An illustration of a Shopping cart with a Black Friday sign on it

Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Affiliate Marketing 2021: How to make the most of it?

1080 753 Alistair Bishop

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best events of the affiliate marketing calendar, and it’s finally time to start preparing your campaigns for the most profitable time of the year! Everyone loves a bargain, right?

And with Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend just around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to maximize your affiliate marketing profits.

So, let us tell you how to make sure your campaigns are as well-optimized as they can be so that all your business ventures go perfectly smoothly this crazy shopping weekend. 

We also will cover which verticals bring the best results during this crowning week of the Q4 shopping craze, as well as what to include in your creatives to succeed in winning that click from your highly motivated customers. Not to mention secrets to the best Black Friday marketing strategy for affiliate marketers…

Read on for the ultimate guide to making money online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend with your affiliate marketing campaigns!

What exactly are Black Friday and Cyber Monday & what’s their history?

Black Friday is now generally considered the official start to the holiday shopping season.

But the Black Friday name doesn’t come from great shopping deals and happy customers. It was actually the Philadelphia Police Department that gave the name to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day as early as 1959. due to the traffic jams and overcrowded sidewalks being a result of the retail stores’ sales taking place from open till close.

Luckily it’s not 1959, and we don’t need to run to the shops to get the best deals on the Black Friday sales anymore. We now have the pleasure of online shopping and the benefit of being able to view multiple online shops deals in a very short space of time.

While this makes it one of the most competitive times of the year to be an affiliate marketer, it also makes it the most profitable time to make money online.

And as for Cyber Monday, retailers have extended the most profitable time of the year from simply the weekend after Thanksgiving to the following Monday as well. The Cyber Monday term was first used in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and refers to the deals that have moved online, which can still be reached by those stuck at their office jobs the week after the festivities have ended.

Although the name might suggest only computer gadgets will be sold on this day, you’ll be able to find technological products being sold on Black Friday as well as Cyber Monday.

That’s because everyone will be still sitting at home or already in the office in the case of Cyber Monday (unless you’re the work-from-home type of person of course) looking for deals. So, it’s your job as an affiliate marketer to get these ads in front of motivated customers and score conversions, multiple conversions.

As we’ve said, Black Friday and Cyber Monday come just before Christmas, hence online shoppers are as motivated as it gets to grab a good deal for their loved ones… as well as themselves.

What does Black Friday & Cyber Monday mean for affiliate marketers in 2021?

Many of you might be searching for answers on how to make money with affiliate marketing during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And if you’re reading this, then you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to show you exactly what this holiday means to affiliate marketers and why it’s even better than Christmas.

So, what does the BFCM weekend mean to affiliate marketers?

It means huge retail sales, and huge retail sales also mean affiliate marketing sales, which obviously mean lots of offers that convert across various verticals that do well during the holiday season.

The top products that proved high demand during the 2020 BFCM weekend and the Q4 shopping season as a whole can be seen in the graphic below. If you haven’t already, you should start looking for affiliate programs and affiliate networks that have offers allowing you to promote similar inventory now and get ahead of the holiday shopping season because you do not want to miss this opportunity.

Top products sold on black friday and cyber monday 2020

When exactly are Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021? 

It’s especially easy for Americans to remember the exact date as both events come during and right after the Thanksgiving weekend.

However, as this has become a global phenomenon these days, with more and more countries taking part in the biggest shopping weekend of the year, it’s important to keep up with the dates. It’s the same story as Halloween which has been popular globally due to the success it’s had in America, and now you can even make money as an affiliate with this global holiday. 

So, let us repeat.

Black Friday 2021 takes place on November 26th and Cyber Monday 2021 takes place on November 29th.

If you are taking part in the sales weekend, then it is important to know that some of the sales will be starting already on the Thursday evening of Thanksgiving, which is November 25th. This usually happens with retail stores in the U.S., however, due to the pandemic, it has been announced that many shops will only be opening physically on Black Friday itself. This is to reduce the number of people in stores and keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum, just like what happened in 2020.

Online stores never sleep though, and will likely have hourly exclusive deals to promote. Keep that in mind for when you’ll be running your campaigns, too, so they can reach your target audience at all hours of the day.

Want the full affiliate marketing calendar? Check it out here!

November affiliate holiday calendar

How much money is made over the BFCM weekend? (2020 facts & statistics)

According to Forbes magazine, Black Friday 2021 is going to be the busiest shopping day of the year. Most importantly, it’s not a US event only anymore.

It’s a global shopping day at this point, with sales hitting staggering numbers of $9 billion in 2020 in the US alone. An increase of 21.6% over the previous year! And as for the full holiday season, it is likely to close in around $910 billion globally, with an estimated growth of 11% YOY according to Adobe analytics.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as Cyber Monday is the biggest day of profit for online retailers and affiliate marketers alike these days and has actually surpassed Black Friday in terms of sales.

Just last year Cyber Monday hit a record $10.8 billion in profits in the US, and this number is only set to go up this year. Naturally, just like the Black Friday craze, Cyber Monday is a globally recognized event and people all over the world get ready to both — buy and sell on that special Monday — weeks, if not months ahead.

Why Black Friday 2021 will be the biggest in history?

There’s no doubt the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend is growing year on year… and so are everyone’s profits!

And while the pandemic did impact footfall to retail outlets, the online stores have more than made up for the loss of in-person traffic.

The Black Friday sales are forecasted to hit $17 billion this year (up 20% compared with 2020) in spending, making the 2021 edition the biggest in history.

For this reason, it is now that you need to get prepared with testing and optimizing your campaigns for the busiest time of the affiliate marketing calendar.

The increase in interest in online shopping doesn’t just come about through the holiday period, though.

More and more people are searching for discounts and deals as a result of the negative impact the covid-19 pandemic has had on the economy globally. So, that means that there will be more traffic and an even bigger audience than usual looking for Black Friday promotions and Cyber Monday deals this year.

While Black Friday was initially an All-American holiday, it has slowly succeeded in world domination with more and more countries taking advantage of the peak in sales each year. It seems it’s too good an opportunity to pass up for brands and companies even in countries that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

The most successful time of the year for affiliate marketers in Zeropark!

As for Zeropark, we have completed an investigation into our campaign data and traffic levels around the time of Black Friday and Cyber Monday…. and guess what.

We expect the results to be the highest ever this year, too! 

This is due to the steady growth in traffic over the previous five years around this festive weekend, which means that if you’re smart enough, you’ll be able to create successful campaigns and take advantage of this recurring boost in affiliate marketing sales.

Traffic volumes Black Friday 2020

As you can see from the graph, the previous year’s traffic levels for e-commerce vertical on push traffic in the analogical period of time have been building up to the big weekend. This trend has been noticed throughout the industry and means that it’s now time to get your campaigns ready ahead of this bumper sales weekend, too.

How can affiliate marketers benefit from BFCM?

If you’re still asking yourself what’s the benefit to affiliate marketers from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend… then it’s quite simple.

There are more customers online searching for gift ideas for Christmas and all the other holidays that happen towards the end of the year, the bigger a chance to earn your affiliate income. This way you can get a holiday bonus from others searching for their holiday gifts. 

What’s not to like about that? 

Just make sure you’re making the most of these key shopping events by following these steps:

With nearly all of the shopping events moved online this year, the BFCM weekend Cyber Monday might be a lifetime opportunity for many digital advertisers and affiliate marketers out there.

Do you think you’re ready to find out what you need to do to cash in on this massive money-making opportunity? Read on!

How to cash in big with Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2021 [TO DO LIST]

#1 Start with product research

This first step may seem obvious… but looking up which products will be popular over the holiday weekend will probably save you time working on eye-catching ad creatives. A good option would be to check out Amazon and other e-commerce sites to see their best-selling items.

Alternatively, you can check out Google trends for which products are searched for the most during months leading up to the BFCM or the Q4 season of this year as well as previous years.

There are items that sell like hotcakes every year, like TVs, for example. But you want to make sure your ads have one-of-a-kind items that are on trend this year and will stand out from all the other ads. If you’re looking for more ideas, here’s a list of items that will likely sell out fast over the whole weekend.

However, we suggest not to hold your breath on PS5 or Xbox Series X discounts this year, as there has been a scarcity of these devices due to the pandemic. That’s why you’d need to be very careful with having these items on your creatives. Think Apple AirPods, for example, which are about to be superseded by the newest version and therefore will likely have a discount this year.

Take a look at the chart below showing the most sold items last year, so you can think about which products to promote during the BFCM weekend this year. (Note: some may not be as popular this year so do your research properly!)

Chart of the most searched products for Black Friday worldwide from November 2019 to October 2020 according to Statista.

Statista graph of popular BFCM products

#2 Research the top converting verticals 

This is the question on every affiliate marketer’s lips while also asked all over the affiliate forums in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season.

And we are here to answer this question for you.

In simple terms, nearly every vertical will likely have an increase in interest during the Black Friday weekend but obviously, some have more of an interest than others.

The first one you need to focus most of your efforts on will be e-commerce. As we have already said a few times by now, this is the biggest shopping weekend of the year! So, it makes sense that all the online shopping offers will be going crazy during this weekend.

It’s noteworthy that other verticals experience a spike around this holiday weekend. For example, lead generation, gambling, sports betting, and even adult.

What’s more, is that it’s an opportunity for some affiliate marketers to collect leads for the rest of the holiday period as well as capitalize on those trying their luck!

Top verticals to promote during bfcm 2021

#3 Identify profitable offers 

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again. E-commerce offers are an obvious choice for high converting campaigns during the busiest shopping period of the year.

However, it isn’t the only kind of offer that will be converting well during the Cyber 5 weekend. Also, there are various factors affiliates need to take into consideration when deciding on their choice: offered products, offer type, flow, payout model, available creatives, geo-targeting, or compliance guidelines. In short, there’s a lot to think about.

That’s why we’d recommend having a look at this article discussing top affiliate marketing offers and how to pick one in 2021.

But there’s more…

#4 Choose your ad format

People choose their ad format for different reasons. Some affiliates have more success with pop ads, some with push traffic, and others with domain redirect. Search marketplace ads shouldn’t be ignored either especially during the Black Friday weekend. No matter which is your favorite ad format in Zeropark, we have a helping hand for you for Black Friday and beyond.

Our internal business analysis team has collected Zeropark data for the previous year that show the most popular verticals & GEOs per each ad format in Zeropark. 

Have a look below for this sought-after knowledge!

Push notifications ads are an ad format that has grown in popularity in recent years. It has also been noted that push ads do particularly well during the BFCM weekend as people are on their mobile devices more during the holidays.

So, which verticals should you be looking to push with push notifications ads this holiday season? Well, let us help you with that, with whitelist data based on last year’s most profitable affiliate marketing campaigns. 

Here is a list of the most popular verticals and countries during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend with push ads:

Gambling Real 3,379,076,608 $0.0194
E-commerce/Travel 988,277,827 $0.0094
Sports Betting 1,874,015,096 $0.0117
Lead Generation 1,165,885,409 $0.0124
Surveys & Sweeps 1,891,283,630 $0.0320
Hobbies & Education 340,754,446 $0.0032
Adult 253,211,339 $0.0229
Crypto Offers 535,551,143 $0.0468
Antivirus (Mainstream) 509,123,380 $0.0632
Binary/Trading 270,050,049 $0.0297

Pop ads are reliable and tend to work well with the e-commerce niche if the offer is attractive to the target audience. So, make sure to do your research and get your creatives set with good photos of the affiliate product you are trying to promote.

Here is a list of the most popular verticals during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend with pop ads:


Downloads (Mainstream) 337,407,479 $0.0003
E-commerce/Travel 4,620,470,065 $0.0005
Sports Betting 510,347,974 $0.0011
Gambling Real 377,145,804 $0.0008
Adult 598,073,014 $0.0004
Lead Generation 269,225,849 $0.0003
Streaming 425,248,164 $0.0005
Hobbies & Education 259,070,485 $0.0003
Binary/Trading 342,673,058 $0.0005
Gaming 117,416,449 $0.0005
Crypto Offers 167,994,104 $0.0010

Domain ads are successful during the holiday period when people are looking for e-commerce sites and misspell the site they are looking for. This is your chance to show off your offer of the products they were likely searching for anyway. And during the holiday season, your job is made easier with so many discounts available for affiliate products.

Here is a list of the most popular verticals during black Friday weekend with domain redirect ads:


Gambling Real 33,578,019 $0.0052
Downloads (Mainstream) 7,469,001 $0.0370
E-commerce/Travel 20,473,739 $0.0302
Surveys & Sweeps 18,272,255 $0.0142
Hobbies & Education 25,509,661 $0.0044
Sports Betting 11,224,573 $0.0061
Crypto Offers 6,142,002 $0.0126
Antivirus (Adult) 6,165,475 $0.0270
Downloads 7,494,351 $0.0132
Binary/Trading 10,692,327 $0.0030
Lead Generation 8,742,129 $0.0268
Adult 1,869,767 $0.0078

Keep these top 2020 Black Friday domain verticals in mind. They could be the same again this year so think about them when planning your domain redirect ad campaigns in Zeropark during this Q4 shopping craze!

#5 Use an affiliate ad tracker 

Affiliate ad tracking is the solution to ensuring your campaigns are making money online this Black Friday weekend. You need to know where your conversions are coming from and therefore where to focus your efforts. 

What is an affiliate ad tracker?

Every affiliate marketer should be optimizing their campaigns, but do you know that you need to be tracking them, too? Well, you can’t optimize properly without any data, and tracking your campaigns will get you all the data you need.

Affiliate ad trackers can track the referral, made by you, the affiliate, to the customer that buys your recommended affiliate products or services from the merchant company selling the product or service.

Affiliate marketers need the tracking process to make sure they get their commission and any other people or businesses in the affiliate chain like affiliate networks get their piece of commission, too. Using an affiliate ad tracker also puts you in control, as you choose when to manage and more importantly optimize successful or unsuccessful campaigns, according to your schedule.

Having an overview of all of your campaigns available to you means that you get a clear idea of which campaigns are performing well and which need improvement or need to be killed.

You might wonder… 

Which affiliate marketing ad tracker is the best?

Well, you’ve probably heard of Voluum by now. This tracker is pretty well known in the affiliate industry. In fact, it’s claimed to be the best tracker tool of 2020 by the affLIFT forum. And that’s only one of many reasons why it’s worth mentioning to you.

#6 Ad creatives tips for the BFCM angle 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, this is the busiest time of the online marketing calendar. So, if your creatives don’t stand out then they will be forgotten. This goes for landing pages too, we know you are better than just placing an affiliate link on a plain-looking landing page. Do you want to be lost in the sea of banner ads and pop ups, or do you want to get more conversions than ever before? Well, we can help with that with a few tips for creatives.

Do you need to ask yourself what’s the purpose of your creatives? The answer is simple, to boost affiliate marketing sales with Black Friday deals. This is where your Black Friday marketing ideas can come to life. This ultimately comes down to your research and how well you have prepared. That’s why if you haven’t started yet, this is your gentle reminder to start your Black Friday research now.

That way you can stand out from the crowd and avoid creative fatigue!

Here’s a list of things to include in your Black Friday weekend creatives in 2021:

  • The products you are promoting — simple but effective.
  • Percentages — show them the offer you’ve got!
  • Real people — someone using the affiliate product will lead to more conversions.
  • Emojis catch attention, too! 👀
  • A clean image is a converting image.
  • Show people the popular items this holiday season — everything on people’s Christmas wishlist.
  • Limit your images to as few details as possible — simple is better.
  • Keep your push ads copy short and catchy!
  • Product reviews — testimonials will help sell your product for you.

Most importantly mention it’s a Black Friday sale — if you don’t show them they will filter you out.

Here’s an example of push ads creatives for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get you inspired!

BFCM push creatives

#7 Test your campaigns for more profit

Affiliate marketing campaign testing is always a good idea. It saves you from losing money over the peak times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday as you will already know which creatives, landing pages, traffic sources, and other aspects of your campaigns convert best.

So, you will need to focus on each of these things individually to find the best winning combination.

#8 Set your targeting right especially over the BFCM weekend

Targeting is important for all affiliate marketing campaigns, but as we have already said, this time of the year is more competitive, so you need everything to be set up correctly to succeed. This means choosing the correct GEO, device, and other aspects to reach your specific target audience.

First of all, some countries do not celebrate Thanksgiving and therefore have less of an interest in Black Friday. This means you need to be selective in which countries to choose for your affiliate marketing campaigns for the best results.

That being said, it is now a global phenomenon and everyone is looking for a good deal on cheaper TVs, electronics, or anything available on Amazon — so discarding GEOs solely on the basis of where Thanksgiving is not such a big holiday is definitely not a way to go either.

Here is a list of the most popular GEOs for the BFCM weekend as shown by Zeropark data for you to consider.

Top GEOs for Black friday and cyber monday

#9 Implement laser-focused optimization for your affiliate campaigns

Optimization is your friend. But is it possible to over-optimize your affiliate marketing campaigns? Well, actually, yes it is. This is because you can miss out on traffic when your targeting is too granular or you stop your campaigns too early with RBO sometimes, but more on that later.

We know that the BFCM weekend is very competitive and you need to be doing your best to have the best-optimized campaigns for your customers so that you get high conversions during this time. So where do you start with optimization?

Well, there are a few things you can do right away to get started with optimization immediately.

Campaign optimization tips for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

  • Run broad campaigns if you choose RON you will get all traffic coming from a single country. You should be able to identify the best sources within that country for your campaigns.
  • Whitelists can help you once you have identified the sources and other targeting options.
  • Keep your GEOs separate, what works well in one country won’t necessarily work in another.
  • Don’t forget to optimize your BFCM campaigns per browser type and OS version. But avoid cutting your traffic down too much, as you might lose profit.
  • If you have not found a large traffic volume, try to run broader targeting options.
  • Avoid day-parting around the peak times for Black Friday sales. You don’t want your traffic to stop converting at the most profitable time.
  • Test your campaigns time and again — don’t forget to set aside a budget for this too.
  • Use rule-based optimization — either to make money while you sleep, or stop the campaign from losing money while you are away.
  • Remember that new campaigns need to buy campaigns a little faster to account for testing. But getting more data will give you a better picture of where to scale up your campaigns. 
  • When your CTR is quite high, but you aren’t getting enough traffic then it’s time to bid up!
  • If you want to win traffic you need to bid higher than the average bid.
  • However, if your spend is going up but the CTR isn’t then it’s time to lower your bid and increase the frequency of your Black Friday or Cyber Monday ads.

#10 Scale up your Black Friday & Cyber Monday campaigns!

We all want higher conversions, and scaling up should be the solution to getting more, but you have to be smart about it. After all, more affiliate sales come with the risk that something in the campaign can go wrong.

Start early, test, and then scale up with what is working. This seems obvious and can be used for any affiliate marketing campaign you have in Zeropark, but if you follow these steps you’ll be more profitable.

#11 Run broad campaign first

RON is your friend. No, not Harry Potter’s friend, but Run-of-network campaign targeting in Zeropark. RON campaigns let you buy traffic from all the sources within one geo (e.g. country), taking into account your targeting settings. This is where you should be starting with every campaign, so you can learn what elements of your campaign are working well and which need changing.

For example, your creatives may need updating, you might need to bid up for traffic more in one GEO more than another. Many elements need to be checked and tested before you know what the perfect formula is. So, test your campaigns again and again. 

#12 Rule-based optimization

Now you know you first should be testing your campaigns, and then you need to start optimizing them.

That’s why you shouldn’t forget about the Rule-based optimization feature in Zeropark. This handy artificial intelligence will help you win more customers while you are away from your desk. 

It works in a simple way. You set up which rules your campaigns will follow, and when the criteria are met then the campaign will bid up, or pause based on what you want to happen. This is really useful during busy times like the holiday season as it means you can spend more time creating campaigns rather than worrying about the ones you have already made. Once you have set your rules the campaigns will nearly manage themselves.

One word of warning is to check that you have set up the rules properly so that you don’t pause a winning campaign.

You want the tool to work for you, not against you.

Rule based optimization

Outside of the (search) box way of thinking… 

Zeropark Search Marketplace ads and Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend go hand in hand. This brand-safe and user-friendly ad format is designed specifically to aid customers looking for specific products or brands. 

So if we’ve caught your attention, just tune in.

And let’s be clear here, we don’t mean PPC ad campaigns run on the Google SERP. This is actually a user privacy-oriented alternative to the classic text-based search advertising solutions that can be successfully utilized by performance marketers to promote brands during the hot shopping season.
Zeropark Search Marketplace works on a CPC basis and offers two advertising models — branded search and generic keyword search traffic. 

  • Branded Search allows redirecting users looking for a specific brand directly to the brand’s website.
  • Generic Keyword Search allows targeting both generic keywords and brand names while redirecting users to relevant and brand-approved pages. These relevant pages often have an offer related to the keywords being searched and therefore can lead to a high level of conversion rate.

And while the world is frantically searching for the hottest Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, you can point them in the right direction in a much faster and user-friendly way.

… so how Zeropark Search Marketplace ads might be what you need this BFCM season.

Zeropark Search Marketplace allows capturing customers even before they finish typing in their search query, as relevant ad suggestions appear as they type or are already featured once the website has loaded. This way motivated clients can be transported straight to the offer page and are hence ready to purchase much faster than with other search ads formats. This speed and improved customer journey are what you need to have as your competitive advantage during this holiday weekend. 

People are looking for any deal they can get their hands on at this time, so just make sure you are ready to steer them in the right direction. And just like that, you’ll have conversions pouring in.

Please note that Zeropark Search Marketplace is a premium ad format in Zeropark. The traffic comes from top publishing partners only and campaigns must comply with specific user-safety regulations at all times.

Search Marketplace traffic is hence only enabled for selected Zeropark customers after prior approval. If you’d like to try this new ad format, please reach out to us at [email protected]

Here’s a game plan this Black Friday & Cyber Monday season! [INFOGRAPHIC]

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail…”  said Benjamin Franklin.

Truer words were never spoken, if you don’t have a game plan this Black Friday weekend then you’ll be throwing money away. That’s because you can bet your competitors will have an affiliate marketing strategy to make the most out of the chance to make money online over this shopping craze weekend.

You’ve been training all year for this and it’s your time to shine. 

So, make sure you have prepared your campaigns, tested them in every way possible, and set them to run early and throughout the whole weekend to score the best results! Do you have your game plan ready yet?

Zeropark Blog Black Friday Cyber Monday Strategy for Affiliate Marketers Infographic

Zeropark’s BFCM Flash Deals [BONUS INSIDE]

After all, it wouldn’t be Black Friday without some money-saving deals to reward all of your affiliate marketing efforts.

This year Zeropark hasn’t got half-price TVs for sale (sadly!) but we do have special deals for Zeropark customers from a range of industry-leading partners that you won’t find anywhere else.

So, make sure you have signed up to Zeropark to get in on all of the action going on this BFCM weekend.

There will be a new deal available every day leading up to and including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We have deals on affiliate ad trackers, offer networks, and much more. But they are time-limited, so make sure to check back for the deal of the day. 

You won’t want to miss them!


November 26th-30th 2021 is coming, so mark that date in your calendars! It’s the time every affiliate marketer has been waiting for, the most profitable weekend of the year taking place from Black Friday through to Cyber Monday.

There are already affiliate marketers busy applying for affiliate programs to take advantage of the best Black Friday deals and opportunities available.

Just make sure you’ve done your research, you’ve tested your campaigns, you’ve prepped your creatives and landing pages… and you will be ready to rock!

Run campaigns with Zeropark & scale big this BFCM and beyond!