Aitarget Tool
DIY chain OBI also adheres to minimalism. Daniil Shcherbakov agrees that creatives that are too bright not only attract fewer potential buyers, but even scare them away.
“In addition to the three components of the banner (logo, category discount, deadlines), the only things to use are ‘Hurry up to buy’, ‘Hurry up until’, ‘Hurry up to be the first’,” says Shcherbakov. “During such holiday campaigns, outdoor advertising, social networks and the Internet as a whole are overflowing with motley creative. There is a conviction that such promotions are not the time for the battle of creators – communication should clearly convey the main message for the buyer who is interested in the maximum benefit. If the product is not mass but niche, then a creative concept can have a greater impact on attracting traffic.”
With the number of ads on social media growing every day, your campaign must stand out against the background. Original visualisation will help attract the attention of potential buyers. Pavel Ivanov of M.Video advises not to limit yourself in the choice of formats.
“There are some basic recommendations that will help you make a successful campaign,” says Ivanov. “Use a non-standard approach to become noticeable within the first seconds. Come up with an original idea to keep attention to the maximum. Create an understandable offer to convey the message within the first seconds.”
M.Video uses the maximum number of formats in its campaigns, says Ivanov. “For Awareness stage, it works best with videos and Stories, which allow you to get the most coverage and reduce CPM by 20–25%. For the Consideration stage use Carousel or Collection with specific offers. For Conversion stage, dynamic formats work best.”
Being ‘Instagramable’ is an important criteria for selecting images for social networks, which means the best opportunity to get into someone else’s news feed. Bright colours, minimalism, laconic phrases on postcards are what customers will remember and what will distinguish you from competitors. Make your package attractive so that the buyer will post it on social networks or recorded “unpacking” videos. Product placement in natural form.
Get to work
It’s not only retailers, but also shoppers who are planning ahead for holiday season discounts. It’s much better to strategically create campaigns during this period than just to run ads spontaneously. Black Friday and Cyber Monday may only be one weekend, but businesses can earn significantly more than any usual weekend. It’s prime time.
By the way, don’t write off your advertising experiences throughout the rest of the year.
Pavel Ivanov considers that analytics and successful cases will accelerate success during this stressful shopping period:
If a placement or format works out positively in always-on campaigns, then on Black Friday it will show a high result.
So follow our tips and guidance to establish a good relationship with potential customers and encourage them to buy when the time is right.
And finally: don’t rush to extremes, remember that your main task is not to advertise the discount, but to prompt the buyer to action.
“Please don’t lose your mind during the period of discount offers in the pursuit of each dollar,” says Sergey Ilyushin of Aizel. “Try to stand out against the general background of competitors, make clear communications, and don’t use the most garish colors in your creatives – this will only scare away potential customers.”