6 Ways to Prep Your Google Ads Campaigns for Black Friday


Written by Nicola Bell

Nicola is the Digital Account Manager at GlowMetrics, preparing and executing PPC & SEO strategies for new and existing clients. Nicola specialises in integrated marketing campaigns, combining the best of paid social and paid search to get the finest of results for her clients
November 9, 2020

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and this year it falls on the 27th November, followed shortly after by Cyber Monday on 30th November and the unofficial beginning of the festive period on 1st December.  Black Friday is a hugely significant date for most eCommerce business and although 2020 may not be a “normal” year by any standard, we’re not expecting this to change. In fact, we’re preparing our clients for possibly the biggest eCommerce period ever…

A recent survey from Think by Google found that:

  • 33% of UK shoppers who normally shop in stores say they won’t this year,
  • with 70% stating they will shop online more for the holidays than they did in previous seasons.

If you run an eCommerce business now is the time to ensure your Google Ads campaigns are fully prepared for what is set to be an extraordinary time for online retailers. Read on to discover 6 things you should do to make sure your PPC campaigns are making the most of the Black Friday period and beyond. 

1. Find Appropriate Black Friday Keywords

Think about your customers. What they search for says a lot about them and their purchase intention. For example, someone who searches for “trainers” might want to buy some running shoes, but they have a lower purchase intent that someone who searches for “Adidas Nova Flow Trainers“. The second person sounds a lot closer to buying, right? Although these keywords tent to have a smaller search volume, they are highly-specific and very effective at reaching a specific target audience – who are likely to purchase. Take some time to find the best long-tailed keywords for your business for Black Friday and Cyber Monday ad campaigns.

We don’t recommend bidding on generic terms like “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”. These terms hit the trifecta of bad keyword selection – too competitive, too broad and too expensive. Instead, we recommend trying out some Broad Match Modifier keywords to create branded promo terms such as:

  • +[BRAND NAME} +Black Friday
  • +[BRAND NAME] +sale

The best source of keyword research is your keyword data from last year. Where any keywords successful for you last Black Friday? Did generic terms work? Optimise your PPC for this year’s Black Friday by tunnelling deep into your keyword data and complete some additional keyword research using tools such as the Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. 

2. Create Black Friday Specific Ad Copy

Look through all the ads from your live campaigns and ensure you are making the most of what Google gives you for your search ads. Check each ad group has at least 2 Expanded Text Ads that make use of the 3rd headline and 2nd description. Also, make sure each ad group has 1 Responsive Search Ad to capitalise on Google’s machine-learning.

Your ad copy is also 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. 
  • Mention Black Friday or Cyber Monday in your Ad Copy: This is the easiest way to grab your audience’s attention. If they’re searching for Black Friday deal, they’ll immediately know to go to you.  Put it in the headlines for maximum impact, but don’t be afraid to put it in the description, too. This can be achieved by copying existing ad copy and adding new Black Friday messaging to your existing headlines and descriptions. 
  • Turn off non-Black Friday Ad Copy: Focus all traffic through the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend with offer ads and switch off all other campaigns during that time.
  • Ensure your Ad Copy Aligns with your Website: Add information about your Black Friday deals to your website to emphasise the seasonal offer or promotion.
  • Add Countdowns to your Ads: This creates a sense of urgency among your potential customers and makes it clear that your offers are only valid for a limited time. Shoppers won’t want to miss out! You can also utilise Keyword or Location Insertion functions to get more clicks!

Google Ads Countdown Black Friday

3. Don’t forget about Black Friday-Themed Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are crucial towards improving your ad rank and click through rate by encouraging additional clicks on your ad through the extra information displayed. You should be making use of these all year round, however if you’re not, now is the time to add them. If you have already got a range of ad extensions live, take some time to review and update them specifically for Black Friday. To encourage eCommerce sales, we recommend adding:


Promotion Extensions – Add Black Friday Promotion extensions specifically for your Black Friday offers.

Black Friday Promotion Extensions Google Ads






Sitelink Extensions – These can be used tactically to push offers for similar products or services to the user’s original search.Black Friday Sitelink Extensions






Price Extensions – Make sure these are kept up-to-date and reflect any offers or sales

Black Friday Price Extensions






4. Target Your Key Audiences on Black Friday

Those audience lists that you have sitting in your Google Ads account are the ultimate low-hanging fruit – people who already know and who may have already purchased from your brand. Make sure these lists are set up and you have enough budget going to these campaigns. We recommend:

  • Retargeting Past Purchasers & Customers: Let these high-value users know all about your sales and promotions.
  • Build Lookalike Audiences to the above user groups. This will help you find users that are searching in the same way as your existing customers.
  • Use Google’s In-Market Audiences to reach the people your brand is most likely to resonate with, and people who Google thinks are in the market for your products.
  • 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. Why not send out an email to your contacts offering them earlier access? Better yet:

If you have a list of customer email addresses, why not upload these to Google Ads and serve them with Black Friday themed Gmail ads? Or if you have over 1000 users on your previous site visitors list, you could create a search campaign which purely targets this audience, bidding on “Black Friday” related keywords, and broad keywords relating to your products. It’s likely that if a user has bought from you once, they will consider doing so again, especially if you have an enticing enough offer!

5. Setup (or Prepare) Your Shopping Campaigns

If your offering is product-led then it’s likely Shopping campaigns will be something you’re already running or have at least considered. When implemented properly, these campaigns can be highly effective. If it is already a part of your online marketing mix here are some tips to prep your shopping campaigns:

  • Ensure that your Feeds are Fully Optimised: check product titles and descriptions and make sure images are up to date. 
  • Get the Campaign Up and Running Well in Advance: This will give both you and Google’s machine learning systems (more on these later!) plenty of time to not only iron out any kinks but also to learn and optimise, putting your ads in the best position to succeed when interest is at its peak.
  • Use Shopping Promotions: If you’re looking to do a specific promotion on your Shopping ads make sure you leave ample time to submit your promotions to Google, to ensure they’re live in time for Black Friday. 

6. Utilise Smart Bidding – But Try it Out First. 

Traffic and competition will increase considerably over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, so we recommend making the switch to one of Google’s Smart Bidding Strategies. These are adept at coping with the huge fluctuations in conversion rate and traffic we see across the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Smart bidding uses advanced machine learning algorithms, alongside a wide range of contextual signals (such as search query, time of day, device, to name a few) to optimise your bids and budget to get your ads in front of your target audience. 

This sounds great – Shall I turn to smart bidding on Black Friday?” In short, no.

Due to the systems being reliant on performance data from your account to optimise, if you’re looking at utilising smart bidding over Black Friday and Christmas, ensure that there’s been an adequate testing period in the run-up to it. This allows you to see which Smart Bidding system works best for you and also provides the machine learning systems more time to build up data to help it perform better. 

Get Started…

With worldwide confinements & curfews to combat COVID-19, Black Friday is set to be even bigger than last year – no one can predict it but eCommerce sales have been increasing from the pandemic throughout the year, so we have no reason to expect a quieter Black Friday than usual. If you need help getting your Google Ads or eCommerce business reading for Black Friday, GlowMetrics specialise in helping businesses build a successful online presence, we know a thing or two about smashing Black Friday and Q4 eCommerce goals. Get in touch to find out more.


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