Is Your PPC Ready for Black Friday?

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Kate Swanson
| 26th October 2018
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Black Friday is now a mere four weeks away and with £1.39bn (an increase of +11.7% on 2016) being spent in the UK online over the weekend last year there is a lot of business to play for. Online sales are set to increase again this year, so it’s vital your PPC campaigns are up to scratch and ready to convert any potential customers. We know it can be daunting preparing for Black Friday, so we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to optimise your PPC campaigns to increase revenue and breeze through the most important retail weekend of the year.

Budgets & Bids

We know it’s called Black Friday, but most retailers will be offering deals across the entire weekend, including on Cyber Monday. So, it’s imperative that you’ve increased your budgets and spread them out over the four-day period to make the most of increased traffic volumes. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’ve maxed out your entire budget before Black Friday has even got going. When deciding what to set your budget at it’s useful to look at the previous year’s performance on a day by day basis, as you might find that most of your sales actually happen on Cyber Monday rather than Black Friday and this should impact how the budget is distributed.

Preparation is Key

Considering potential scenarios and planning for them will make or break your Black Friday strategy. Sit down with your team and ask yourselves questions such as: if you’ve spent all the budget but the campaigns are delivering revenue at a great ROI is there extra budget available? What is the strategy if your top product deals run out of stock? Talk to the decision maker about these situations well in advance so you can make changes as and when they occur.

You should also be prepared to deal with high traffic levels that could cause your website to fall over or load slowly. In previous years, large retailers have struggled to handle high traffic levels on their sites which has meant they’ve lost customers. In the run up to Black Friday ensure your website is as robust as possible and pages are loading quickly. It’s best practice to create a page that will be shown to your users if they can’t enter the site due to high traffic volumes. Make sure this page reflects your brand and keeps the user informed of when they will be able to enter the site.  Planning for a potential problem will mean you can handle it quickly and effectively- reducing the risk of losing customers.

Start checking what reviews and star ratings are in place a few weeks beforehand, so there is plenty of time to update them. Reviews can often be the difference in a customer deciding to buy with you, rather than your competitor. Something else to factor in is the campaign ad schedule and time of day bid adjustments. Users will be searching much more frequently and at different times of the day in the run up to, and over Black Friday. So, be prepared to change the schedule and bid adjustments accordingly.

Mobile Ready?

IMRG reported that 39% of sales that occurred over the Black Friday weekend in 2017 happened on a mobile device. It’s no secret that more and more consumers are turning to their mobile devices to purchase, but is your site ready to convert those users on mobile? It is vital that both your PPC campaigns and landing pages are geared to handle users who are browsing and buying on their phones.

Deals, Deals, Deals

It will come as no surprise that Google Trends reports that the keyword ‘deals’ consistently hits peak popularity over the November Black Friday weekend. Adding ‘deals’ and ‘Black Friday’ to keywords that are already performing well in the account is a great way to pick up customers searching for offers.

Letting users know that you are taking part in Black Friday is crucial. The best way to do this is to update your ad copy and extensions, highlighting your top offers and when they will be expiring. To increase the likeliness of a conversion, make your offers as relevant to the user’s search as possible. Adding deal extensions at ad group level can help you do this. Promotion extensions are particularly useful in this instance, however, don’t stop there: sitelinks and call-outs can also be great for highlighting your Black Friday USPs.

Organising Your Account

Use labels in your account to identify ads that are specifically for Black Friday versus the ads you want to run year-round. This makes it much easier to pause and reactivate them once Black Friday is over. It will also mean if you do need to pause a Black Friday ad early because you’ve sold out, you can find it easily. To make this process even easier, consider setting up automated rules to pause and enable ads.


For most retailers shopping campaigns are a key aspect of their online strategy. So, it is vital this channel is utilised during such a key period. However, while we know these campaigns can drive great revenue, account managers have less control which makes them tricky to manage. We would recommend setting up a separate shopping campaign solely for Black Friday, including only the products you have Black Friday deals for. Make sure you either add a percentage price drop or special offer to your shopping ad to highlight any deals.


Using the data you have collected throughout the year can prove invaluable when Black Friday comes around.  Users that have been looking at products in the weeks and months leading up to Black Friday might have been waiting for the right deal, so it is key that you are increasing your bids for these users. Make sure you create product and/or category lists, so you can target users with relevant ads based on the products they have been researching. On the flip side, reducing spend on remarketing lists in the days after Black Friday could save wasted budget as most users will have purchased either with you or elsewhere and will not be looking to buy again.  

Preparing your campaigns for Black Friday can seem like a big task. But follow our tips and guidance and you’ll be ready to handle whatever Black Friday throws your way. If you would like any further support in getting your business ready for Black Friday, then contact SilverDisc.

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