Facebook is a great place to sell products, especially if you’re a small business. It has massive reach, strong targeting options, and lots of tools to help you make sure you’re succeeding. But it’s not always easy to knock it out of the park right off the bat, not to mention there’s no one-size-fits-all-strategy. It requires some testing to find out what the right mix is for your business.
In that spirit, I wanted to cover some strategies I think will help you start off on the right foot with Facebook ads or get better returns for the campaigns you’re already running.
If you’re looking for a great foundation, check out our Complete Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ecommerce first. My aim here is to piggy-back off of the foundation my friend Akvile set in that post, so I encourage you to check it out either before you read this post or use it as a supplement if you’re a bit lost!
1. Leverage conversion actions for all stages of the funnel
By now you likely know the fundamentals of building a funnel with your campaigns. (Hint: If you don’t, that beginner’s guide above just became required reading.)
There are lots of ways this can apply, and I’m planning on talking through a couple of those today, but the first I want to mention is around how you leverage the custom/standard events set up with your Facebook pixel.
All of the campaign objectives in Facebook can allow you to sell products, but the one I use the most is the conversion type campaign and then adjust it as needed based on the sales I’m seeing.
One of the key tenets of using this campaign objective is to make sure you have enough regular conversion volume to keep the algorithm fed with data. Facebook says this needs to be 50 conversions per ad set per week, but I’ve seen it work well with far less than that.
But not all companies see 20+ sales per week for every ad set in all of their conversion campaigns.
So to get around that, leverage the events further up the buyer cycle to help Facebook optimize while still optimizing toward actions users are taking on your site.
If you don’t have enough purchases, step back to “Add Payment Info.” If that’s still to low volume, give “Initiate Checkout” as an option.
The chart above is a standard implementation of Shopify and all of these events are set up automatically when you add your pixel through Shopify. Many platforms make it easy to set these actions up and they can be huge benefits to your accounts.
2. Create audiences from funnel stages
Those same buyer funnel steps we use for conversion optimization can also be used for audience creation.
Think about when you are personally shopping or browsing online. What type of mentality shift do you go through when you view an item vs when you add it to your shopping cart? And how much more of a shift do you make when you start to check out?
If you’re anything like me, your connection to a brand changes quite a bit when you go through each of those stages and because of that, I want to be spoken to differently on subsequent touches.
When building audiences, if you click the dropdown that defaults to “All website visitors,” you’ll see there is a section titled “From your events.” Any of the actions here can be used as an audience creation trigger in the same way a URL rule can be. Simply choose the event you want, customize your remaining parameters, and you’re all set!
3. Use the platform to find high-quality prospecting audiences
There are quite a number of ways you can find users to target on Facebook, but here are a few of my favorites for ecommerce.
Create lookalikes from event audiences
Yes, we’re still using those events from your own website for this. I promise this is the last section where I talk about those events.
Once you’ve created your website user lists for the different stages of your funnel, you can then create lookalikes off of them for Facebook to find new prospective users. They’ll identify patterns in the users who completed your on-site events, scour the platform for users who behave similarly, and show them your ads to engage with your ecommernce brand.
The additional benefit here is that as you gain more events, those will be included as your lookalike audience will refresh every day.
Create lookalikes from engagement audiences
Don’t stop with your website engagement. Keep your on-platform engagement in mind as well. The Facebook platform is set up to get users to engage in multiple different ways from watching videos, to liking pages, to engaging in multiple different ways with page posts.
Don’t leave these users out of your prospecting strategies. These actions can be just as valuable as some of those on-site actions.
You can create lookalikes from these by creating a base audience of engaged users first, then creating a lookalike from it like you would from other website retargeting audiences.
Target users who like similar/competitor brands
Lastly, moving away from lookalike audiences, it can also be a good strategy to target users who like brands that are competitors of yours or supplemental brands.
Unfortunately, not all brands are available to be targeted, so you might want to make sure you’re thinking of bigger brands that are similar to you. If users exhibit interest in those big brands, then as long as you’ve done your job well, your products and ads should resonate with them, as well.
To get a sense of who follows bigger name brand pages, you can hop into Facebook’s Audience Insights tool, add your comparable brands in the Interests section, then analyze the audience segment in the subsequent charts to make sure it’s a good fit for your brand.
Additionally, you can compare the brands you’re researching to your page by adding your page in the “Pages” section and seeing how Facebook categorizes your followers.
If the brands you chose align well with your page followers, that could be a great audience to go after.
4. Highlight your products well and accurately
The ad creative you put in front of your audience can be a huge influencer on them, especially on the first impression. There are a few things you can do to put your products in a good light and make sure they’re relevant to the audience.
Ad formats to highlight products
The easiest ad format to run with is the single image post and these can be highly impactful. But there are a number of other formats that can be really useful for showing off your products.
Facebook carousel ads are basically the same as single image ads, but you can show a number of images all at once. There are a number of different strategies you can use to maximize returns for carousel ads, so give a couple of them a shot and see if it’s the right fit.
Facebook collections ads are great if you’re using a catalog of your products.
When selecting format, choose “Collection,” then you’ll be prompted to create a custom experience either using a template, by customizing from scratch, or, as you can see below, you can choose “Dynamic Formats and Creative” and Facebook will dynamically help build collections for you.
You can then customize how your text is displayed to the user in a way that will apply to all products in your catalog.
If this is used in combination with the catalog sales campaign objective, you can use dynamic product ads to retarget users based on the products they’ve viewed and engaged with on your website, making your ads even more relevant.
The biggest point of order here is to ensure your catalog is up to date.
Your collection and dynamic remarketing ads (which we’ll cover here in a second) can only be as good as your catalog. If your catalog is out of date, then your ads will be too and you run the risk of giving your audience a bad user experience.
Facebook video ads can be a great way to convey your product’s features, benefits, and show how it’s used by actual people.
It’s one thing to have static images that portray your product in the best light. That certainly grabs attention from users scrolling through their feeds, but you might be missing an opportunity to solidify you as a prime option without video.
Not to mention, there are lots of ways to leverage video on Facebook and not all of them include high cost creatives. You can do a lot with some simple, low cost options.
Use these Facebook ecommerce tips to boost your sales
Facebook is a fantastic channel for selling your products online. For some companies, it’s been their lifeline before and during this pandemic and will likely continue to be afterward. Hopefully these ideas will help you get more from your Facebook campaigns and keep your products moving off the shelves!