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Let’s get down to business. That is why you’re here after all, isn’t it? You – or your clients –have products to sell. With that goal in mind, where do you go? Which channel offers access to your target audience and at the most cost-effective way to expand your products reach and visibility and to acquire new and even repeat customers?
Facebook, of course!
Don’t just take my word for it. According to Facebook reports, by the end of 2018, 2.32 billion users were on the platform. If you had any doubts about your audience being there, set them aside – your potential customers are most certainly there, regardless of your industry, business size, budget, or goals. Sure, Facebook has had its fair share of bad publicity, rising costs, and targeting changes in the last year; however, the tech giant continues to reign supreme as the least expensive online advertising channel and its robust targeting options are incomparable to others.
If you’re looking to get started with Facebook Ads for ecommerce to propel your marketing efforts and drive sales, keep on reading. In this guide, you’ll learn:
Before you begin driving ecommerce sales, let’s take a few steps back and lay the foundation of your account. Begin by setting up an advertising account for your business in Facebook Business Manager. This is where you will house all of your business assets, such as your business Page, Ads Manager account, and your Catalog (more on this later).
Next, whether you are ready to begin advertising or not, generate the Facebook Pixel in Ads Manager and implement it on your website. With this pixel installed, you can begin tracking users for future benefits, such as custom audience creation and targeting, and tracking both overall performance and conversions. You can also use pixel-generated data to improve your ecommerce campaigns.
If you are not quite ready to launch your campaigns, you should still complete these steps. This will save you time down the road, and you will be ahead of the game by having data and audiences already accumulating for your later use.
Facebook currently offers thirteen campaign objectives, as seen below. While it may be enticing to select conversions for your ecommerce campaigns, that may not always be the best option in terms of driving your bottom line and using your budget effectively.
Facebook breaks up campaign objectives into three stages: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Look at these as you would a conversion map or sales funnel.
Awareness campaigns are excellent introductory points. Test these with a cold audience that is not yet familiar with your products. These campaigns are typically lower in cost as they are top of the funnel.
In these ads, say hello, introduce yourself, just as you would when meeting someone in real life. Don’t start off with a hard sell, as that may be off-putting. After all, you wouldn’t attend a networking event and say, “Hello, nice to meet you, give me money.” Would you? We haven’t been acquainted yet, so you might – but the chances you’ll get that money will be slim.
As users get further down your Facebook funnel but have not yet converted, test out a traffic campaign. It’s an excellent method of driving more traffic to particular product pages, which can increase your chances of sale. Admittedly, I use this campaign objective as our introductory point over an awareness or reach campaign for ecommerce clients, because we can drive users to the website and tag them with the pixel so in the case that they don’t convert. That way, we can retarget them to come back later with new messaging around features or special promotions. The former awareness options may not get us that far.
When you’re getting started, you should test out either or both of these options to see what works best for you. With this campaign type, using a call to action such as “Learn More” can be effective in driving users to your site as they are still in the discovery phase and do want to learn more.
Purple mattress company does an exemplary job with ads, as seen below. This ad showcases the new bed sheets without making a hard sell. The company wants you purchase the sheets, but the primary goal of this ad is to educate, to entertain, to stand out among bedding competitors, and to drive that click-through to the site. Take this into account when brainstorming the ways you can turn your products into captivating, informative, helpful, or even entertaining ads to drive new users into your funnel.
Now that your audience knows you, it’s time to get down to business and encourage them to return and make that purchase. Launch a conversion goal campaign with warmer audiences. One tactic that is effective here is retargeting a warm audience, such as previous website visitors, page visitors, cart abandoners, or newsletter subscribers, by enticing them to come back to your site and complete the purchase.
For conversion campaigns, stepping it up a notch with a stronger call to action such as “Shop Now” is effective in increasing your chances of a sale, as seen in the Nisolo shoe ad below. If you have a special promotion to share, this is a good time to incentivize.
The reason you should focus on warmer audiences here is that trying to make a hard sell with a cold audience can be more expensive this far down funnel and with this campaign objective. Historically, we’ve seen that results are far from fruitful.
Facebook’s algorithm tends to be more rewarding to advertisers if they can achieve the selected campaign goal. For example, if a conversion campaign is selected and does not drive many conversions, Facebook will see that campaign and its assets as irrelevant to the audience, thus providing a poor user experience on their platform. Word has it that if you aren’t able to complete about 30 goals per day, your impression-share will decrease over time and costs will go up. The adverse seems to be true as well in that if you are able to drive high goal completion rates, impression share goes up and costs decrease. It’s a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of relationship between Facebook and advertisers.
Good news for ecommerce sellers: Products can be advertised using every ad type on Facebook. If you’re looking to showcase a single product, try single image or video ads. If you have multiple products, Carousel ads and Collection ads are optimal here, as they give users more options to choose from and can increase your chance of a sale.
Single creative ads and Carousel ads can use used in all campaign objectives except Catalog Sales. For this campaign objective, you’ll need to use Collection ads.
Collection ads may sound and appear similar to Carousel ads, but they are much more personalized, customizable, and automated. Carousel ads, as seen above, scroll left to right with individual slides. Collection ads, on the other hand, take up more screen real estate for a catalog-like shopping experience, as seen here.
Image via Adweek.
To set up a Catalog Sales campaign and begin advertising your product inventory, head to Catalog Manager, where you will be prompted to create or upload a product fee or you can view any that have already been shared with you. If you are more familiar with paid search, this is your Google Merchant Center and Google Shopping product feed equivalent.
If you use ecommerce inventory platforms such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce, sync them with your Ads Manager account to streamline the process. This will save you valuable time, as it will automatically update your inventory and you won’t have to perform ongoing manual management directly in Facebook.
Before proceeding, check back in with your pixel as you may need to modify custom events if they aren’t yet set up for “View Content,” “Add To Cart,” and “Purchase.” To quickly check on this without having to dive back into the Pixel tab of Ads Manager, install or refer to the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome extension.
Next up, head into Ads Manager to set up your new Catalog Sales campaign and select your targeting. Once you arrive to the ad level set up, create an ad template or select a previously created one. Once configured to your liking, publish and let them roll!
Marketing automation is key in recent years, and this is Facebook’s major offer to help you drive more sales in a more efficient way. With dynamic Collection ads, you can expect to see higher click-through rate and conversion rates as you are reaching your target audience at the right time, with the products that they have already shown interest in.
Did you know? Visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not, according to Internet Retailer. Need we say more as to why video ads are stepping stones to ecommerce success?
Video leaves less to the imagination and manages customer expectations. It’s also a faster visual way to connect with your audience. From showcasing your brand story or products in awareness campaigns to displaying new features or customer testimonials in conversion retargeting campaigns, there are endless creative possibilities of how to advertise your products to drive that sale through Facebook video ads.
Video ads, compared to their static image counterparts, often convert at higher rates. Video ads can currently be used in each campaign objective type except for Catalog Sales. If you have dialogue in your video, cover all bases by telling your story textually, visually, and acoustically, as 85% of Facebook users watch video without sound, says Forbes. We also don’t want to disregard anyone that may be hearing impaired. To assist with the acoustic to visual component, append captions.
You can easily add captions to your videos in the ad level where you select your creative. From there, you can select the first option for Facebook to automatically generate captions or you can upload your own SubRip Text file or SRT file. The former option quickly scans your video and generates captions that you can review and edit as needed. Keep an eye out for any miscaptions of your brand name, people’s names, and, especially if anyone has an accent in your video, review before saving as this feature can miscaption words on occasion.
As an ecommerce brand, you have the luxury of using a variety of Facebook’s features to your advantage. From an introductory to a conversion point, you will not find yourself in a bind as there are many variables to explore and test as an advertiser of every experience level.
If you have a smaller inventory, start small with single creative or Carousel ads. As you grow and have a better understanding of what works well and what does not, evolve your ecommerce efforts into Catalog Sales campaigns with dynamic ads. Stick to targeting audiences with relevant messaging as it relates to their place in the funnel, and you’ll be sure to see a healthy return on your ecommerce advertising investment.
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