Black Friday PPC Ads Did Not Break the Internet

Google recently published a blogpost with the top trending toys, devices, and apparel searches on Google. It’s critical for advertisers to optimize ads to key holiday retail dates, especially for very popular, trending keyword searches. So I selected five keyword terms from Google’s list and searched for them on Black Friday to find out how they measured up. I was looking for holiday, promotional, and specifically Black Friday tie-ins.

  • iPad
  • Xbox One
  • Fitbit
  • American Girl
  • Nerf Guns

You can see from Google Trends that all searches increased from the beginning of the month, in this chart ending on November 28, 2014 (Black Friday).

I have used “search topics” where available, which counts many different search queries that may relate to the same topic.

search-term-peaks

Despite this clear surge in search volume, I found the majority of major retail advertisers did not customize their ads or landing pages to Black Friday and many do not even mention holiday seasonality.

iPad

Our top searched term yielded really interesting results. First, there are only two top ads. The first is Apple, which does not acknowledge the holiday or Black Friday, but they have a promo for an iTunes gift card with purchase. It also includes the headline “Apple Store – iPad,” which is either brilliant in its simplicity or just plain lazy.

The next one is Best Buy, which maximizes its ad space by including a location extension to my nearest store (there are several Apple stores near me by the way, should Apple utilize ad extensions). They promote “Black Friday Deals.”

Landing pages for both are fine and deliver what is in the ad.

While technically Best Buy gets the prize, I am extremely impressed with our third place ad for Microsoft Surface. It’s a great strategy to bid on competitive products, but I wish it was in the top position. In subsequent searches after Black Friday I did see their ads in the top positions.

ipad-serp

Xbox One

The top ad for my Xbox One search was Toys”R”Us, which had a good ad acknowledging “Black Friday Sale on Xbox One” in line one. The call to action (CTA), “Shop Online at Toys”R”Us Today!”, could have been used to emphasize urgency or availability like, “in stock now,” because some brick-and-mortar stores sold out of the game unit that day. No sitelinks.

The landing page is connected to the ad showing the product and promotional price. However, above the product I see a banner ad for Verizon. Huh? Toys”R”Us, are you selling toys or ad space, because what I see is you have prioritized ad space over product.

toyrus-lp

Fitbit

Google notes that “wearable technology such as the ‘Fitbit’ is also on the rise this month.”

I was surprised to see LL Bean and Kohl’s in the top positions. LL Bean’s ad does not acknowledge holiday or Black Friday, but the landing page is offering 10 percent off an entire order. That would have been nice to include in the ad. Kohl’s does a nice job of maximizing its ad with extensions, but does not mention the holidays or Black Friday.

fitbit-serp

American Girl

Google notes that “American Girl” dolls are one of the top trending searches for toys, yet the company’s number one positioned PPC ad did not mention the holidays or Black Friday. The landing page was the homepage and did not mention the holidays. This seems like a missed opportunity to connect and capture parents willing to shell out $115 for a doll.

Nerf Guns

Last but not least, little boys are adding Nerf Guns to their gift lists and I found Kmart had a nice top placed PPC ad. They make use of ad extensions to promote hot toys and one mentions “gifts,” but there is no mention of Black Friday or deals or holidays. This could have been customized more to the holiday shopping season.

Are you surprised the majority of advertisers didn’t take advantage of optimizing their PPC on this important retail day? Tell us what you experienced in the comments or tweet to discuss to @sewatch or @LisaRocksSEM.

Related reading

ad-network-comparison
linkedin logo
google-logo
facebook ads logo
Simple Share Buttons