The MOST money is made on the Internet in the 4th quarter

make money q4 internet sally hendrick

Fourth (4th) quarter is the BEST time to sell, sell, sell!

Getting new leads into your business is important to do all the time, but 4th quarter is not the best time to PAY for new leads with social media ads. It's the best time to sell to existing audiences who already know you.

"Our sales are best around Black Friday and through the holidays, and I want to grow our audiences, too!"

Yeah, we know that. It's definitely time to sell, sell, sell in the 4th quarter holiday and gift-giving season, but to whom are you selling? That's the key notion here, knowing the temperature of your existing audience by the time the holidays hit.

You see, most of us are missing the awareness piece, the traffic piece. If you aren't consistently growing new audiences all year and then nurturing them after they find out who you are, you haven't prepped people enough for them to buy what you have.

Read: The 3 Phases of Advertising You May Be Missing

Facebook ads cost the most in the 4th quarter

You better bet they do. There's a lot more demand for ad space in the news feeds because everyone is selling something. Recently, I attended an online industry update by Smart Marketer where some key statistics were analyzed. Being a statistician and former actuary, this is the gold I'm mining from these summits.

The trend from month to month over a normal year is to see costs start out low in January. They steadily increase until summer comes along, where there is usually a slight dip. September and October ad space goes up again, but by the time November and December come along, ad auctions are bidding at much higher prices than any other time of the year.

For example, SmartMarketer conducted an analysis of Facebook ads results using a $56 million database of Facebook and Instagram ads from 2019 to 2021. For 2019, the cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) started out at $8.44. By April, CPM was $13.96, a 65% increase over January.  July dropped down to $9.78 with the year ending at $15.73 (86% more than January).


JAN: $8.44 CPM base

APR: $13.96 CPM +65% to Jan

JUL: $9.78 CPM +16% to Jan

DEC: $15.73 CPM +86% to Jan, +13% to Apr, +61% to Jul

Leaving 2020 out of the equation

When the pandemic hit in December 2019, uncertainty followed in the marketplace. Because there were significant shifts in advertising over 2020, more news feed supply opened up creating a boon for smaller businesses. Some of the largest ad buyers all but stopped their ads, while many businesses new to online marketing gave it a try. Due to significant market shifts, we consider 2020 data to not give a reliable dataset that we can use to mimic the future. For that reason, we'll use 2019 to model 2021.


JAN: $12.97 CPM base

APR: $20.14 CPM +55%

JUL: $22.56 CPM +74%

DEC: $25.00* CPM est. +93%

*December's CPM estimate is judgmentally selected by Sally Hendrick based on seasonal ratios from 2019. Months indicated in green are actual figures from the Smart Marketer industry report.

Ads cost more, but there's more money to make

Because spending and demand are up, ad space supply is low. This pushes advertising prices up. Getting brand new leads with advertising is the highest it will be all year, and that's the most costly slice of the advertising pie anyway. That's why getting new leads in the 4th quarter isn't the smartest move. It's best to nurture people and to push amazing sales to these warmer audiences. These ads are the cheapest to run on Facebook anyway. You'll get so much more bang for your buck.

Optimized schedule by type of ad spend over the year

It makes the most sense to go for new leads in January because costs will likely drop in half. Here's a rundown of how you may want to plan your advertising year for 2022.


Join our November & December workshops

Review 2021 in November, and plan 2022 in December! Every year, we dive deep into our accomplishments to see how far we've come, and then we plan the next year to be even better. Join us on November 18 and December 16 from 10 AM to 12 PM Central US time live on Zoom. Better yet? Get both workshops for the price of one!

Save 50%! Only $33 for Nov & Dec review & planning workshops

If you'd like to assess where you are now and plan out 2022 with realistic ideas of what timing is best, grab our two-for-the-price-of-one workshop series. You'll also get early bird opportunities for our Q1 2022 Lead Generation Live Experience. We will focus on lead generation since the timing will be the perfect time of year!

Content Inspiration for November and December

Here are some ideas to get you going. If you'd like our full Funny Holidays digital calendar for the entire year to add to your online calendar program, sign up to get it. It's free!

November Monthly:

  • Aviation History Month
  • Child Safety Protection Month
  • International Drum Month
  • National Adoption Awareness Month
  • National Caregivers Appreciation Month
  • National Diabetes Awareness Month
  • National Epilepsy Month
  • National Model Railroad Month
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • Native American Heritage Month
  • Peanut Butter Lovers Month
  • Real Jewelry Month
  • National Sleep Comfort Month
  • World Vegan Month

November Weekly:

  • Week 1 Chemistry Week
  • Week 3 Game and Puzzle Week
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December Monthly:

  • Bingo Month
  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month
  • World Food Service Safety Month
  • Write a Friend Month

Get content-making tips and my FUNNY HOLIDAYS calendar for FREE for daily content inspiration!