Focus on building confidence in your brand early in the holiday shopping season, and be sure to cater to mobile shoppers around Black Friday.


Frances Donegan-Ryan, Bing Ads Global Community Engagement, Microsoft

Are you ready for the biggest shopping day of the year? An estimated 10% of holiday retail sales happen on Black Friday. And what’s more: according to eMarketer, in  2017, U.S. retail e-commerce sales are expected to grow by a whopping 16.6% (and in-store sales by a more modest 3.1%).

And you’ve got one shot to get it right. Which means, you need a plan. To help, I’ve outlined some tips for boosting Black Friday retail sales with search advertising.

1. Start early: planning and budgeting

Shoppers are already planning for the holidays. And so should you. Your first order of business is to plan your campaign budget. The last thing you want to do is to run out of budget and lose out on selling opportunities. Take a look at last year’s numbers and then increase your budget to reflect the strong growth expected this season. To get started, take advantage of the handy budget worksheet in the Bing Ads Holiday Planning Guide. Your goal is to engage Black Friday searchers by bidding early. Since mobile search heats up in November (and especially on Black Friday when shoppers are out and about) you’ll also want to set mobile bids high enough to get top-of-page exposure.

Shoppers are drawn to rich images that show products in use.

Once you have your budget in place, get your campaigns ready to go. Plan your campaigns for multiple devices, and ensure you take advantage of automated tools to monitor bids and stay competitive. Set up daily or weekly reports, so you can optimize campaigns as you go. And of course, before you unleash your campaigns, do make sure they’re showing up correctly on multiple devices using ad preview tools. You don’t want to squelch the holiday spending spirit with a poor experience.

2. Be helpful: reviews and comparisons

Because 85% of shoppers will be researching online before they buy online or in-store, your main priority in October and early November is to instill confidence in your brand. Take advantage of review extensions to make it easy for shoppers to peruse product reviews. If you can, link to product comparisons, so shoppers can quickly compare product features. And use images to make your products stand out. Shoppers are drawn to rich images that show products in use.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have the right keywords in place. Expand keyword coverage to include research terms such as “best,” “ideas,” “deals,” “men’s,” and “kids’.” And be sure to use callout extensions to highlight your products, services, and deals.


Finally, because you want these shoppers to come back, be sure to invest in remarketing. Remarketing decreases cart abandonment rates and makes it easy for shoppers who have already shown an interest in your products to return and make their purchase.

3. Get noticed: rich formats

You want your products in front of your target audience. Using rich formats (imagery and extensions) will help you get noticed. For example, you can use extensions to promote Black Friday deals the week of Thanksgiving. You can also use site link extensions to provide details on your deals.

Another way to get noticed is by ensuring keyword coverage for variations that include your brand name—and even your competitor’s brand name. Using the right keywords can help your products rise to the top of the search results. You’ll also want to highlight incentives with phrases like “20% off holiday sale” and “free shipping,” since shoppers will be using these search terms.

4. Make it easy: Black Friday

As mentioned previously, mobile search is especially big on Black Friday, so you’ll want to increase bids for users on mobile devices near your in-store location. Take advantage of flyer extensions make your coupons easily accessible. Use location extensions to help shoppers quickly find your nearest location. You can feature your address, and give users directions to your store right from your ad. And don’t forget to enable click-to-call capabilities, so that you’re easy to reach!

Put these paid search advertising tips to work for you, to help ensure this Black Friday is a success.