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8-step PPC checklist for Black Friday & Cyber Monday



PPC checklist
With the global pandemic dominating this year, it’s safe to say 2020 has been an unpredictable one. Now, just a few weeks away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), we’re starting to think about what to expect.One of the many impacts of COVID-19 has been accelerated digital adoption. According to Google, physical shop footfall has dropped year on year (YoY), and consumers will continue to shop more and more online. But reports by Numerator showed that although Prime Day 2020 saw a 2.42x increase in sales, on average, consumers spent less compared to 2019.

So while in previous years we’ve talked about BFCM revenue growth expectations and setting accounts up to capitalise on this, this year it feels more important to discuss how to maximise BFCM, no matter the path it takes.

Want to make sure your ecommerce business is fully prepared for Friday 27th November? Follow this eight-step PPC checklist.

1. Plan, monitor and adapt

The key for 2020? Have a plan, but monitor the market and be ready to adapt.

In recent years, BFCM has ceased to only refer to the weekend period, with increased purchase intent spreading into the week before, creating an earlier, longer peak period. So, while it’s important to have a solid plan in place for the weekend itself, the key will be capitalising on traffic – and potentially lower costs-per-click (CPCs) – early on, making sure you don’t miss the boat.


Although right now things are unpredictable and tough to plan for, you can use tools like Google’s Rising Retail Categories report to spot changes in search interest and identify fast-rising retail categories and opportunities. You can also use tools such as Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility ReportCOVID-19 Community Mobility Report to understand how people are responding to changes in policies and how this might impact your business over this time.

And as we approach Christmas, when deciding on your strategy and copy messaging, make sure you’ve factored in any changes to last postal dates this year compared to previous.

2. Budget and bids

Traffic and competition will increase considerably over BFCM weekend, so be prepared to adjust your budgets, and review your bidding strategy targets and performance.

Key points that can help you manage your budget efficiently:

  • Increase your budget. We recommend forecasting a 10-20% increase in overall budget from last year’s BFCM. This additional budget will allow you to increase your bids a few weeks before the actual event, catching the demand of users who like to get ahead of the game. It will also contribute to budget flexibility, and you should make sure you increase your campaign’s budget to avoid it running out early in the day.
  • Set campaign alerts. Budget alerts are key to avoid missed opportunities caused by budget constraint. Make sure your campaign settings are not ‘standard delivery’; this option works based on historical data – it can’t understand anything about a surge in traffic on a single day.
  • Use Smart Bidding in conjunction with seasonal adjustments. In 2019, we ran with auction-time bidding throughout peak and found that by using seasonal adjustments, bidding strategies were able to cope with the huge fluctuations in conversion rate and traffic we see in peak periods.
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Don’t be tempted to change your bidding strategy targets too often. Bidding strategies require a learning phase, and making changes to them in this period disrupts their ability to learn and can cause you problems.

3. Keywords

Review last year’s performance and identify what bids got you into first position. Did any keywords turn out to be more or less competitive? Did generic terms add any benefit to your business? Optimise your PPC campaigns for the seasonal period by tunnelling deep into your keyword research. It’s essential for bringing more traffic to your site from the most relevant audience.

  • Use non-brand terms to build up awareness, but avoid overspending on them. According to Google research, users tend to search with generic terms in early November, then narrow down their query with branded terms just before Black Friday.
  • Don’t bid on generic terms like ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’. These terms can be very competitive and too broad. Add them as negatives to your campaigns instead.
  • Review your keywords and implement branded promo terms, e.g. branded + Black Friday, branded + sale, branded + deals. People will be searching for those Black Friday bargains, so nailing your keywords is important. Use Google Ads and Bing’s search query report to build a keyword portfolio of terms searched in the months up to BFCM.

In addition to your keyword targeted campaigns, you can use Dynamic Search Ads to make sure you don’t miss any extra or newly-trending relevant search queries. Just make sure you negative out your target search terms from your standard search campaigns.

4. Audiences

Understanding who is now searching and interacting with your brand is important. With changes in online search behaviour and new audiences going online in 2020, we recommend reviewing what your audience profile now looks like and how it compares to previous years. This will help you build your strategy.

As with any paid search campaign, make sure your audience depth (the percentage of spend running through a pre-defined audience bucket) is as high as possible. To reach the right people…

  • Retarget past visitors and customers through remarketing lists, especially basket abandoners and past converters.
  • Upweight bids for returning users. Create a budget hierarchy and bid higher on the most valuable customer.
  • Use customer relationship management (CRM). Review your VIP customers who purchased high-value products on Black Friday last year and give them the chance to access the sale earlier or offer exclusive discounts.
  • Build lookalike audiences to the above user groups. This will help you find users searching in the same way as your existing ones.
  • Use in-market and affinity audiences to reach the people your brand is most likely to resonate with.
  • Get prepared for 2021 by creating separate audiences of consumers who visited your site in key periods throughout 2020. You can remarket to them over the same period next year. Just remember to close your audience after the event, so you have audiences built of visitors you know interacted with your website over those key times this year. For example, try creating a BFCM 2020 ‘website visit’ audience in your audience library which you open to collect visitors on the 23rd of November and then close on the 1st of December.
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5. Ad copy

Maximise your search engine result page (SERP) impact by making use of the third headline and second description line in expanded text ads and responsive search ads, to capitalise on Google’s machine-learning. They’re a great way to show tailored ad copy to your audience.

Your ad copy is key, so make it as appealing and visible as possible by doing the following…

  • Plan your strategy early. Confirm promotions, write the ad copy and get it signed off with weeks to spare. Focus all traffic through BFCM offer ads and switch off all other ad copy.
  • Align your PPC ads with on-site messaging and emphasise the seasonal offer or promotion by adding BFCM references.
  • Count down. Create a sense of urgency with your ad copy, making it clear that your Black Friday offers are only valid for a limited time over the weekend. Shoppers won’t want to miss out!

Top tip: Why not create ad copy which is tailored not only to the search term but to an audience as well? With so much data available to enrich your targeting beyond just the keyword, you can make your ad copy more engaging by using language or USPs that resonate with a particular audience. 

  • Set up ad copy extensions including price, sitelinks, callouts and structured snippets. Ad extensions are crucial in determining your adverts’ ad rank, but also encourage additional clicks to the site through the extra information displayed.
  • Set up automated rules to activate/pause your ads at certain times. This will help you be more efficient. Just make sure you double check that all the rules are reflecting the promotions offered on site and for the correct times.

6. Shopping

Maximise your product visibility and implement all features and product launches within Google Ads and Bing. These are the four most important steps:

  • Optimise your shopping feed. Make sure you have as many products available as possible by fixing disapprovals.
  • Look at increasing bids based on priority labels like seasonal (bestsellers), stock, price (competitive price against resellers) and margin (focus on profit against revenue).
  • Showcase offers and promotions to shoppers for standard shopping campaigns (on Google and Bing) by taking advantage of the 45-character promotional text field.
  • Implement Smart Shopping campaigns if you’re not already (only available on Google Ads). Test running them alongside your standard shopping campaigns. Smart shopping gains retailers more product inventory exposure across three different networks – Google search, Google Display Network, Gmail and YouTube – driving traffic to your online shop.
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7. Landing page experience

Make sure your landing pages are consistent with your PPC ads, providing the best user experience on site. Landing page optimisation is crucial for special offers and deals, making it obvious that customers are in the right place and that you’re actually offering what you advertise.

  • Optimise your site to improve conversion rates. Create a sense of urgency by adding a countdown banner for when specific sales will end.
  • Prepare for lots of traffic. As expected during this period, ecommerce sites will experience a huge increase in traffic – especially from mobile devices. So, make sure your site is ready to deal with this surge.
  • Minimise the user journey to product pages (it should involve as few clicks as possible) and optimise your site’s checkout process. This will lead to an increase in sales.

Remember: online visitors are impatient, and competition will be high, so make sure the increase in traffic won’t slow down or crash your site. Any interruption can result in unhappy customers, a negative opinion of your business and a loss of revenue.

8. Monitor, analyse and optimise

It’s important to track all metrics on your ecommerce site.

Gather useful insights from Google Analytics and other real-time tracking tools. The data will help you to understand the performance of your business through the BFCM period, giving you the chance to learn what worked and what needs to be improved for the next year. It’s worth setting up automated trackers in advance, giving you the data and insights you need to make quick decisions over BFCM, not just retrospectively. More time should be spent optimising your activity than pulling reports.


In summary: prepare, plan, monitor and adapt, organising your strategy as early as possible to deliver a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign. But be prepared to move with a market that’s responding to uncertainty. Discounts are clearly important, but delivering an exceptional customer experience is key to retaining your existing audience and gaining new users.

Need help with your PPC activity? Please get in touch at – we’d love to help!

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B2B Marketing Trends That Are Set to Rule in 2022



The best trends in B2B marketing will help you stand out from the crowd in search engines. You can attract new leads and start increasing your sales. As a result, your ROI can start to improve in no time! It’s amazing that B2B marketing has gotten complicated over the past few years.  The market is constantly evolving, new competitors appear. In addition, everyone wants to make a mark in their industry and become a leader.

Content Marketing

Well-crafted, personalized content that targets your target audience will positively impact lead generation and conversion rates. Carefully promoting your brand on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and other social media marketing is a smart move taken by brands around the world.

Voice Marketing

Marketers see great value in this tool as it gives us more information about our customers and their needs. Alexa and Google Home have both significantly increased the use of voice search. It is imperative to make sure your company is ready and has the tools it needs to compete successfully with other businesses using this cutting edge technology tool.

Explore Marketing Automation

Marketing automation automates and streamlines sales and marketing workflows and processes. The goal of using marketing automation is to avoid repetitive tasks, put them on autopilot, and focus on more important things.

Targeted Marketing

For this to happen, you need to practice targeted and retention marketing. You can use actions such as email and advertising to maintain relationships with your existing customers. Your job doesn’t end on the day of the sale, it starts from here, and in order to build strong bonds with your customers, you need to practice marketing tactics that will help you retain them.


A stable customer base is always beneficial for a business because it covers the enormous costs, resources and time required to acquire new customers and build relationships. 

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Focus on the Buyer and the Customer Journey

Everything you do, every marketing campaign or content you produce, must benefit the buyer. It needs to be tailored to their concerns and needs so that you can start a conversation, build trust, and turn them into customers.

Further acquaintance with the customer requires you to go beyond the purchase and address pain points up to the neck. To sell to them, you need to gain trust, which is impossible without understanding them.

Vitthal Nikam

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Google Ads New Conversion Goals, Tag Assistant Conversion Support & New Explanations



Pay Per Click Text on desk

Google announced a few new Google Ads features aimed at helping you manage your conversions and drive performance. This includes new conversion goals, tag assistant support for conversion troubleshooting and new conversion value change explanations for Target ROAS and Maximize conversion value.

Conversion Goals in Google Ads

Google Ads now has “conversion goals” which is a new “way to optimize towards your objectives at the account or campaign level,” the company wrote. This will allow you to tell Google Ads which specific business goals your campaigns should optimize for. Google’s example was “let’s say you’re an online clothing retailer. Going forward, you can set a purchase as your account default goal so that all of your campaigns can optimize for that outcome. Within this purchase goal, you’ll also be able to define which specific conversion actions, such as “completed sale”, should be used for bidding. These controls give you the flexibility to optimize for what you care about while unlocking new bidding opportunities.”

Google said it will provide tips on how to improve your overall measurement setup. You will start to see your conversion actions grouped by these new conversion goals when you create new campaigns over the next few weeks. Your existing conversion, conversion optimization, and bidding settings will not be changed. This means that no action needs to be taken on your part, Google explained.

Tag Assistant Support for Conversion

Google added Tag Assistant support for conversion that will show you that your conversion tags are working as intended. This is a troubleshooter tool that will help you diagnose any issues with your conversion actions and if there is an error such as unverified conversion actions, inactive tags, or no recent conversions. Google said you will also be able to see, in real time, which conversion actions are properly being measured.

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Here is what that looks like:

click for full size

New Explanations

Google Ads will now show you explanations for Target ROAS and Maximize conversion value in your campaigns page for Google Search campaigns. With explanations, you can view the reason for any change in conversion value in a single click.

Here is a screenshot of how this one looks:

click for full size

Here is a summary of these changes:

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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Free AI Content Optimization Tool by MarketMuse



AI Image

MarketMuse has released a new free version of its AI-powered content writing tool. This tool automates content creation so that teams can concentrate on content. It also provides insights to optimize content for publication rather than reworking it after it has been published.

AI Content Optimization and Planning

A muse can be defined as someone who inspires an artist and encourages them to create great work.

MarketMuse, an AI- and machine learning-based tool, is the rightly named. It provides support and foundation for content creation strategies from beginning to end.

MarketMuse provides tools to help you develop topics and content briefs. It also offers machine learning and AI-based insight, including topic analysis and search intention related insights.

Firsthand Experience with MarketMuse

MarketMuse’s free version is very similar to its paid counterpart. MarketMuse’s primary features are available in the free version. Scale is the most important difference between these primary features. The paid version allows you to focus on more questions.

I asked MarketMuse users for feedback. Here’s what they had to say:

Israel Gaudette is a full-time affiliate marketer who also founded the Link Tracker Pro rank trackinger. He shared his professional experience with MarketMuse.

“MarketMuse has been, for me, a game-changer, thanks to the quality of its data.

In 2020, Google made tremendous improvements to its algorithm and can now recognize better content quality and relevance of search queries to web pages.

This is where MarketMuse is really helpful because it helps you to discover all the important topics that you should mention for your target keyword, making your content the most valuable in terms of information provided.

In my opinion, MarketMuse is useful for every business that is doing content marketing.

Using MarketMuse, you can create in-depth content that is valued by readers and considered authoritative.

I used MarketMuse as an experiment on one of my sites, and my organic traffic grew by 400% in less than 6 months.”

Screenshot of Traffic Metrics Showing Increase After Using MarketMuse

Graph showing how MarketMuse increased search traffic to his site

“Now MarketMuse is part of my SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).”

MarketMuse provided this description of what to expect from it:

“Tell MarketMuse what you’d like to write about and it will do the research for you. Analyzing thousands of pages on that subject, it returns a list of semantically related topics to cover in your article.

It also provides a list of relevant questions that you should consider answering.

Plus it analyzes the content on your site and suggests appropriate internal links and anchor text, enabling you to create clusters of content with every piece you write.

MarketMuse’s patented AI solution analyzes thousands of pages on a given topic and uses its proprietary semantic analysis capabilities to show you what it means to write like an expert on a given topic.

The data in a MarketMuse topic model helps you identify must-have related topics and gaps in your competitors’ content so you can write authoritative, differentiated content.”

MarketMuse free version

MarketMuse’s free version was created for smaller websites. It has the same functionality as the paid version, but you can make more queries.

These are the primary applications of MarketMuse’s free version:

  • Optimize
  • Connect
  • Compete
  • Research
  • Questions

The free version allows users to submit 35 queries per month.

According MarketMuse:

Our Free Package will allow you to increase the quality of selected articles every month by:

  • They will answer the right questions
  • Find the right links
  • Before publication, covering the relevant topics.”

Do You Want to Try MarketMuse Free?

Some content optimization tools claim to optimize content, but they only provide a basic analysis of search results that includes statistical data about keywords used by the top-ranked websites. This is not machine learning. This is not artificial intelligence.

MarketMuse automates the content creation process using AI and machine learning developed by data scientists, computer engineers, and SEO experts.

MarketMuse is trusted and used by major organizations such as Discover and The Motley Fool.

It was impossible to imagine that content optimization could be free two years ago.

MarketMuse is worth a shot for small publishers.

It seems simple.


MarketMuse Free is Available Here

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