Why you need to time your Black Friday ads carefully to reach the biggest audience

Black Friday has quickly become one of the retail events of the year. But with more and more retailers entering the fray, competition for customers is high.

So, if you’re a retailer and want to maximise your Black Friday sales, how do you ensure your deals get in front of the right audience, at the right time? Find out why you need to time your Black Friday ads very carefully.

What we learned from our Black Friday campaign

Last year we ran a Black Friday display advertising campaign for a well-known retailer, and analysed how web users reacted to it.

The campaign promoted Black Friday prices for the retailer’s products for just over a week before Black Friday. After weighting ad engagements by the number of impressions delivered we can see how the percentage of engagements changed throughout the campaign period – valuable information that can help you plan your own successful Black Friday campaign this year.

Engagement increases up to Black Friday

As you might expect, engagement increases as Black Friday approaches, and customers check out the bargains on offer. But on Black Friday itself, ad engagement drops as more people go directly to the site to buy.

However, that’s not the end of the cycle. Ad engagement rises again on Saturday, and peaks on Sunday before the pattern is repeated on Cyber Monday.

So what can you learn from this?

As you can see, user engagement grows towards Black Friday, and interest continues at a high level throughout the weekend. So if you’re running an ad campaign, it’s important to build up delivery in the week before Black Friday to ensure maximum brand awareness and sales over the weekend.

And it’s not just dates that you need to consider. We can also view activity by hour, and split the data between the lead up to Black Friday (16th to 24th) and the weekend (25th to 28th).

The red line shows that in the week before Black Friday ad engagement is highest in the morning between 7am and 10am, and then again late afternoon and early evening between 4pm and 8pm.

However, during Black Friday weekend, the blue line shows that behaviour changes, and ad engagement starts building first thing in the morning, before peaking at 7am and then tailing off over the rest of the day.

Time your Black Friday ads carefully to reach more potential customers

This suggests that bargain hunters on Black Friday are in-market very early in the morning. So upweighting delivery at this unusual time of day will enable you to reach more potential customers very cost effectively.

Although third-party audience data may improve performance, this example shows how a better ROI can be achieved by paying attention to a basic, and free, trading tool – time!

So this year, if you want your Black Friday ads to reach the widest audience, plan your timing carefully.