Maximizing Your Paid Search Advertising Strategy for Black Friday

Recent AdGooroo research has uncovered some key insights for advertisers wishing to maximize their Black Friday paid search advertising strategy this year. The following findings are based on U.S. Google desktop text ad activity on 161 Black Friday-specific keywords.

The Importance of Black Friday Keywords

The importance of having a strong paid search advertising strategy for Black Friday is virtually a given among retail advertisers. But not all advertisers may be aware of the importance of sponsoring Black Friday-specific keywords as part of this strategy.

Simply put, advertisers who do not incorporate Black Friday-specific keywords in their campaigns may be missing out on significant opportunities to drive Q4 traffic and sales.

In 2015, the 161 Black Friday-specific keywords we studied generated $19 million in U.S. Google desktop text ad spend during the fourth quarter. The top keyword in this group, ‘black friday 2015’,alone drove $11.7 million in spend in Q4—ranking it #5 in U.S. Google desktop text ad spend among all retail keywords for the full year of 2015. In 2014, the keyword ‘black Friday 2014’ appeared 4th in the same ranking of top keywords for the full year.

Black Friday Paid Search 

Significantly, the keyword ‘black friday 2015’ drove more paid search ad spend than any other Black Friday keyword in Q4 2015 based on two factors. First, it generated 144 million impressions—83 million more impressions than the next term in the ranking. Second, it experienced a 10.6% average clickthrough rate during the quarter, far higher than the 4.08% average clickthrough rate across the other 19 keywords in the ranking. Underscoring the importance of these two metrics is the fact that ‘black friday 2015’ had the lowest average cost per click of the top 20 Black Friday terms, $0.77, which is less than half the $1.59 average cost per click for the other 19 keywords in the ranking.

Words Matter

While ‘black friday 2015’ is in a class of its own, there are instructive insights that can be gleaned from the other terms in the top 20 Black Friday Keyword ranking.

For instance, a comparison of two seemingly similar keywords, ‘black friday deals’ and ‘black friday sales’, highlights the importance of keyword selection for advertisers this holiday season.

In Q4 2015 there was a $2.5 million difference in spend between ‘black friday deals’ and ‘black friday sales’, even though ‘black friday deals’ had a slightly lower average cost per click than ‘black friday sales’—$1.22 vs. $1.26. Although ‘black friday deals’ had a higher average clickthrough rate than ‘‘black friday sales’ ($4.18% vs. 3.25%), the main difference came down to impressions, with ‘black friday deals’ driving 56 million impressions during the fourth quarter compared to just 8.8 million impressions on ‘black friday sales’.

Clearly, advertisers who sponsored the term ‘black friday sales’ and not ‘black friday deals’ in Q4 2015 missed out on millions of potential consumer impressions as well as corresponding opportunities to drive high traffic to their retail sites.

Black Friday is More Than a Weekend in Paid Search

Black Friday paid Search Timing 

According to AdGooroo research, the Black Friday commercial holiday extends far beyond a single day or weekend of sales for retailers and shoppers in paid search advertising. In fact, 64% of paid search spend on the 161 Black Friday-specific keywords we studied was generated in the weeks before and after the Black Friday weekend in 2015.

Specifically, while Black Friday fell on November 27 last year, advertisers spent $10.3 million of the $19 million total on the 161 Black Friday-specific keywords we examined from September 27 through November 21, 2015, while spending $6.9 million from November 22-28 (the week of Black Friday), and another $1.8 million from November 29 through December 31.

Paid search advertisers should be especially mindful of these findings in their 2016 strategy; those who devote all of their efforts and resources to the actual day of Black Friday or the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend risk losing considerable opportunities to drive traffic and sales in the days and weeks before and after the event.

For additional Q4 retail insights, download AdGooroo’s new paid search report Preparing for Holiday 2016.

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