Forget Valentine’s Day! Stay Single and Maximize Your ROI

The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, affectionately known as Singles Day, is just around the corner! The ultimate anti-holiday! Singles Day first started when a group of college students decided Valentine’s Day wasn’t for everyone and that there should be a day where the world’s lonesome legends and solo-super stars put their moolah to the test, treating themselves to awesome online gifts and celebrating their single status to the fullest! 

What started out as a fringe holiday in China, went on to gather massive cult status and, as of 2019 rocketed into mainstream adoption and global appeal. In fact, Alibaba, (Asia’s single biggest digital retailer) raked in the equivalent of $38.4 billion, in a single day! That’s a helluva lot of purchasing power and, all thanks to Singles Day! 

Adcash - Singles Day 2019 Global Spend Table - StatistaImage courtesy of Statista

So, with a 500 million-strong online buying army (in China alone) and with the rest of the world catching on fast, what do you need to know to advertise and maximize your returns for Singles Day 2020 and make the most of a shopping spree with a higher annual spend than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined!

Let’s get straight into it with a quick how-to guide for advertising Singles Day. We’ll cover…

🌏 Advertising to the right Geos.

🧸 The verticals to give your attention to.

📈 Which ad formats work the best.

💡 How to budgeting and target effectively.

Starting with…

Which Geos Should You Be Going After?

Before you start crafting your campaign, and before you even decide what product/service you’d like to market, we’d strongly recommend knowing which regions/geo’s you’re going to target. On the surface, it would make the most sense to target China and the rest of southeast Asia. However,  if you’re looking to target niche markets as well, it might make sense to avoid the main action and head towards countries where advertising might not be as defined or competitive just yet. Either way, these are a few of the regions we would recommend checking out. Oh, and before we get into that, a quick disclaimer. It really helps to…

Know Which Retailer is Dominant in Which Country 

Keep in mind that different customers have preferred online retailers (per region)

For example, China and the rest of Asia tend to opt for Aliexpress (a division of retail giant Alibaba),, Tmall, and Taobao, whilst the USA, UK, Brazil, France, Italy, and others find Gearbest the top online bargain for their buck. 

A few outliers, like Turkey, go for Trendyol, whilst the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) use Souq as their go-to online shopping destination. 

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to run Amazon Ads for shopping events like Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday promotions. Whilst increasing their play in the global Singles Day market, they still have a way to go, so for now, leave them to the holidays they are best at. 

Some of the countries taking their Singles Day spend to the next level include… 

Primary Regions:

🇨🇳 China

🇸🇬 Singapore 

🇲🇾 Malaysia

🇹🇭 Thailand

Secondary Regions:

🇺🇸 USA

🇨🇦 Canada


🇧🇷 Brazil

🇬🇧 UK

🇩🇪 Germany 

🇫🇷 France

🇮🇹 Italy

🇪🇸 Spain

🇳🇱 Netherlands

🇧🇪 Belgium

Here are the stats for Europe Singles Day Spend (2019) 

Adcash - Singles Day Spend - Europe 2019 - StatistaImage courtesy of Statista.

Now, moving on to the…

Most Popular Singles Day Verticals/Gifts

Next, you’re going to want to figure out what you’re advertising. With so many consumers click-click-clicking away, buying everything under the sun, from MacBook Pro’s to pogo sticks, it’s hard to know which products will fly off the shelves the fastest. And, given the limited purchasing window, you want a sure-fire winner from the start. 

The main vertical to target this Singles Day is always eCommerce. The vertical can be subdivided into further retail subgroups that tend to shine through, like… 

🍎 Health + Wellness 

🏋️‍♂️ Fitness + Nutra

🎮 Games and Gaming

💻 Entertainment + SaaS

Then, if you want to dig down into a few product categories, you can never go wrong with top sellers like… 

🤖 Gadgets and Electronics

👚 Clothing + Fashion

👟 Shoes

🛋️ Home + Decor 

💄 Skincare and Beauty

🚿 Appliances

And lastly, try marketing mobile app installs for participating stores. A pro tip would be to use some of the great deals from the above-mentioned product categories in your campaign display creatives to build further interest. With a strong Call To Action (CTA) added into the mix,  you’ll succeed in sending customers to the App Store for a chance at multiple conversions.

You can read more about the most bankable products of 2019 right here.

A good product needs space to spread out and take shape. That’s where Ad formats come into play. The ideal campaign canvas to color your creatives! 

Which Ad Formats Work the Best on Singles Day?

Singles Day is all about cutting through a massive wave of promotions, deals, and discounts, to get your product/service in front of the right consumer. A major advantage is to combine eye-catching creatives, CTA’s and promos, with an ad format geared to attract as much attention as possible. Our pick for the three ad formats most likely to meet these expectations are…

Display Banners

The original granddaddy of online advertising, display banners have been around since 1994 and are just as visually appealing today as they ever were. They support brand awareness, increase onsite visibility, and provide stellar creatives that jump off the screen.

Pop-Under Ads

A top seller for all seasonal holidays and a sure-fire approach for bringing in sales, without bombarding the user with unnecessary “overselling”. The key here is subtlety and Pop-Unders bring in the message without chasing off the prospect. They’re also less disruptive. Unlike a “pop up”, a pop-under is seen by the end-user once he is done browsing the publisher’s website. 

Check out 5 Reasons Why Pop-Unders are Still so Effective.

Interstitial Ads

Interstitials ensure a great delay in exit times. With strong visibility and reach, the Interstitial uses a 5-second countdown window, giving way to increased audience interaction and visibility. Think your prospects might be getting ad fatigue? Check out why Interstitials just might be the Ultimate Cure for Banner Blindness.

With formats done and dusted, let’s talk about the main two features found on the Adcash platform that will streamline your campaign process and boost your chances for increased ROI. These being… budgeting and targeting.

Capitalize on Cutting-Edge Budgeting & Targeting Features. 

We could talk for hours on these two topics, but since time is short and you need to get crafting your campaigns straight away, we’ll stick to our two most potent advertising tactics, starting with…


And the cardinal testing rule of any high stakes campaign…

Trial Your Campaigns First on a Lower Budget 

If you’re able to start running your promotions earlier, then do it! There will be a lot of traffic coming online in the days to come, so the sooner you start, the more entrenched your ads will become. 

Run a few trial campaigns on a lower daily budget in the build-up to Singles Day. This will help you gather the data you need to succeed, whilst eliminating ineffective traffic sources that may carry high bounce rates, low click-throughs (CTR’s), etc. Then, when 11.11.2020 hits, you’re free to turn up the heat! 🔥🔥🔥

Adcash Advertising Manager extraordinaire, Keijo Suurkivi suggests two awesome ways to bid for your Singles Day online traffic.

The Burst Campaign

Come out of the gate firing on all cylinders with a high daily budget and high-frequency cap. We suggest 6/24 or 3/12 for Pop-Under traffic or, if the geo and inventory forecast feels like a winner, then you can go in out and show your ad as many times as possible. 

With these types of campaigns you rely on maximum visibility, so look at placing +15% on top of the average bid (minimum). If your offers drop cookies, even better. Do everything you can to make sure you’re the last advertiser to show your promotion and the first to get the deal closed! Oh, and lastly, remember to set a frequency cap per device (and not IP).

The Top Campaign

This strategy is a little less aggressive but just as effective. Come in with a medium daily budget, and a relatively low, frequency cap. We suggest somewhere in the line of 2/24 or 1/12. Look to place a +50% on top of the average bid and keep an eye on the visibility of the current market pricing. Starting off with a medium daily budget lets you assess the data during the first half of the day and gives you the insights you need to go all out in the second half.

To summarize, the Burst Campaign strategy is an aggressive and potentially costly option, but it will give you the maximum visibility that you need. 

The Top Campaign results in lower volumes (depending on your budget of course), and a high CPM, but the potential for high-quality ad placements is unparalleled, meaning people will see your ad first (high risk = high reward!). 

That being said, always do your homework beforehand and see which method matches your offer and overall budget strategy. And lastly, be sure to spread your traffic evenly in both cases! If you feel that the pace of the hourly spending is too slow and won’t be hitting your daily budget, remove it, but keep monitoring the outcomes regularly.

The regional time zone also plays an important role here. Track the time for all of your target countries. You may have to use the “week parting” tool to manage the distribution of your budget! Ask us how right here and we’ll take you through some more surefire strategies on the Adcash DSP Platform

With budgeting said and done, it’s time to talk…


There are all sorts of operating systems and devices geared to running campaigns on Singles Day. The main challenge for you would be to…

Find the Right Balance Between Mobile and Desktop

Separate Desktop and Mobile campaigns. In the middle of the test, decide if you want to continue with both setups or to maximize your results with only one. In the last few years, online shopping through mobile devices and apps has grown massively! As a matter of fact, 90% of Singles Day sales in China happen via smartphone! 

With that said, I would suggest distributing 60+% of your budget to mobile campaigns and 40-% to desktop. If your desktop traffic happens to show you different results, assess the situation, and take the action necessary to run an effective and efficient promotion! 

And last, but certainly not least, here are a few of the most common mistakes to avoid when advertising for Singles Day

Mismatching campaign/landing page creatives 

Only use high quality, attention-grabbing, relevant images, and always make sure they are connected to their coinciding landing page. It can be a massive loss for potential conversion to click through to a good deal on phone accessories and end up on a page for hair extensions. Customers want what they see, and as online advertisers, we need to make sure they get this easily and in the shortest possible time frame. 

Ignoring inventory forecast settings

During your campaign set up, keep an eye on your inventory forecast settings. If it’s showing 0 or very few volumes, please double-check your targeting and make sure there are no conflicts that need to be addressed. 

Running budgets according to the campaign (and not country)

If you run multiple countries in 1 campaign, set daily budgets per country as well. Again, assess the spending and performance when you can and make necessary adjustments to maximize your results! 

Forgetting to target the right user interests

Even though selecting “Shopping” in your User Interest Targeting seems tempting to use, we would suggest not using it for a 1-day holiday promotion like Singles Day. Rather save this targeting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (promotions which tend to last longer)

Narrow down your target audience, by combining the promotion you’re running (i.e gaming accessories) with the User Interest category specific to this niche (in this case “Games”).

So, although, narrow down your target audience, by combining the promotion you’re running (i.e gaming accessories) with the User Interest category specific to this niche (in this case “Games”). This method can work for certain products, but in general, keep all the interests selected for maximum reach.

Keep in mind, once you’ve selected this category, our database will automatically target your campaign to every user who has ever visited a gaming website, clicked on, or converted with a gaming offer.


Adcash - Keijo Suurkivi - Senior Advertiser Manager

“Holidays like 11.11 are a train that comes once a year. If you miss it, unfortunately, you can only catch it again a year later. Nothing is worse than a missed opportunity. Just a thought… In 2019, people spent over 38.4 billion USD during this 24h “train trip”. Make sure you go along for the ride in 2020!

Keijo Suurkivi

Senior Advertiser Manager , Adcash

That’s it from us. 

Enjoy Singles Day and ride the ultimate shopping wave to the fullest.

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