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Prepare your Black Friday 2023 Paid Social strategy


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Bethany Rana Martin
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We’re never far from Black Friday. So we may as well talk about how you can prepare your Black Friday Paid Social strategy for this key trading period. 

There are four areas you really ought to be focusing on. These are:

  • Establishing the foundations
  • Creating connections
  • Building those connections,
  • Seizing the moment 

Oh, and as a bonus you’ve also got the post activity area.

Let’s get into it.

Establish the foundations

So then, establishing those paid social foundations; you’re going to need to implement best practice. This is not a time for shirking.

Before you head into your peak season, do a health check, maybe even an audit. Make sure your pixels are tracking correctly, perform some tests on your website and don’t forget to maximise the reliability of your data.

When you’ve ticked those off the list, you’ll look at implementing conversion API. Your focus here is on increasing the quality of the data that you pass back from your platform to the platforms you’re advertising on. Once conversion API is set up, or if you have it set up already, have a look at your event match quality score: your EMQ. 

Focus on a minimum score of six because that’s where you really want to be. Anything below requires improvement/you’re screwed. Then review your spending limits; all being well, you want to be dashing a lot of money during this period. What you don’t want to be doing is getting caught by any account spending limits you’ve set before. Go into your billing section, check any limits and increase them. Fuck frugal, it’s Black Friday.

Then get creative! The key part of Black Friday Paid Social is the creative. In the run up to this period, you want to be testing and learning about which ad formats are resonating best with your audiences. A/B, B/C, whatever it takes. Do the hokey cokey of testing to make sure you’re getting all the Black Friday bang for your buck.

A few questions to answer when getting creative:

  • Which ads are generating the most sales?
  • Is it video content? Is it carousels?
  • What paid social formats are working best?

Start to develop paid social content around that, as well as developing the messaging of your content. We’re heading into a gifting season here. People are switching into an “always-on” buying mindset, and not necessarily for themselves. Work on different copy for different audiences, and consider the key messages around your copy.

Consider what factors are going to influence that purchase decision? It could be product quality, the product price, or the diversity of choice. Have multiple options available and then seize the moment. This is where we really want to build those connections, because as we said, the cost of advertising, the CPM, is going to increase during this period. That’s okay though because the conversion rate is also going to increase with that. Speculate. Accumulate. You know the dance.

Create connections early

During the run up to the event, you want to build momentum early and take advantage of more cost efficient impressions before you really hit the key season. How can we do this?

First of all, try and reach new audiences as we’re obviously going to be retargeting a lot during this period. Black Friday is a growth opportunity as well as a revenue generator. Think about how to reach these new audiences beforehand and get them warmed up. Do think about Reels, if you’re not doing them already. 30% of time on Instagram is now spent in the Reels placement, so most definitely look at Reels and get some content introduced there.

Also, Paid Social doesn’t just stop at purchases. You might already have other channels. If you’ve got marketing lists (email lists), and you want to grow those prior then run some lead-generation campaigns. Start to grow your email list ahead of time and establish those long-lasting connections to really develop that relationship ready for the main event.

Listen, Meta (the folks who run Facebook & Instagram) did a study and they found that 89% of UK shoppers said they’re going to try a new brand during the festive season. So get out there, reach new audiences and start to grow that relationship during the build up. If you leave it too late, customers could well have already made connections with other brands with better bootstraps.

Trust your preparations

Let’s summarise where our paid social is up to now:

  • You’ve done your Black Friday Paid Social preparations, 
  • You’ve done your health checks, 
  • You’ve got your content, 
  • Your copy is ready 
  • You’re fired up

You’ve done the heavy lifting here. You hit the moment and, as we said, you’re going to be retargeting a lot because 8 in 10 shopping carts in March 2021 were abandoned. So, it’s time to start implementing those retargeting audiences. CPMs are increasing, but conversion rates are increasing along with them. Don’t worry. Don’t panic.

You don’t want to throttle your spend too early. If you notice that your CPM might have gone up or you might be seeing a really high cost per purchase in the morning, be patient, think about the buying mentality. You yourself might not make a purchase early in the morning, but if you give your campaigns a little bit of time and wait into the evening, then you should start to see your performance increase over the course of the day.

Have a little patience. Your paid social pre-sale activity is really going to put the work in here.

Tie it all together before the big day

It’s time to tie all this together. So what do we do again? Let’s cycle through so we’ve not missed anything:

  • Establish your foundations and do your health check; is your pixel working? 
  • Have you got conversion API up and running? Is your event-match quality score a minimum of six? 
  • Get creative; what paid social formats have worked best before? Develop those and have several ready to use 
  • Develop different copy variations not just for your typical customer. Think about people who are actually in the market now for gifts; what purchase influences are there? Is it price? Is it quality? Have multiple options and build momentum early.
  • Take advantage of more efficient CPMs. This could include lead generation campaigns to grow your email list. It could be running video view awareness campaigns in the build up so then you can be retargeting this activity beforehand
  • Start to establish those connections really early and also look at what else you could be doing with paid social
  • If it’s Reels, get some Reels out there

Don’t panic in the moment

When you’re finally in the moment, don’t panic. You’ve done the hard yards. This is where, yes, you’re going to see an increase in cost to advertise, but you’re also going to have a strong emphasis on your retargeting. You’ve already warmed up your audiences. So allow time for your cost per purchase to strengthen as the day wears on.

And then, finally, you’ve done it. You’ve seen a really successful sale period and you’re celebrating an increase in revenue which is fantastic.

Easily done but don’t let up here – follow up. If you’ve carried this on into the holiday season as well, come January, you’ll naturally start to see a decrease in advertising and those CPMs. Take advantage of this, it’s a really good opportunity to stay top of mind with those more efficient CPMs again.

So just continue that momentum now.


If you’ve scrolled all the way down for the abridged version then to prepare your Paid Social this Black Friday; remember to establish the foundations, build connections early, and don’t panic during the crucial moment. 

If you need any extra help with your paid social, contact Dark Horse

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