Black Friday Bonanza: The Advertising Methods You’ll Want to Adopt for 2021

Black Friday Bonanza: The Advertising Methods You’ll Want to Adopt for 2021

Sequoia Cardoso de Sá
. 19 Oct 2021 . 4 min read

Black Friday once meant lines of people wrapped around stores at sunrise and overflowing to the streets, shoppers fighting over the last few products, and crowds so loud and large that you were constantly shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow shoppers for that amazing new pair of shoes or gaming console with slashed prices.

But with worldwide eCommerce sales increasing 46% since 2019, hitting almost $4.9 billion in 2021, sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day have changed significantly. Black Friday in particular has transformed and morphed into a typical promotional period every November. It now spans multiple days, starting earlier and lasting longer, resulting in a loss of the original sense of urgency. Some retailers utilise month-long promotions, while others stick to the traditional 24-hour period. The longer promotional period seems to have been exacerbated by 2020.

Our Predictions

Black Friday will continue to be stretched out

After the ballooning of Black Friday in 2020, we don’t expect to see it bounce back to the original one-day event. Black Friday as a multi-day event is here to stay in 2021 for the majority of retailers, and customers are starting to expect it. 

Online sales will continue to skyrocket

In America in 2020, many popular items were out of stock online before the sun rose on Black Friday. Users know that they can buy online at midnight when many sales begin, getting ahead of the curb and snagging up those deals before the physical doors even open. We anticipate online sales for Black Friday will continue to surge in 2021 and beyond, particularly as more retailers have opened online stores in the past 18 months. 

Marketing Trends

A trend that has emerged is the ‘leaking’ of promos as early as October. Retailers have promoted their Black Friday deals early, hinting at particular price slashes in a bid to increase anticipation, build buzz and create more demand for their brand. If people know what they could be saving, they wait eagerly and prepare to be online as soon as those sales begin. 

With so many physical stores shifting online in the past 18 months, there will be more fierce competition online. Which means online marketing efforts will also be more competitive.

Although, despite the trend to shop online, 31% still prefer to shop in-store on Black Friday because of the overall excitement of the day and the ‘hunt’ for the perfect bargain.

For businesses with both online and offline stores, the focus still needs to be placed directing people both to the website and in-store.

Customer Expectations

Consumer Insights

54% of consumers will begin Holiday Shopping before Black Friday.

What customers anticipate
  • Free Shipping 
  • Limited-Time Sales
  • Click & Collect Capability
  • Easy to use website/app
Email Marketing

With 99% of email users checking their inbox every day (and some checking 20 times a day), email is an important channel for continuing to reach and engage customers for Black Friday. Ideally, you would already have a large usable email list. If not, we recommend prioritising the growth of your email list by creating an opt-in with a Black Friday theme and offering first access to deals or a free shipping coupon in exchange for their name and email. 

Scheduling your emails is important as people are most likely to check their inbox either just before or after they arrive at work, around their lunch break, and when they finish work. 

Importantly, don’t leave these emails until the day before. They should be landing in inboxes weeks before Black Friday to build anticipation and ensure people have the day marked on their calendar, with your store as a top priority. 

Elements of a good Black Friday email
  • Add the term ‘Black Friday’
  • Use emojis like a shopping cart of gift, but only at the end of the subject line
  • Personalise with a first name
  • A sense of exclusivity and / or urgency
  • Promotions & offers front and centre
  • Keep headlines, subject lines and call-to-actions appealing and attention grabbing

Ensure you also send an email towards the end of the promotion with a sense of urgency in the subject heading i.e., ‘Only 12 hours left of Black Friday prices. Get your deals before it’s too late’.

Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned cart emails are always a good idea. So it makes sense we’d be suggesting it for Black Friday. In fact, creating cart abandonment emails turns out to be one of the most significant strategies for online businesses. Reminding customers of the deals they haven’t yet purchased is a powerful way to gain them back and guide them through the checkout process.

SMS Marketing

Australians also respond positively to SMS communication from brands, with high open rates across the board. Let your customers know the sale has begun, or will be starting tomorrow, with an SMS message. Don’t go overboard with this though, no one likes spam on their phone. 

Audio Ads – Spotify

Audio engagement travels with consumers where visuals can’t go with 7 of 10 listeners able to correctly identify a brand after hearing an audio advertisement. Audio ads on channels such as Spotify provide an excellent opportunity to deliver targeting audio ads where visuals can’t go, reaching people while they are engaged with their favourite music or podcasts. Also, this channel is easier to use than you might think. 

Paid Advertising

Tap into your paid marketing channels to get the word across before the day. A Black Friday campaign can be run through paid media channels from 2-4 weeks before the sales start. Keep the messaging clear, concise and focused on the promotion / offering. This can be specific or vague, promoting either ‘massive deals to be revealed on the day’, or ‘20% off our bedroom range this Black Friday’. Google Display, YouTube, Facebook and other awareness channels are ideal to utilise in the weeks leading up to the promotion, while Google Search needs to be front and centre on the day as people search for your products or brand. 

Make Your Sales Remarkable 

And finally, bringing it back to where it all began, a competition between retailers to see who could offer customers the best deals. This is truly what customers are searching for during this promotional period, they want to see who is offering the most remarkable sales. So, consider your business, what stock you really need to move and what you can offer that would be remarkable for your customers. This is different for each brand. For example, if you’re known as a brand that never has a sale, then 15% is a remarkable sale. If you’re a brand that frequently holds sales and promotions, you may be expected to step it up a notch by your customer base. Consider your brand, your business and what makes sense from a profitability standpoint.

Need help with your Black Friday advertising strategy?

Chat to our team of eCommerce marketing experts today. 

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Digital Marketing in a Post iOS 14.5 World

Sequoia Cardoso de Sá
. 20 Jul 2021 . 7 mins read

The digital world is always changing and 2021 has been no exception. Through a series of Facebook webinars, marketers globally learned how they would need to very quickly adapt to online advertising changes forced by Apple’s iOS 14 Privacy Policy.

What Apple is Changing

Starting with iOS 14.5, Apple is requiring apps to ask for user permission before sharing their data, and effectively, reducing the data businesses can access for their advertising efforts. User data is a huge asset to companies that rely primarily on ad revenue and data regulation practices can be restrictive.

This change was rolled out on 26 April 2021 and has already seen an impact on marketing, with global opt-in rate sitting around 13% as of May 10. But, as of May 20, only 16% of iOS devices worldwide had updated to iOS 14.5. Of those on iOS 14+, over half (57%) still haven’t been given the option by the app developer to opt in or opt out yet, which means these users are in the ‘Not Determined’ state and can’t be tracked according to Apple’s policy. This means the industry hasn’t yet been impacted by the major change in iOS 14+.

As more people decline tracking on their Apple devices, statistical modelling will be used to account for some conversions, interest-based audiences will decrease, as will audiences based on third-party data, and audience cross-over will become more and more difficult to prevent.

Impact on Facebook

What users’ decide to do about their data when prompted on their Facebook or Instagram app will determine which degree your tracking abilities will be restricted. In response to Apple’s prompt, Facebook has been forced to reimagine some aspects of Business Manager. For social media marketers, this means changes to account set-up, targeting, optimisation and reporting.

A few months in, these changes are a lot more tangible. Some impacts you may have noticed in your accounts include:

  • Less reported conversions – Users may still be taking conversion actions on your website, but limited data will be coming back to Facebook Ads Manager. This has impacted how marketers optimise and report on their campaigns. Without accurate in-Facebook data about conversions like Purchases, metrics including Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and Average Cart Value are estimated, making optimisation decisions more complex.
  • Declined performance of custom audiences relying on Facebook Pixel – custom audiences which rely on Facebook Pixel and SDK data points (Website Visitors, Cart Abandoners) have become less accurate. As some users opt-out of the prompt, there will be less recorded conversions for events, meaning there will be a smaller pool of users inside these audiences. In theory, this will prevent advertisers from reaching ALL cart abandoners and excluding ALL purchasers.
  • Limitations of 8 events per domain – you only get eight conversion events per domain, with domain verification and event selection to be configured inside Business Manager. These must be configured in order of priority in the Aggregated Events Manager.
  • Deprecated attribution windows – Facebook said goodbye to the default 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows.
  • No more breakdowns for conversion events – While you are still able to view breakdowns for standard performance metrics (Reach, Impressions, CPC), you are no longer able to view which Age Group generated the most Conversions or most efficient Cost Per Conversion.

Impact on Google

The Apple update means users can stop being tracked with an IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers). A handful of Google’s iOS apps, such as Maps & YouTube, have used IDFA for ad tracking, which would require users to grant permission. However, Google will no longer use the IDFA and have instead decided to switch to another Apple tool called the SKAdNetwork. This means Google’s apps will not need to show the opt-in.

SKAdNetwork, in theory, allows marketers to measure conversion rates of app install campaigns for iOS apps without passing along user-level data. Google is providing feedback and hopes the framework improves so advertisers can measure their campaign results accurately on iOS 14+.

Thanks to a diversified ad network and less reliance on mobile revenue (compared to Facebook and Instagram), iOS will not have a major impact on the Google side of things. The key changes to expect in Google Ads are primarily to Google’s Universal App Campaigns on iOS devices. If you do not run these ads, you have less to worry about, but you should still expect some fluctuations in delivery and performance (particularly on any ad campaigns that run on iOS). While the holy grail of Search campaigns remain relatively unaffected, advertisers running Display, YouTube, and Discovery campaigns using interest-based targeting may see a loss of data and a decline in performance. Remarketing lists survive, but there will be less visibility to track effectiveness. Smart-bidding is also likely to be affected, as it uses personal characteristics – such as past conversions – to make decisions on bidding.

Outside of the iOS changes, Google has made its own privacy updates that marketers should be aware of. Google plans to render third-party cookies in chrome obsolete and are confident in moving away from third-party cookies altogether. Instead of tracking individuals and the actions taken, Google will now track groups of people with common interests. This is known as FLoC. FLoC clusters large groups of people with similar interests, which advertisers can then target. It hides individuals in “the crowd” and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser. Google has been trialling FLoC since March 2021, but will pause the trials this July as the European Commission launched an Antitrust investigation. There is some controversy surrounding FLoC and we’re yet to see whether it goes ahead or not – but we have until late 2023 to prepare for it if it does.

What should I do next?

Whether you are advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Google, or even a channel unaffected by these changes, it is always important to be ready to adapt and have alternative solutions.

If you are advertising on Facebook and Instagram and haven’t verified your domain, configured your events, or re-evaluated your targeting strategy, now is the time to. You should also consider things like broadening your interest-based audiences at the prospecting level (rather than event-based audiences) and the accuracy of your custom audiences (as this change can reduce tracking of things like cart abandonment). Take a look at using native Facebook and Instagram features to navigate data restrictions as well. Facebook Shops, Lead Forms and Video Ads are all good alternatives which rely on in-app data.

For those advertising on Google, you should continue to monitor campaigns and adjust bids accordingly. Keep an eye on the impacts around tracking and continue to utilise Google Analytics and CRM reports to track as accurately as possible. As mentioned, Google is working on new ways to track results in an effort to minimise the impact of iOS changes. Google offers great options as it can play both the leading and supporting role in marketing efforts. Oh, and if you’re running Universal App Campaigns, definitely upgrade to the latest version of Analytics for Firebase. The good news, and we’ll say it again, is that Google remains mostly untouched by the iOS updates.

Marketers and advertisers should also consider the following changes outside of Facebook and Google:

  • Collect first party data. Please. If these changes have shown us anything, it’s that first party data wins. Optimise your prospecting campaigns to collect emails and build a database. You can then use this however you wish! Upload to Facebook for retargeting or lookalike audience creation. Use your CRM and creative email marketing campaigns to re-engage users.
  • Collect accurate conversions data in your CRM, CMS, and Google Analytics. You will need to cross-check these numbers with your paid advertising campaigns to report accurately and make informed decisions regarding optimisation.
  • Diversify your marketing mix. Brands that rely almost entirely on platform-to-website Facebook and Instagram campaigns to drive conversions will need to reconsider this decision and diversify their digital channels.

For more information on what you can do to combat these ever-evolving changes to your Facebook ads, take a look at our iOS14 Guide.

As the digital marketing world evolves, users are becoming more aware of how closely they are being watched and organisations are responding in kind, attempting to find a balance between helping advertisers and protecting users.

Facebook and Google advertising just got tougher

Do you need help navigating iOS14.5 updates?

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How Customers are Changing Post COVID-19

Kailey Reinhart
. 13 Jul 2021 . 3 mins read

COVID-19 has been the source of a hundred different changes in the way we live but one of the biggest areas impacted has to be how we consume. From groceries and takeout to clothes shopping and home decor, our shopping habits and expectations have greatly changed as the pandemic has changed the way we live.

We explore some of the key changes in consumer behaviour in this article.

The internet is where the customers are

In the past, your digital presence was just a bonus to your brick and mortar store or restaurant, now it is one of the first impressions a customer has of your brand! Whether it’s a website or your social media, customers expect to find you online, and with lockdown keeping us all inside, users are also looking to do everything they can do in your store, on the internet. In fact, McKinsey found that food and household categories saw an average of over 30 percent growth in online customer base across countries during the pandemic, with consumers expecting to be able to complete the entire shopping process online.

Convenience in shopping, shipping, and returning

This laser focus with an online experience that matches (or even improves) a physical shopping experience means consumers are also expecting a certain level of convenience. From free shipping when you hit a certain threshold and buy-now-pay-later services, to quick and easy returns process and fast and helpful customer service, today’s online shopping is built on making it as easy as possible for the user, without ever leaving home (particularly when you have no choice in the matter).

A focus on supporting local

The idea of #supportlocal has seen a huge wave of support throughout the pandemic. This has been influenced partly by the push to help locals who may be doing it tough due to the pandemic, as well as the cost and long waiting times in receiving packages from overseas. A recent survey found 82 per cent of consumers say they would spend more to support local businesses since the pandemic began.

Clear product photography

Without the ability to easily enter a physical store and many people shying away from them altogether following lockdowns, your customers want product photography that gives them enough detail to make an informed decision. This means clear, high quality imagery, close up shots, and lots of angles. Consumers also expect to see a bunch of product-in-action images on social and not just flatlays. Some stores also use videos to give 360 views and show the movement of the product.

Do you have an app for that?

While not essential for every industry, we are now on our mobile devices so often (56% of global traffic is via mobile!) that having an app for your store could see your success or failure. At a minimum, a mobile responsive site is crucial, but if you own a restaurant, or sell food or consumables, many are either trying to find you on an app that provides food delivery, or are looking for your own app to order from.

Today’s consumer was already moving towards the digital world but the pandemic has seen this gradual change catapulted forward. Is your digital presence up to scratch? Let us know if you need help!

Your customers are changing.

Does your business need to change with them?

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Why Your Marketing Strategy Should be Built Around Inclusivity

Gianna Callioni
. 05 Jul 2021 . 2 mins read

What is inclusive marketing?

Inclusive marketing is a combination of two key concepts: showing diversity and being accessible. One without the other is fine enough, but there are steps we can all take to make sure we’re being inclusive of both sides of the coin.

If you want to show diversity, you need to show a range of ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, religions, and more. If you want your digital presence to be accessible, you need to follow marketing best practices, like having high contrast text, captions on videos, and straight forward website navigation.

Why is it important?

It’s time we made an effort to deeply understand our customers; who they are, what their story is, and what they value. By understanding them and taking the time to reflect on the background of each choice we make, you can ensure people feel included by your work and not alienated.

Inclusive marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought, an add-on, or a “nice to have”; it should be ingrained in every part of your marketing strategy. As society grows, it’s no longer just an option to be inclusive but rather that you’re, in most cases, expected to be. Did you know;

  • Over 65% of millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity? And,
  • 64% of consumers took an action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive?
There are so many brands out there who don’t consider their potential audience; what they might look like, what their abilities might be, how they’re represented in the media. You can be the brand who does. It’s incredibly rewarding when you see how much people enjoy interacting with your brand on and offline when it may normally be inaccessible for them. It also helps expand your reach and lets you access previously untapped markets.

Of course, every business has a target audience. It’s impossible for everyone to attract everyone and we’re not saying you need to. But, by subconsciously (or consciously) excluding certain people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or even ability, you’re often unnecessarily reducing the size of your audience.

People buy products to resolve a problem (whether real or perceived), so why not focus your messaging on resolving that problem instead of anything else? Think about how Woolworths recently renamed their “feminine hygiene/care” section to “period care” – this simple change aims to reduce the stigma associated with the term ‘period’ and means is more inclusive of those who get a period who don’t necessarily associate with the word ‘feminine’.

We encourage you to think about your current marketing practices and digital presence. Are you happy with how you represent your audience? Can your audience easily access all of the content you produce?

Your Guide to Inclusive Marketing

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Need help creating an inclusive marketing strategy?

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