Black Friday - the epic day of large discounts and retail offers, has quickly morphed from an occasion accompanying American Thanksgiving into a global phenomenonIn expanding beyond single day event to also include Cyber Mondaythis has become one of the most important periods of the year for advertisers and retailers alike 

With the global pandemic showing no signs of abating, we expect 2020’s Black Friday to be drastically different from past years. We will not see the familiar scenes of long lines and massive crowds of shoppers around the world. Instead, retailers will be limited in what they can safely offer for in-person shopping and instead will rely heavily on e-commerce propositions which they have spent the past year strengthening. Stock will undoubtedly be affected by a skewed supply chain, meaning potential for both shortage or surplus in certain casesAdditionallyplanning for an uncertain period far beyond the holiday season means purchases are likely to be as strategic as they are impulsive. 

Some things will of course remain the same - these days mean a lot of noise, where priority items that users are actively searching for can get lost in the messaging. A fluid approach to supply and demand means digital strategies must be agile and adeptTo a new advertiser, this is not necessarily a bad thing as in such a uniquely conscientious year, many consumers will be aware and open to emerging brands who are able to deliver a compelling message. The ability to promote with relevance whilst reacting appropriately and with immediate effect will lead to large marginal gains for all brands 

During this unique season, there are a few key areas where you can harness Adform FLOW’s ability to optimize campaigns, engage customers and deliver the best ROI for effortless modern marketing. 

Choose Algorithms Designed to Maximize Your Result

Consumer behavior is migrating online at unprecedented rates, with over 50% of buyers in the US saying they have increased their online spending as a result of COVID19. This means online retailers have access to even more data for training algorithmic models to optimize towards the best KPIs. Adform FLOW is built to deliver a superior Augmented Intelligence empowered user experience; providing our clients the perfect environment to combine the power of machine automation and precision with human nuance and strategic optimization.  

At this time of year, online retailers need to focus on two key algorithm modelsCost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). 

Cost Per Acquisition: The CPA algorithm has been a core part of Adform’s suite of algorithms for years, bearing the bulk of the optimization heavy-lifting on performance campaigns. One of the challenges with CPA algorithms is that they traditionally have relied on an extended training period requiring a number of conversions to build a model of the ideal audience for the campaign before it was possible to target ads based on how closely new audiences resemble the model. With Adform FLOW, our data scientists have released a new version of the CPA algorithm which doesn’t require any previous conversion data to start optimization and targeting.  

The enhanced intelligence of the CPA algorithm creates a model based on consumer behavioand engagement which is indicative of a future conversion. As conversions occur, the algorithm adjusts the model based on the new data, constantly improving 

For our clients, this means you can immediately activate CPA optimization on any campaign – even if there’s no conversion data in the platform. A vital update just in time for the busiest time of year for e-commerce. 

Return on Ad Spend: The ROAS algorithm takes the principles of CPA but includes the option of adding specific sales values to the machine learning optimization process. For example, a telco retailer can pass the customer lifetime value for each completed mobile contract, or an insurance firm can pass the value of covered contents in the plan. By configuring conversion pixels with a sales value variable, you can optimize campaigns to a specific ROAS KPI. This represents the ‘Holy grail’ for advertisers: not only using Augmented Intelligence to find the right audience for your brand, but also drive sales of higher value. 

Get Creative and Personalize with DCO

Allowing the most advanced algorithms to find the ideal audience is one thing, but what about the message itself? Overlooking the creative part of optimization can undermine the efficacy of campaigns, which is a major concern as we enter the most competitive time of year for online advertising.  

With Adform FLOW you can seamlessly integrate Dynamic Creative with programmatic buying strategies, ensuring that targeting, optimization and creative tactics are perfectly aligned. For retailers, this means an easy method to both update products and offers depending on the programmatic strategy and audience, while simultaneously harnessing creative auto-optimization: algorithms which show the best version of your creative according to performance KPIs.  

While many choose to combine separate point solutions for DCO and DSP, uniting these in one integrated platform uncovers a range of benefits: a single UI and workflow, perfect alignment between creative and programmatic strategies, and algorithms trained from both creative and engagement data to deliver the best results. On Black Friday in particular, it will be essential for advertisers to be able to react quickly and in real-time to adjust their messaging. They need to have the agility to respond to data they see about stock levels, demand from consumers and be able to adjust prices as needed to stay competitive. It will also be key to have a strategy for retargeting customers who navigate away from the site or abandon their cart to make sure that they are getting as many purchase completions as possible.  

To help your campaign stand out from the rest, our Production team has created multiple DCO Pro examples showing how to utilize Adform’s extensive DCO capabilities. Please contact your Adform representative for more information to learn if you are eligible for a free mock-up service through the end of the year.  

Focus on Audience Management

As consumers flock to shopping online rather than physical stores, audience data opportunities will increase for almost all retailers. While many will have DMP and audience management technologies in place, it is all too common for audience activation to be frustrated by poor match rates and sub-optimal integrations between platforms.  

With Adform FLOW, a single platform for both your DMP and DSP guarantees 100% match rates and real-time activation of audiences. This gives retailers the foundation of knowing creative and targeting will reflect their customers’ choices instantly. For example, strategies can be set to show a consumer a different creative or exclude them from targeting after a purchase is made. An inadequate integration between audience management and campaign activation results in wasted media spend on the wrong messages and audiences.  

By combining your audience management with the rest of Adform FLOW, retailers can leverage the most useful solutions ad tech has to offer for e-commerce: from lookalike modelling and cross-device extension, to the most advanced attribution measurement and incremental performance evaluation.

Future Proof Your Strategy 

The only thing certain in 2020, is uncertainty.  While many indicators point to one of the most profitable Black Friday’s in history, no one truly knows how consumers are going to engage.  The best strategy is to prepare in advance, and then adapt in real-time with flexible strategies that allow you to hedge your bets while capturing key opportunities. Adform FLOW gives marketers valuable tools to be able to execute their campaigns successfully not only on Black Friday, but continuing well beyond this busy buying weekend into the full holiday shopping season.    

Leveraging the power of Adform FLOW’s effortless modern marketing is essential for Brick and Mortar stores needing to double down on their strategic thinking when it comes to how they activate and capture digital data for physical shops.  It’s also essential to think about your more long-term strategy and how you’ll activate your Black Friday data over the coming year as consumers return to in-person shopping and hybrid experiences. 

Want to know how to get started?  
Download our quick reference handout for the Top 5 Tips for Black Friday Success.