Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been and gone – but did they make the impact we all expected? Tom Kwei has the answers – plus more news and advice from the world of paid search.

In 2014, Black Friday is Officially a ‘Big Deal’ in the UK

Kenshoo’s Chris Costello has been watching British football matches. And through the magic of a Spurs vs Everton match, he learnt that people in the UK had suddenly cottoned on to this Black Friday thing.

For those of us here in the UK, it’s easy to guess – on an anecdotal level – that search ad spend probably skyrocketed on Black Friday. But Chris Costello has the numbers, and they’re big numbers.

Graph of Black Friday ad spend 2013 versus 2014.

Source: Kenshoo.

Here’s a quick summary of Chris’s findings:

  • In 2013, search ad spend increased 44% from Thanksgiving Thursday to Friday. In 2014, ad spend increased by a massive 145%.
  • Year-on-year spend for Black Friday increased 88%.
  • Year-on-year spend for Thanksgiving Thursday increased only 11%.

Needless to say, it seems like Black Friday is here to stay on these shores.

Black Friday: Top Advertisers Missed Opportunities by the Basketful

To truly take advantage of big retail events like Black Friday, PPC advertisers have to adapt their ads to reflect the day’s excitement. This means changing ad text and extensions, and highlighting special offers that are unique to that day.

Money and Scrabble tiles spelling 'SAVE'.

Source: 401(K) 2012 at Flickr.

You might be thinking: “OK. That’s easy enough for multinational conglomerates with countless staff to manage their campaigns. But what about the little guys, who have to manage complex accounts without bags of time or a huge workforce?”

Well, it seems even the big guns misfire from time to time. Or so suggests a report published yesterday by Search Engine Land’s Lisa Raehsler.

Lisa looked at five of the top trending toys, devices and apparel from Google’s recent blog post about mobile usage on Black Friday. These were:

  • iPad
  • Fitbit
  • Xbox One
  • Nerf Guns
  • American Girl

She examined the top-ranked ads in Google searches for each of these terms, and found that many household names were failing to optimise their ads as well as they could.

Of the six brands she covered, only two – Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ Us – mentioned Black Friday in their ads. Apple, L.L. Bean, Kohl’s, American Girl and Kmart failed to make any mention of Black Friday offers.

Four PPC Tips to Reignite Your Creative Spark

Working in PPC means being creative and imaginative, as well as being reasoned and analytical. However, sometimes it’s hard to get those creative fires burning, especially when you’ve been working on an account for some time.

Crumpled paper.

Source: photosteve101 at Flickr.

You can’t force creative thinking. But you can give your brain a push in the right direction – and a great place to start is Pauline Jakober’s list of tips to battle creative block (or as she calls it, the ‘PPC Plateau’).

Jakober’s tips are designed for accounts that are performing well, but could do with a bit of ‘rousing up’. Here’s a summary:

  • Pretend you’re working on a new account. Carry out the same auditing process as you would for a brand-new account – you might spot errors or missed opportunities.
  • Turn pro-active research into a defined process. Ensure you’re well informed of upcoming product lines and promotions. Open up lines of communication, and check your website regularly to ensure nothing has slipped by unnoticed.
  • Switch on to trending keywords. Examine your search query reports on a regular basis to look for developing trends, and make sure you’re targeting what your customers are searching for.
  • Look beyond AdWords. If you’re focussed on AdWords and your campaigns are performing properly, Jakober recommends looking into Bing Ads. If you’re in the right niche, you might find the different audience demographic is tailor-made for your products or services.

Six Shortcuts to Streamline Optimisation and Reporting

When work stacks up, you need to find a way to lighten the load. Unnecessary admin only eats away at your time and gets in the way of great results.

Paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork.

Source: Robert Couse-Baker at Flickr.

Joseph Kerschbaum at Search Engine Watch has some time-saving tactics to streamline your workflow and make your account work at its best.

Here’s a brief rundown of his recommendations:

  • Make your AdWords homepage work for you. Kerschbaum says: “Set up your AdWords homepage to include the data that is most important to your campaign. Once this is set up, then you can access tons of data in just a few sections.”
  • Set up your own filters. You almost certainly use certain filter settings on a regular basis. Cut out the admin and save your filters so you can access them instantly.
  • Automate reporting. As with filters, it’s likely you run the same report regularly. Click ‘Save this report’ in AdWords so you can access it again, and use the ‘Email and schedule report’ option to have it delivered to your inbox on a regular basis.
  • Set up email alerts. You can’t keep an eye on every aspect of your account simultaneously. Avoid getting caught out by errors or budget loss by setting up email alerts. These can monitor major events like spend increases and drops in ad positions, and let you know immediately.
  • Use AdWords labels. Labelling elements of your account lets you combine data in organised batches, streamlining your reporting process.
  • Use AdWords Scripts. If you have the necessary coding skills at your disposal, make use of AdWords Scripts to create customised workflow enhancements. But make sure they’re set up correctly, or you could end up doing more damage than good!

More PPC Tips and News

Read last week’s PPC news roundup.

Try this blog out for size: 4 PPC Ads That Show Up in All the Wrong Places.

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About the author:

Tom Kwei is a Graduate PPC Trainee at Clickthrough Marketing. He is currently learning the ropes of pay-per-click marketing and the coffee machine. He’s also a spoken word poet who performs regularly around the country, much of his work can be found on YouTube by searching the first two words of this paragraph.