Top 5 Walmart.com Advertising Optimizations Before Black Friday

Black Friday has always been an important and valuable day for advertisers. Increasingly, Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions have seen higher volumes and offer greater potential for eCommerce advertising.  

Last year, Buy Online Pickup In-Store sales on Black Friday grew 64% from 2018. This year, Walmart eCommerce sales increased 74% with a 400% increase in new shoppers. Even though Walmart will be spreading out their Black Friday deal days across multiple weekends this November, we still expect that the traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period in 2020 will be another record-breaking year for eCommerce.

To help prepare brands to use paid search to win leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder & Pacvue hosted a webinar on Wednesday October 7th. During “Mastering Paid Search for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2020,” Pacvue’s Zach Zaerr outlines 5 optimizations to focus on before Black Friday on Walmart.com.

Launch Ad Campaigns Early

While days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday will see a significant jump in activity, Q4 overall sees much higher traffic on Walmart. Aim to launch your ad campaigns at the beginning of Q4 (yes, a month ago) or as early as possible.

Launching your campaign ahead of these major sale days will help you build up your relevancy score now to win bid placements later. It will also improve brand awareness as consumers begin their research process.

Most importantly, the earlier you launch your ad campaigns, the more time you have to test. During the peak periods such as Black Friday on Walmart, you’ll be paying more for ads and you won’t have time to refine your strategy. While CPC are relatively cheaper, test dayparting strategies, different Sponsored Brand landing pages, page copy, keyword targeting, and audience segments.

Update Your Targeting

Your focus for most of the year should be on brand specific terms as consumers are generally more informed about what they are looking for when online shopping. During Q4, we see a spike in consumers using more general search terms. People don’t know exactly what they want but they have an idea.

This year, due to COVID-19 increasing eCommerce use, we’ve seen this trend as new-to-online shoppers use more brand-agnostic search terms. Make sure your targeting strategy takes this shift into account.

Optimize Your Bids

With consumers shopping at higher volumes in Q4 and during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, it is important to tighten your bid strategy and reduce spend on less successful items before their costs start to increase. On Walmart, low CTRs may also affect your quality score. Decrease bids on keywords that have a lot of impressions but few clicks or sales and increase bids on keywords that meet or exceed your ACoS efficiency goals.  

It is important to remember that Walmart is a different platform than Amazon or Google. Because of their “First Price Auction” model, be sure to set a bid cap to keep CPCs in check.

Prepare for Budget Fluidity

There are two major considerations in terms of budget fluidity - daypart bidding and timing of spend. Your goal for daypart bidding is to focus your bids for the most valuable visibility and when you expect shoppers to spend. The eCommerce golden hours are typically 6-9PM. Pacvue found that every doubling of impressions leads to a 92% growth in sales.  

In terms of timing of spend, don’t be afraid to increase budgets on a well-performing campaign earlier in the quarter. A guaranteed sale now is more valuable than a potential sale later in the season. This is especially true in 2020 where we expect to see earlier than normal shipping cut-offs.

Refine Your Sponsored Product Ads

Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, conduct a review of the products that you are advertising on Walmart. Make sure you are leaning into the SKUs and most exciting deals that are performing well with auto campaigns. Consider pulling budget from less exciting products to increase the focus on these deals.

Walmart also provides functionality to set multipliers for different ad placements which can be used to get complementary products on item placements. Getting your ad on a complementary item page can open up strong cross-sell opportunities.

If this is your first year advertising on Walmart, make sure you get started early enough and test out your strategies. Even if you are already familiar with advertising on Walmart, this should be a very different year and it is important to start now to learn about the new consumers in the market and keep up with your competitors.

The increase in eCommerce consumers and the growing relevance of Walmart’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales make this a very important quarter for advertisers. Make sure to use the unique features Walmart offers, test out your campaigns, and execute.

For more insights on mastering paid search on Walmart for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020, check out the full webinar recording.

Manufacturers often face situations where they have two or more brands that compete in the same space or category
by 
Riku Laitasalo

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