17 Powerful Black Friday Tips For Ecommerce Stores
Prepare for the most competitive time of the year with a Handbook prepared by Tomasz Babiec, Founder of B Interactive.
1. Upload ads 2-3 days before Black Friday.
Lots of people are going to be uploading ads LITERALLY the day before Black Friday. There’s 7 million advertisers on Facebook, so even if half of them want to run BF ads, there’s a chance that 3.5 million people will be uploading ads most likely on the same day. Last year, ads manager went down the day before Black Friday. Therefore it’s better to be on the safe side and upload ads in advance – it’s better to be prepared! The last thing you want to happen is for you to wake up on Black Friday, check your ads manager, and see that none of your ads have been approved. If you upload in advance, you’ll also have the ability to fix your creatives or copy in case the ads get disapproved.
2. Make your offer clear and easy to understand.
Don’t make your offers confusing and difficult to remember. Go for simple promos and discounts, e.g. 30% off storewide or BOGO (buy one get one). If you do something like “if you buy cream A and you buy cream B you’ll get free shipping and a free gift if the total amount is over $200,” people will be confused and it won’t work. Use simple discounts and communicate your offer clearly. If they get X more, tell them it will last a month longer and that they’ll be able to get 2x or 3x more results!
3. Make your offer special, don’t just offer the same deal as you always do.
Black Friday is the time when people do the CRAZIEST promos and best deals. If you normally offer 20% off during a sale and you have enough margin, offer a bigger discount, a free gift with purchase (it could also be a mystery gift!), or discount products that you don’t normally discount. By making your offer special, you will stand out and people will have a bigger incentive to purchase.
4. Come up with catchy creative that shows your offer within the first 3-5 seconds. Make your images and videos stand out!
Your customers will be attacked with HUNDREDS of ads, EVERYWHERE. Facebook, Google, display, TV, radio, billboards, stores… What’s going to make YOUR ads stand out from the crowd? 🧐
You have to make your ads punchy, upbeat, and good looking. Immediately show what your offer is and why people should care. If you don’t pay enough attention to creative, your CTR will be lower and you’ll end up leaving money on the table!
If you want to understand how your creatives perform across different demograuphics try creative insights for free 😉
5. Focus on creative more than on tactics.
In today’s world of AI and machine learning, tactics are becoming less important than creative. If your ads don’t Iook good, they won’t convert. Split testing VC and ATC optimization may increase your ROAS, but the benefit will be much smaller than in the case of good looking videos and images. The best is to set up your automation tactics with madgicx.com and focus on strategy and creative rather then doing work that machines can do.
6. Test all your discounts and promos in advance.
If you normally offer a 20% discount and you want to do 30% off on Black Friday, make sure that people can’t stack the discounts. We’re pretty sure that you don’t want people to get another 20% off on top of the 30% 😄
Additionally, if you offer a free gift (or gifts), make sure they’re actually added to cart and that people can check out and purchase. If your offer doesn’t work, you’re going to get lots of frustrated customers who may just abandon their carts without even messaging your customer support and thus losing you sales 😞
7. Use automatic discounts wherever you can!
You should seriously consider automating your Black Friday discounts. People may forget what your discount code is. If you tell them there’s no code, this won’t happen!
In our experience, automatic discounts DRAMATICALLY increase sales and conversion rate. If you’re on Shopify, basic automatic discounts are already built into your backend. On WooCommerce, you may need to use a plugin.
8. Monitor your account every 1-2h, especially if you’re planning to spend a lot.
Keep an eye on your ad account all day. This is the time to push, so you need to be proactive and check stats! Doing so will help you identify all opportunities and potential problems. Not looking at your ad account may be expensive 😬
Get a big cup of coffee and prepare for a long day ☕️
9. If you’re planning to spend more than 5k USD/day on Facebook, ask support for a spend increase.
Most ad accounts have a spend cap at $5,000.00 USD/day (or local currency equivalent). If you’re planning to spend more than that and you’ve never done it before, make sure to ask FB support for a spend increase. There’s a good chance that your ad spend will stop exactly at $5k and you won’t be able to spend even a penny more! If you ask for a spend increase on Black Friday, they may not do it immediately so prepare in advance and monetize the opportunity.
10. Increase the budget if you see good results.
Act like you want to crush it! If you see good results, ramp up the spend. This isn’t a normal day – people are in a shopping mood and they want to spend, so take advantage of it! If it’s 8AM in the ad account time zone and one of your ad sets already has 5 sales, give it more budget.
In addition, you may want to check if your card has enough money. If your card runs out of money, there is a small chance that your ad account might get suspended for unusual/suspicious activity. That would be horrible, so check if there’s enough money. Apart from that, some credit card transfers may take a couple of days to clear, so prepare in advance. You wouldn’t want your ads to stop because your card got declined 😬
11. If your ads aren’t spending, go for manual bidding and even accelerated delivery!
In this competitive time, you may run into some delivery issues. You may increase the budget e.g. from $200 to $400 and 2 hours later see that it’s not spending more. In that case, go for manual bidding! Your competitors may be outbidding you, so set a bid cap and bid high (even up to 3-5x your average CPP. Usually the maximum bid cap for purchases is $1,000 USD 😄).
If you want to spend A LOT and need to ramp up QUICKLY, go for accelerated delivery and a high bid cap.
WARNING!!! This is a technique for ADVANCED media buyers. Accelerated delivery will spend money AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. If you don’t know what you’re doing, DON’T do it. We’re not responsible for any losses.
Pro tip: you must use automated rules with high budgets, especially with accelerated delivery. Facebook’s native rules run every 30 minutes which may not be enough. We recommend Madgicx where rules run every 10 monetary units spent (10 in your ad account’s currency so 10 USD, 10 EUR, 10 GBP, 10 AUD etc.) OR every 2 clicks OR every 15 minutes (whichever is faster), much safer than with Facebook’s 30 minutes!
If you want to be on the safe side, make sure you implement stop loss on the ad and ad set level via Madgicx.
Pro tip #2: Keep in mind that with accelerated delivery, your immediately reported ROAS may be lower than actual because of delayed attribution. Have rules in place that will turn your ad sets back on if they get turned off and get late attributed sales (Madgicx has this feature and it’s called “revive”).
12. Don’t test too many ads and ad sets if you don’t have a big enough budget.
If you want to spend $500 on Black Friday and your conversions cost $100 on average, don’t run 20 ad sets because your budget will get diluted and Facebook’s algorithm won’t be able to optimize properly! Aim to get AT LEAST 3-5 conversions (purchases, ATCs, etc.) per ad set and use 3-5 ads per ad set. If you set the budget too low, the algorithm won’t get enough data to optimize properly.
13. Target potential and existing customers separately.
Facebook’s algorithm will always try to give you the lowest hanging fruit first. Even if you target a 10% lookalike of purchases, your ads may still get delivered to your existing customers if you don’t exclude them. A likely outcome is that you’ll get e.g. 10 very cheap sales, you’ll get excited, you’ll crank up the budgets, and then your ROAS will take a deep dive because the lowest hanging fruit is not going to be there anymore.
If you exclude existing customers from prospecting campaigns, you’ll have a better idea about how things are performing. Additionally, you’ll be able to properly segment your campaigns and tweak messaging.
14. Heavily re-market to warm audiences.
Warm audiences normally convert a lot better than cold audiences, so re-engage everyone you can (but don’t go crazy, showing ads to someone who visited your site 6 months ago most likely won’t make them buy. They’re cold traffic again).
Focus on remarketing audiences from the past 30 days, so retarget Facebook & Instagram engagement, video viewers, top 25% time spent on site, people who added to cart (…). For more engaged audiences like initiated checkouts, try retargeting past 60 days.
If you get good results from the past 30 days, test 60 day audiences but exclude the 30 day ones in order to avoid auction overlap (you competing against yourself and driving up ad costs).
15. Email your list a couple of times during the sale. Use FOMO and scarcity.
People are going to get dozens of emails on Black Friday and may not even notice yours. Sending multiple emails (e.g. to people who haven’t opened your previous email) increases the odds of them finding out about your sale and buying.
Remind people that your offer is time limited, that it expires on a given day at a given time, that supplies are limited and there’s hundreds of other people shopping the sale.
Use customer testimonials, communicate FOMO (fear of missing out), use countdown timers in your emails.
16. Add promotion extensions to your ads on Google Search Network.
If you’re running ads on Google search, you need to add promotion extensions to your ads. Regardless of whether you’re running cold traffic campaigns or only targeting brand keywords, adding promotion extensions is going to increase your CTRs and get you more sales!
17. Send traffic to a dedicated landing page. If you can’t, send people to product pages and collection pages in your store.
The best thing you can do on BF is to send people to a dedicated landing page that has all the details about your offer and sale. On the landing page, add trust badges, testimonial videos, reviews, CTAs, and links to your bestsellers/products included in your offer. Don’t forget to communicate scarcity and urgency!
If you can’t send people to a landing page, send them to your best selling products and collection pages. In addition, add an announcement bar to your store and say that you’re having a “BLACK FRIDAY CYBER MONDAY SALE – 20% OFF STOREWIDE – NO CODE NECESSARY”.
BONUS: Black Friday Case Study – How We Made $51,167.60 For A Skincare Client With Just $7,240.42 In Ad Spend (707% ROAS!)
This is a case study of last year’s Black Friday campaign we did for our skincare client. Even though it’s from last year, there’s LOTS of info you can use to kill it this year with your BFCM campaigns!
- This campaign was for a premium skincare brand that is not available anywhere else other than on the client’s website, so it may not work for affiliate offers.
- A normal day of sales on this store is about $2-3k on average, sometimes reaching highs of $15k.
- This campaign was run in Australia only (problems with shipping to other countries).
- 95.7% of the ad spend ($6,930.35) was spent on Facebook, the rest was Google Ads budget spent across brand keywords and several niche ones.
- You really need to have a great product to confidently push it. If your product is average or poor, you risk getting negative feedback on your ads (bad comments on your ads and a poor customer feedback score) and having to deal with refunds/chargebacks.
- Prior to big events like this, you need to upload and publish your campaigns in advance (that means setting up campaigns, targeting them, giving them initial budgets, and scheduling them). It is absolutely crucial.
- Your offer should ideally be something that is not normally available for people during the year. A great offer was what made this sale successful. If you give 30% discounts all year round, doing that again on Black Friday may work better than on other occasions, but most likely you’re not going to make a killing. We did a BOGO (buy one get one) offer to drive up AOV and preserve margins.
- You need to start driving traffic to your site several weeks before the offer goes live to warm people up so you can retarget them later with your offer. Your short-term ROAS will decline, but it will pay off big time when you take BF results into account. We didn’t say anything about the offer until 12:00am Black Friday, so people didn’t know we were going to do it.
- Needless to say, on days like this, don’t go anywhere without a laptop, 100% battery (or a powerbank and a charger), and good internet!
Cold audiences: 3-10% LLAs (mostly 6% and 8%, apart from that we had 1×3% and 2×10%) of audiences that were historically performing very well, that is: 30 days FB engagement, customer LTV lists, Facebook’s value-based lookalike audience using pixel data, 4% top pageviewers (you create this audience through FB analytics by checking how many times the top 4% purchasers trigger the PV event and then taking that number and creating a custom audience of people who PageViewed more than X times).
If you’re a Madgicx Customer you can save here a lot of time by using AI eRFM audiences of low/high intent website visitors or using the custom module.
I had 6 cold ad sets total, each with an initial budget of $1,000 on autobid. I later switched to manual, more info below.
Retarget literally everyone you can retarget. This is where you make money from the traffic you were driving in the past few weeks. Target FB engagement, insta engagement, VCs, ATCs, past customers, newsletters, all kinds of website events, 75% VVs, literally anything that is relatively recent or that worked in the past (for example I wouldn’t target FB engagement that’s 180 days old, IMO that’s a little too broad for something like clicking or liking your post). Depending on the size of your audiences, it may be better to put them together in one ad set, I had 2 ad sets for this sale.
Budgets: $400/ad set for the start.
DPAs: VC/ATC: past 3 days, past 7 days, past 14 days (this one did bad compared to the other DPA ad sets), past 30 days, and cross selling to people who bought in the past 60 days.
Budgets: $200 per ad set for the start.
We had a BF email that went live early in the morning on Black Friday.
I checked stats every 1-2h, I didn’t want to do it too often because for me personally it does more bad than good. Patience is a virtue! 😄
My aim was to start bumping up budgets as soon as I started seeing initial proof that things were working. I was scared to do a $15-20k/day budget set-up, but conversions started flying in so quickly that I didn’t even wait for my automated rules to kick in to increase budgets. I knew this was Black Friday so the odds were kinda in my favor. As soon as an ad set got 3 purchases, I doubled its budget.
It quickly turned out that FB wasn’t spending quickly enough, so I went from auto bidding on all campaigns to manual. For cold ads, I first started with a bid cap of 3xCPA goal ($390), for retargeting I went for $450, and DPA something like $600.
After letting that run for 1-2 hours and checking the hourly breakdown of ad spend, I decided to give the best cold ad sets a $10k/day budget and bump up the other ones to $4-5k/day. I set the DPA budgets to $1000 each and retargeting $2000 each. It still wasn’t spending quickly enough so I maxed out the bids on dynamic ads and retargeting ($1000 USD bid cap) and set them to accelerated delivery. I did the same thing with cold ad sets – the best ones had accelerated delivery, $800 bid caps (not sure why I didn’t go for $1k) and $2-3k budgets.
I admit this was a little crazy as some ad sets started spending $500 per hour so I had to decrease their budgets from the $10k I set a few hours ago. They ended up at 2-3x the spend they had when I first set them up. My logic was that the daily budget was acting as a stop loss. If a rule I had set up wouldn’t kill it quickly enough, it would run out of budget. I was increasing budgets on accelerated ad sets and carefully monitoring performance. Surf with the waves!
My total daily budget at one point was probably $25-30k, though not all of that was accelerated.
Sales were flying in like crazy all the time. First I wanted to crack $30k, then 40, 50, and 60. For a few final hours of the day I was monitoring the account very closely (anyone know that adrenaline rush when you set a lot of ad sets on accelerated delivery and crazy bid caps? 😀) and 30 minutes before midnight ad account time, it completely stopped spending. I panicked thinking it’s a manual review that would shut us down for the rest of the BFCM weekend.
The reason it stopped spending is I hit the $5k USD spend threshold (lesson learned!). It started spending again at 12:00am Saturday in the ad account time zone. I admit I was disappointed because I wanted to get closer to $60k, but my hands were tied.
Conclusion: MAN, I exceeded my most ambitious expectations!
High budgets, high bids, and accelerated delivery work MIRACLES if you do it right! It wasn’t ideal (too much manual work on my end), but it worked really really well. I highly recommend this to anyone for occasions like this, I’ll be looking forward to testing it on another occasion without a sale really soon!
Now, some thoughts after analyzing everything…
What I would have done differently looking at it now:
– Use Higher budgets (definitely would start with $16k/day)
– Set up Manual bids all the way from the start
– Use HIGHER BIDS! Bully them!
– Spend more budget on retargeting and DPA’s
– Use Broader targeting!
– I would use the “Black Friday Cyber Monday” angle from the beginning. Doing Black Friday only limited the offer too much.
– Set up more automated rules!
Wow, thank you for making it this far! It means a lot to me that you read the whole ebook so thank you once again 🙏🏻
I hope you found it valuable.
Do you have any questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Let the conversions be with you!