This hotly anticipated event is just around the corner but what will it look like for businesses this year? Consumer interest in Black Friday dipped by over one-third in 2020 and as a result, businesses are looking to capitalise on the 2021 event both on and offline.
It looks highly likely that the BFCM period will extend across the whole month of November this year, being dubbed “Black November”, where sales are expected to run from the start of the month, giving online retailers a larger window of opportunity to convert customers to make a purchase as they look to find a bargain.
Has iOS 14 made a difference?
A significant affecting factor this year is confidence in iOS 14 (or lack of!) and could make your approach to BFCM 2021 a bit tricky. If you’re going to spend a significant amount of budget, you won’t fully know if it’s going to work and that will cause a lot of confusion for advertisers and brands.
The changes in attribution, not just for Facebook, but across numerous mainstream platforms have significantly impacted on advertising activity, being almost impossible to track off-platform activity via third-party browser cookies and no way of reaching consumers on a 1-1 basis across sites and apps if they haven’t chosen to opt in.
This makes it very difficult for advertisers to target consumers on a personal level and even harder to measure the results of their marketing activity. There is no way of attributing purchases made on advertisers’ sites to the ads served and has therefore had a substantial impact across the digital marketing network. There is a much bigger risk and reward as you don’t get that instant feedback from the ad, which of course influences the activity by digital advertisers for the BFCM period.
Reduce risk where you can
You need to fully understand your core audience with your performance advertising as this isn’t a time to be taking risks, so use your tried and tested creatives, landing pages and offers that you know will work for your audience and then extend that sale window for as long as possible to maximise impact.
You might be tempted to create an all singing and dancing landing page or website that looks great and has amazing offers, but this might compromise the quality and effectiveness of the user experience. The ads might look attractive but if it’s not your traditional formula or page, then maybe you have overthought it, while those competitors who have played it safe and stuck to what they know and what works have the advantage.
Carry out your testing in advance
All your testing needs to be done well in advance, being up and running and incrementally scaling from mid-October until that core November sales period. As mentioned, many businesses this year will do a full Black November as this massively reduces risk and allows you to spend more consistently.
Competition will be tough, so you need to ensure you have the more competitive and compelling offer. Understand what the competitors are offering because if they have a better discount or a better proposition, especially in that short window, people will buy from them.
Frontloading investment is key for brands to win
What doesn’t work well is spending a large amount of money in a short period of time. If a brand wants to spend 100 – 200K in a week but hasn’t done enough pre-launching and testing before that, it’s very likely to go wrong because there is so much margin for error.
The brands who do well have built a strong foundation and have put a decent level of spend into these ads and then incrementally scaled them up. Those who go from, for example, £100 to 10K per day on an advert could get lost in such a competitive market.
Run more lead generation campaigns
Try to generate as many email or SMS sign ups as possible and then track the success of these i.e. how many people bought through an individual email campaign.
Converting through email marketing for lead generation is going to be essential so you need to exploit this method, particularly as there isn’t any significant cost associated with sending the emails. You need to capitalise on your digital customers and show them what are you offering has added value so that you at least have some confidence that it’s going to convert.
Watch out for fluctuating CPM’s
This year the cost to reach 1000 people will be at a record high. Generic CPM’s across the board in November 2020 were around $19, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that increases to closer to $20 or $21 CPM for November this year, or even higher.
This will make a difference from a client budget perspective, so be prepared for this. For some, Q4 equates to 60 or 70% of your budget, and businesses generally up their budgets to cash in on this selling window or this buying window for customers.
From a trends perspective I am certain BFCM 2021 will break all Ecommerce sales records globally compared to last year so there is a massive opportunity to cash in on this if you have done your homework, spread you budget and avoided the temptation to take unnecessary and potentially costly risks.