Black Friday, an American shopping holiday, is now one of the busiest online shopping days in Australia. Research by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan predicts that Australians will spend $11 billion on gifts this year with a main focus on e-commerce purchases.
One website hosting the hottest deals on e-commerce purchases is OzBargain.com.au. It’s one of the Top 100 websites in Australia with 44 million views monthly. Founder of the site Scott Yang told Publift, a Sydney adtech startup, how important Black Friday is for his site — the highest eCPMs achieved during the year have consistently fallen on the Black Friday weekend, with a 93% increase from their yearly average and almost one-fifth of their November revenue being made that weekend.
Based on OzBargain’s achievements, the significance of Black Friday for digital publishers cannot be overlooked. This holiday has gained popularity globally with many international and local retailers starting sales prior to Black Friday to build anticipation for D-day on November 29. As more users flock online to look for deals, advertisers will want to make the most of it by sourcing quality ad inventory on publishers’ websites. eCPM rates and revenue usually skyrocket during this period as buyers are prepared to pay higher eCPM if users on a site have higher buying intent.
Since 2006, Scott has been running OzBargain where many users will be visiting to source deals in preparation for one of the biggest sales of the year. Publift interviews Scott on how OzBargain prepares for this busy weekend and how other publishers can maximize their ad revenue during this period.
- Why is Black Friday such an important day for online businesses specifically?
With Black Friday (plus the week leading into it and the Cyber Monday afterward), it's the time of the year where consumers all get online looking for bargains, with the intent to purchase. As we don't have Thanksgiving here in Australia and most brick and mortar shops don't do Black Friday promotions, that means most sales are done online.
- What are the key user activities that you notice a few weeks leading up to the shopping season?
Users are anticipating those upcoming sales. They join discussion forums speculating about the bargains. There will also be an increasing number of discussions over hot products or users' wish lists. Users will also be checking last year's Black Friday sale to get an idea of the hottest bargains.
- What are the key metrics publishers should look at when making plans for the season?
For us, it's pretty much just the unique users, sessions, and pageviews — set targets and try to beat it.
- How far ahead should businesses start planning for Black Friday?
This depends on the importance of Black Friday to the business. As it's the biggest day of the year for some publishers, many start preparing right after the previous year's Black Friday has ended. OzBargain.com.au usually starts preparing during the quieter months of August to October.
- What exactly can you do to be ready for it?
Search engine optimization (SEO) — we make sure all Black Friday/Cyber Monday related pages are ready weeks before the event and ensure internal links point to the right page. Social media — we engage with our community on other social media platforms and direct them onto our Black Friday landing pages. Setting expectations of existing users — we kick-start discussions on Black Friday at least a week before the event. Make sure hosting/servers have enough capacity to handle the extra load. Lots of coffee on the day!
- What do you do with the extra traffic?
I will be glued to the server monitor throughout Friday to ensure the website stays up. Hopefully, the extra traffic will be converted to our newsletter subscribers or even members.
- And what about suppliers and partners — what is their role in preparing for it?
Make sure every party in the stack works flawlessly on the day. As a publisher, the seller side of the ad stack will also get increased impressions and will need to make sure ads are filled. Hosting is also crucial — make sure your resources are scalable and new resources can be deployed when needed.
- What are some other challenges you face with Black Friday?
One challenge that happens again and again over the years is making sure the website is keeping up with the traffic. Websites and tech stack evolve every year. Usually, many new features are added but not everything has been tested under the load. Another challenge with the community is finding out how to turn the increased traffic on Black Friday into regular users.
- Any notable learnings from past Black Fridays?
Get the preparation started early. Don't underestimate the traffic and have someone technical monitoring the health of your website!
- How is Publift helping you make the most of Black Friday?
With Publift taking care of monetization and related optimization, we can focus on our core business of publishing and managing an online community. Instead of dealing with the advertisers, we can put our effort into dealing with the real users of the website.