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Welcome happy readers! This week’s PPCChat discussion was led by guest host Duane Brown. He sought PPCers views on the preparation for Black Friday, are there any articles or blog posts that act as a guide to them, and more. Here is a screencap of the discussion.

Q1. I LOVE Black Friday… so Have you started to prepare for Black Friday/Q4? If not, when do you usually start to prep? Why hasn’t this year been different for your business?

For some of our programs, yes we have. It’s a bit weird this year due to supply chain issues. Can’t run all these programs if you can’t fulfill the orders. @JuliaVyse

I start #blackfriday prep in May because I’m crazy XD That said, most of the work is creative and high level strategy. Execution (especially on the ad platform side) has to wait till closer to the period as there might be changes to the mechanics that change plans. @navahf

Strategy conversations should happen earlier in order to prep creative, messaging, etc. In terms of campaign builds and budgets… maybe ~1-2 months in advance to give proper time to QA and set rules. This year, I could see this being a bigger undertaking. @sonika_chandra

Since we aren’t seeing as much in person shopping and cyber shopping/shopping via ads may be more common. @sonika_chandra

The biggest prep items for me are: 1. Creative I want to run and setting expectations for them. 2. Scheduling out media buys and ensuring learning periods won’t get in the way. 3. Product/service margin conversations to ensure brands don’t fall into the red. @navahf

We started to think about holidays and Black Friday in June-July. But no matter how early we start this conversation, clients often leave things to the last minute when it comes to creative, budget, etc. @Anna_Sorok

Also, I like to complete shopping feed audits and gather all “wants/needs” from a client before September so if we need to make any changes to our campaigns we have enough time before major sales. I try to stop all testing and campaigns updates by Sept-Oct. @Anna_Sorok

We have already started to prep- getting some of the creative approved, looking at stock levels for our clients and competitors, and starting new testing rounds to be ready to scale. You have to have inventory to run ads on Amz so supply chain is key this year. @AMZRobynJohnson

Yes, we started back in July, with a theory that shopping season will start earlier this year like last year. @JonKagan

Q2. For those who may need some inspiration… Are there any blog posts/articles/guides you found to help you prep for Black Friday?

Been seeing some stuff lately: BF Conf today (YES TODAY): CTC post… @duanebrown

Big shout out to @sejournal, @sengineland, @Optmyzr@PPCKirk@MilwaukeePPC@michellemsem@ThinkwithGoogle@MSFTAdvertising, @jimbanks, @adzooma (shameless plug), @SemrushAcademy and #ppcchat resources @navahf

I would read/watch everything @AMZRobynJohnson puts out if you’re doing anything with Amazon and @ebkendo for hybrid online/local retail initiatives. @navahf

The daily covid infection rate reports to remind me how much more people are doing stuff online rather than in person. @JonKagan

Q3. Anyone seen any brands launch their Black Friday deals already? I know I saw some “Black Friday” messaging in July which looks cheesy…

I wish I had some good answers for this – excited to see everyone else’s moments. @navahf

Thankfully no – if it launches in July, it’s not really a Black Friday deal is it? @revaminkoff

I’ve seen some clients run a “soft” sale before actual BF but just a few days or 1-2 weeks ahead @Anna_Sorok

I think it’s smart to get in front of your customers and heavy-up on prospecting, upper-funnel efforts early. BF deals in July seem a bit early to me… You would have to run this sale for a few months and it’s not really a BF sale in this case. @Anna_Sorok

Q4. Have you seen the increased media coverage of supply chain and postal delivery issues cropping up since Q2? Will this impact your business and in what ways?

First – thank you for this question. Yes and yes – however this is also why I neurotically begin planning early so we can get campaigns set up to compensate (especially useful for the tangential services brands so they can position themselves as a BF enabler). @navahf

The chip shortage was bad for brands who sell chip-enable devices. Now having another round of 2020 but what will likely be worse shipping delays. We have been trying to get clients to order stock sooner. Get messaging in market to shop sooner. @duanebrown

A lot of these delivery services need to pay better to attract and hire more people. We are 12+ months into shipping delays and it’s like they are still under water. @duanebrown

Parlaying the shipping risks into CRO efforts (shout out to @justunosocial) will help grease the sales wheels while also mitigating poor customer service experiences. So long as brands build in realistic shipping into the lp/feed, all will be well. @navahf

Yes, it’s definitely something I’m worried about – it’s out of a lot of clients’ control, so they’re going to want to sell x but they only have stock for x – y…. @revaminkoff

Q5. Have you been or thought about pitching your brand to let you test a new ad platform for Q4 this year? We know Google and Facebook will be competitive… while at the same time it’s important to not just rely on those 2 channels for your brand’s growth

I am all about Tiktok right now. That said, there’re still gains to be had on the “conventional” platforms: 1. Youtube/Display/Discovery: cheaper clicks and lots of blitzing power 2. Microsoft Audience/shopping: just do it – the market share argument is old. @navahf

Pinterest, Quora, Twitter, and TikTok are all in play. @revaminkoff

Yes! when I look at my target audience, Twitch is where it’s at! we definitely want to expand to other platforms, but streaming seems to be the main thing right now. @JuliaVyse

I would test Walmart and Target if they didn’t burn me hardcore on getting a PS5…. @navahf

Waze is secretly clutch platform for local folks – super cheap for value and the platform is actually not bad! I agree with Twitch, Quora, reddit mentions too! @navahf

We are talking about diversification on Social. Tik Tok requires heavy investment so we are trying Snap and Pinterest. I am curious to hear what other platforms people are trying besides Google and MSFT ads. @Anna_Sorok

More and more clients are warming up to YouTube ads… I remember days when YT was always a “maybe” but really “never”@Anna_Sorok

I have, trying to expand reach beyond the same old Google and Bing duopoly @JonKagan

Q6. I know we do paid ads, but do you help your brands make sure there is a consistent tone/message across all marketing channels?

Even before us hiring a Klaviyo person to the team this summer. We always wanted to make sure site, emails and paid ads were in sync as much as possible. @duanebrown

This might be part of why I’m crazy, but I consider it part of my job and part of the strategic guidance folks pay me for. If ads say one thing and the organic experience comes across in a different way, there will be too much cognitive dissonance and bouncing. @navahf

Additionally, if there are multiple vendors, it’s mission critical there’s a brand style/tone guide so work comes across uniform. This is doubly important if you serve an international audience and will need to localize messaging (can apply nationally). @navahf

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