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Facebook advertising is no nascent technology. Most brands with any Facebook presence have tested the platform’s advertising product, or at least boosted a post or two.
For some, there has been immediate success. Others have seen little to no return.
But at the end of the day, Facebook’s audience is growing –– and so too is webstore traffic from the platform. It’s clear that Facebook is a powerful force for all brands, and retailers have a bit of a leg up.
For one, retailers have something to market. A product that can solve a specific problem, and a target audience for whom that product is ideal. Second, retailers have customer data and can use that data to retarget as well as find lookalike audiences. And finally, retailers can use Facebook checkout and Shop to encourage users to buy –– without them ever even having to leave that platform (reducing checkout friction and abandoned carts).
Sure, it may not be perfect, but it is effective. Below, we caught up with 32 ecommerce experts to get their advice on how retailers should be using Facebook ads to increase engagement and profits.
Their tips cover the full gamut of Facebook Advertising: dynamic ads, creative copy, retargeting, landing page match concepts and much more.
It all comes down to one thing: is your Facebook advertising strategy as buttoned up as it could be?
Adii Pienaar, Founder, Receiptful
The best part of Facebook Ads –– for an advertiser at least –– is just how much they know about their users: from preferences to behaviors and all the very detailed context added to each of those. This means that identifying and reaching one’s potential target audience is relatively easy.
But what you might find quickly is that scaling your costs and ad campaigns is a lot more difficult because –– depending on your industry or niche –– there’s many other advertisers fighting for the same attention.
The way around this is retargeting, because that immediately narrows down your focus to a more relevant audience about whom you know things that other advertisers didn’t know (like which products they viewed on your website).
To make the most of your retargeting efforts, I’d recommend these three best practices:
- Implement the Facebook Pixel on your site immediately. This allows Facebook to track user behavior on your website with the added bonus of tying it back to their Facebook account. This also means that they can follow a prospective customer’s journey extensively; so a customer might first view your products on their mobile device and then complete the purchase on their desktop later in the day. The Facebook Pixel will be able to unify that kind of robust data to augment your ad campaigns.
- Outsource the heavy lifting to the pros. It is completely possible to spend the time to learn all about Custom Audiences in Facebook. Or you can invest in some software to do this for you. I love the look of an app like Shoelace that uses a combination of AI and humans to propose retargeting campaigns that I can run, which eliminates my guess work.
- Think about using retargeting to boost something you’re already doing. I’m assuming you already have an email sequence in place to help you recover abandoned shopping carts. So think about how you can boost those recovery rates by using retargeting. Email is only one channel and sometimes recipients ignore emails. If, however, they’re seeing your cart abandonment emails and reminders in Facebook about the products they viewed, but never purchased, you will definitely see a lift in recovery rates.
Ryan Bemiller, Founder, Shopping Signals
Play the long game. Build a warm audience that’s more valuable in the long run.
Sure, you can run Facebook ads with the sole intent of making a sale. You can send visitors directly to a product detail page or even a custom landing page. However, you may find this is a more expensive route to take. You may generate sales faster, but it’s likely to cost you more per sale, and more to test until you find your winning ads.
Instead, consider using Facebook ads to generate leads to your email list. Then nurture your email list with a mix of useful content, and an occasional promotion. Finally, use Facebook retargeting ads to promote to your now very warm audience.
Your overall ad cost per sale is likely to be lower, and you will have developed relationships with more customers, which means more long term sales.
Peter Attia, Founder, Cucumber Nebula
When it comes to Facebook ads, we alway try to make the ad as personalized as possible. Even simply splitting the ads up by state and mentioning each person’s state within the ad showed a significant lift in clicks.
The other thing to keep in mind is that ads will start to lose their number of daily impressions quickly, so you need to rotate them out, often. One way to get around this, is to put up an ad that generates a lot of comments or questions. We’ve noticed this to increase our “Ad Relevancy” score, which in turn makes the ads display a higher number of impressions for longer.
Alex Birkett, Growth Marketer & Content Strategist, ConversionXL
As with any advertisement, email or message you send, there are two parts you need to keep in mind: the pre and post-click experiences.
So –– and this is especially true if your optimization team doesn’t talk much with your social team –– you need to make sure that the message (copy + design) on your Facebook ads match the landing page to which you’re sending people.
It’s not generally a difficult thing to do (just make sure the design matches and the copy is similar), but things get complicated for two reasons:
- General lack of cross-team communications.
- A/B testing. When you’re A/B testing Facebook ads (or Google ads, or emails, or whatever), how do you align that with the landing page, where people also might be running tests? In addition, what are the KPIs? You A/B test some Facebook ads, and the click through improves but sales go down. Is that the result of the ad message, the landing page, a mismatch between them? It’s almost impossible to tell.
Both problems are difficult and can be solved in a few ways. You could set up a cross-functional optimization team that works with different teams within the company to ensure message match. You could all work out of a PM software like Experiment Engine or Iridion.
Either way, the tl;dr is keep “message match” in mind when you’re advertising on Facebook.
Bryan Bowman, Founder, AMZ Profit Pros
Know the traffic “temperature” of your audience and use it to present the right pre-frame/offer in your ads. This is probably the biggest mistake I see ecommerce sellers make with their Facebook ads.
They present a 90% off coupon to a completely cold audience that doesn’t even know they need the product being promoted. Then, sellers are surprised when an ad doesn’t perform or the cost per lead is prohibitively expensive.
This discount strategy may be effective when re-marketing to a custom audience or previous Amazon customers; however, with a cold audience you’ll typically have to develop rapport and credibility first.
Whether it’s blog posts, quizzes, surveys or videos, consider how much your audience knows about your brand or product and take them down a path that educates them on why your product is the best and why they need it today. Then they’ll be knocking down your door for that discount.
Alex Cleanhous, Co-founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Web Profits
If you have an ecommerce store, create a Custom Audience of your biggest spenders by uploading a list of their emails to Facebook and then target ads to them.
You can also use Dynamic Retargeting to drive sales of products that people visited in your online store, or added to their shopping cart, to drive additional sales. If you don’t have an ecommerce store, focus on capturing the emails of your Facebook audiences and then convert them using broadcast emails and automated email sequences.
Jason Dea, Director of Product Marketing, Intelex
Nail it then scale it. Set a budget for yourself to test ad formats and audience segments. Once you find a recipe that fits, scale it. Don’t waste your time, effort and budget throwing things at the wall. Set limits on how much you want to test and then scale the ad campaigns that work, abandoning the rest.
William Harris, Ecommerce Consultant, Elumynt
If you aren’t advertising on Facebook ads yet, you’re missing out. Get started by setting up retargeting. I’ve found that Facebook almost always outperforms every other retargeting platform that I’ve used and it’s pretty much a guaranteed way to collect more sales and see positive ROAS. Then, you can use that extra budget to put towards new customer acquisition.
Catalin Zorzini, Founder, Ecommerce-Platforms.com
The first step with Facebook ads is to understand which type of ad is going to convert best for your brand. For example, some of the ads are intended to boost clicks to your website, bring in more likes on your Facebook page or get more installs for an app.
Selecting your objective is all about understanding what you want your ad to do for your business. As a side note, I would recommend really looking into the Facebook Ads that tell users which of their friends are also following your company or interested in your products. It’s like a way to get endorsements without having to actually talk to the people who follow you.
My second bit of advice is not only going to save you money, but bring people to your site who are actually interested. It’s all about targeting and focusing your individual ads on certain sets of customers. The Facebook Ad system has an impressive number of targeting filters for you to choose from, so if your product caters to 30-40 year old moms in the Chicago area, don’t try to grab those few random single woman who might be interested in your product.
Larry Kim, Founder, Wordstream
Facebook Product Ads are still relatively new and cost per clicks are pretty compelling. Prices have gone up in the last year, but are still OK. But they won’t be like this forever. Just saying, there’s a pretty big cost for waiting even a single quarter to jump on this bandwagon.
Danna Crawford, Owner, PowerSellingMom.com
Timing is everything! Pay attention to market trends within your industry and run the ads at the right time of day and best day of the week with the most people in the age-group you are focusing on. Study the statistics before investing in ads and learn from the analytics each time to develop new strategies going forward.
Adam Lovallo, Editor, Grow.co
Carousel ads are a home run, particularly for ecommerce brands that have strong visual assets. If you do try them, it is well worth trying both conventional image and video carousels.
Kenny Kane, CEO, Testicular Cancer Foundation
Share compelling imagery that tells a story or catalyzes an emotional response. Rather than posting a blatant shopping call-to-action, create FOMO (fear of missing out) that compels your followers to convert. At the very least, you will plant a seed which can be followed up with retargeting.
Raheem Sardar, Founder & CEO, RewardCamp
Showing ads to the right people is an important factor in Facebook advertising success. But selecting the right audience is challenging. An easy way to get around this issue is to upload your customer list and then build a ‘Lookalike’ audience, where the Facebook algorithm will pick people similar to your current customers. The Facebook algorithm is really good at doing this.
James Thomson, Partner, Buy Box Experts
While Facebook can help sell product, it should be treated as a platform for building longer-term genuine engagement with customers. Don’t use the platform just to sell; use it to educate and engage too, as that will motivate customer loyalty, which is far more valuable than an incremental sale from a random Facebook ad.
Drew Sanocki, Private Equity Operating Partner, Empire Growth Group
Most people forget to use Facebook on the retention side of things. Think of these ads as a non-opt-in version of your email program. Create audiences of customers who have abandoned carts or not purchased from you in 30+ days, then create some custom funnels to bring them back and increase your overall frequency of purchase per customer.
Richard Lazazzera, Founder, A Better Lemonade Stand
The best piece of advice I have for Facebook ads is to change your copy and images frequently to avoid banner blindness as well as avoid making your ad look like a traditional ad. Most people aren’t on Facebook to shop, so to get them and get them to discover and engage with your brand, you must do more than just interrupt their news feed with a product placement.
Kunle Campbell, Founder, 2X Ecommerce
Focus inward on your brand’s core essence, tone of voice and baseline visual creatives. Get that right first. Then, use Facebook as a direct response channel by advertising with 1) Lead offers, and 2) Dynamic product ads.
Use Facebook advertising to amplify top performing organic Facebook content in order to get cheap fans. Utilize videos to tell stories about your brand. Because producing video ads is somewhat challenging, chances are your competitors are not doing it. It’s a great way to create brand awareness.
Remember to constantly test target audiences, create lookalike audiences of your customer list and top performing audiences. We’ve changed the mindset in our organization about Facebook from a content amplification platform to a direct response, profitable channel.
The devil is in the detail.
Kristi Hines, Freelance Writer, KristiHines.com
Utilize Custom Audiences to target people who visit your website, people who have purchased from you before and are in your customer database, people who have signed up to your email list but haven’t purchased yet, and other segments of your audience.
Kevin Rizer, Host, Private Label Podcast
Take your current and previous customer phone numbers and create a custom audience within Facebook. Staying in front of people that are already familiar with your brand and products can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.
Jan Lastuvka, CEO & Co-Founder, MonkeyData
When creating Facebook ads, use influencers in your segments for targeting. In addition to your current targeting, target people who follow relevant influencers. This allows you to narrow your audience to people with a stronger interest in your product. For instance, if you sell men’s fitness products, add Obi Obadike as an interest in your targeting.
Jacob Firuta, Content Manager, LiveChat
If you are already displaying products on Instagram, you can hook it up to Facebook ads to woo people with beautiful photos. This works especially well for stylish accessories like designer watches.
Chris Van Dusen, CEO, Parcon Media
Test & segment. Test your ad copy. Find out what message resonates with your audience. Segment your ad sets by demographic, device, and placement.
Michael Ugino, Co-founder, Sellbrite
Take the time to really segment your audiences and get as granular as possible. There’s so much you can do to make sure you’re targeting your ideal customer, but you have to know who that is first!
Aaron Agius, Managing Director, Louder Online
Prioritize your paid ad campaigns based on sales funnel stage. Start by trying to reach users you know are close to making a purchase decision. Usually, that’s people that have already visited your product pages or opted-in to your free offers.
Use FB’s retargeting ads and ramp up your bids to hit them 48-72 hours after they’ve engaged with your brand. After that, expand your campaigns to reach those who are still in evaluation mode (as in, those who know your brand, but might not be ready to purchase yet), as well as those who haven’t heard of you yet.
Timi Garai, Marketing Manager, Antavo
It’s simple: be relevant. First, use custom audiences and lookalike audiences to target customers with relevant offers based on the product pages they visited. This is good for remarketing and then getting new customers.
Then, take it a step further. Try to remarket to customers, who have done specific actions in your store. If a customer purchased a certain product, then go after him with ads of supplementary products or similar products. If a customer abandoned his shopping cart, go after him with a discount to turn him back.
Justin Mares, Founder, FOMO
Use image carousels in your ads and leverage custom audiences. For example, create a custom audience of your top spending customers and run a 1% lookalike campaign to that audience.
Ned Nadima, Growth Manager, Rare.io
Understand your audience and use the advanced segmentation tools to display your ads in front of the right people.
Brett Curry, CEO, OMG Commerce
If you’re not advertising on Facebook, start with dynamic remarketing. Dynamic remarketing ads feature the products visitors viewed while on your site, now begging to be clicked in their Facebook newsfeed. Setup is relatively simple and this consistently generates strong returns for ecommerce merchants.
Ryan Stemkoski, Interactive Director, Zipline Interactive
Test different images with your advertisements. People browse Facebook visually, and finding the right image is critical to success. We will test different images with each campaign and we will even vary these images by device type to make sure that we’re maximizing the effectiveness of the campaign.
Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media/SmallBizDaily.com
Well, Facebook has 1.71 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2016, and if you’re trying to reach globally, approximately 84.5% of our daily active users are outside the U.S. and Canada. Because promotional costs are so low, it makes sense to try boosting posts, creating ads and everything they have to offer and then checking in on the analytics.
Joel Cherrico, Founder, Cherrico Pottery
Facebook helps us grow two effective sales avenues: direct purchases from our online store and signups to our newsletter.
Combining Facebook Boosted Posts with remarkable giveaway packages has effectively grown our newsletter, where our best customers reside. Facebook Live videos have more effectively grown our newsletter, while repeatedly selling out sections of our online store with zero ad budget.
We simply put a pottery sale store URL link in the Facebook Page “Shop Now” button. Then, I place my iPhone on a tripod and live stream my pottery process. It’s like magic. Fans are literally inside our studio. They can ask questions, get answers and buy pottery in real time, from anywhere in the world.
Plus, the pottery process is remarkably mesmerizing, almost like a magic trick. It’s like the Discovery Channel’s, “How It’s Made” but with a personal touch. Imagine Bob Ross answering fan questions while painting, and also letting his fans support him directly by getting a great deal on a painting.
Have you experienced Facebook Advertising success? Let us know what you did in the comments below.