Black Friday is a huge opportunity for ecommerce businesses, this year in particular we expect to see an even bigger increase in online sales due to lockdown restrictions.

As we know, in digital marketing, it’s essential to measure as much as possible in order to best understand which channels work for you and help you achieve your goals.

Here, I’ll explain four key requirements to help you measure your Black Friday success.

1) Give your Google Analytics a health check!

If you’re reading this blog, we assume you’re using Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic. If not, we strongly recommend using Google Tag Manager to get everything setup.

The marketing decisions you make are only ever as good as the data you’ve used to make them. It’s therefore essential to give your analytics a health check once in a while to ensure your data is accurate and trustworthy.

We recommend as a minimum the following areas of your analytics setup are checked to ensure your most basic insights are accurate. 

  • Are all your pages consistently tracking page views?
  • Are you reported leads or transactions accurate in GA?
    • Compare this with your internal systems. Small discrepancies are expected but anything considerable should be investigated
  • If using external payment gateways, have their domains been added to your referral exclusion list?
    • If users are sent away from your website to enter their card details, their return visit to your checkout success page can be tracked as a referral from your card processor! Make sure the original source of your customer is given the credit!
  • Ensure you have appropriate filters added to your main GA view.
    • Exclude internal traffic
    • Avoid duplicate URLs tracking (lowercase all URLs and remove query strings via filters)

These checks are just a small section of our health check and our full analytics audit service. Want a copy of our full analytics audit checklist? We provide this as a free whitepaper which can be downloaded here.

2) Use trackable URLs

You’ll likely want to promote your Black Friday sale around the web. This is essential to let as many people as possible know about your sale and how they could benefit.

It’s always worth using a trackable URL in your promotions. This enables you to see how many people click on the links and where they were when they did, whether it was a link from a social channel or an email.

There are various ways to create trackable URLs, if you are unfamiliar with UTM tracking, we recommend reading our complete guide to UTM tracking before continuing! 

Google URL Builder

The Google URL builder allows you to add parameters into your URLs that are then visible within your Google Analytics attribution reports.

To use the Google URL Builder, go to https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/.

Here, you need to drop in the URL you plan to promote.

You’ll then need to set the parameters you want to track. This means setting the source, medium and campaign name as a minimum.

Your ‘source’ is the channel on which the link is placed. So if you are running a paid Facebook ad, you might choose ‘facebook’ as your source.

The medium is the method through which the link is promoted. Using the example above of a Facebook ad, your medium could be ‘cpc’ for cost-per-click. Whilst you may have other naming conventions for your paid traffic, cpc, cpm or just ‘paid’ are popular. The key here is to ensure consistency between your paid channels.

You can differentiate this from other Facebook ads by using the campaign UTM parameter, e.g. ‘Black Friday’. Additionally the content UTM parameter can be used to further identify the exact ad and creative.

It’s worth noting that most platforms now will create these UTM parameters automatically but it’s crucial to test they are enabled by previewing your ads and physically clicking the URLs. There’s nothing worse than realising halfway through a promotion your traffic hasn’t been correctly tracked!

3) Black Friday discount codes

Another way to track the effects of your Black Friday campaigns whilst also engaging users with your sale is through the use of discount codes.

Discount codes can be provided through any channel of your choosing and in any format, but you must be able to collect those codes at checkout.

Let’s say you were running a Facebook campaign around your Black Friday sale. You might offer 20% off all homeware on your site when customers use the code “FBBF20”.

In this example, “FB” would denote the source ‘Facebook’, “BF” the event ‘Black Friday’ and “20” the percentage discount. But it really doesn’t matter what the code itself says, just that you are able to attribute it to a source.

Discount codes can also be used in the run up to Black Friday to create a buzz. You might decide to give out discount codes to previous customers, for example, via an email marketing campaign, where that code is only accepted between certain dates or on Black Friday itself. This way, you can create hype before the event even starts.

It’s important you keep a record of the codes you distribute and that your back end system is able to report on codes used during the checkout process.

4) Not all about sales…

Now this might seem counter intuitive, but it’s not all about sales when it comes to Black Friday success tracking.

Though you want to make sales, it may not be your only KPI. Equally, if yours is a website that doesn’t actually make sales online, such as a lead generation site, you’ll want to measure other metrics relating to engagement and leads.

It’s valuable to include other goals in your assessment of your campaign’s value. For example, you might choose to encourage people to sign up for email updates to let them know about future sales. Counting email sign ups is a really strong metric to see how well the campaign engaged its target audience.

You might also choose to monitor visits to certain product pages that are promoted as part of the Black Friday campaign. By looking at how many people come to those pages, you can compare this against previous years and gain insight into how much a promotion increases the appeal of that product.

This is why it is essential to run a health check to ensure the other performance metrics you are monitoring are accurate. 

Why track Black Friday campaigns?

Tracking your Black Friday campaign is really important.

Particularly when you’re offering a discount or a special deal, it’s essential you monitor the return on that campaign in order to avoid missing out on revenue that might have been achieved otherwise. For example, if you find that there’s no uplift in the number of sales of a particular product vs non-sale periods, you may have simply reduced the price and therefore lost out on profit margin.

That said, if you see the number of sales increase, this is a great indicator that either your marketing campaigns have been successful, or the price pre-sale was off-putting for customers. By delving deeper into the detail, you’ll identify which it is.

If you’re investing in Black Friday campaigns and want support to help you make the most of it, or you’re interested in getting an analytics health check or audit, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Harry Brace

Web Analytics Specialist

Harry is the Web Analytics Specialist at Impression

Harry has specialist knowledge in Web Analytics.

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