Imogen Davies, SEO Account Director at Found


2020 has seen unprecedented uplift in online shopping behaviour, and with the biggest retail event of the year just around the corner, we all need to start nailing down plans to make sure we make the most of what’s to come. To help with that, I have looked at past performance coupled with predictive modelling to determine how Black Friday 2020 is likely to play out. 

As a result, I’ve identified some of the biggest pitfalls you can start planning for to actively avoid falling into traps this year:


1. Don’t mimic 2019, fully.

With the stepchange in online shopping since the pandemic struck, 2020 is poised to see significant uplift in online shopping over the Black Friday period. Just mimicking what you did last year might be enough to see some uplift, but not planning for additional execution will see you fall behind your competitors. Take advantage of your learnings through the pandemic and apply these directly to your Black Friday campaign plans, rather than just looking at what worked in 2019 and planning for the same activity.


2. Don’t rely on your usual devices.

In 2019, 71% of purchases came through mobile devices. While this may be smaller this year with a huge difference in working hours and routines, e.g. fewer people commuting, more people working remotely, mobile is still going to be a huge part of the purchase journey – make sure your websites are ready to convert traffic across different devices. But, that doesn’t mean you can discount other devices – they all play a part in the journey, and on Black Friday specifically, while mobile reigned supreme, desktop was still responsible for a huge portion of online revenue.


3. Don’t stick to one plan.

2020 hasn’t been kind to future-planners, i.e. those who like to plan 3-6 months in advance. However, it has taught us all a valuable lesson in contingency planning. Following the if-this-then-that mentality, plan for multiple scenarios from worst-case to probable to ideal – without a contingency plan you won’t be able to react to last minute changes or government guidance. 


4. Don’t assume your audience is the same.

You may know your normal audience, but you may not know how this changes on Black Friday or through key retail periods. Knowing your audience is going to be fundamental to driving significant performance in 2020, especially with recent surveys suggesting relatively significant differences in buying behaviour across different genders.


5. Don’t just rely on your sector.

From our analysis, different industries tend to fall into different scenario groups, with some seeing peaks in traffic in the evening (7-9pm, predominantly ecommerce) and others seeing peaks around midday (predominantly non-typical Black Friday industries e.g. recruitment) or early morning (predominantly B2B). Knowing how different industries are likely to be performing at different stages of the day will help you plan, and understand, your own campaign and performance data at a much deeper level, allowing for step changes throughout the day as needed to react most effectively.