When you are in the digital industry, you will be used to watching the amount spent online increase year after year. And while 2020 is no different, this year does provide a unique and unusual opportunity to reach people who would never have even considered buying online and lure them into the wonderful world of Black Friday Sales.

This year not only will people be avoiding the shops in favour of their socially distanced screens, but Black Friday also has the potential to reach people who would usually run a million miles from the busy panic of the sales. For anyone who would rather do anything than queue up on a freezing, wet Friday morning, being shuffled about by grumpy strangers, online Black Friday is the perfect solution.

One of the obvious changes this year with the ever-changing restrictions is that fewer people will be physically able to get into shops, so we are likely to see offline budgets being drastically reduced and reallocated to online marketing. But what else needs to be considered when we are thinking about budget allocation for Black Friday?


When you are thinking about Black Friday, it is important to allocate time and budget for your business to prepare. Like all campaigns, Black Friday needs planning and trying to throw money at the problem last minute could well have a negative effect on your brand. Nothing is the same year-on-year, but this year has thrown a few spanners in the works, so start by asking yourself: are people going to be cautious with non-essential purchases, or will they want to treat themselves after a tough year? Where does my product or service fit into that? Home office supplies may be a safer bet while luxury non-essential items may be hit or miss.

Another area to make sure you have right well in advance is your stock control system. Consider what to do when you sell out of a product, will you hide it or put an ‘out of stock’ label on it. Or you could continue to take orders but make it clear that delivery times will take longer. Would a stock count down work to create a sense of urgency?

It goes without saying that you will need to calculate profit margins at proposed sales prices, but make sure you are using accurate figures when calculating target ROAS. Other things to plan for include delivery options – are you offering free delivery or next day delivery options? Are these costs included in your profit margin calculations? Whatever you choose, make sure these are clear on the website as many people are put off by unexpected costs once they try to check out. And lastly, extending return times is becoming increasingly common due to longer delivery times, so make sure you are clear and competitive on your policy about returns.


Tech is another area that it is important gets the time and budget it needs to resolve any issues before the big day. Ensuring you have sufficient resources, effective processes, and technical support to deal with the increased level of sales or enquires could save you a lot of time and effort later down the line with brand reputation recovery.

Start with ensuring your eCommerce platform has optimised page speeds and optimised images. Using easy payment methods like PayPal and Apple Pay will only help make the buyers journey that much smoother. And don’t forget to show off your products in the best way you can. If they are more commonly bought in-store, spend some time creating videos, pulling through reviews or frequently asked questions to give customers all the information that could help them make that final decision to purchase.

Another thing to consider while money might be tight for many people are buy-now-pay-later schemes such as Layby and Klarna. Offering these payment methods could open up your products or services to a whole new range of potential customers.

Paid Search & Paid Social Strategy

We know we keep saying it but investing in strategy pays off in the long term. Here are just some of the things you should be thinking about in your PPC strategy for Black Friday:

  • Landing pages – consider how your landing page will look with the discounted price and whether that is enough. Perhaps you could build a specific discount page to include all the USP deals clearly and even a separate 'price alert' call to action.
  • Start paid social and display advertising before Black Friday to raise your brand awareness for people who aren’t specifically looking but are a close match to your ideal customer.
  • Very important – decide on your discount strategy. Is it going to be automatically applied, or are you going to use a code? Either way, be clear about the strategy and make it easily visible on all website pages. It is worth pointing out that automatically applied discounts perform much better due to the ease and clarity for the customer. Also, make sure the discount percentage or amount is clearly displayed to make the product or service as enticing as possible.
  • Ensure all your creatives and ad copy have accurate Black Friday titles and information.
  • Put your ads live as soon as possible so they can start the learning process and will become optimised sooner rather than later.
  • Your previous customers and website visitors are your most valuable leads who are most likely to convert so make sure you tailor your remarketing ads based on how much they have previously spent, abandoned cart targeting and customer lifetime values.
  • The final tip is if you have a bit of budget spare. Many argue busy periods such as Black Friday and Christmas are great opportunities to A/B test and collect data far quicker than at other times of the year. While there is risk involved in experimenting at this time, there are opportunities for great reward.

Paid Search & Paid Social Budgets

Finally, to your actual PPC budget. With the spend you put behind your ads, make sure the majority goes to your hero products. While it would be great to push the less traditionally successful or less well-known products, Black Friday is a great opportunity to get fast sales, and the best chance to do this is with the products you know will fly off shelves.

The next step in allocating budget is to consider the profit margins and the product values. A £10 product might have a 50% profit margin, but that only makes you £5, whereas a £100 item could only have a 10% profit margin, but that makes you £10. Be careful not to just consider one metric.

Remember when you are considering what budget to put behind your ads this year, an honest comparison isn’t just what you spent online last year. It also considers what you spend offline and if you will no longer be spending that offline. Some businesses may see this as an area to save, but they might well find come December 1st that the results aren’t what they expected them to be.

And if you do have a little extra in the budget for experimenting, make sure to segment off a small amount on testing different ads, different creatives, different landing pages, different products or anything else that you can think might make a difference.

With so much to consider, a PPC agency like Avenue Digital with specialist PPC teams can provide audits or discuss ongoing retainers to help you get the most out of your paid marketing.

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