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The retail marketer’s Black Friday checklist

Microsoft Advertising’s top tips for retail marketers ahead of Black Friday

The advent of a late Black Friday in 2019 means that there is going to be a more intense window of shopping activity at the end of November. With such a competitive peak, it’s important to take every advantage to maximise your reach. Here are Microsoft Advertising’s top three Black Friday tips for retail marketers.

1. Shopping campaigns

At the top of our list is Microsoft Shopping campaigns. If you haven't previously used Microsoft Shopping campaigns, there's never been a better time to start. With Google Import, you can import campaigns and changes directly from your Google feed, reducing the time spent optimising for Google and Bing.

In addition to this, you can join the open beta for shopping campaigns in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria–just in time for the peak season. Expanding your existing campaigns into new markets is one of the quickest ways you can expand your reach this season. 
Also new in 2019 is our launch of the shopping tab in both France and Germany. These give dedicated pages on the SERP just for shopping ads. We’ve also increased the prominence of ad placements, putting 3-4 product ads in the mainline position. You can now also get up to 18 product ads on a mainline carousel to give you more impressions and clicks.

2. Dynamic Search Ads

Our second pick is Dynamic Search Ads. With such a frenzy of activity in the build-up to Black Friday, even the most observant search marketer is going to miss something. DSA is a great way to catch the keywords that fall through the cracks of your campaigns.

Over the last year we’ve been improving DSA to deliver more value for advertisers. Currently available in three European markets including UK, France and Germany, DSA conversions have increased by 90% in Europe and CPCs are 30% cheaper than non-exact keywords. With DSA page feeds you now have the option to prioritise high-performing URLs and associate them with your campaign. This has increased average conversions by 13%.

We have also added auto-bidding functionality to DSA to allow our algorithms to optimise your campaigns in real time. So whether you want to maximise clicks or conversions, or set your campaign to achieve a target CPA, you can now optimise your DSA campaigns to the metrics that matter to your business.

3. Partner Network

Partnership is a part of Microsoft’s DNA and we would not be the business we are today without the help of our partners. In the European retail vertical, 20% of our total clicks and 60% of our mobile clicks come from search partners. We’ve also launched shopping campaigns on Yahoo! Mobile, as well as new placements on Gumtree and Ecosia to add to your reach.

Opting into the Partner Network is the best way to achieve more clicks and conversions at a reasonable cost. Thanks to new smart pricing algorithms, partner CPCs are 35% cheaper than standard search traffic. In this way, you gain additional reach with the control you need to maximise your ROI.

By utilising these three core ad formatsMicrosoft Shopping campaigns, DSA and the Partner Networkyou will give yourself the best chance to expand your reach during the peak retail period, while hopefully experiencing a very successful end to 2019. 

Watch Microsoft Advertising's top tips for retail marketers ahead of Black Friday.