Develop a highly effective Black Friday AdWords campaign and benefit from a better ROI at this crucial time of year for online retailers.

The concept has transformed the retail industry in the run-up to Christmas – and Black Friday has a habit of whipping PPC managers into a frenzy, too.

In this post, we’ve listed some top tips to help you use Google AdWords to capture as much traffic as possible on and around Black Friday.

Get Prepared

Your seasonal PPC strategy will be dictated by two things:

  • Your sales targets, and
  • What you have available.

So before you even think about hitting the live button in AdWords, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which offers do I want to run?
  • Do I have enough stock to meet demand?

It may seem like we’re taking you back to basics here, but you need to be 100% clear on what you’re offering before you start to structure your campaign.

Look At Last Year’s Campaign

Google is always introducing new features to AdWords, so your 2017 campaign may look a little different to last year’s effort. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your previous performance.

Look at your bids from last November and see how much money you were spending to get that all-important first position. Make a note of how much your click spend increased by during your Black Friday campaign, and ask yourself if you need to add more money to the pot to achieve better results this time around.

You’ll also need to look at how your ad copy performed, as this is likely to dictate your new content. If you ran a split test, which advert generated the best return? Did this ad contain generic messaging, pricing information, or did it speak about the benefits and features of the product itself? Carry out a full review in this area and you’ll be able to create better-informed copy.

Choose Your Promotional Period

Some retailers will choose to run their Black Friday promotion only on the day itself (which, for reference, is 24th November this year). Others will boost their campaign for the week leading up to the event, or maybe even a week either side of this date. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re clear about how long your offers will last for, and adjust your budget accordingly.

How Aggressive Do You Want Your Campaign To Be?

The stance of your campaign will ultimately depend on how much money you have. If your budget is almost limitless, go for exposure from search, display and Shopping to cover all bases; if you’re concerned that your resources will be quickly eaten up by this approach, choose the channel that you believe will bring you the best return based on bidding data and trends.

Increase Your Budget!

Obviously, you’ll need to spend more on Black Friday to ensure your ads get the exposure they need. Searches for relevant keywords will increase by high percentages, so competition will increase as a result. For example, interest in the keyword ‘Playstation 4 deals’ increased by well over 1000% in late November 2016, according to Google Trends – so you’ll need to up your spend significantly to keep up with demand.

Choose Your Bidding Strategy

AdWords offers a range of flexible bid strategies for users. Many will be tempted to maximise their clicks (this essentially uses an automatic bidding process, which we’re all familiar with). This approach will increase clicks whilst spending a set amount of your budget. You can add this setting to specific ad groups and keywords, as opposed to the whole of your campaign.

The issue here is that you’re given Google a lot of control over how and when it spends your resources. It’s a great strategy for remaining competitive, but care needs to be taken to ensure it fits into your ROI goals.

More infomation on flexible bid strategies, and when and how to implement them, can be found in this great post from Wordstream. Digest all of this information and pick a bidding strategy that’s going to work for your campaign.

Use Your Ads Wisely

The same rules apply when creating ads for Black Friday campaigns. The copy needs to be relevant and straight to the point, and it always helps if you can mention Black Friday for added impact. Aside from the text itself, though, there are some settings in AdWords that will help you maximise clicks.

Promotion Extensions

Extra lines of text can be added within the ad to help you stand out from the rest and drive a better click-through rate. Along with the eye-catching price tag icon, promotion extensions can be used to provide more details on your latest offer, and even its expiry date if this applies. More information on setting up Promotion Extensions can be found on Google’s support network.


Countdowns allow you to set promotions that are only valid on a particular day. You can work with a set time that’s adjusted to the time zone of the person searching, or you can ensure the offer expires at one pre-specified global time. These are great for communicating urgency. It has been said that the closer you get to the deadline, the higher your conversion rate is likely to be, so don’t be surprised if you make more sales towards the end of your timed promotion!


Additional sitelink extensions are used to support the main ad. They take the user to other relevant landing pages on your site. It’s worth thinking about which sitelinks are going to drum up the most interest for a particular ad (or ad group). Perhaps you could link to related products, or other great deals you’re running? Chances are your potential customer is in the bargain-hunting mindset and will respond well to a promotion that’s along the same lines but not entirely the same.

Inventory References

This feature enables you to tell your customers how many products are left in stock. Again, like countdowns, inventory references add a sense of urgency to the ad that will encourage a strong click-through rate.

If you’re unsure about how to implement any of the above settings, have a chat with one of our PPC managers.

And when it comes to crafting the copy for your ads, prepare all of your text well in advance of Black Friday. The last thing you want is for your ads to be disapproved by Google with just minutes to go until your campaign launches on the busiest shopping day of the year!

There’s Much More To Running A Black Friday Campaign Than Meets The Eye

The information here is just the tip of the iceberg, really. We’ve got plenty more tips for marketers who are looking to make big bucks from their Black Friday AdWords campaign this year, including advice on how to develop an effective Google Shopping strategy and how to make the most of display remarketing audiences. If you need further advice, or would like help setting up your strategy in AdWords, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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