For shoppers, Black Friday conjures images of big crowds and bigger deals. For retailers, the day that kicks off the holiday shopping season represents a huge opportunity, as holiday sales can account for up to 30% of a retailer’s annual sales.
Black Friday can be a challenge for small and niche retailers, who have to compete with the deep discounts and product giveaways large retailers offer.
Last year, two UK retailers achieved record sales during Black Friday, proving that smaller retailers can run successful holiday campaigns with the right strategies and technology. Mainline Menswear, a luxury menswear shop based in Scarborough, and The Simply Group, an outdoor and active-wear retailer, each garnered strong Black Friday sales by using Adobe Advertising Cloud Search to reach their core audiences and maximize the return on their search advertising spending.
Mainline Menswear boosts sales with a smart search strategy
Mainline Menswear is a digital-first brand that delivers luxury menswear to fashion-conscious shoppers in the United Kingdom and around the world. The menswear retailer has grown a loyal customer base by offering a large selection of top brands and excellent customer service, rather than relying on sales to attract shoppers.
Mainline Menswear adopted Advertising Cloud Search to automate its paid search advertising bidding. With the Performance Optimization feature powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, Mainline set goals and let the algorithms adjust bids automatically.
Moving away from manually bidding on search terms gave Mainline Menswear’s marketing team more time to focus on monitoring long-term campaign performance and effectively scaling campaigns.
Those insights into campaign performance eventually translated into a successful Black Friday strategy. Working with Adobe, Mainline Menswear prioritized spending on Black Friday campaigns that delivered high revenue, not just large numbers of orders. This simple strategy change helped the company become much more competitive over Black Friday. By increasing advertising budgets just 4%, Mainline Menswear increased orders by 33% and revenue by 26% for a 21% increase in return on ad spend.
“Every year, Black Friday becomes more expensive and more competitive,” says Robert Charlton, PPC Lead for Mainline Menswear. “Adobe helped us run test on a few of our biggest campaigns, setting our sights toward revenue goals rather than orders alone. This simple shift in focus increased both orders and revenue without an increase in spending, making us much more competitive on Black Friday.”
The Simply Group reaches customers through the right channels
The Simply Group (TSG) has a flagship store in Faversham, about 50 miles southeast of London, but the retailer reaches audiences around the world through its e‑commerce sites. The company’s four brands—Simply Scuba, Simply Swim, Simply Beach, and Simply Hike – each appeal to a unique audience, which makes targeted advertising critical for the brand.
TSG switched from manually managing paid search campaigns to using Advertising Cloud Search to make sure it was spending its search advertising budget effectively. Spend Recommendations, powered by Adobe Sensei, helps marketers allocate their budgets as efficiently as possible by running comparative analyses and offering suggestions based on marketers’ goals.
Using Ad Cloud also gave TSG valuable insights into which of its advertising channels were performing best, which allowed the marketing team to improve its strategies. For Black Friday week, the marketing team worked closely with their Adobe account team to optimize their paid advertising strategy and Black Friday promotions. The campaign helped TSG increase sales by 5% while decreasing advertising costs by 29%, leading to a 62% increase in returns compared to the previous year.
“The reason why Advertising Cloud is so enticing is because it makes decisions so quantifiable and clear,” says Sally Allsop, head of marketing at TSG. “That helps us clarify our strategy and be more confident that we’re moving in the right direction.”
Another approach to Black Friday success
By tapping into the AI capabilities of Advertising Cloud Search, TSG and Mainline Menswear were not only able to automate their search advertising, they were able to develop better advertising strategies that ultimately led to successful Black Friday campaigns. These retailers demonstrate that with the right intelligence and technology, brands of all sizes can reach their customers on the biggest shopping day of the year.