Your ultimate Facebook ads strategy for Black Friday and Q4

Q4 will shortly be upon us and that means the most anticipated shopping period of the year. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas ahead of us, competition is fierce. Consumers are looking to secure a bargain and brands are looking to grab their attention. And in the world of Facebook and Instagram ads, Q4 means increased ad costs. 

So how can you prepare a Facebook ads strategy that boosts your sales during the last quarter of the year?

Start now.

The pandemic has shifted our shopping practices. After two years of shopping online, it has become a habit to buy at the click of a button. It is easy (you can do it from your sofa), it is quick (if your website checkout process is optimised), and it is safe (COVID is still hanging around). 

But with more people shopping online and more businesses trying to capture the demand, brands are having to work much harder to stand out and bring new customers in.  

Facebook and Instagram advertising offers the potential to reach millions of consumers at the scroll of a newsfeed, but to stand out from the crowd, you need to be strategic. 

Follow these 5 tips to give yourself the very best chance to boost your sales this quarter. I have also included what Facebook and Instagram ad metrics to track and what not to do in Q4 at the end of the article.

1. Black Friday is no longer just one day

Black Friday spans the week before and the weeks after, including Cyber Monday. Sales last longer as businesses compete for shoppers’ attention and consumers expect that. 

Here is an example of what you could do (you can edit the timelines to suit your budget)

Pre-Black Friday ad campaigns: 

Warm up your audiences with pre Black Friday campaigns. Publish these 4-6 weeks BEFORE Black Friday and Cyber Monday officially start (Friday 25th November / Monday 28th November). 

The goal of these ads is not to make sales, but to build up your warm audiences ready for when your sales go live. This is because your warm audiences will become your hottest leads (the people most likely to convert), keeping the cost of your ads down. 

In this stage, focus on generating leads and building up your email lists. Pay specific attention to your creatives and USPs (unique selling points). What do people want from you? Christmas bundles at a fraction of the price? 

Bonus Tip: Make sure you have an email nurture sequence in place for when people join your email list. Once they have received that, keep your audience engaged by teasing them with updates on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers. 

Black Friday:

When Black Friday rolls around, you want to be communicating your limited time offers to your warm audiences (people who have interacted with your business in some way, e.g your email subscribers, website visitors, people who have watched your videos online, Facebook and Instagram engagers). 

Focus all your efforts on reaching them and offering value. DO NOT run Facebook ads to cold audiences that you have not tested earlier in the year. During Q4 costs are high and it is very rare for people who do not know or trust your brand to buy from you on the first touch point. 

With your ad copy and creative, utilise a sense of urgency. E.g ‘50% OFF for this weekend only’ (as a note, 10% off won’t be a big enough draw during Q4)

UGC (user generated content) is incredibly valuable here as it shows social proof and increases a sense of trust. Strong CTAs (call to actions) should also be maximised, e.g ‘Click Shop Now to grab this limited time offer’. 

Cyber Monday:

Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday and people will still be looking to grab a bargain. This is the perfect opportunity to unveil another irresistible offer, such as: ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘free delivery + 20% off’. You will need to number crunch what works for your business beforehand (again another reason planning is so important), but organise your Facebook ads strategy correctly and this could bring in some brilliant sales for you.

Bonus Tip: Set your Cyber Monday ads to go live at 12.01am on Monday, ending at 11.59pm. As above, only show your Facebook and Instagram ads to warm audiences, not cold, and don’t exclude past purchasers, this is too good of an opportunity to get your hottest leads to buy from you again.  

Your Facebook ads after Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

Most sales will come to an end by the time Cyber Monday finishes, but you can still grab the shoppers looking for a last minute bargain. You don’t necessarily have to offer a discount this time, you could upsell another product at the checkout or create a bundle, e.g: ‘buy A and get B for x’. 

2. Forget about running Facebook and Instagram ads to cold audiences before the big sale period

With the big players taking up the ad auction space, and competition at an all time high, ad prices go up. 

If you run ads to new cold audiences during this time, and those audiences don’t click on your ads to buy your products, you are unlikely to see a positive return on your ad spend (ROAS). 

During late October through to December, forget about running ads to cold audiences that you have not tested earlier in the year. Instead – use the tip below.

3. Start building your warm audiences NOW

By this point in the year, you should have nailed down your best performing cold audiences. Whether you get really great results with a lookalike of purchasers or brilliant results with an interest based audience, don’t use Q4 to test new cold audiences.  Instead focus on building out your warm audiences by utilising a large part of your budget to retarget people who have interacted with your business in some way. 

Your warmest leads are much more likely to buy from you because they know, like and probably trust you by now. 

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to capitalise on selling to previous purchasers with upsells, bundles and special VIP discounts. 

4. Invest in your Facebook ad creative – video first!

With high competition and big budgets to compete with, you will need to invest in your Facebook and Instagram ad creative. That doesn’t mean paying big bucks for a videographer, but it does mean thinking outside of the box. Ask your customers for review testimonials, shoot some unboxing videos or play around with stop motion and gifs. 

Static image ads aren’t going to cut through the noise during Q4, especially now Facebook and Instagram are making a big push towards video creative. Invest now and thank yourself later. 

5. Everything needs to work in unison

You can have the most perfect ad with beautiful creative and compelling copy, but if your landing page is poor, your website speed is slow or you don’t have regular emails going out, you won’t capture or retain new customers. Now is the time to be super active on your socials and emails and to ensure your website is working beautifully. Q1, Q2 and Q3 are for testing, Q4 is for doing more of what you know works to get as many lovely new customers as possible. You can pick up some more tips here.

Facebook ad metrics to measure

To understand if your ads are doing their job, you have to look beyond the metrics of Reach and Impressions. Here are some of the metrics I would be looking at to measure the success of my Facebook and Instagram ads:

Landing page views

If your link click through rate is good (above 1% for a cold audiences and above 3% for warm audiences) but your landing page views are low, that is telling me that although your ad is working and it is getting people to click, your landing page is slow to load or it is not optimised correctly. Remember, everything works in unison, so you need to make sure your landing pages are working just as well as your ads. 

Time spent on your website

As with the above point, if people aren’t spending very long on your website, that could mean that it needs optimising. Facebook ads can get people to your website, but your website also has to do its part in converting them into new customers. 

Link CTR (link click through rate)

If your Link CTR is low (use the benchmarks above), that tells us that your ad isn’t working for your audience. This could be because of your creative, your copy or your CTA. This is why it is so important to spend the first few quarters testing out audiences, because by the time it comes to Q4, you need to understand what your chosen audience responds to best, e.g video + short copy. 

Add to cart (quantity and value) and initiate checkout (quantity and value)

These two are really important for so many reasons. If you are seeing a high ATC (add to cart) rate but low Initiate checkouts, it could mean that something is wrong with your website checkout process. 

If you are using Paypal, Stripe or another third party integration, remember you can’t track purchases when people leave your website. Because of this, you will have to work out a way to estimate your third party transactions. 

For one of my clients, I know around ⅓ of their customers use Paypal and I know the % of people who add to cart and then go on to buy. So I divide my add to cart value by three and x it by the percentage of people who have likely gone on to buy. This figure is then added to by ROAS to create my eROAS (estimated return on ad spend). 

Purchase (quantity and value) and ROAS (Return on ad spend)

Most people judge the effectiveness of their campaigns by the number of purchases and ROAS but remember, Facebook ads manager can underreport by up to 60%! Look at your ROAS in the context of your ATCs, initiate checkouts, click through rates and cost per acquisition and use a blended approach to your data analysis. E.g look at your CRM (Shopify), Google Analytics and your Facebook ads manager all together.

Conversion rate and average order value (custom metrics)

This is slightly more advanced, but if you know your way around Facebook ads manager, I would advise creating these custom metrics so you can get a clearer idea of how your ads are performing. Ideally we want to be seeing a conversion rate of above 3%.

Video retention (custom metric)

Another custom metric, but if you are using video ads, knowing how long your video captivates people for, can inform your strategy really well. 

You can also retarget people who have watched a certain amount of your video, and that can create brilliant results for you. For example, if you know the majority of people watch your ad for x amount of time, that can inform how you create your retargeting and future creatives.

What to avoid when setting up your Facebook and Instagram ads for Q4:

Not planning Q4 properly

This is the biggest mistake I see and I see it all the time. While you should be testing your ads throughout Q1-Q3, by August you should have your Q4 strategy locked down. That means your creatives, copy, funnel systems, landing pages – the whole shabang. 

Last minute changes to your Facebook ads

Once your ads are live in the run up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, do not touch them. With a crowded ad auction space, you want your ads to be running and optimising as soon as possible. Remember, with every change made, your ads go back into the ‘Learning phase’ (where Facebook is trying to work out who to show your ads to). Craft your strategy, draft your ads, check and check again (including external links) and schedule them to go live on your launch date. 

Relying heavily on discounts

Many brands assume that by slashing their prices, they are guaranteed sales. But while big discounts go a long way to luring in new customers, there are other offers that go under utilised. What about Buy One Get One Free, utilising this chance to shift old stock. You could also try free shipping, adding a free gift at the checkout or including gift wrapping and a personalised note along with free delivery. These are the things you should be testing earlier in the year to see what people respond to the most. 

Running blind without a Facebook ads strategy

“Fail to prepare, and prepare to fail.” Gone are the days when you can wing Facebook advertising and coast off discounted products. There is so much more competition from businesses and customers expect more from brands. You need to plan ahead of Q4 to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of high costs and low returns. Draw people in earlier in the year, build up your top of funnel, nurture them through your email list and organic socials, ask for reviews, feedback and user generated content and then treat them with discounts and offers in Q4 using your retargeting ads, capitalising on that UGC and social proof.


Now more than ever we are spending our time shopping online and Q4 will see that habit explode. Facebook and Instagram remain two of the most used social media platforms, offering a huge opportunity to skyrocket your sales with advertising. But it can’t be done on a whim. 

Start now. Lock down your audiences, offers, creatives, copy, funnels and strategy so when the time comes, you can sit back and relax (kind of!), and hopefully achieve results like the ones at the end of this article.

I hope these tips will help towards setting your business up for success in Q4. But, if you are still feeling overwhelmed when it comes to Facebook and Instagram advertising, please book a free call with me here, and let’s crack the confusion together.

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