Performance Marketing

How ad networks should prepare for Black Friday

Becky Doles

how ad networks should prepare for black friday

Black Friday is a crucial time for performance marketers. Not only do consumers spend a lot of money, but they’re also making more of their purchases online. On Black Friday in 2015, online shoppers in the United States alone spent $4.45 billion — 34% of those sales ($1.4 billion) were made using smartphones and other mobile devices.

In 2016, Black Friday falls on November 25, but the sales will continue beyond that day — consumers will keep searching for deals over the weekend and into Cyber Monday, a recent tradition in the United States and in many other parts of the world. Along with Black Friday, Cyber Monday marks the kickoff of the holiday shopping season.

For ad networks, these two major shopping holidays serve as a prime opportunity to reach a broader market of online consumers.

Big opportunities for ad networks

Online enthusiasm for Black Friday is at a high in the U.S. this year. According to an Accenture survey, 65% of online consumers plan to shop on Black Friday while 57% plan to do so on Cyber Monday. Millennial users are especially interested in shopping on these two holidays — nearly 50% reported that they’ll use their smartphones to search for Cyber Monday deals.

What’s also notable is that U.S. digital ad spending is expected to reach $72 billion by the end of 2016, representing nearly 37% of U.S. total media and spending. That percentage is projected to reach 45% by 2020. It’s clear that more companies are prioritizing digital advertising.

JC Penny began offering select Black Friday deals and promotions in early November this year, in an effort to attract eager shoppers who want to get a jump on their holiday gift lists. In fact, consumers plan their holiday shopping months in advance. An Epilson poll found that 36% of U.S. online users already began their holiday shopping before October, while 23% did so before November.

Three tips to maximize Black Friday ad campaigns

Ad networks will need to prepare for this spike in online advertising and shopping. Here are three tips on how ad networks can make the most of Black Friday shopping:

1. Target age demographics effectively

Younger consumers are more likely to take advantage of online deals. In a survey by ad tech firm Fluent, 47% of online users ages 18 to 44 said they would shop on Black Friday with a similar percentage (44%) confirming their interest in Cyber Monday. However, older online consumers are less likely to shop on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Of those over 45 that do plan to make purchases, only 36% would shop on Cyber Monday, with fewer interested in doing so on Black Friday.

Key takeaway: Target the 1844 demographic for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If your audience includes the 45+ demographic, focus on Cyber Monday deals.

2. Focus on electronics deals

A growing trend for Black Friday is big screen TV purchases and other electronics deals. For example, Target offered major deals for Apple products in 2015 — shoppers could receive a $100 Target gift card when they bought an Apple watch. A Deloitte holiday survey also revealed that electronics are the third-most popular shopping category at 36%, after clothing (48%) and gift cards (46%).

Key takeaway: Electronics deals are big for Black Friday, so be ready to meet this demand. Consider publishers, such as tech sites, that would be best suited to host consumer electronics ads.

3. Optimize your mobile campaigns

While many online consumers use their smartphones to make purchases, in-store customers also rely on their mobile devices to research products and deals 71% consider their phone to be important in their shopping process.

Key takeaway: Ensure your ad campaigns are optimized for mobile to capture the attention of both online and in-store customers. A robust digital marketing platform like HasOffers can help you track real-time data and glean meaningful takeaways from your campaign performances.

Massive consumer interest in Black Friday and Cyber Monday means that ad networks need to make the right preparations for their campaigns to be successful. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be in a strong position to make the most of these two major shopping holidays.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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