Cyber Week Advertising: A Timeline & Common Mistakes


In this clip from our recent webinar "Preparing Your Digital Marketing Campaigns for Black Friday", Izabela Catiru, Digital Strategist from ChannelAdvisor discusses a timeline for managing your ads during Cyber Week and Black Friday, highlighting key dates, and common mistakes.

Now let's put everything in a timeline. First thing, analyse your data, analyse your previous performance and plan your promotions. Plan your advertising strategy. Make sure that you know when everything it needs to happen, have milestones and keep following them. Define clear goals and targets around your KPIs and budgets. What are the criteria to release more budget, right? We're always looking at not over overspending, but we tend to look less at underspending and maybe missing out on sales opportunities just because we need to hit just a certain budget.

Build - So, build your messaging, build your creatives, make sure you have enough time for feedback for, I don't know, banners, photos, text for the ads, etc. And if you haven't started already with website improvement and optimisation, I would say like mid-September - it's quite important, as a milestone to start working on it. Discuss with your dev agency, or with your web developers (the ones that you have in house) to see what it is that you can do to further optimise and improve your website

Implement - Create the campaigns - upload the structure in the account if you're gonna create any new campaigns. Upload the ads and automate the start so you don't end up with maybe some embarrassing black Friday ads after Black Friday has happened. Maybe even during Boxing Day I have seen some cases. And test the websites performance and endurance! I know the volume ofthe traffic might beat ah higher than you normally get, but do test it and see what are the limits. So afterwards you're you're just prepared.

And if you're starting new components, start them and monitor and track performance. Now, what I would say is, start them without the ads, of course, because as they're gonna have a certain text in them, but start the campaigns themselves, like I dont know, keywords, targeting options, etc - start them with at least two weeks in advance to accumulate history. I would say the minimum for Amazon advertising is four weeks, and if you are actually automating or thinking about automating your bids, I would say six weeks.

So November has started. You have started your campaigns - have an optimisation calendar, make sure that you're optimising your campaigns on a daily basis. Adjust your budget either manually or automatically, to make sure that you're taking advantage of those mini-peaks that we were [discussing], so that you're not missing out on opportunities by investing most of your budget within those two days. Upload your Cyber Week ads - use labels to differentiate them from your evergreen ones and, why it's important to upload them? You might get disapproved - So it's important to handle every disapproval before, rather than uploading them with 2-3 days in advance then you're gonna miss out on some of them being disapproved. It just it has the potential to become a mess. If you're not uploading your ads with more time in advance to see what works/what doesn't work.

Once you've reached the middle of November, I would recommend to have an account audit - so have, like a mini-audit of the first few weeks, and that should help you create a calendar for the cyber week itself. And once cyber week hits, keep calm and optimise the campaigns, and a few things that you can do is adjust your device modifiers - I was explaining before - that you can adjust your device modifiers more than just campaign level. We can go all the way down to adgroup level. And, adjust the audience modifiers as well - make sure that you're more competitive for relevant audiences for, ah, the audiences that are more likely to convert, rather than the general ones.

Manage your bids - if you're going the manual route, manage your promotions and the availability, and manage your budget. Either you're automating it [or] if you're not automating is and you're going the manual way, make sure that you're not overspending or undersspending, depending on the performance.

So! Once everything is finished, what else do you need to do? Run the bitch manually Post cyber week, I would say, at least for a couple of weeks. Why? Because during the cyber week, everything is just gonna be skewed. So I would recommend to pause the those automated rules that you have in place and that automated bidding, and start running the bids manually.

Document your learnings. You might have a habit of doing it - keep on doing it. But if you don't, I do recommend to have a look at; okay, What processes? What have you learned? How was the performance? Make sure that your document, all those learnings, so afterwards, you're making your job easier, especially for the guys that are on the line. And it's their first black Friday, it's just gonna make your lives and your jobs easier next year

And get ready for Christmas. We have seen a lot of traction with click and collect. Do go on our website, the ChannelAdvisor website and read more about how to get ready for for Christmas and the holiday period - and there are some other resources as well around click and collect in terms of, like, numbers and stats, and of course, get ready for Boxing Day!

Now, a few mistakes to avoid.  Some of them might be highly common. Some of them might not be as common. It might be a type of mistake that you make once in maybe your first black Friday, and then you don't make it again: Ignoring the mini-peaks and allocating the full budget [to] just the cyber week. I've showed you a case, of the missed opportunities, but I do recommend to have a look at your own performance during last year, if it's possible - to actually ascertain, what are the mini-peaks for your specific company.

Starting too soon and not having enough budget. I know there is this trend to start soon, so you take advantage of the traffic, but then you're gonna waste your budget, and you're not gonna have enough to properly cover the peak days.

Starting too late, or searching the campaigns in the same day without giving them time to accumulate history. Do not start the campaigns in the same day! You can start the ads, but the campaign should have already [had] some time to run. If you're going for the dedicated campaigns for Black Friday (and I'm not saying like Brack Friday terms or anything), but just specificially you're setting them up for Black Friday do give them time to accumulate the history. If you're just gonna leverage your evergreen campaigns, do have in mind that some searches, even if or some components like targeting components, even if they're working great before the big hits, maybe in September October, they might not work well, and you're gonna need to pose them during peak, so keep a close eye on everything.

Um, not having a plan for Brexit, of course. Ah, there is nothing clear. But what I would suggest is to to have a look at your resource, and make sure that you have enough bandwidth to throw bodies or resources at anything that might change with Brexit.

Not changing your ads or extensions. I have seen some of the bigger brands out there that haven't stopped their ads post Black Friday. I do recommend to adjust the start and the pause and used the labels - that's gonna make your life easy. And do make sure that you check, and don't forget about the extension. Sometimes the ads get changed, but the extension for some reason - they still manage to survive.