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How to Prepare for Black Friday Advertising

September 13, 2022
Lina Hagström

Shoppers this year will combine online and in-store shopping. So preparing a multi-platform Black Friday strategy early will be critical, but aligning strategies for multiple platforms can be tricky to execute. We sat down with the Smartly.io Support and Customer teams to discuss key aspects of making sure your Black Friday campaigns are ready when the busiest shopping season of the year rolls around.

Are there any unique challenges brands should take into consideration in the weeks and months approaching the holiday season?

Brands should prepare for slower delivery and degraded performance during the holiday season, as seasonality and demand sometimes impact delivery times and bids. In addition, the holiday season also brings significant changes to creatives, and launching a big volume of campaigns means higher chances of encountering issues. And don't forget - on the demand side, many factors could contribute to overall ad demand: attribution affected by iOS14.5 changes, economic uncertainty, and scaling back of advertising post-e-commerce boom during COVID-19.

Timely planning helps combat the challenges of the holiday season. So start planning your campaigns and creatives today (if you haven't already!), and remember to keep collecting and applying the learnings along the way.

What happens to CPM and CPA this time of year?

We notice that CPM is sensitive to total spend of the market as advertisers compete for the same amount of available impressions. Around key dates like Black Friday, there is sharp increase in spend, and hence sharp increase in CPM.

CPA, on the contrary, is not strongly correlated with total market spend. This is because around key dates like Black Friday, CPM increases but also consumer’s purchasing propensity. These both impact CPA and balance each other out. CPA globally seems to have increased post iOS14.5 roll out in April 2021 which affects both attribution and signal loss. CPA has generally been lower in 2022 as compared to 2021 as advertisers fought signal loss.

What should brands keep in mind  when planning their holiday season social planning and execution?

For brands with extensive catalogs, make sure that your catalogs are already set up and running smoothly before the high season. For Smartly.io customers tapping into our automated ads with a complex setup, we recommend they validate their setup with their CSM or Technical Solutions.

In addition to organizing your assets, make sure your campaigns are staying true to your brand. When planning your creatives, it’s important to stay consistent and on-brand, while still adjusting your messaging specifically to Black Friday. You can also add seasonal elements to your creatives, diversify your ad formats, and experiment with both static and video ads. Keep testing your creatives to see which ones drive performance and find those that don't perform as expected.

Lastly, this one may sound obvious, but ensuring your products are up to date and your seasonal sales Image Templates are correctly uploaded can prevent many future headaches.

Why is this year important for a multi-platform strategy?

Being present across multiple platforms enables advertisers to tap into the advantages of each platform, meet your customer at every step of their customer journey, and build a strong brand identity. During the holiday season, when shoppers are spending more and more time discovering new products, many will abandon a cart before they’re ready to buy. Lower funnel shopping and dynamic ads across platforms allows you to reconnect with those lost visitors or visitors who may not have been ready to purchase.

Many social platforms are upping their game with new shopping ad products ahead of holiday season to make it easier for brands to re-engage their shoppers. For example, Meta recently launched their new Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns to assist in better ad creation and optimization to drive performance. Additionally, last week, TikTok launched their new Shopping Ads—a simplified buying process, which provides a personalized, native shopping experience for users to help advertisers maximize their consumer engagement.

What's the hardest part of managing social advertising campaigns?

Optimizing and setup can be the most trying parts of managing your campaigns during the busy holiday season. Your team can get a jump start on managing issues by taking a look at last year's data and retro your performance to see what worked and what didn't. Your last year's performance can guide your planning and by analyzing your data, you'll be able to set more valid benchmarks and clear goals.

Optimizing this year means shifting your content strategy away from selling product attributes and try selling your brand community instead. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram utilize the power of user-generated content to create excitement around community-minded objectives. Use this strategy to build lifetime value and drive continued engagement with social.

What is your recommendation for running a smooth Black Friday campaign this year?

Black Friday means dealing with increased competition and advertising costs. Set yourself up for seasonal success by using sales and promotions as key tools to drive demand at off-peak times. Check your channel measurement strategies, upload your products and holiday deals sooner, and reveal shipping and return offerings to attract holiday shoppers early.

Interested in learning more about Smartly.io and how we can help you boost your performance this holiday season?
Request a demo.


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