The Google Ads Black Friday Checklist

Online Advertising

Conversations about Black Friday weekend have started to creep in already with some of my clients. It’s great to plan ahead for such a major event as, speaking from experience, leaving things until the last minute will hamper the potential returns you could generate over such a lucrative weekend. Below are some of my tips for getting the most out of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend. 


  1. Plan Offers/Promos Well in Advance 

Get ahead and finalise your promotions and offers well in advance so you or your agency can begin to plan your strategy and create your content. 

It may also take longer than usual for new ad copy to be approved if Google is overwhelmed by the volume of new ads being submitted, so it would be beneficial to get ahead of the competition. 


  1. Smart Bidding 

    This is something I would stress throughout the year, but when you are hitting your peak period I believe it’s imperative that the majority of your campaigns are incorporating a smart bidding strategy where possible.

    Google’s Machine learning tools can manipulate your bids at every auction based on the likelihood of a conversion from any given click. Smart bidding campaigns give you the flexibility to choose your desired target, and you can adjust these at a campaign or ad group level. This allows you to be more aggressive for products with higher importance.

  2. Utilising smart bidding over your peak period will allow you to focus more of your time toward other important tasks mentioned in this list.


  1. Set The Correct Attribution Model

    Over the Black Friday weekend, the majority of your customers will be jumping from website to website, comparing promotions and prices, to get the best possible deal for the products they want to purchase; and who can blame them? 

    With this in mind, you must use the correct attribution model for your business so that you understand how your paid search ads have contributed towards the overall success in your Bank Holiday weekend marketing strategy. 

    If you’re unsure of which attribution model is best for you, then you can compare them within the Google Ads interface. Simply click Tools & Settings > Attribution (Under Measurement) > Model Comparison. 
  2. Review Previous Years’ Performance 

    To get an understanding of what works and what doesn’t work over the Black Friday weekend, it’s advised that you should review your strategy from previous years to gauge what worked, what didn’t work, and what could be done better this time around. 

    Was your promotion strong enough? Was your ad copy compelling enough for customers? Did we have strong visibility? Were our budgets adequate? These are all questions you should be asking your agency in anticipation of the most important retail weekend of the year. 
  3. Ad Copy

    It is vital that you get your ad copy down to a T before the big weekend, as it could be the difference between gaining a new customer or them looking elsewhere. 

    Sign off any new creatives with your agency with plenty of time to spare so everybody is satisfied and confident with content that is being supplied to the end-user.

  4. Your ad copy must adequately promote the offer you are making available and it must be prominent and compelling. You should also try to create a sense of urgency within the ad to influence the decision making of your customers.
  6. Extensions

    Ensure that you make use of all of the ad extension types in your search campaigns to serve as much information as possible to your potential customers, which will improve your CTR. 

    Promotion extensions are an exceptional way of showcasing your promotions and to separate you from your competition, so we highly recommend using these. 

    Furthermore, you should be updating the extensions that you should already be using, such as sitelinks, callouts and structured snippets to display as much information as possible and take up precious space on the results page, which is even more important on mobile devices.
  8. Merchant Promotions 

    You must apply any promotion you wish to run on shopping ads in your Merchant Centre with plenty of time to spare in case Google rejects them for not adhering to their specifications. Approval waiting times can also be affected during this time, so do yourself a favour and give yourself enough time to deal with any rejections that may come through. 

  9. Automated Rules 

    This is so important! I urge you to label your new ads and use automated rules to enable and pause your promotional ads at the right times. You don’t want to be showing an ad for your promotion after it has ended, as it will lead to high costs and no conversions to show for it. 
  10. Audiences 

    You must re-engage with people that are familiar with your brand, as many people will be researching in preparation for the big weekend. With this in mind, it’s important that you create audiences for these people for re-engagement.

  11. We also recommend using affinity and in-market audiences. These are predefined audiences created by Google based on users’ browsing history. You will be able to select audiences that are relevant to your industry, and people within these audiences are more likely to resonate with your brand and products. 
  12. Ad Scheduling

    Finally, check your ad scheduling. Ensure that there are no large negative bid adjustments over the weekend so you don’t miss out on potential impressions, clicks and conversions. It may well be that through the year weekends are poor performers, but you want as much visibility over this weekend as possible.