12 Advanced Shopify Facebook Ads Strategies for Your Ecommerce Store
If you are an ecommerce brand, chances are you’re running Facebook ads. And if you’re not, you probably should be (unless you are one of the incredibly rare brands whose audience isn’t on Facebook). But are you making the most of your Facebook advertising?
We manage the ecommerce experience for anywhere from 15-20 brands at any given time and all of these brands are quality, high-growth, product companies with a compelling story and passion. This is one of the key prerequisites for working with us and, in our opinion, for growing revenue exponentially. For each of these brands, Facebook marketing is a key cornerstone of the marketing strategy in prospecting as well as retargeting.
So, let’s just say, we do a TON of Facebook advertising. And the results are outstanding. We have found with most clients that Facebook advertising has the best ROI across all digital marketing channels.
How do we take Facebook advertising to the next level to achieve such high ROI? Here are 12 advanced Facebook ad strategies for your ecommerce store.
1) Make sure you have effective tracking in place.
Getting the Facebook pixel on your store to track your ads correctly is the first priority. Make sure this is firing correctly. You would think that most people check this box, but we’ve found that a lot of businesses you would expect to have this in order, in fact, don’t.
If you have bad data, you can’t use it. It is impossible to optimize your campaigns and know where to increase budgets without quality data. To be blunt, don’t move on to tips 2-12 until you have this in place.
One of the core benefits of Shopify Plus (and most other ecommerce platforms) and the Facebook pixel is that it automatically tracks events on your site, like content viewed, add to cart, and purchases. You need these events to be tracking properly to see the effectiveness of each campaign.
Under the hood, Facebook is optimizing for these events, so if you aren’t tracking those events properly, and Facebook doesn’t know they are happening, you are at a massive disadvantage.
2) Choose the correct optimization for your ads.
Make sure that you are choosing the correct goal for Facebook to optimize your ads around. This will not be the same for all campaigns. Even though you are an ecommerce store, not all ads should optimize for sales. Top of funnel ads should optimize for content views (not just page visits), while ads further down the funnel should optimize for sales. Don’t just default to the same optimization for all ads. Just like you need to be targeted with your audiences and specific with your messaging, you need to set up your campaigns with the same level of care.
3) Build marketing funnels within Facebook.
Building out marketing funnels within Facebook isn’t easy to do as it isn’t native to the system at most levels. But there is an effective workaround and it is well worth your time.
When prospecting, this is especially important. There is a sequence to the conversation. You can’t expect someone who has never heard of your brand to see a “buy now” ad and for that to convert at a high rate. You have to build a relationship first, and funnel ads to this well.
Here is a simple example of how we would build out a marketing funnel in Facebook using certain types of retargeting audiences and different types of ads in a funnel sequence to nurture prospects.
Ad 1: Content Ad
This is a top of funnel ad introducing the brand or product, with no hard call to action to sell.
Ad 2: Video Ad
The second ad is another content ad. For this ad we retarget people that viewed the first piece of content. These people have shown some interest in your brand, and are more likely to take the time to watch your brand video (as long as it’s engaging).
Ad 3: Promotion
The third ad is where we try to make a sale for the first time, offering some sort of promotion. Here we retarget the audience that watched the video. After interacting with two pieces of content, including watching video, prospects are much more primed to make a purchase than on first interaction.
4) Use video ads.
Both inside and outside of your funnel ads, you should be using video ads and then create retargeting ads based on these video views. This is an extremely effective way to make sales, especially if your videos are engaging and well done. While you can’t guarantee any vitality to your videos, you can try to create videos that are entertaining. Set out to create videos that are fun to watch aside from your product, and make sure to caption it. This is a great way to grow your brand.
5) Did we mention retargeting?
This one has probably already come across as it is part of a couple of tips above. But just in case it wasn’t clear, you should be using Facebook’s retargeting capabilities. This is the best bang for your buck, typically converting at the highest rate in all of our ad groups. This makes sense, as these ads are going to people that have already interacted with your brand.
When retargeting, there are a few important things to remember. The first is this: Don’t be creepy. Don’t follow your audience around showing them the same ad everywhere they go. Make sure to have a few different types of ads and keep the frequency metric under 6.
One technique we’ve seen work quite well is using objections to purchasing your product as the basis for ads. This is a clever way to answer any potential questions or barriers to purchase while staying in front of recent visitors.
Also make sure to take advantage of DPAs (dynamic product ads) and offer promotions this way. Show them a product that they’ve actually viewed and offer a discount. The more specific you are, the better your chances of converting.
Finally, once a customer has made a purchase, make sure to exclude them from your retargeting ads for a time. There is nothing worse than making a purchase, only to receive a coupon 24 hours later for the product you’ve already bought. Right after a purchase is a good time to stop bombarding them with promo ads. Don’t stop talking to them altogether. Just retarget them with different ads and less frequently.
6) Use lookalike audiences.
Finding new audiences is key to sustained growth. One great way to do this if you have a good customer base is to create a lookalike audience from your purchasers. This basically tells facebook to go find people that are similar to your current customers. What better way to magically advertise than that!
7) Utilize dynamic product ads (DPAs) within retargeting.
We mentioned this above, but it deserves its own point. DPAs show people a set of products from your store. It’s easy to set this up and it runs automatically. It dynamically shows people products that they have viewed on your site in their feed, which leads to a high conversion rate.
8) Use user-generated content in your ads.
User-generated content and images convert really well. Don’t spend all of your efforts designing your own custom ad images. Put some effort towards aggregating user-generated images and getting reviews from customers. These convert better than our designed ad images a lot of the time.
People like to see that other real people are happy with your product. There is an authenticity here that resonates well, so make sure to take advantage of this free content.
9) Avoid text in your images.
We recommend staying completely away from text in your images. Facebook does allow a certain amount of text in the ad image, but they don’t like any. While not confirmed, we believe they still de-prioritize images with text on them. Occasionally we will violate this own rule of ours for a huge sale or holiday, but in general, we recommend removing text from your images completely. Text on images usually lowers your relevance score for an ad. This makes sense because Facebook doesn’t want ads to look like ads, they want them to feel like content… and most true user content doesn’t have any text over images.
10) Tag your URLs with UTM parameters for Google Analytics.
There is no holy grail with regards to reporting. Facebook has its method of reporting, Google Ads has a different method of reporting, and so on. Google Analytics, then, serves as the cleaning house for those other systems. You need to be able to look at success from different angles in these different platforms, so Google Analytics is a great way to verify your success (or failure).
You will see different numbers in Google Analytics than you see in your other platforms. This isn’t because either is wrong, but because they attribute differently and typically there are several interactions and avenues to your site on the path to purchase for any given customer. Google Analytics gives you this full picture, so make sure to tag your Facebook ads with these UTM parameters so that you have this additional view.
11) Know how to read your data.
Looking at the wrong metrics within Facebook’s business manager can lead you to make bad decisions about your ads and budgets. Two metrics that we always recommend reviewing when analyzing your ads are ROAS and website sales.
In order to see these inside of Facebook, you have to customize the columns in Business Manager. Other columns like total goals or total conversions that are automatically included are less important.
We target 4X for ROAS. This will not be achieved overnight. It takes time to figure out what works for your audience and to optimize each ad that is launched. As long as the ad is over 1x it means you are bringing in more money than you are spending. If your ad is over one, keep working on it to improve the ROAS to see if you can make it a truly profitable ad.
12) Be patient.
Maybe you wouldn’t consider this an advanced tip, but it is key to having a successful Facebook marketing strategy. When you are putting a campaign together, you need to start with a great ad, and a great audience. And then you have to put a good budget behind it. If you suffocate your ad, it won’t grow. Start with $50-$100 per day for a few days and then the ad will get less expensive if it has a good relevance score and is getting good engagement. Then from here, start to optimize it.
There is no universal, one-step trick to Facebook advertising. The key is to take all of these techniques and put them together into a cohesive strategy that creates a great experience for your potential customers, nurturing them through the funnel from first brand interactions to purchase.