The question of value is important for any business owner who is considering investing in Facebook advertising. What advantages does integrating your marketing and e-commerce with Facebook give your business? Are these advantages worth the investment and opportunity cost? In this article, we will answer these questions for you.
For starters, a long line of facts shows the benefits of Facebook ads to eCommerce businesses. But the bottom line is that Facebook Ads do not only help eCommerce businesses scale, Facebook Ads were designed specifically for e-commerce businesses.
Every month, online stores record sales from over one million individual users. A deeper dive into this fact shows that there are way more sales since users tend to buy more than one item over time.
Year after year, records show that Facebook ad campaigns offer the highest ROIs for any eCommerce business compared to other paid advertising channels
Even with its record-breaking numbers, it continues to upscale its value by integrating AR and AI-based tools for a better user experience.
Putting all these facts together, the conclusion is that your business has a lot to gain from advertising on Facebook, and if you are not advertising on Facebook, you've been missing out on a lot of potential profits.
Now, let's talk about the rules of the game.
There are a few things that must be in place if you want your eCommerce Facebook strategy to fly high.
The first among these things is the Facebook (or Meta) Pixel. Facebook Pixel is the powerhouse of your Facebook ad campaign. When you add this tracking code to your website, it can link users' clicks to sales and form the basis for your audience, especially when they are categorized into segments that I will touch on later in this article.
With Facebook Pixel, you can tell how many sales you have had and how much profit you have made from these sales. You can also track visitors who left your site without making a purchase so you can retarget them with your ad campaigns.
Working with Facebook Pixel is like planting your seeds in the right soil. You can expect a good harvest, especially when other important factors of growth are in place. But working without a properly set up Meta Pixel is like throwing your seeds into a well and expecting something to grow there.
If you do not have your Facebook Pixel set up, you can check out our guide online to get it up and running. Once your pixel is ready, the fundamental part of your marketing is set. It is however important to note that Facebook Pixel has been limited by changes in the iOS system, especially after Apple released the iOS 14 update with stiffer policies on user privacy.
As a result, the data that Facebook Pixel generates is limited because some iOS 14 and above users restrict access to their data. In short, it means that you can't track what iOS 14 users are doing on your page, whether they are buying or not, at what phase they are bouncing off your page, or what products they buy the most. As such, the data from Pixel is no longer accurate or complete since it does not cover people who interact with your website using iOS devices.
Now that third-party data sources have become challenging, the alternative is to build your customer data using first-party tracking. There are various ways and products you can leverage to get accurate first-party data with which you can guide your Facebook Ads.
You might find it tempting to simply continue advertising on Facebook without using accurate data-based strategies. The danger of doing that is that you begin to target your ads blindly, not knowing who is really engaging with them, why they are doing so, and what could be improved when you move things around a bit. Without data, you will waste your ad spend on poor ad campaigns.
If eCommerce advertisers lived in a perfect world, Facebook users would be convinced to purchase products right after seeing an ad. In real life, it doesn't work that way. The customer journey is made up of many steps from first contact to purchase. If you plan to convert a client who has just seen your brand into one that keeps coming back and bringing others, you must implement certain strategies.
In order to go from a total stranger to a returning customer, there are a few stages your audience needs to go through. They need to identify their problem, then research the solutions to their problem. In the end, they buy the product that serves them best.
Keeping this in mind, advertisers must meet their target audience at every point by creating advertising campaigns for each stage of the buyer's journey. In more technical terms, it's called a sales funnel.
Each phase of the sales cycle is created to cater to each stage the audience reaches to make a decision and buy an item.
Acquisition - Prospecting: In this first phase of the funnel, your target audience has a problem or need, and they are looking out for options to meet that need. For you, as a digital marketer, this is where you make the handshake procedure by introducing them to your brand and the products you can offer.
The audience in this stage can be called a cold audience because they've neither met your brand nor your product. So how do you know that these people can be interested in your brand?
By using interest-based targeting. When you enable this filter, Facebook narrows the audience down to Facebook users who have an interest in the central theme of your product. The tools at your disposal can also help you monitor your competitors, their customers, and how they interact.
Another targeting option you can use is a lookalike audience. This allows you to deliver your ads to people who have displayed similar characteristics to your existing customers.
Acquisition - Re-Engagement: You have made first contact with the client, showing them your brand and products. The next stage is showing them how effective your product is for meeting their needs. This is the stage where you pitch the features of your products and how it is tailored to meet their needs. It is important to highlight why your product should be considered among other competing brands.
This stage of the sales funnel caters to a lukewarm audience. This refers to an audience that has shown some level of interest but has not fully committed to the purchase. So they might like your posts on IG, subscribe to your YouTube channel, or follow you on Instagram. While this is good, you want to get them to visit your website, check out your online store, and buy a product.
When you begin to narrow it down like this, excluding audiences becomes more relevant. This guarantees that your offer is not displayed to the wrong set of people at the wrong time.
Retargeting Campaigns: This covers every effort you make to convert people who have visited your store or website but have not made a purchase.
A classic retargeting strategy would be reaching custom audiences that you created from your website and who have progressed all the way to their cart without making a purchase.
After your hard-earned customer has made a purchase, the journey does not end there. The next step is to ensure that they keep coming back.
Retention: When you have accomplished the tough task of converting people into customers, you have to repeat the process and make constant buyers out of them.
In the Retention phase, it is ok to look out for the custom audiences of other brands that spend a lot. They do not necessarily have to be competitors. They could sell similar products such as makeup when you sell face skincare cosmetics. Targeting users like this also helps you scale your conversion rates.
One of the best forms of marketing is customer marketing. When your customers are impressed with your products, they tend to recommend them to their circle or audiences. Customer influencing is one way to cultivate repeated purchases among your customers.
This is perhaps the easiest and sweetest part of the sales funnel.
As we established earlier, Facebook ads are created specifically for eCommerce advertisers. As such, every ad format was created to serve e-commerce advertisers. However, some are more effective for high conversion rates than others.
Carousel ads and carousel posts are mostly associated with e-commerce ads. They come as a collection of images and videos which can be viewed by swiping. The last slide normally contains a link to the website or store where you can purchase the items displayed.
Typically, image and video ads tend to be the most popular ad formats on Facebook. However, carousel ads are more suitable considering the following factors.
They provide more information about one or more products, which tends to convince the customer and build the trust that comes from verification.
It also drives more engagement than a typical photo ad since the average viewer will swipe.
It presents the audience with a wider range of choices, compared to various images collaged into one.
Carousel ads are so flexible that they work for just about any stage of the funnel. You could be prospecting, closing a sale, or working on retention. Whatever your goal, carousel ads have got you covered.
The most popular use of a carousel ad is to showcase different items. A more dynamic approach to it is creating stories with the ad format.
GMC brings its customers to the core of experience through these carousel ads. Simply splitting this one image into multiple cards could help their audience experience the passenger seats as vividly as possible.
If you would like to try carousel ads for your next ad campaign, you have to take the time to think of a story that your brand can tell, and how best you can deliver that brand story using a carousel ad.
You just looked up a product, and the advertisers are pitching ads to you for similar products. It's always a "wow" moment for everyone and we have dynamic ads to thank for that.
In more recent times, they were known as Advantage + Catalogue Ads. This kind of ad relies on the available data about your products to advertise them dynamically. In more practical terms, dynamic ads create and display ads to your audience based on the set of products that they had viewed before leaving your site. The main goal here is to draw them back to making a purchase.
So what stages of the funnel can the dynamic ad work for?
As you can tell, they make a good fit for retargeting. You can retarget website visitors who left your page without buying the items they viewed. You could accompany the ad with side attractions like discounts, free gifts, free shipping, a free guide, or just about anything that can make the offer harder to resist.
You can also drive your rate of cross-selling or upselling through carousel ads. This is a practical example of converting customers that have purchased other products from you. When these customers purchase a product, say a mobile phone, you could target them with an ad for phone accessories, offering a discount when they pick more than one item from your store. Since they have already engaged with your brand, using this ad format to propose a valuable offer could be the ultimate strategy for sealing the deal.
As effective as dynamic ads can be, you must ensure that you have your pixel or SDK running before you opt for these ads. You also need to create a product catalog for the algorithm to work with. Even at this point, the groundwork is not completely done until you add product sets. A product set shows the algorithm how to combine your products for cross-selling and upselling.
Putting these things into sets and catalogs can be quite a task, but its benefits are overwhelming enough to encourage you. Because this ad format deals with product personalization, it yields a lot of results. More so, dynamic ads make good long-term investments for your bottom-line advertisements.
More often than not, when people talk about online videos, we tend to think about YouTube first, while TikTok pops up immediately after. Well, the numbers will shock you as much as they did me. While YouTube remains the no 1 video sharing platform across the world, Facebook comes in second, holding about 42% of the market share!
But when you evaluate the video advertising strategies on Facebook and Instagram, you will realize that the ranking is earned. With video ads, you have about 16 video ad placements to choose from across Facebook and Instagram.
Now let's zoom in on Facebook and Instagram reels. Though they are quite similar to Tiktok, they have made their marks in Ecommerce. In the last quarter of 2021, 11 of the 20 most popular posts were reels.
Reels present you with an effective option for brand awareness. From experience, we have seen that reels tend to have wider viewership when they align with current trends and fads. What's more, viewers who seem to enjoy watching these trends are targeted by Facebook so that they can see more of those trends in videos. This means that when you target a popular interest, Facebook displays your reels to cold audiences who have displayed engagement with that interest in recent times. In that moment, the video introduces your brand and products to them in an entertaining way, all within 39 seconds. They also help your brand come off as personable and relatable.
In-stream video ads allow you to fit your video into content that popular publishers post. When you opt for this option, your ads cannot be skipped. This is why in-stream video ads record higher viewership compared to the average news feed ad. In-stream video ads also do a good job of ushering in a new audience.
Nevertheless, news feed ads come in handy for creating proper video content. If you find yourself in a prospecting stage, news feed ads could push your retargeting strategies well. This is because they don't tell the brand's story on the surface. They dive deep, talking about the most significant details and unique offerings. When you are able to craft your story into good videos, your audience tends to connect with your brand on an emotional level. Emotional connections create a certain pull that makes prospects slide down the funnel more easily
Collection ads were born out of the need to research and purchase products within short periods.
Collection ads let you feature a video or image of one of your products while displaying other items below it.
Collection ads are mostly focused on the sale of specific products and are driven by definite purchase behavior. If you pay attention closely, you will realize that collection ads work very similarly to dynamic ads. This means that collection ads work better when you understand the purchase patterns of your target audience. Targeting a familiar crowd is the forte of Facebook remarketing, so you may want to keep your collection ads in your retargeting arsenal. Collection Ads are also available on mobile devices, so you want to factor this in while planning for your ads.
Messenger ads are one of the least popular ad formats. As the name implies, messenger ads help you interact with your customers through Facebook Messenger. The main aim of this kind of ad is to sustain interaction with your audience on Facebook Messenger.
Messenger ads also have various messenger ad formats under the umbrella term.
Messenger inbox ads pop up beside messages in your inbox, they are mostly located about halfway down the page.
When your customers engage with this ad, you can redirect them to Messenger, WhatsApp, your website, or your app, depending on what works best for your brand. Facebook users spend up to 3 hours in messenger every month. This presents you with enough room for retargeting and follow-up.
These ads are hardly different from the typical photo ad. The only difference is that their call-to-action redirects the audience to your messenger platform where they can interact with you.
When you use the click-in format, designing a message sequence takes priority. If you sell high-margin products or products that cater to specific needs, you can also use this method to guide customers to the most suitable products for their needs.
Stories remain one of the most popular formats for any Facebook campaign. In fact, 62% of US residents talk about their plans to use messenger stories more often.
Messenger Stories ads leverage the popularity of stories. It also allows you to send your call-to-action as a message from your slides.
Knowing how much people engage with Messenger stories, you should also leverage it to reach out to your prospects and answer any questions on their minds while making the decision to buy.
Sponsored message ads are a messaging option that allows brands to slip into their customers' DMs. This helps you retarget and reconnect with Facebook users that have sent you a direct message previously. Sponsored message ads let you make an offer right in the DMs of users. Seeing that they have previously interacted with you, they tend to be open and interested enough to make a purchase.
Messenger ads are the most personalized format of Facebook ads. This is because they help you connect directly to your audience rather than sending them to a website or landing page.
Messenger ads work best when you have a team on hand to respond to messages as soon as possible. You can either opt for a chatbot or get a team on hand to respond to customers as soon as they reach out.
Everyone has had poor experiences with products that they expected so much from. Instant experience ads address that by giving customers an idea of what using your products is like.
Instant experience ads help you create a Facebook campaign that is very similar to the advertised webpage and experience.
Sephora has leveraged instant experience ads very often, so much so that they have recorded a 32% increase in ROI.
Instant experience ads come with various templates, largely dependent on the goals you have for your advertisement. You may either work with your product catalog or add your products manually. They could also be informative, with their content styled as newsletters. You could also go for augmented reality filters so your audience can try the products out virtually.
One Facebook strategy that the typical online business often ignores is engaging customers that have engaged with your competitors or bought from them. Potential customers like this often have a high buying intent to offer you. However, they are currently dealing with your closest competitors. In most cases, these buyers are not totally loyal to your competition, so they might be open to engaging rival brands. Some actively check out rival brands for better deals or better products. There are also cases when they are outright dissatisfied with the competitor's product and are looking for alternatives.
So how do you position yourself to interact with these customers?
With a campaign targeting that is intent-based and strongly driven by interest targeting.
So, you can create a custom audience and include your competitor's brand name as an interest. This is done while putting your ad sets together.
But you would need to move things around a bit. When creating this custom audience, you will need to add keywords that are centered around your competitors. This will trigger the relevant brand names and domains in the search results. Try to get as specific as you can; add the names that do not appear in search results as exceptions.
Beyond targeting competitors' audiences, you need supporting strategies to convert these new customers or get them down your sales funnel. Try to move your ad elements around, from ad copies to creatives and CTAs. Most importantly, every element must communicate your ability to understand the customer's pain points better than your competitors. You must communicate this message as clearly as possible, without explicitly referring to your competitors.
When businesses try to expand, the first they want to do is get new customers. However, expansion can also be achieved by getting your current customers to keep coming back. Keeping the sales funnel open and moving at the top is as important as locking down your conversions through retention. Retaining existing customers boosts your sales while lowering your ad spend. You don't get to spend so much advertising to people who already know and trust your brand.
As is the case with every form of Facebook marketing, it is important that you plan your strategy based on your audience's current relationship with your brand. Segmentation is something you want to look at while personalizing your customer relationship. For segmentation, you need to focus on:
You can work your content around:
West Coast Kids uses dynamic ads to retarget former customers with carousel ads. These ads show them products that are highly personalized for shoppers based on their previous shopping behavior.
West Coast Kids recorded an increase of 80% in revenue by monthly calculations. It also recorded a 15x return on ad spend and a 28-day click-through window.
Most Suitable eCommerce Facebook Ad Types For Retargeting Existing Customers:
So, you nurtured these prospects into leads, and then finally recorded conversions. And a good number of Facebook users who started on your Facebook page engaged with it. As impressive as this is, wouldn't it be better if they made a purchase?
When you finally get leads to your website, the next step of your E-commerce marketing strategy should be retargeting them.
All you have to do is create a custom audience that is defined by a specific behavior on your site, and then tailor your ads to target this segment.
This stage of marketing is meant for target audiences that have engaged with your brand, however, they need to move from a stage of awareness to acceptance. You can then target them with personalized products that mirror the exact products they checked when they visited your page.
At the brand-engagement stage, the audience is already familiar with your brand, having engaged through awareness campaigns, but they need more convincing. By personalizing your ads to the exact product pages they visited, you increase your Facebook conversion chances.
When running multiple Ecommerce Facebook campaigns, you should modify each ad so that it comes out new and striking. You also have to check your ad content and ad copy so that everyone does not get to see the same ads at various parts of the funnel. The most effective way to keep duplication at bay is to use the exclude feature. This features ensures that each ad remains within its cadre of ad content.
We hope this article has helped you learn the specifics of advertising your eCommerce business on Facebook. Even if you are not going to do it yourself, knowing how Facebook Ads work will help you understand what your marketers or your agency are doing.
Speaking of agencies working with Facebook Ads, we happen to be one. If a proactive, systematic, SOP-based approach and eleven years of experience on the market sound appealing to you, consider signing up for a free audit.