Black Friday is an intense time for all those working in retail and e-commerce. For digital marketers, it is what you prepare for months in advance that often makes or breaks the company’s sales goals for the year. It’s a time of immense pressure!
We sat down with Mikael Stålnacke, owner of Aview Digital, a Funnel Solution Partner, to get his advice on how to work with Black Friday. Mikael has extensive experience in the industry as the former CMO of NA-KD and Ami’n, and he is a pioneer of MQ’s e-commerce initiatives. He now runs an agency that supports companies in developing their digital marketing plans.
Mikael Stålnacke, Founder of Aview Digital
Content is king in your Black Friday ads
The days of over-optimization seem to be behind performance marketers (at least for now). Why? Remember how every marketer was freaking out about the iOS 14 update and how it would wreak havoc on performance? According to Mikael, with broad targeting and a focus on creatives and content in your digital advertisements, ads on Meta and other social media platforms are performing at high levels.
“You don’t need to optimize daily. Now, it’s about testing creatives and targeting broadly,” said Mikael.
Focus on creating engaging content and copy that your desired audience will resonate with. How will you know what will resonate most with your audience? You test it, according to Mikael.
Welcome to a better Black Friday
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Test your ad content early
Digital marketers should avoid over-optimizing and changing ad creatives during Black Friday. This may be obvious for many, but when it’s crunch time, and the ads aren’t performing as you’d hoped, it can be tempting to make adjustments.
“You can add budget or a traffic campaign if you need to, but you should be quite certain about your content [for Black Friday],” said Mikael.
He recommends testing different creatives, hooks, and user-generated content starting from early September through mid November. That way, when you produce your creatives for your Black Friday campaign, they are based on some data insights.
Use brand awareness campaigns ahead of Black Friday
You need to make people aware of your brand and get them to crave what you offer. So make sure to increase your brand awareness campaigns early as well. Mikael’s tip is to start these campaigns in August when people return from vacation and keep them going until Black Week.
He suggests prioritizing brand awareness leading up to Black Friday and then focusing on sales and conversions during the actual week. However, this doesn't mean you can't begin collecting leads beforehand – just avoid jumping into pure-sales mode too soon. Begin gathering emails and generating leads in September or October, so that you're ready to convert them during Black Friday week.
Use email lists for attribution
Attribution is always messy.
However, there are small ways to gain insights into which channels work best for you as a starting point, including email lists.
Mikael recommends creating separate email lists for each channel you’re advertising on when you are running lead-generating campaigns before Black Week. Then, when you send out your Black Friday email campaigns to those leads, you can see which channel generated the most sales. This allows you to “measure the quality of the leads coming from each platform,” says Mikael.
Next year, you can then use this data for budget allocation on your pre-Black Friday brand awareness campaigns.
Data + creatives = results
How can you make informed decisions if you don’t look at previous performance?
Data is central to Mikael and his team during Black Friday campaign planning. Data from past initiatives informs which fresh, engaging creatives will get the best results for their clients' Black Friday campaigns.
He looks at CPMs, CPCs, CAC and CPA, impressions, and all those other classic marketing metrics. Moreover, they examine the thumb-stop rate on all their social media advertising channels. Why? The most important thing, especially in brand awareness campaigns, is to get people to stop and engage with your content. This is a central reason why the creative is so important!
“You need to think about the hook and what will make people stop scrolling,” explained Mikael.
His final piece of advice is that performance marketers should work closely with the creative team so they can get the best results. The formula for your Black Friday campaigns is simple: data + creatives = results.
Bonus question: Which tool would you find most helpful in your Black Friday advertising efforts?
“I would love an AI tool that could analyze all my data from previous years and tell me which creatives and hooks I should go for,” said Mikael.
Analyzing data from various campaigns, creatives, and ad sets can be a daunting task for performance marketers. AI can be the solution to enhance their analytical abilities and generate valuable insights.
Maybe by next Black Friday, we will have a tool just like this.