How to Estimate Black Friday Campaigns: an Ultimate Guide on Understanding Results

Gayane Tamrazyan
Understanding Black Friday Results

The holiday season is here. You’ve prepared your online mall in advance: added a banner, a countdown clock, or a pop-up, introduced discounts and coupons, and set down ad campaigns. It is still not the time to relax. Planning Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), think about how you’re measuring them.

It’s critical to know if you can measure the things you’d like to measure. Your business goal for this Black Friday sale will be to: 

  • Set Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and targets per KPI;
  • Have a measurement plan with goals so that everything you want to track is implemented;
  • Check if you have data about your conversion rate, the shopping behavior, product performance and revenue throughout all channels;
  • Calculate the real profit and make conclusions for the next year’s BFCM campaigns.

Set the right KPIs 

1. Website Uptime

Website uptime is the time that a web app is available to its visitors over a given period. 

uptime ÷ total time = availability percent

The above formula shows that to provide a 99.999% uptime you’ll need 5.25 minutes of downtime during one year. If you are not a mission-critical service or a hospital system, the sufficient availability is 99.99 (or 52 minutes and 36 seconds of downtime annually). The formula tells about the actual availability for an app and doesn’t include other factors such as performance.

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

For example, a website may be up and running but with a poor availability. On Black Friday your online brand’s site may experience traffic spikes due to influx of visitors. Although your site is not down, your servers might reach a defined level of capacity. New visitors would be redirected to an apology page informing them about a heavy traffic and the need to revisit the site another time. Your site didn’t crash and was up but the actual availability decreased. To avoid disappointing potential buyers on your site and losing revenue during the holiday season, you may ask your host to preliminary increase the server capacity. With our Cloud Hosting solution, our customers are never left alone with their traffic spikes and forced downtime. If you are not with us, ask your host to temporarily increase the server capacity throughout the holiday season to allow boosting promotions and discounts and sustain high loads. 

Tracking your site uptime, you can monitor and timely detect and fix any issues that may arise. You can do it on your own using Google Analytics (not the best way) or rely on your host provider (they should have an SLA where the uptime is already set and followed).

2. Page Load Time

The Page Load Time is the amount of time for a website to load.

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

This metric should be short to ensure satisfaction with your site by users. Constantly monitoring it with Google Analytics, you can remove glitches before it’s too late. 

No need to say that traffic spikes and a big number of visitors to your online store or marketplace prolongs this value. So keep your finger on the pulse and refer to the hosting provider to find out reasons and solutions to make your page load time shorter. 

3. Searched keywords

These are the words or statements your visitors type into your site search. These terms are important for online brand owners to understand what their target audience is looking for and how to make the content more relative to their interest.

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

You increase the conversion rate with the right understanding of your users’ needs. As the holiday season is the time of biggest inflow of visitors, with this metric you know which product to promote and where users get stuck on your site. Besides, it gives valuable insights about the SEO words to use while crafting your product descriptions and other content in your online store. 

4. Total Revenue

This is nothing but the amount of all completed purchases on your site in USD.

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

This is generally the number one any eCommerce brand should focus throughout the holiday season. It is calculated by adding the total for all completed purchases.

[ Sum of all ($) purchases ] = ($) Total Revenue

5. Average Order Value

Also known as AOV. It is an average amount of USD buyers spend from a purchase on your site. 

The value is calculated through dividing the total revenue by the number of orders. It can be calculated monthly, weekly or daily.

($) total revenue / (#) orders placed = ($) Average Order Value

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

With this metric in hands you better realise your customer purchasing behavior. It also correlates with the total profit. The higher AOV is, the more effective (or cheaper) your strategy is to acquire buyers with no extra costs. At this, AOV can decline due to discounts for the holiday season. It’s critical to track this metric to make sure you don’t spend too much effort attracting low-value customers with heavy discounting.

6. Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

This is the percentage of shoppers who added items to their carts but abandoned before completing the purchase.

1 – [ (#) completed purchases / (#) shopping carts created ] / 100 = (%) Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

You can timely deal with possible hang-ups during the checkout process and retarget such buyers to help them complete their purchases. Experts say that the abandonment rate can be caused by poor usability of the website. So, before the holiday season the total checkup of the website UX/UI design should be done.

7. Conversion Rate 

Conversion rate reflects the percentage of the visitors who took a desired action on your site – a purchase. It shows how effectively you convert visitors into buyers. It can be calculated daily, weekly, and/or monthly:

(#) of website sessions / (#) completed purchases = (%) Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

Conversion rate is the most important indicator telling if you draw the right audience to your site. The holiday season is the ultimate check of how appealing your online store or marketplace is in terms of the page load time, application forms, content relevance, right audience, and unique selling proposal.

8. Social Sentiment

Can be neutral, positive or negative. It is how people treat your brand on social media. 

[ (#) Positive Mentions – (#) Negative Mentions ] / [ (#) Positive Mentions + (#) Negative Mentions ] x 100 = (%) Social Sentiment

Why monitor this metric over the holiday season?

Measuring this value you know your buyers’ expectations, satisfaction, and experience with your brand and can adjust it very quickly depending on the feedback. It is critical to track it during Black November activities as this is the high season for online brand owners to receive the feedback about their products. 

Get it done with Google Analytics

Knowing what the shopping and checkout behavior is before Black Friday gives you an opportunity to compare this data with the data you collected during the last year campaign. This gives you all the insights into whether or not the behavior during your Black Friday campaign is different and how to make it better the next time.

1. Check your goals

Implementing goals will help you to estimate your visitors’ behaviour: 

  • whether they pressed the ‘add-to-cart’ button or not,
  • completed the order,
  • or filled in the form. 

Since Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both focused around shopping, your campaign goals would be strongly tied up to a specific number of sales, conversions, or revenue. Planning to promote a new product, you may want to set a goal for the number of items you want to sell during the campaign. Offering a discounted subscription, it would be better tracking the conversions. 

It is equally important to have your goals connected with the funnel for the checkout process to understand where people drop off. On Black Friday, this data will help you to check for glitches. A sudden drop can be a symptom of a technical issue with your site. 

Goals can be created in the ‘Admin’ section in Google Analytics. Go to Goals, View, then click New Goal.

2. Implement events 

Adding banners, pop-ups or any other element to your website, don’t forget about events. With the introduction of events connected with goals, you’ll be able to analyze how well you perform. Google Tag Manager makes it easy to implement events.

3. Introduce UTM tags

To track all traffic sources to your site (social media or ad in your newsletters), you should add UTM tags to the target links. It is recommended to use consistent tags throughout the entire Black Friday so that you could analyze the success of all your marketing efforts. Let’s examine some examples:

a. You promote a post on Facebook. The tag will look like:

b. You share a text link in the newsletter.  The tag will look like:

https://example.com/store/#utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=blackfriday2020&utm_content=textlink

c. You add a button to a blog post. The tag will look like:

https://example.com/store/#utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=blackfriday2020&utm_content=button

These examples show blackfriday2020 as the campaign UTM tag. It is the one throughout the Black Friday campaign on purpose. With a consistent tag, you track how well all sources perform for a BlackFriday sales purpose. 

4. Add campaigns in Google Analytics 

It will allow you to optimize your efforts during the sale. Put more money in ads on channels that lead to more sales.

5. Check real-time stats for Black Friday

Keep an eye on real-time stats, if you see a sudden drop in the number of users on your site, perhaps your site’s down. If you’ve just sent a newsletter, and nobody is coming to your site from it through the UTM tags, perhaps the link is broken. Tracking this data with Google Analytics will help to promptly respond and save time and revenue.

Estimate sales and profit

Studying the prior year results, online retailers can estimate the current-year sales and profits and the impact of promotions.

Sales

Begin with reviewing the performance of last year:

Absolute Increase in Sales = Sales During Promotional Period – (Average Daily Sales before Promotion x Number of Promotional Days)

Promotional Lift = Absolute Increase in Sales ÷ (Average Daily Sales before Promotion x Number of Promotional Days) x 100

For example, you sold $20,000 on Black Friday last year. Your Average Daily Sales before Promotion was $15,000. The Absolute Increase in Sales was $20,000-$15,000 = $5,000. Your Promotional Lift was $5,000 ÷ $15,000 x 100 = 33 percent.

To forecast this year’s sales, calculate your Average Daily Sales before Promotion and multiply it by (1+ Promotional Lift). If your Average Daily Sales before Promotion in 2019 was $16,000, your total expected promotional sales would be $16,000 x (1+0.33) = $21,280.

Profit

Measure this year profit against your goals and previous year’s results. This metric shows how much did you earn during a promo period and give useful insights for the next promotions focusing on popular items, successful campaigns, and introducing targets for the next year.

Estimate social media results

You’re doing something special during BFCM weekend: publish more posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Perhaps you’re sending a special newsletter to the Black Friday sale. What channels drive the most sales and profits? 

Promotions on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are very competitive. Lots of online retailers seek shoppers’ attention. Carefully examine your social media marketing channels during the holiday period. Identify the best mix of channels, and put the emphasis on those channels that bring more profit.

Choosing goals for social media

Focus whether on:

  • Engagement;
  • Making sales, 
  • Setting goals for the number of likes, comments, views, and shares.

Let’s examine Instagram social media. You need to consider how you convert your customers:

  • For example, with the Instagram Shops and Checkout tools, you can track how many people tapped to see more product details or clicked on Shop now. Run an Excel spreadsheet fixing all the results.
  • Using it to drive traffic to your website and complete a purchase, monitor the website clicks (with Linkin.bio, you can use their analytics for the same purpose).

Like with any other source, your BFCM Instagram campaign will be effective if you put all the efforts targeting the right audience: including their demographics (age, gender, and location), and motivation (interests and pain points) that drive their purchasing decision. 

Ask yourself the following issues:

  • What content do they engage with the most?
  • Do they like: photos or videos?
  • How do stickers, hashtags perform in terms of engagement?
  • What communities do they follow?

Understanding your buyer persona, you can further nail down your campaign goal and your target audience.

Specify the length of your campaign depending on your particular goals. Note: the longer your campaign is, the more difficult is to keep momentum.

If you run a one-day Black Friday promo, you need to break down the time when each product is promoted throughout all channels. 

Running a week-long campaign with multiple giveaways and sales, you can start an early-bird promo in the late-October! 

When teaming up with influencers, you should consider their timelines.

Closing

Hope these guidelines will help to accurately measure your holiday season campaign to learn more about your business and customers, make relevant conclusions, and evolve with the next-year Black Friday – Cyber Monday campaign. Our eCommerce experts can assist you in prepping your store for the Holiday Season connecting more analytics tools to your CS-Cart/ Multi-Vendor platform, or making your dashboard more handy so that you can focus on growing!

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket