Earlier this year, Facebook publicly announced a change in their News Feed algorithm that further reduces organic visibility for businesses. This means you need to utilize Facebook Ads to reach your current and future customers. This is not the first time Facebook has announced something exactly like this. But this change can be a good thing if you fully acknowledge and adapt your business with the Facebook shift that has taken place, then plan accordingly to take advantage of Facebook’s extremely powerful advertising platform. There are over 3 million advertisers on Facebook, meaning there is a lot of noise to cut through if you want your brand to be seen. But if you have a Facebook business page, Facebook practically requires that you pay in order to be seen.

As I mentioned, the platform’s algorithms have evolved to favor the user and remove any branded posts the user hasn’t engaged with from their feed, forever changing the Facebook marketing landscape in the process. If your posts aren’t highly engaging, or if you don’t post all that often, it’s likely very few of your followers will be ever see anything you post. And honestly, that’s okay because your retail business isn’t a content machine. Your products, your customer service and your industry expertise is where you excel.

And that’s also where a tactical Facebook Advertising business strategy can help you drive the increased traffic and higher sales you are working for. In the following guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to maximize profits from your Facebook advertising campaigns:

  • Which to use
  • When and Why
  • How to set them up
  • What they should look like
  • What they should say

There’s no single “best” way to advertise on Facebook, but in the following chapters, you’ll learn how to create, set up, organize and run highly-targeted campaigns to grow your customer base, revenue and business.

Your guide to Facebook advertising campaigns (only 3 types matter)

What you can do with Facebook and Facebook ads evolves every day. The constantly expanding feature set enables users to:

  • Talk about your page and posts
  • Connect with your business on Facebook
  • Shop or take action on your website
  • Shop from your Facebook page
  • Shop from an ad
  • Install or use your app
  • Invite others to your events

Facebook organizes ad campaigns around each of these activities based on your ad
objective, and they structure them by funnel initiative: awareness, consideration, conversion. Let’s walk through what each for these offerings is and why (and when) you’d use it.

BigCommerce-Facebook advertising

Facebook advertising awareness stage

The awareness section of your Facebook Advertising options is about increasing your Facebook business page visibility. Read: this section is not about increasing site traffic or sales. This is specific to increasing the engagement on the content you post to Facebook, getting additional likes on Facebook to expand your business following or even just to get an impression from Facebook users who do not currently follow or like your business.

Your options here include:

  • Boost your posts: Paying to boost your posts makes them more visible to your current audience, i.e. more likely to land in their feeds. Facebook’s feed algorithm works to diminish the number of business pages that appear in a user’s feed. Many brands set aside a monthly budget for boosted posts –– just to get their activity in the feeds of those who already like and follow their brand on Facebook.
  • Promote your page: This ad unit is aimed at increasing the number of people who like or follow your brand profile on Facebook. Know that a larger audience does not necessarily mean larger reach. Even as you grow your audience, you likely still need to boost posts to make sure your audience is seeing what you post.
  • Reach people near your business: 54% of Facebook users check their Facebook account from a mobile device. This means they are likely out-and-about –– or mobile, if you will. This advertising shows ads to those users who are within a specified range of your business, promoting your Facebook business page. You can get creative with the copy here to encourage additional foot traffic as well as grow your Facebook audience.
  • Increase brand awareness: This advertising option uses Facebook’s algorithm to determine dwell time on your ads, then lifts those ads back up to users who spend a certain amount of time without scrolling — indicating a higher likelihood they’ll be interested in your brand or product. Here is how Facebook determines who to show the ad to:

BigCommerce-Facebook advertising 2

In the awareness stage, you have a lot of options, and it’s likely that a combination of all will work best. You’ll see the following sentence multiple times throughout this guide: it is essential that you test, measure and then double down on what works. From a strategy perspective, know that not all of these campaigns are going to be best suited for your needs. For instance, if you don’t have a bunch of content on your site other than product pages, boosting your posts likely won’t have a significant impact. Boosting posts results in increased social share numbers for content (i.e. blog posts), and increase social shares help to increase search engine rankings (theoretically).

And you don’t want to boost your product pages — a tactic best suited for awareness — because you want to convert on your product pages, which we’ll get to in the conversion stage.

So, for retailers who want to optimize their spend on Facebook, outside of testing and measuring (which you should do anyway), the best options in the awareness funnel are the two latter ones.

Why are Reach People Near Your Business and Increase Brand Awareness the best options for retailers? Because they use additional targeting methods and algorithms to serve ads featuring your content and business page to those users who are more likely to be interested in it. In other words, your spending money where it matters –– not where it’s more likely to be looked over or randomly and accidentally clicked (costing you $$$).

After all, you are selling products, not content. Content can help to pull in potential new customers, but you don’t want to start too top of funnel. The goal is to convert users as quickly as possible –– and it’s best to do that with people who are already likely to be interested in what you have to say and sell than those who are not.

EDITOR’S NOTE
I’ll talk about Facebook targeted ads here in a bit. Yes, you can target a specific audience. However, consumer personas (what you would ideally be using to build your target audience) are not scientific. They are helpful for your marketing team, yes. But there is no harm is using additional Facebook algorithms like locality and dwell time to further boost your posts based on user relevancy.

Facebook advertising consideration stage

The consideration stage in any funnel is when a person finally takes the next step and performs a particular action that either:

a) Leads them away from their current experience
b) Asks a brand to give them more information.

These actions can include visiting your website (and leaving Facebook), installing an app, downloading a piece of content or RSVPing to an event (typically needing them to give you an email address).

More details about your options for Facebook consideration campaigns:

  • Send people to your website: This is exactly what it sounds like, an ad to get people to click over to your site. This is similar to a Google ad or any display ads you’ve seen across the web. You can lead users to a landing page specifically set up for a campaign you are running, to a product page, or even just to your homepage. The choice is yours –– and you should think through the desired actions you want users to take once they land on your site before you set up this campaign.
  • Get installs of your app: This isn’t as relevant for retailers, unless you have an app, of course. Exactly like it sounds, this ad encourages users to install an app, measured by increasing install numbers for your brand.
  • Raise attendance at your event: Facebook cannot be used to drive event attendance directly, but it can help to get RSVPs. And, those who RSVP will receive notifications from your brand every time you update something in the group. So be sure to follow up on events post the event to add photos and thank yous. Make sure those who didn’t attend get a bit of FOMO for having not been there –– and let them know to like you page in order to get notifications about upcoming events.
  • Get video views: To be honest, I’m not sure why this ad option is in the consideration stage. My best guess is that it’s because a video takes longer for someone to watch than it does to just like a piece of boosted content. Either way, know that a video view will not earn you any site clicks or visits –– at least not directly. This is a branding play –– allowing you to show off your brand personality and products in a more visually engaging way.
  • Collect leads for your business: With this option, you can encourage users to
    download a piece of content, sign up for discounts, or any number of things.
    Conversions on this may be low, but the emails you get you can nurture on your
    backend and work to turning them into customers down the line.

Depending on the campaign you are wanting to run, any of these conversion campaigns could work for you.

For instance, if you are launching a pop-up event for the holidays, it’s smart to use the event promotion option and grow RSVPs. In that event, you can then promote holiday deals and discounts, as well as products. You can even drop in videos and other branded materials to give those RSVPers a better feel of your brand and encourage them to stop by. Keep in mind, though, you don’t want to annoy them too much. Don’t be Candy Crush.

For most retailers, however, the best options in the consideration stage are Send People to Your Website and Collect Leads for Your Business.

Why?

Because the first one drives traffic and the second one drives leads –– and both of these activities help to move users down a conversion funnel.

Facebook advertising conversion stage

This is where all the quantifiable revenue generating activities happen. That doesn’t mean these are the only ads you should invest in — every part of the funnel is important. However, for retailers, conversion is key to success. And, Facebook conversion stage campaigns offer ideal analytics to make sure that the ads are working the way you want them to.

And that’s important. In the previous section I talked about using ads to drive users to your site. That’s cool. What’s even cooler is if you can see how many of those users are taking a specific action (i.e. buying a product or signing up for a newsletter).

For Facebook advertising to be successful, you need to test, measure and double down where you see good returns. The conversion stage campaigns give you an easy way to measure.

Your options here include:

  • Increase conversions on your website: Similar to the “Get people to visit your site” option, this option uses Facebook pixels (which will you also need to install on your own site) to determine if a conversion action (i.e. watching a video, adding a name to a newsletter, buying a product) actually takes place. With these ads, not only can you see if a conversion action is occurring, you can also A/B test placement of your CTA to optimize for conversion activity.
  • Increase engagement in your app: Again, this isn’t relevant for most retailers, but if you have downloads on your app and aren’t getting many people to actually use the app, you can use this option to promote app engagement from those who installed.
  • Get people to claim your offer: This is a great option for holiday and annual sales. This allows people to claim your offer right on Facebook, encouraging them to go to the site to use their discount ASAP.
  • Promote a product catalog: This is one of Facebook’s newer offerings, and it is perfect for retailers. This option, also known as dynamic ads, allows retailers to upload their inventory to Facebook –– and then use Facebook’s algorithm to showcase relevant products to relevant audiences. Think of this similarly to what you say in the awareness campaign stage. Yes, you can use targeting to set an audience target for your products (i.e increase conversion to your website option), but dynamic ads adds an additional layer to that targeting, putting algorithmic intelligence to work.

Again, all aspects of the funnel are important for growing businesses. However, few ad types on the Facebook advertising platform stack up to the product level conversion, measurability, relevancy and scalability of dynamic product ads.

If you already have a relatively decent size Facebook following, look into testing dynamic ads instead of page promotions or boosted posts. Just be sure you have the conversion pixel on your own site set up so Facebook can track success and report metrics.

BigCommerce-Facebook advertising 3

Early adopters like Rachel Kawn, the online marketing manager at The Honest Company, and Zach Greenberger, CEO of adMixt, are already seeing positive results here.

“Dynamic ads helps us connect our large product catalog to each unique shopper with relevant and timely product ads. We’re seeing strong results, including a 34% increase in click through rate and a 38% reduction in cost per purchase.”

-Zach Greenberger, CEO of adMixt

How to master your Facebook ad targeting strategy

If you read through the previous chapter, you know that a few ad options offer an additional layer of algorithmic intelligence to show your ads to a more relevant audience. All Facebook ads, however, have targeting intelligence built in –– by you, the advertiser.

Facebook offers the following ad targeting categories to pinpoint your audience:

  • Location: Reach your customers in the areas they live or where they do business with you. Target ads by country, state, zip code, or even the area around your business
  • Demographics: The customers your business serves are on Facebook. Choose the audiences that should see your ads by age, gender, interests — and even the languages they speak.
  • Interests: When people are interested in your business, they’re more likely to take action on your ad. Choose from hundreds of categories like music, movies, sports, games, shopping and so much more to help you find just the right people.
  • Behaviors: You know your customers best, and you can find them based on the things they do — like shopping behavior, the type of phone they use or if they’re looking to buy a car or house.
  • Connections: Reach the people who like your Page or your app — and reach their friends, too. It’s an easy way to find even more people who may be interested in your business.
  • Partner Connections (off-Facebook behavior): Such as owning a home, being in the market for a new truck or being a loyal purchaser of a specific brand or product.

All of these targeting options can be layered on top of one another to give you a bullseye view of the group of people on Facebook you want to see your ad. Facebook will even show you audience size and estimated reach as you increase the number of targets.

Let’s walk through an example.

How to set up a targeted Facebook ad campaign

Below, I’ve set up targeting to women in the U.S. who speak English between ages 18-30.

BigCommerce-Facebook ad targeting strategy

To help narrow down your audiences of 34 million people –– which is quite broad –– it’s helpful to use detailed targeting of demographics, interest and behaviors. If you’ve done this before, Facebook will track which have been most successful for you. If you are new, you’ll be prompted with the questions below so Facebook can best understand your intentions:

BigCommerce-Facebook ad targeting strategy 2

Thankfully, there is a browse section to help newbies and experts find additional targets:

BigCommerce-Facebook ad targeting strategy 3

With some targeting –– in this case, for women who are or have friends who have recently gotten engaged and who like to travel –– plus making sure they are friends of people who already like my page (i.e. they may already know about my brand or have seen their friends like my brand), I have narrowed it down to an audience of 34,000.

BigCommerce-Facebook ad targeting strategy 4

According to Facebook, my audience is now perfectly defined.

Now, it’s time to determine placements and spend.

Facebook ads can be placed in the feed, the right hand column, and specified as mobile or tablet. The easiest way to set this up is to allow Facebook to place ads where they work best for you. You do, however, have the option of defining where you want them to show up.

BigCommerce-Facebook ad targeting strategy 5

For spend, that part is up to you. In the next chapter you’ll learn how to measure —
and maximize — your Facebook profitability.

How much it really costs to advertise on Facebook: Analytics you need to know

Facebook reporting gives marketers a whopping 145 metrics to look at, and yet, this reporting suite is only half of the equation when it comes to understanding if your Facebook ad spend is reaping you positive ROI.

In comparison to the likes, shares and clicks your Facebook ad generates, the activity that occurs on your site — including checkout conversions and new customer signups — are equally, if not more important to how you evaluate the overall success of your advertising campaign.

Be sure to set up conversion pixels properly in order to have Facebook track these
measurements for you.

BigCommerce-Facebook Analytics

To help you better understand the business impact and true cost of your Facebook ads, here are the seven essential metrics every Facebook advertiser should know and measure.

Impressions

This is defined as the number of times your ad is shown. More impressions mean higher brand awareness for your company. If you’re reaching new customers, promoting an attitude about your brand or launching a new product, brand awareness should be one of your top priorities.

Aside from the number of impressions, you should also consider the placement of your ads. Ads in the news feed are more than double the size of the right-hand column ad. Accordingly, the news feed ads can have greater impact and are more expensive as a result.

BigCommerce-Facebook Analytics 2

Speaking of expensive, you should also look at the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) of your ads. If two ads are being shown in the same placement, spend more on the ad with a lower CPM, so you can reach more people for less.

Here is how you calculate CPM:

CPM = ad cost x 1,000 / # of impressions

Clicks

This is defined as the number of times your ad is clicked on. Clicks are a way to measure customer engagement and level of interest. The number of clicks tells you how many times people came to your website from an ad.

Put clicks in context by measuring the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions, or the click-through rate (CTR). The higher the CTR, the more interested people are in your ad.

Here is how you measure CTR:

CTR = # of clicks / # of impressions

Also look at the cost per click (CPC) of your ads. If your objective is to drive as much interest as possible at the cheapest cost, you want to spend more on ads with lowers CPCs.

Here is how you measure CPC:

CPC = ad cost / # of clicks

Similar to measuring the impact of impressions, remember that the placement of your ad makes a big difference on your CTR and CPC. Ads shown in the news feed generally have higher CTRs and higher CPCs than those in the right-hand column. News feed ads are larger in size and mixed in with a user’s organic content. Many people may click on news feed ads without realizing they are even ads.

Keep in mind that clicks are just a proxy for interest. Even if someone is interested in your product, they may not click on your ad because they are averse to doing so. Instead, they may view your ad and visit your website at a later time.

Facebook conversion rate

Conversions refer to actions taken on your website. This could mean different things
to different businesses. In general, it refers to the desired action you want to take place. For example, it could refer to adding a product to a cart, checking out or entering an email address.

Put conversions in context by measuring the number of conversions divided by the number of page visits, or conversion rate. Your conversion rate indicates how likely it is that a visitor will take the desired action. When considering what to advertise, choose products that have a high conversion rate. Also, keep in mind that a higher CTR does not equate to a high conversion rate.

How you measure conversion rate:

Conversion rate = # of conversions / # of clicks

A metric that many marketers use to determine advertising effectiveness is the advertising spend divided by the number of conversions, or cost per action (CPA). The lower the CPA, the less you’re paying for more conversions.

How you measure CPA:

CPA = ad cost / # of conversions

When looking at conversion metrics, make sure to acknowledge the source. If a user receives an email from you, he or she is already familiar with your product and is more likely to take an action than a brand new customer. A user coming from a Facebook ad may be less familiar with your product and will likely have a lower conversion rate.

Return on ad spend (ROAS)

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is defined as revenue divided by advertising spend. This metric should be used for advertisers looking to drive sales immediately. The higher the return on ad spend, the better. Most advertisers look to at least break even on their advertising campaigns with a ROAS greater than 100%. If you look at lifetime value, though, you can afford to have a lower ROAS target.

How you measure ROAS:

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) = revenue / ad cost
When evaluating your ROAS results, make sure to consider your advertising budget and click volume. We recommend getting at least 100 clicks on an ad before assessing your ROAS performance.

Keep in mind that if your goal is to build brand awareness or drive engagement, ROAS should not be their primary metric. Revenue is important, but new customers from a branding campaign are just starting to learn about your business. It will take time to nurture their interest before they make a purchase.

Lifetime value

Lifetime value is the total projected revenue that a customer will generate during their lifetime. Advanced marketing teams typically set a goal for the cost to acquire new customers to be less than the profit margin generated over the course of a year from those customers.

Here’s how you incorporate Lifetime Value into ROAS:

Let’s say you spend $100 on Facebook advertising and 10 people join your email newsletter. In the first month, one person buys an item for $25. In the second month, two people buy items totaling $50. In the third month, five people buy items totaling $125. In three months, you’ve generated $200 from the people who joined your email newsletter. Since you spent $100 in ads, you have generated a 100% ROAS.

If you only looked at revenue from the first month in this scenario, though, you would greatly underestimate the value of your advertising.

In the next chapter, we’ll take a look at real examples from successful Facebook advertisers and show you how to create similarly-successful campaigns.

5 Facebook advertising strategies with examples

There are more than 1.4 billion people on Facebook. That statistic alone is a good enough reason to put some marketing dollars toward advertising on the platform.

But with that many people and such a saturated advertising platform, it is essential you go in to your Facebook marketing initiatives with a clear objective and plan for how you will reach it.

Facebook offers the following best practices for brands looking to create engaging
advertising campaigns:

  • Know your business goal
  • Know your audience
  • Pick a topic

When the advertising platform you are putting your hard-earned money into provides hints on how to use it effectively, don’t ignore them!

Yes, you want to A/B test copy and photos to see which gets you better results, but before you even get to that step, make sure you know exactly what you are looking to get out of a Facebook advertising campaign, the audience you are targeting and the topic you’ll use to make it all come to life.

The following 5 examples will give you actionable models for how to advertise on Facebook and hone your business strategy on the world’s most highly-trafficked social media platform.

1. Generate interest for your brand

  • Campaign type: Best for brands which are: Just getting started, launching an off-shoot brand, product or initiative Awareness stage
  • Audience: Active Facebook users already following your brand
  • Topic: Passion for brand purpose (speak to the problem you are solving for customers)
  • Best for brands which are: Just getting started, launching an off-shoot brand,
    product or initiative

People already familiar with your brand are much more likely to buy. If you have relatively few followers, start out your Facebook advertising by working to grow your Facebook audience for brand discovery and awareness.

Remember, the more people that like your brand and engage with your content, the more it will show up in the feeds of their friends –– getting you organic visibility and potential new followers.

So, instead of looking exclusively at sales numbers in relation to the Facebook ads you are creating, measure brand awareness by applying a goal of getting as many impressions from your target audience as possible at the lowest cost.

Check out how Soylent speaks directly to a health and design-conscious audience both with their copy and visual creative.

BigCommerce-Facebook advertising strategies

2. Showcase your best products

  • Campaign type: Conversion stage
  • Audience: Active Facebook users following your brand, or active Facebook users who routinely shop online (targeted segment option)
  • Topic: Put urgency to the message, or talk to the pain point this product solves. Use customer-written reviews to provide credibility.
  • Best for brands which are: All brand types

The best-performing products on your websiteBigCommerce-Facebook advertising strategies 2
typically perform the best with advertising.
See which products have the highest number
of sales, or which products have the highest
website conversion rates. Product price points
between $10 and $99 typically work better for
Facebook advertising.

Take mattress retailer Casper, for instance, which uses sponsored ads to drive traffic to its mattress product page.

Note: This ad actually takes you to Casper’s homepage, not a product-specific page. However,

Casper only sells mattresses (OK –– and one pillow), which is apparent on that homepage –– with multiple CTAs to buy the mattress.

3. Inspire activities

  • Campaign type: Consideration stage
  • Audience: Active Facebook users following your brand, and their friends
  • Topic: Make it relevant to the season and your audience (and your brand!). Offer
    playlists or recipes and drive them to a newsletter sign up.
  • Best for brands which are: All brand types –– especially if you are looking to grow your email list

No matter the season, be sure that the products you are using to advertise on Facebook inspire action from the audience –– both online and off.

Is spring right around the corner? Start advertising those floral dresses –– and get a boost in conversions from customers excited about upcoming warmer weather.

In the summer, feature a pair of headphones onBigCommerce-Facebook advertising strategies 3
a jogger, showcase earrings on a chic sunbather
or accessorize a black dress with brightly colored
accent jewelry. Be sure to craft your ads in
context of the current seasons and activities
with which your audience relates.

See below how Gap is taking advantage of
the athleisure trend and a changing summer to fall season to advertise more fall-inspired workout gear.

4. Celebrate important milestones

  • Campaign type: Conversion stage
  • Audience: Active Facebook users following your brand and their friends. Use advanced targeting to target individual life events (like marriages and engagements, buying a home or graduating).
  • Topic: Offer discounts and coupons to help your customers and their friends celebrate life’s milestones.
  • Best for brands which are: All brand types.

From graduations to weddings, Mother’s Day to Hanukkah and Christmas, the year is full of special holidays and life milestones that are likely relevant to your Facebook target audience.

Advertise to your audience with these in mindBigCommerce-Facebook advertising strategies 4
in order to increase brand trust, awareness and
overall conversions. People like connecting
with brands that understand who they are and
what they care about. So use these moments to
connect with people by speaking to the holiday
lifecycle –– from the planning and preparation
to the celebration and clean up.

Even though the ad doesn’t specifically say it,
this is a Labor Day promotion (ending on Labor Day, September 5, 2016) encouraging users to get ready for fall on their day off.

5. Provide product incentives

  • Campaign type: Conversion stage
  • Audience: Active Facebook users following your brand, and their friends. Even better if you can segment these ads for those who have already bought (a VIP message) versus those who never have (i.e. offer a trial or sample).
  • Topic: Offer discounts and coupons, or even a trial size of a product, to encourage additional buying or a net new purchase.
  • Best for brands which are: All brand types.

Are you experiencing slower sales than expected? Is your store in a summer slump? Are the first few months of the new year not causing products to fly off the shelf?

Retailers often experience slower seasons orBigCommerce-Facebook advertising strategies 5
months, and these vary based on the business
itself. You can counter these trends by providing
more enticing offers, especially around
milestones or holidays that occur during your
lower-selling months.

See below how Blue Apron uses a discount to
encourage additional sign ups.

If you’ve run any Facebook campaigns that have
worked exceptionally well for you, please share your thoughts, ideas and execution details in the comments below.

Up next, we’ll go through guidelines and best practices for fine-tuning your Facebook ads — and increasing conversion in the process.

24 Facebook advertising guidelines & best practices for high-performing ads

No matter how advanced your targeting is, your ad creative is what will catch a potential customer’s eye –– or keep them moving along in their Facebook feed.

What your ad looks like and what it says are incredibly important to the success of your overall Facebook ad campaign.

Below are 24 guidelines to help you make the most of every dollar you spend.

  1. Showcase high-quality images: You want people to pay attention to your image,
    not your image quality. Pay attention to angle and lighting. Images with highly
    saturated colors help the creative stand out against Facebook’s white background.
  2. Refresh your creative: If you’re targeting the same audience for a while, you’ll
    start to see lower engagement as the audiences tires of seeing the same image.
    Refresh your creative once you start to see this drop.
  3. Use the correct image specs: Observe Facebook’s recommended image width of 600 pixels to avoid having your image resized. If your image gets resized, it may not look the way you intended.
  4. Minimize text in your image: Ads on Facebook may not include images with text
    that covers more than 20% of the image’s area. These ads will be disapproved
    by Facebook.
  5. Grab your audience’s attention: Photos should be bright and eye-catching,
    ideally with a white background. Consider using Pixc Photos or Pixelz to remove
    the background of your image.
  6. Use a good headline: Grab people’s attention with a compelling headline. Use
    simple and direct language to describe your product or service.
  7. Include your product in the headline: Half of ads are viewed in 5 seconds or less.
    Include the name of your product or service in the headline to ensure that your
    audience knows exactly what you’re selling.
  8. Describe your uniqueness: Generate a sense of allure and stand out from the
    crowd by using words such as “exclusive,” “unique” or “best” to describe your
    offering. Make sure Facebook users know that no other retailers can truly replicate the experience you provide.
  9. Keep it short and sweet: Your audience is not going to read an essay about your
    product. We recommend keeping copy to 25 characters for the headline and 90 characters for the body copy.
  10. Feature discounts: Include discount information such as “up to 70% off!” or “FREE gift!” in your ads, where possible. Consider creating an exclusive promotion for that channel, such as “use discount code Facebook10 to get 10% off!” Promotions typically increase both your click-through rate and conversion rate.
  11. Mention price: If your goal is to drive sales, include the price in your ad copy to
    motivate people to buy. This is especially compelling if you offer low price points.
  12. Use a number: Some marketers have seen that simply using any number in the
    headline can help increase the click-through rate. Outside of price and discount, some examples include: “Necklaces, available in 3 sizes,” and “5 looks to change your wardrobe.”
  13. Include a timeframe: Create urgency with time-based language to compel users
    to take action. Examples: “now,” “today,” “this week only.”
  14. Inspire action: Use strong call-to-action copy such as “Shop Now!,” “Learn More,” “Click Here” and “Get a Quote.” Reiterate your message by also adding a call-toaction button.
  15. Stick to one CTA: Resist asking users to take multiple actions. If you include two
    messages such as “Connect now!” and “Shop now!”, you muddle your message
    and decrease its effectiveness.
  16. Talk to your customer directly: Build a connection with your audience by making
    the ad about them, not you. Use the word “you” to form a relationship, and explain why your product or service is relevant to their needs.
  17. Comply with Facebook’s policies: Avoid promoting adult products, weapons
    and more. Using sexually explicit or violent content is also not allowed. Keep in
    mind that if you don’t adhere to Facebook’s policies, you risk getting your entire ad account shut down.
  18. Stay on brand: Ensure your colors, images and voice are consistent with your
    brand. Keep your advertising consistent across channels so customers can
    recognize your brand.
  19. Tie the image to the message: Your message and image should complement each other. This may seem obvious, but it’s a common pitfall.
  20. Match your creative to your landing page: To maximize your advertising
    efficiency, the image and copy in your ad should match the image and copy on the landing page. Not only is this a consistent experience for the user, but it may also impact how Facebook’s algorithm calculates your bid price.
  21. Sequence creative to tell a story: Consider telling a story with your ads over time. For example you can update messaging about a ticketed event from “Get a sneak peek of this new album” to “Buy tickets today to this concert!” to “Last minute tickets available!”
  22. Align with your goal: One of the most important things to consider when
    developing creative is your goal. If you’re looking to drive brand awareness,
    engage prospective customers with compelling and memorable content. If you’re looking to drive sales immediately, encourage users to click on your ads and send them directly to your product pages.
  23. Measure your results: Look at available metrics to evaluate how people are
    responding to your ads. Click-through rate (# of clicks / # of impressions) indicates how relevant the ad is to your audience. Look at your conversion rate (# of sales / # of site visits) to determine if your product is being advertised appropriately or if your landing pages have room for improvement. For example, if you show a cute dog in an ad for a cleaning product, you may see high click-through rate with a low conversion rate.
  24. Test and learn: Try different combinations of images and ad copy to see what
    works best. Examples: include just the product in the image, show the product
    being used by people, use an image that incites emotion.

To round out our Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising, 32 industry experts share their tips (and secrets!) to high-performing FB ads.

32 expert Facebook advertising tips to increase profits

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

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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.

-Adii Pienaar, Receiptful, @adii

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. Facebook about the products they viewed, but never purchased, you will definitely see a lift in recovery rates.

“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. 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.

-Ryan Bemiller, Shopping Signals, @shopsignals

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.

“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 a longer period of time”

-Peter Attia, Cucumber Nebula, @PeterAttia

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:

  1. General lack of cross-team communications.
  2. 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 crossfunctional 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.

“Keep message match in mind when you’re advertising on Facebook. 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.”

-Alex Birkett, ConversionXL, @iamalexdbirkett

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.

“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.”

-Bryan Bowman, AMZ Profit Pros, @BryanWBowman

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.

“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.”

-Alex Cleanhous, Web Profits, @alexcleanhous

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.

“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.”

-Jason Dea, Intelex, @threadyblock

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.”

-William Harris, Elumynt, @wmharris101

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.

“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.”

-Catalin Zorzini, Ecommerce-Platforms.com, @zorzini

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. There’s a pretty big cost for waiting even a single quarter to jump on this bandwagon.”

-Larry Kim, Wordstream, @larrykim

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.

“Our Facebook, 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.”

-Donna Crawford, PowerSellingMom.com, @DonaCrawford

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.”

-Adam Lovalla, Grow.co, @GrowCo

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.”

-Kenny Kane, Testicular Cancer Foundation, @KennyKane

Raheem Sardar, Founder & CEO, RewardCamp

“Showing ads to the right people is an important factor in Facebook 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.”

-Raheem Sardar, RewardCamp, @RewardCamp

James Thomson, Partner, Buy Box Experts

“While Facebook can help sell product, it should be treated as a platform for building longerterm, genuine engagement with customers. Don’t use the platform just to sell; use it to educate and engage, too.”

-James Thomson, Partner, Buy Box Experts

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.

“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.”

-Drew Sanocki, Empire Growth Group, @drewsanocki

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.

“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 you must do more than just interrupt their news feed with a product placement.”

-Richard Lazazzera, A Better Lemonade Stand, @RichardABLS

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.

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.

“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.”

-Kunle Campbell, 2X Ecommerce, @KunleTCampbell

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.”

-Kristi Hines, KristiHines.com, @kristihines

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.”

-Kevin Rizer, Private Label Podcast, @privatelabelpod

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.

“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.”

Jan Lastuvka, MonekyData, @JanLastuvka

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.”

-Jacob Firuta, LiveChat, @JFiruta

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.”

-Chris Van Dusen, Parcon Media, @vandusen

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!”

-Michael Ugino, Sellbrite, @MichaelUgino

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.”

-Chris Van Dusen, Parcon Media, @vandusen

Timi Garai, Marketing Manager, Antavo

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.

“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.”

-Michael Ugino, Sellbrite, @MichaelUgino

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.”

-Justin Mares, FOMO, @jwmores

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.”

-Ned Nadima, Rare.io, @NedNadima

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.”

-Justin Mares, FOMO, @jwmores

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 evenvary these images by device type to make sure that we’re maximizing the effectiveness of the campaign.”

-Ned Nadima, Rare.io, @NedNadima

Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media

“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.”

-Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media

Joel Cherrico, Founder, Cherrico Pottery

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.

“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.”

Published On: October 19th, 2020 / Categories: BigCommerce, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social Media /

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