Similar to the annual occasions of Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries, Black Friday makes its anticipated return every year. With each Black Friday, brand managers and marketers eagerly prepare for the busy shopping season, looking forward to the surge in business it brings.

Black Friday, once associated with the US gold market crash of 1869, is now related to the happier chaos of super special deals, and bargain shopping. It has since become a multi-day buying bonanza with spin-offs around the world including Small Business Saturday and Sunday, Cyber Monday and so on.

Why is a Black Friday 2023 Digital Marketing Strategy Important?

Black Friday’s popularity continues to grow and more recently eCommerce brands are bleeding the events into the weeks leading up to and following the day. 

Despite the cost of living crisis, in 2022 Black Friday sales reached,%25%20year%2Don%2Dyear.£12.3 billion, that’s a 8.3% year-on-year increase, as consumers continue in their quest for a bargain. 

With many eCommerce brands noting Black Friday as their most profitable time of the year, it’s critical that you have a solid plan in place to optimise ROI, battle consumer fears to reduce returns and continue to grow your online presence which will help secure loyalty post-season. 

With that said, here are our top tips for optimising your marketing strategy this Black Friday: 

#1 Elevate Your Approach with Behavioural Science

Understanding consumer behaviour is vital for enhancing conversions for any eCommerce business, even more so during busy periods when your online shop is competing so heavily with those around you. 

While driving traffic to your website is important, simply increasing visitors does not guarantee a proportional surge in sales. The key lies in optimising your website to capitalise on existing traffic, thereby boosting both traffic and sales. 

One way to implement behavioural science to improve your sales conversions during Black Friday is to simplify the purchase process by reducing information overload. Too much information at once can lead to confusion and decision fatigue, deterring purchases. 

Sending personalised emails to legacy customers with FOMO (fear of missing out) triggers can help create a sense of urgency, for example, ‘hurry before they (your product) are all gone.’ Personalising this based on the individual’s purchase history, i.e. using a product they previously purchased as a hook to bring them back - maybe sharing it with a discount code. Not forgetting that something as simple as using someone’s name in the subject line of your email can increase open rates and drive a 10-15% increase in revenue.

For more ways of attracting and converting your audiences this Black Friday, consider the following nudges:


We are motivated to buy something more when there is high demand and low supply. Communicating the limited availability of a product can help move audiences from consideration into purchase.

Social norms 

We are social beings by nature, which means that we use others’ behaviours as a guide of how to behave ourselves. People are more likely to engage in a behaviour when they know that the majority of other people like themselves are doing that behaviour too. For example, you could display information on the number of people who have also viewed a particular product or favourited a product. Coupled with the scarcity principle this can be really powerful. 

Loss aversion 

People are more likely to do something when they feel like they’ll lose out if they don’t do something. Black Friday itself utilises the loss aversion principle as consumers know that if they don’t act now they’ll miss out on getting a good deal. You can further amplify this effect by communicating in advance of Black Friday just how much they’ll miss out on if they don’t purchase on Black Friday - in fact, encouraging people not to purchase in the weeks before Black Friday and being specific about the price drop if they wait could turn out to be very powerful!

#2 Get Your SEO Foundations Right

SEO is at the crux of any successful marketing campaign. Without a good foundational SEO approach your eCommerce site doesn’t stand a chance during the noise that is Black Friday. 

Timing is key with any SEO-led strategy for Black Friday. It's too common that a Black Friday campaign is launched in the week leading up to the event, but we typically expect ranking performance to take several weeks if not months to take hold - so, preparation is everything! It's also a highly competitive environment in every Black Friday market, no matter the product you're selling. Thinking about how you publicise your site's Black Friday deals and gaining links to your deals page from press coverage will be crucial to getting the page ranking in search results. Don't just think you can launch a Black Friday Deals page and expect it to rank - you need to do your homework and get planning, or a competitor will do a better job and reap the rewards. Andy Mollison, Head of SEO

Here are a few of our SEO tips to think about in the run-up to Black Friday:  

  • Plan Early - Focus on improving your Black Friday SEO at least 60-90 days in advance.
  • Tidy up - Examine your page load speed, address any broken links, and ensure you implement 301 redirects for old landing pages or out-of-stock items that you don't wish to promote during the Sales periods.
  • Improve the speed - Free tools such as Pingdom or Google Pagespeed will give you some quick insights into how to improve your website speed.
  • Think about your meta titles - You can also spruce up meta titles and descriptions with words like ‘Black Friday’ or ‘Cyber Monday but remember to change them once this season is over!
  • Test, test, test - You should also load test your site before Black Friday to ensure your current server set-up can handle a spike in traffic.
  • Keywords are a big deal -  While "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" are significant keywords, it's essential to use other Black Friday-related SEO keyword tools. Focus on specific products, categories, or groups, using long-tail terms like "best black friday gardening kit" or "Cyber Monday deal on televisions." You can utilise data from previous years and keyword research to optimise search terms and incorporate Black Friday-related keywords.
  • Landing pages - Consider creating dedicated Black Friday landing pages to enhance on-page content and improve the user experience.

#3 Harness the Power of Digital PR & Backlinks

Taking advantage of Digital PR and backlink opportunities in the run-up to Black Friday can help increase authority while also increasing brand reach and reputation within core markets. 

Backlinks are a vital part of off-page SEO and can help increase your eCommerce website’s visibility and traffic by building domain authority. Backlinks from authoritative and relevant sources signal to search engines that your site is trustworthy and credible - establishing you as a source of reliable information. 

Digital PR should be high up on brand's marketing agenda. Being noticed by journalists and having media coverage can benefit your brand in so many ways, a few are, building trust and increasing your brand awareness. This can be done by including certain elements in your marketing strategy to be featured in media coverage. Some of these include:

  • Gamification: This will encourage individuals to share and engage due to the excitement of the content, which will increase awareness of the brand. 
  • Gift Guides: Being featured in gift guides presents a remarkable opportunity to enhance recognition and trustworthiness, while also driving increased traffic and sales. 

There are a few things you can consider during the planning stage, including: 

  • Press Releases: Craft compelling press releases highlighting your Black Friday deals, discounts, and any special offers. Distribute these to relevant media outlets and industry influencers to generate coverage. Do your research and send it with plenty of time. September / October is never too early and you can always follow up! 
  • Media Pitches: Create tailored pitches for journalists and bloggers who cover retail, shopping, and deals. Highlight the uniqueness of your Black Friday promotions and explain why they are newsworthy. 
  • Exclusive Previews: Send products or exclusive previews of your Black Friday deals to select media outlets or influencers. This generates excitement and anticipation ahead of the event.
  • Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers who have a strong following in your target audience. Have them share your Black Friday offerings through their social media platforms, blogs, and videos.
  • Media Kit: Prepare a Black Friday media kit containing high-resolution images, product descriptions, etc - Journalists will respect you so much for doing this!

#4 Satisfy Human Needs with Reviews

Social proof plays a critical role in the eCommerce customer journey. One study reveals that 81% of consumers read online reviews ahead of making purchases.

Consider how you’re collecting and displaying reviews from customers. Build it into the post-purchase journey to encourage customer feedback. You might offer an incentive such as a loyalty program; offering a certain number of points for a review with pictures and stamping these with ‘verified’ so users know the review has come from confirmed purchases. 

When it comes to displaying reviews, we recommend prominently showcasing these on individual product pages - this helps users easily navigate through your website and instils trust when you provide transparency with feedback.

#5 Craft a Paid Media Plan that Converts

Consumers need to be exposed to messages from a brand at least 7-10 times before they start to trust or become intrigued enough to investigate further.

Crafting a creative, effective paid media strategy ahead of Black Friday can be vital not only in increasing brand awareness but also in helping to increase trust and confidence in your brand ahead of these key sale events. If a shopper has already seen your ads or social posts, then they are likely already going to consider you a genuine, trustworthy brand when you start offering them special deals. Building that kind of trust takes time, so acting early and optimising your omnichannel paid media strategy could set you apart from competitors. Now is the time to test creative messaging and new channels, to hone your online strategy ahead of your Black Friday push.

Here are a few of our Black Friday AD campaign tips:

  • Highlight upcoming events with countdowns - Leverage countdown timers in your ads for urgency, compelling swift action by users to avoid missing out. This employs the psychology of loss aversion and generates excitement, especially for upcoming events like your Black Friday sale.
  • Show off with promo & price extensions - Price extensions simplify product access; create them by adding details in the extension tab. Promo extensions are crucial for Black Friday, displaying deals under your ad. Boost their effectiveness with scarcity phrases in your ad copy. This urgency increases perceived value and encourages quick action.
  • Start early and avoid the increased costs - Launching your ads early can save costs and attract early customers. Prepare your Black Friday ads in advance to go live in early November. This allows time for approvals and troubleshooting before the rush of users. 
  • A/B Testing - Starting your campaigns early allows you to test different audiences, keywords, and messaging. Experiment with audience targeting, try diverse tones and messaging and test unique selling points (USPs) to find what resonates best. You can even compare landing pages' performance, like a dedicated Black Friday page. A/B testing helps you identify effective strategies and optimise your campaigns for maximum potential.
  • Capture cart abandoners - To remind cart abandoners, use a remarketing display campaign. It subtly encourages them to complete their purchase. This campaign targets only those who left items in their cart on your website.

#6 Track Your User Journey and Improve UX

It all only matters if it is measurable right? 

  • Make sure you are able to track - Be sure your Google Analytics, Search Console or other tracking platforms are set up to track and provide you with insightful data. Most importantly, make sure your end goal is tracking properly - and that you’ve tested everything. Are your eCommerce reports correctly allocating purchases to all of your channels, so you can ensure you understand what is working well (and what needs to improve!)?
  • Measure key touchpoints - Throughout your journey to better enable you to make improvements over time. For example, consider setting up events that show you how many users click from a landing page through to particular products and start your eCommerce journey. That way you can start to see where users drop off and investigate any issues.
  • Pixels - Aside from tracking, ensure your other pixels are set up well. For example, make sure your Google Analytics is set up along with the Facebook pixel, so you can also retarget those visitors who abandon carts or those who perhaps do click through but don’t purchase the deal then and there. That will help you to squeeze extra revenue out of your marketing activity.
  • UX - As well as your user journey, overall UX is critical during this shopping period so review your overall user experience and make changes to create an experience that is as seamless and effortless as possible. After all, there is little point in spending money on driving users to your website if your website experience stops them from purchasing.

Ask yourself: How’s your navigation looking? What’s the checkout process like? Are you keeping things as simple as possible while ensuring there are enough touchpoints to overcome buyer doubt?

I recommend taking your site’s top landing pages from the previous year to ensure your efforts are focused on the places where they are most likely to yield a return. 

#7 Ramp Up Your Social

Over 53% of shoppers use social networks to purchase for sales, like Black Friday. 

Use your social content to gain the attention of users (who you already know are leveraging these platforms to buy), grow your retargeting and lookalike audience lists across platforms to elevate your own social organic content plan. 

Instagram, being such a visual platform, is a great space to inspire, motivate and encourage interaction with your brand. It’s an ideal platform to showcase products and brand identity. Focus on increasing interactions, and traffic, optimising your organic post reach to unlock more sales.

Mix up your content formats. You can play with videos, reels, story posts, quizzes, gifs, and lives as part of a comprehensive social content calendar in the lead-up to Black Friday. Experiment within those formats to see where you get your best engagement uplift….perhaps try a product demo, an interview with a founder, a masterclass or a behind-the-scenes.

And for both Instagram and Facebook, double up on your image uploads. Creating carousel posts rather than sharing a single image can boost views, likes and comments. Carousel posts generate more than three times the engagement of regular posts.

Creating captivating content doesn't have to be complex. With a smartphone, you can produce Instagram-worthy videos and images that resonate with your audience. All it takes is some thoughtful storyboarding and finding inspiration to craft engaging and appealing content. Keep it simple and let your creativity shine!

#8 Increasing Engagement with Subject Lines

Using emails to share promotions with your e-commerce subscriber list is a strong strategy. It taps into a receptive audience that is already genuinely interested in your offerings, maximising the potential for conversions and engagement. By targeting individuals who have willingly opted to receive your emails, you establish a direct and personalised line of communication that holds significant advantages.

Email marketing allows you to tailor your promotional messages to specific segments of your subscriber base, further enhancing their relevance. This level of personalisation enhances the overall customer experience and encourages a sense of connection between the brand and the customers. Additionally, the cost-effectiveness of email campaigns makes it an appealing choice for businesses seeking impactful promotion on a budget.

Central to the success of email marketing is the email subject line. This brief yet compelling snippet wields huge power in capturing the recipients' attention. Creating an engaging subject line can significantly impact open rates, influencing whether recipients choose to explore the contents of the email or simply overlook it. A well-crafted subject line offers a glimpse into the value of the promotion, and driving curiosity and action.

The best way to write email subject lines for higher opens is by leveraging natural human tendencies and psychological principles:

Fear of Missing Out    “You’re missing out on this deal”
Humour                        “Deals that make us proud (unlike our nephew Steve)”
Pain                              “Stop wasting money on bad deals”
Curiosity                      “The best way to a faster donkey”

#9 Beyond Black Friday

Fighting through the clutter is part and parcel of competing during Black Friday so how about extending your sale? 

Extending out a sale period is not only a move that can drive real brand love and appreciation, but it can also help extend your brand’s revenue uplift period. 

So, consider a Black Friday follow-up campaign. Shift your ad creative, your organic content, your remarketing ads, and your emails to something along the lines of “Our Black Friday deal just won’t quit” and encourage those additional click-throughs.

For consumers who may have missed out on the Black Friday sale, they get another bite at that apple and you can also convert those shoppers who perhaps didn’t buy from you during the burst period.

Just be careful, don’t overdo it and keep the time limited to retain both the associated value and the brand's credibility.

#10 Test and Learn 

Regardless of your strategy for Black Friday, the most important thing you can do is test and learn. No customer journey is linear and it’s essential to trial new navigation, layouts, buttons and ideas ahead of Black Friday so you can discover what works best for your customers. 

That said, the learning doesn’t stop there. Make sure you schedule a post-Black Friday de-brief with your team to uncover what channels drove the biggest return and any feedback you can gather from your users about what they liked/didn’t like. These insights can be fed into campaigns for the New Year, all of which can be tested ahead of the next Black Friday period. 

No matter how much you think you know about your audience, motivations and preferences are always changing and as you grow and expand to new audiences these insights must be learned. The ability to apply a test-and-learn approach combined with behavioural principles and psychological nudges is the key to long-term success. 

Key Takeaways

There’s so much to consider when it comes to Black Friday marketing. With it being the busiest and most lucrative time of year for most eCommerce brands, the most important thing to remember is to make decisions based on the needs of your customers and not just go into broadcast mode with offers that might not be relevant to their wants and needs. 

Once you’ve got that right it’s important to; 

  • Take time to get to know your customers - More than just what you think you know, true audience discovery and psychological testing can massively enhance your marketing performance.
  • Enhance website performance - Focusing on load speeds, broken link reports, speed and server capacity.
  • Utilise long-tail, high-intent keywords - Such as “best Black Friday gardening kit” to attract motivated shoppers seeking particular deals. 
  • Showcase customer reviews - Consider how you collect and display reviews to help satisfy the consumer need for social proof which will also help reduce post-purchase regret in customers. 
  • Simplify the checkout process - Reducing unnecessary steps or simply including a progress bar could help reduce instances of cart abandonment in users.
  • Use price extensions and countdowns - These paid campaign elements help capture the attention of users while scarcity and FOMO help encourage conversions. 
  • Ramp up your social activity - Leverage UGC, video, visuals, gamification techniques and more to really hone in on your social users. 
  • Devise a Digital PR strategy - Journalists are swapped during Black Friday, get in early and build relationships to ensure your pitches get picked up, don’t forget to think outside the box if you want your campaigns to get picked up. 
  • Use psychological nudges for subject lines - Make a good impression and ensure your users take the action you want them to by applying principles such as curiosity and humour. 
  • Think beyond Black Friday - With so many retailers extending their sales beyond the one-day event, consider how you might capture attention and extend your profit period. 
  • Test and learn - No matter what you do this year, make sure you take learnings that can be applied in 2024 and beyond to ensure prolonged marketing success. 

Want some help implementing some of the ideas we’ve discussed above? Get in touch, our marketing experts would love to chat with you.




Erin supports the Marketing Manager in execution of the agency’s marketing strategy and content plan. She uses her creativity and online knowledge to manage the agency’s social media accounts, where she strives to grow and expand the agencies online presence. While being a part of the agency’s vision and growth plans for the future, Erin supports on our key agency events including Aspiration Digital and our Brunch and Learn events.

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