12th November 2017

How to optimise your digital strategy for Black Friday

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Lauren Irwin


The landscape of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has changed dramatically over the last few years. It’s gone from Amazon dripping their post Thanksgiving offers to the UK to the mad riot of ASDA, and now everyone wants in on the sale action. It’s one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year and many UK consumers look to discounted items for Christmas presents.

Whilst Black Friday can seemingly be a curse for some (seeing a drop in sales on the lead up to the event) generally speaking, a lot of retailers see a spike in revenue on the weekend and can’t cope with the demand that comes with it. There has been plenty of occasions where consumers have received emails to announce delays in their deliveries, due to the sheer amount of orders received on Black Friday.

Each year, the hype for the discount weekend grows, and brands need to be better prepared digitally for not only driving traffic to their website but stopping consumers from bouncing, and not converting due to poorly optimised campaigns.

So the real question is, are your digital marketing campaigns optimised and as effective as they could be?

Exclusive promotions page

Unique pages built purely to promote Black Friday discounts build authority with Google and other popular search engines. Use a simple and clean URL that can be reused every year. This guarantees no backlink value will be lost for future years of promotions to come. We’d suggest something clear, such as www.weareabstrakt.com/black-fr... which would be easy for advocates of your brand to find themselves too.


Optimise your on-page SEO so anyone searching highly targeted Black Friday terms can easily find your website. Transactional keywords are key for ecommerce and ensure that your meta description has a clear call to action to drive traffic to the page with increased click-through. Are you offering something your competitor isn’t? Make sure you shout about it. The key is making sure your descriptions as appealing as possible to encourage clicks.

You should have a good few sentences of content on your promotions page too. It needs to be informative and relevant but also unique, so you’ll avoid Google’s algorithm for duplication. This will help rank you higher in search.

Plan for spikes in traffic

Don’t be caught out with a slow responding website when spikes of traffic hit your promotions page across the weekend. There’s nothing worse for a consumer than hitting a page that won’t load. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds and if it’s taking more, consumers are likely to bounce from your site and go to another for their Black Friday offers. Black Friday weekend is very profitable and it’d be a shame to miss out due to a poorly optimised website.

When going to your hosting provider, make sure there are systems in place to cope for a heavy load in traffic, this will ensure load balancers to distribute the traffic evenly, if you’re expecting a large surge in traffic. Perform some benchmarking, using tools like YSlow and Google’s Page Speed tool. Your website should be utilising a Caching method, so the server can output static content instead of repeating the same requests for every user which makes the server had to work harder.

Don’t forget mobile optimisation either, as a huge percentage of consumers will make their purchases through their mobile phones or tablet devices. Ensure that your images are clear (and optimised), your text is easily deciphered and when it comes to checkout, input fields and payment is a breeze.

Now the promotions page is ready for traffic, how are you going to get them there?

Organic traffic from search engines is only going to get you so far. Retail giants will have fully optimised their pages to see them rank highest on search, so we have to consider a digital marketing strategy to bring consumers to the site on click-through referral to.

Email Marketing

If you’ve got a healthy database of subscribers then creating a delivery plan for emails can really boost traffic to your promotions page. It’s important to start making noise ahead of the event with teasers to keep the promise of sales in the forefront of your consumer's mind. With so much noise, and so much competition, you’ll need to keep up the momentum and remind your potential Black Friday customers to visit your site.

Teaser emails, Black Friday product previews, the beginning of the sale alerts, countdowns to time remaining and abandon cart emails, are all key to ensuring the best possible revenue throughout the weekend.

Flash sales during Black Friday is another way to keep your consumers engaged. Email sends to alert best seller products at super low prices for 1 hour only could see an influx in traffic. It also means you’re not just “giving away” highly desirable products and it’s somewhat exclusive to your subscribers.

Social Media

Social Media will play a huge part in your overall campaign for Black Friday too. As consumers tend to use their mobile devices to make purchases, you should be considering their inherent and habitual behaviour when it comes to checking their news feeds. Make sure to tease Black Friday and remind followers of the event during the weekend but also consider social advertising.

Facebook advertising enables retailers to remarket to website visitors and this could be crucial to those that might not choose to buy on impulse. With 1-day conversion windows and the ability to upload product catalogues, you could entice a considerable percentage of would-be customers that usually forget about their cart-add once they’ve left the site. Remarketing your product through social media channels is a sure fire way to capture some otherwise lost revenue.

Don’t have an overly engaged following? Facebook and Instagram advertising allows you to create audiences based on location, age, behaviours and interests, so you can advertise to whole new audiences. Not to mention building lookalike audiences from subscription databases or the Facebook Pixel.

By putting tracking code snippets your promotions page, you can then build an audience of those that are specifically searching for a bargain. For future campaigns, you could engage that post Black Friday audience again with Christmas or New Year sales.


Blog content is another means of driving traffic to your site by engaging your on-site readers and immersing them in the anticipation of Black Friday. That could be as subtle as creating a gift guide in the lead up to Christmas as consumers will be anticipating doing a large portion of their Christmas shopping during the Black Friday weekend.


As we mentioned, a lot of consumers will be using mobiles devices to make their purchases on the go, so it’s important to fully optimise any PPC ads. That means making sure both call and location extensions are in place. Due to the short nature of the event, you should create a sense of urgency with your ad copy to drive traffic to your side with the reminder that promotions won’t last long. It’s a get it before it’s gone deal. Make sure your bids and budgets are positioned for additional site traffic but also consider the shopping hours. This could change due to the compulsion some consumers feel to get their orders in early.

By using an integrated campaign that pulls together all aspects of digital marketing, you’ll find that you have a more cohesive and engaging strategy for Black Friday. Consumers will recognise unified messaging and by keeping them in a marketing funnel (remarketing to them throughout the weekend) it’s far more likely to drive better revenue with a website that can handle the influx of traffic.

And at the end of it all, make sure you analyse your analytics and measurements to prepare and improve for next year, as well as future marketing campaigns.

Unsure if you’re fully prepared for Black Friday or need help with your digital marketing strategy on the lead up to a sales event? Get in touch and speak to us about optimising your campaigns or any last minute Black Friday checks.

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