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De-risking Black Friday/Cyber Monday

De-risking Black Friday/Cyber Monday Featured Image


So it’s that time of year again. The newsreels will be full of stampeding customers trampling one another to get the latest [insert product here] at a discounted price, but behind the scenes there will be a different story. Tens of thousands of digital marketers, each in a cold sweat, knowing that one long weekend will command >50% of their annual advertising budget and – in all likelihood – is going to decide whether they hit their yearly revenue targets or not.

That is particularly true if you’re an agency, because there’s a very good chance that there will be multiple companies looking at you to prove your worth and to hit their stretch goals of X% increase year-over-year at a time when the economy has been taking a kicking.

Yeah, life can get pretty stressful for a digital marketer around this time of year. Worst by far is the inescapable fear that something could get missed, something could go down, some error could show itself during that period – ergo wipe out the chance to maximize the revenue available to you. If it sounds like I’m speaking from experience it’s because I am – and yes, I still have nightmares.

As a result, the question I quite often put to those agency-side is: “what are you doing to de-risk your BFCM?” The answers are worrying. It generally varies between ‘nothing’ and ‘not very much’. The thing is, if you are working for a Fast-Moving Consumer Goods brand, you cannot afford the risk. If something goes wrong – and especially if you don’t catch it – it will have massive implications. So in order to help, here’s how to use to ensure you stay on top of everything:

Build Campaign Groups

A key part to your BFCM planning will be knowing what groups of campaigns and what types of campaigns are going to carry your ROAS. As part of your planning you have doubtlessly structured your plan around expected revenue from your brand, search, remarketing, shopping and display campaigns. Use the Campaign Groups feature to recreate those groupings to monitor their actual performance against your strategic plan in real time. Actuals don’t always follow our models, and that’s OK, but it’s important to spot it quickly and strategize. Building your groups will allow you to monitor performance easily.

Track your budgets

Tracking budgets is crucial during BFCM. While overspend is easy, so too is underspend, which at this time of year represents money left on the table. The BFCM moment has become increasingly drawn out as more brands look to get ahead of the curve with Thursday early access or extending cyber Monday across Tuesday too. Regardless, it’s important to know when the opportunity is there and ensure an adequate budget is available to meet it. In the example above the budget weighting is heavily on the Friday, then enough to maintain momentum through the weekend, before upping again on Monday. Tracking budgets this way ensures that you’re meeting spend targets (or quickly identifying when you’re underperforming) and that it’s structured sensibly to meet fluctuating demand over the period.

Follow your goals and get alerts!

Lastly, but crucially, track your goals. When you’ve completed the first step of creating Campaign Groups, you’ll be able to identify metrics from those groups as Goals. Once they’ve been selected as goals (as you can see in the example above) you can set your targets alongside each one. This will allow you to track progress against the targets you’ve picked out to hit your BFCM totals. Plus, once they’re built out as goals, you can utilize’s alert system so that the platform can send you emails/slack messages if anything is off track.

Benchmark Performance

At the end of the chaos, after taking a few deep breaths, undoubtedly an organizational leader will say ‘so, how did we do?” You’ll have to look at various metrics and compare your performance against a goal you set or YoY (both which can do in its reporting summary). But in this time of economic challenges, how do you know if YoY is an appropriate comparison? That’s where’s data benchmarking feature comes in, allowing you to see how your performance compared to movement in your industry more broadly. Was your 1% decrease in conversion rate this year compared to last year better or worse than average? Using to be that sounding board is vital in explaining your results. 

It’s a cliche, but failing to prepare is preparing for failure. The job of keeping your eyes on absolutely everything during BFCM is a big task, so get some help; go into this BFCM prepared: create your account.

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