Black Friday is still the busiest day for retailers with more than 137 million people in the US going out shopping over the four-day weekend, representing more than a third of the total population and a total spend of $717.5 billion.

The provides a huge opportunity for retailers who need to ensure that they have a robust PPC plan in place to ensure that they get the most out of the four-day weekend as having the wrong ads or bids can ruin the day for you!

In this article, I will run through several search strategies for preparing for the day that you can implement to ensure that this Black Friday is a huge success.

Best practice report: Lessons from Black Friday

Black Friday promotion extensions

In terms of updating extensions you will need to ensure that you have promotion extensions in place as they will allow you to show a monetary or percentage discount alongside your search ads as shown below. There are options to set them up for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

These can be added at account level if you have a site-wide sale or as granularly as ad group level so you can reflect offers for specific products within your ads.

It’s best to create these extensions in advance and then use the scheduling option with the extensions to enable them on Black Friday and pause them at the end of the day on Cyber Monday.

Countdown timers

Countdown timers are a great way to create urgency and increase conversion rates. They are underutilised by advertisers so give you a great opportunity to stand out.

Countdown timers allow you to put a dynamic countdown timer into your ads that will count down each hour in real time.

Here is an example of how you could run a countdown ad for your Black Friday sale.

A PPC ad reading: Gant Men's Navy Socks | Fantastic Fun fashion socks | Black Friday Sale ends in 2 days

When PPC Hero ran a split test to determine the increase in performance that advertisers go by using this feature, they saw that CTR increased from 2.87% to 4.02%.

They also saw that the countdown timers resulted in a positive uplift in conversion rate towards the end of the sale. As the end of the sale neared the conversion rate jumped from 8.24% to 10.80% at its peak.

Increasing your budget

Increasing your daily budget for Black Friday will be a must for most retailers as search volumes for products will significantly increase. For example, here is the search volume for Macbooks on Black Friday last year:

A Google Trends graph showing interest over time for 'macbook'. The trend line peaks on November 24, 2017 with a second, slightly lower peak between November 25 and November 30.

You will see that the search volume for this term surged on Black Friday by around 40% and then peaked again on Cyber Monday. To ensure that you have full coverage it is going to be paramount that you budget 2-3x what you would usually spend on an average Friday to Monday long weekend.

You will also want to change your ad delivery options to accelerated, otherwise Google will try and pace your budget out over the day, which will result in you losing significant amount of impression share.

Schedule ads with Black Friday references

Referencing Black Friday in your ads is a great way to make sure they appear relevant.

A PPC ad reading: Cool sock fashion | fantastic fun fashion socks | Black Friday sale end in 2 hours

There are a couple of different ways that you can go about this. If you’ve not got much time you can simply change the headline 3 of your expanded text ads to “33% Off Black Friday Sale” for example.

If you’ve got more time, you may want to write new ad copies for Black Friday specifically and label these “Black Friday” and your current ads “Evergreen”. When Black Friday comes you can then simply filter your ads by label, pause the Evergreen ads and enable the Black Friday ad copy.

Add inventory references to your ads

Adding inventory references to your ads with ad customisers is a great way to create urgency as people can see how many of that item are left in stock in your ads in real time.

Here is an example of how you might want to use this on Black Friday.

A PPC ad for Gant Men's Navy Socks which ends with the words: only 5 left in stock.

You can even take this one step further and use this script to manage bids and pause ads when they become out of stock to reduce any wasted spend on Black Friday and make sure that every pound is effectively invested.

Conclusion

Black Friday is a great opportunity for retailers to drive sales, and this year will be no different. To get the most out of the long weekend it’s paramount that retailers utilise Google ads effectively and take full advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday-specific features Google have added.

You should look to at the very least to add Black Friday promotion extensions to your ads and make reference to your Black Friday sale within your ad text as well as setting aside 2-3x as much budget as you would usually spend over a long weekend.

For those of you really looking to double down on performance, countdown timers and adding inventory references to your ads will help you create urgency around your Black Friday promotions and drive an uplift in performance.