Holiday 2023 Guide Part 7: BFCM Cheat Sheet for Advertisers on Meta

Lola Behrens, Content Marketing Manager


DJ Sutton, Director of Media Services

Brie Slavens, Manager of Media Services

November 6th, 2023

We’re just 3 weeks away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), which means it’s officially go-time for digital marketers. If you’re on point for your brand’s strategy on Meta this holiday season, we’ve got you covered. New Engen experts identified best practices and key tactics to implement for a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2023.

Reinforce Your Campaign Strategy

Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

Get the most out of your Meta Advantage+ Shopping (ASC+) campaigns by supplementing existing, business-as-usual (BAU) campaigns with ones that are promotion-specific. Your Promo ASC+ should include a minimum of 15 sale-related assets.

Keep your BAU campaign live while the Promo ASC+ ramps up to help maintain performance throughout the sale period (and into the hangover period).

Winning Audience Approach

Here are best practices for capitalizing on your audiences this holiday season:

  1. Don’t abandon your LookAlike (LAL) and Interest audiences. While a minimum of 40% of your prospecting budget should be allocated to ASC+, the remaining budget should be used for Dynamic Ads, Broad Audiences (DABA), and testing into smaller audience segments using LAL and interest targeting.
  2. Expand on top-performing LALs. Launch larger versions of winning evergreen LALs (and exclude the original, smaller LAL) to remain efficient at scale.

Ensuring Efficiency

Set your ad sets up for success by allocating enough budget to ensure they exit the learning phase. A good rule of thumb is to place ad set budgets at 5x your average CPA.

Leverage lowest cost auto-bidding (AKA, no bid caps) to get the highest results from your budget and ensure that you can win in auctions (without bid caps and goals inhibiting scale).

Finally, don’t run more than 10 prospecting audiences at a time - this includes ASC+ and DABA.

When to Adjust Bids & Budgets (And When to Leave Them Alone)

In 2022, we measured +30% in CPMs and +50% in CVR across the New Engen client portfolio from October to November. Below, we explore the key dates to look out for this month and how to make adjustments (or stay put) during peak periods.

  • Ramp early to take advantage of lower CPMs. Don’t wait until Black Friday to crank budgets - holiday shopping is starting early and it’s advantageous for advertisers to get in as soon as possible to benefit from less competition, cheaper CPMs, and the CVR spike right before the holiday.
  • Consider pulling back on Thanksgiving, as CVR will be lower and CPMs will rise. (But crank budgets in the evening to ensure spend targets are hit on Black Friday).
  • Don’t overreact after you ramp. Performance will look soft in-platform early on, and pulling back based on incomplete data can be detrimental to overall performance.
  • Lean into Cyber Monday. Last year, New Engen clients observed peak CVR & CPMs during Cyber Monday - to efficiently capitalize on this, marketers should plan on pulling back spend on Sunday and leaning in on Cyber Monday.
  • Stay top-of-mind after the shipping cutoff. Take advantage of cheaper CPMs that will ensue as advertisers pull out of the auction.
Don’t Over-Manage Your Campaigns

DJ Sutton, Director of Media Services at New Engen, stresses that the most important thing to remember throughout the holiday season is to not over-manage your campaigns. It’s easy to spring into firefighting mode when things don’t go to plan, but updating your campaigns mid-flight will push them back into the learning phase and end up working against you in the long run (as the old saying goes: two steps forward, one step back).

We know that Q4 is a grind for digital marketers, and that it can be difficult to know where the line between necessary management and excessive management is drawn. New Engen experts live by these four golden rules to stay ahead of the curve (and above water).

  1. Limit budget adjustments to two times per day, once in the morning and once in the evening (evening budget adjustments are critical to ensuring that you hit your spend goals the following day).
  2. Build and publish your ads early (i.e. at least three days prior to your promotion start date) to avoid any delays incurred by the extended review period.
  3. Avoid launching new ads daily. It’s best to wait at least 2-3 days between ad launches, and when you do, reserve these for new deals or products. Minimizing the number of ad launches helps reduce budget that is spent in the learning phase (and the volatility this can bring).
  4. Allow your Advantage+ Shopping campaigns to optimize. Don’t pause ads in your ASC+ campaigns within 7 days of launch (unless they are spending inappropriately and fueling wider performance concerns).
Get the Most Out of Your Black Friday, Cyber Monday Creative

When it comes to preparing your BFCM ad creative, New Engen leaders have a piece of advice - work smarter, not harder. For example, instead of producing differentiated ad creative for each day, brands should focus on generic BFCM messaging that can run throughout the spending period. This ensures that new ads aren’t being launched on peak days and provides insulation against CPM spikes.

Leverage your ad creative within Dynamic Ad (DPA) campaigns (seriously, this one is non-negotiable). Testing conducted by Meta has shown that DPAs with creative elements drive stronger CTR and CVR than those without. Additionally, incorporate Buy Now, Pay Later messaging into both text and visual assets if applicable to your brand.

Finally, get the most life out of your BFCM strategy by promoting gift cards after the shipping cutoff date has passed.

Bonus ⭐️ Expand Your Reach with Reels

Finally, make sure you’re taking advantage of Reels this holiday season. Because of their massive reach and unparalleled engagement, Reels are the most valuable ad format available to advertisers right now. Across the New Engen portfolio, Reels are driving a +40% Watch-Through Rate compared to Feed and Story Video Ads, and they’re doing it at a -75% Cost per Reach. Simply put, consumers are engaging with Reels more than any other ad placement, and there is a surplus of ad inventory available to advertisers if they choose to use it.

For more Reels insights, watch the replay of our October webinar and read the debrief, #ReelTalk: If You’re Not Investing in Reels, You’re Missing Out.

Check out more Holiday 2023 resources below, and stay informed on all things digital marketing by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on LinkedIn.

✨ New Engen Holiday 2023 Resource Hub ✨

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