Black Friday Planning in Q1

black fridayMarketers breathe a sigh of relief once the Black Friday/holiday season has come and gone as it’s usually one of the most hectic times of the year. However, with the push behind the marketing campaigns that come out during those six weeks of the year, it’d be a mistake not to take what was learned into the new year.

However, a lot happens between Black Friday year over year. Trends change, audiences shift, and team members come and go. Rather than starting from scratch, why not set your team up for success by doing some Black Friday planning in Q1?

Identify Changes and Opportunities

Pre-Internet, Black Fridays meant a “running of the bulls” type of frenetic pace. Shoppers pushed their ways through the stores to get the best deal on the newest toy or the latest TV model. In more recent years, as people have become more accustomed to shopping online, they wait until Cyber Monday for deals and discounts and to avoid the chaos of heading to stores. Now, both a rush to stores and a surge in online shopping are happening before Black Friday, sometimes on Thanksgiving Day, sometimes even earlier.

IMI ran paid advertising for a client this past Thanksgiving and noticed Thanksgiving Day generated an additional conversion when compared to Black Friday and had the lowest cost-per-conversion from the week overall. Black Friday still had the highest return on ad spend (7.5% higher than Thanksgiving Day), but the takeaway is that, shoppers are starting their holiday shopping earlier and earlier. Marketers should plan their ad launches and adjustments accordingly.

Project Plan Ahead

Think about the above sampling of data and how it applies to your own campaigns. What from your research and reports can you use as you plan 2019’s Black Friday campaigns. Having this knowledge fresh in your mind and documented now can give you more time as the Q3 and Q4 approach.

You will have more time to A/B test, create additional campaigns, and run ads on different days leading up to the big Black Friday push to see the differences in shopping behaviors. Going one step further, you can segment this out per audience, per product, and get the most return on your ad spend investment.

Any marketer who’s worked on a holiday campaign knows it comes down to timing. A well-designed creative or engaging copy doesn’t create the impact it needs if it’s not scheduled at the right time to the right audience.

Use Black Friday Data Throughout the Year

Black Friday may be the biggest shopping day of the year but as online shopping continues to dominate, data from that holiday can be applied to smaller holiday seasons, possibly with better results since competition is likely not as high.

Think about what holidays or seasons apply most to your company. Choose the kind of campaigns that can be beneficial before, during, and after the holiday. Work with your analytics team to review all relevant reports and apply to other holiday-specific campaigns scheduled throughout the year where it fits.

Yes, it may not be anyone’s first priority to think about 2019 Black Friday planning. However, what you learned from the busiest shopping week of the year can be largely valuable in how you create your campaigns and spend budget prior to the Q4 push.

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