Black Friday Ads Strategy: Creative is Everything in 2021

Published by Dina Taitelbaum on

black friday ads creative trends blog post

Black Friday Ads Strategy: Creative is Everything in 2021

It’s this time of the year again! Everybody’s favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are just around the corner and we already feel the holiday spirit!

Sure, we still have over a month because this year, Black Friday falls on November 26th but that’s not much for us, marketers. It’s a good idea to start your holiday marketing now and get yourself a good list of warm leads before you roll out your discounts. 

Like every year, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday receive an incredible hype of online shopping. Consumers, just like brands, await the beginning of winter to plan out the shopping/selling of the holiday season. 

Last year, at the peak of the pandemic, many retailers had to push extra hard to meet the annual sales benchmark. Similar to this year, the marketing efforts started way before the actual sale day. Did it work for them? Surely. We saw a significant increase in sales and engagement in 2020 while terms like, “Buy Now” increased by as much as 50%!

Get ready for an even bigger boost in 2021!

Adobe research shows that this year, we’re expecting a 39% YoY increase of Black Friday sales at $10 billion online sales. Interestingly, small-medium retailers are expected to have a whopping 107% boost to revenue (84% for large retailers). If you’re thinking the pandemic played a role in this revenue increase for small businesses, you’re probably right. Since last year’s online shopping behavior shift, consumers were much more likely to engage with new brands than ever before. 

How did these new retailers catch consumers’ attention? With strategic, data-based digital marketing, and in 2021 (and 2022) creative is everything. Your ad creative is going to be the final factor as to whether your audience will stop and click, purchase or pass.

In order to break through to your customer, catch and keep their attention and convert, marketers need a creative marketing strategy. As a creative analysis solution, we’ve collected insights from the past year to offer ad creative trends that increased CTR and CPP for retailers. 

Creative Strategy for Black Friday ads

pudding.ai insights for black friday ads

To get started, perhaps it could be fun to take a look at some creative insights we’ve observed in Black Friday 2020 ads:

  • Tech consumers were 48% more likely to engage with ads that had a human presence in them, such as a face or a hand.
  • 29% decrease in performance for dark-framed creatives.
  • Squares are outperforming horizon dimensions, while verticals results vary across channels.
  • Videos are short and don’t start with a loud sound.
  • Copy focuses on FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), humor, offers and generally, consumer-focused.

This year, we will only see the actual results after Cyber Monday (obviously). Nonetheless, we can conduct a winning ad creative strategy with creative trends based on this year’s best practices.

These best practices came from Pudding.ai Platform insights, based on data we collected and processed from the beginning of 2021.
use
  • A human presence. Best results are performed with a close-up of a single person.
  • Use text on a solid background within your creative. Experiment with all caps and make sure to include your brand name. 
  • In your copy, don’t be afraid of question marks, emojis and URL links. Use plural pronouns.
  • Your videos should be high-motion framed and no longer than 15 seconds, and try to show 1-2 objects at a time.
  • Discount offers and CTAs should only be used in your end-of-the-funnel conversion campaigns, NOT in the brand awareness ones (that you’re probably running now in October). 
  • Square and vertical dimensions are most recommended.
avoid
  • Overly descriptive copy with singular pronouns.
  • Bright frames.
  • All caps in brand awareness campaigns.
  • Multiple people.
  • FOMO and discount offers in the beginning-of-the-funnel.

Yes, that’s a lot of data put in a dense bullet-point list. 

The idea is to help you get a clear picture of ad creative elements that work for your images, videos, and copy – something you can screenshot and use as a cheat sheet or send over to your creative team.

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Keep in mind…

Some of these elements perform differently based on the stage the campaign is at. For example, discount offers or the usage of all caps can impact positively or negatively so you have to understand how and when to use them that will work for your product/service. 

Generally though, we’ve noticed that both discounts and all caps don’t add to the ad performance in an early stage campaign. However, they are a great way to push for that conversion at the end of the funnel. In other words, wait with the discounts until Black Friday sale day (or right before if you’re promoting an early-bird offer).

The key to campaign success is strategy, make sure your creative strategy fits your marketing one. Plan your campaign in phases, setting a specific goal for each phase. October is a great time for you to split test everything – placements, creatives, and audiences because the CPMs are much cheaper than they will be in November.

Want to keep reading? Here’s a list of all of Pudding.ai ad creative reports from 2021:
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