Learn the RIGHT way to set up profitable eCommerce Facebook ads

Are you an online retailer? Or are you a brand owner who also sells online?

If so – I have no doubt that social media advertising plays a big role in your online marketing.

So many business owners I speak with are struggling to get decent results with their Facebook ads, though.

Or they’ve been too scared to try it out since the Apple iOS update changed the way things work on the platform…

They’re spending money only to get dismal (or no) sales through their website as a result.

And at this point, it’s easy to give up and assume that “Facebook ads don’t work for my kind of business”.

Well, sorry to bust your bubble on this! Facebook ads still represent an undeniable opportunity to grow your online sales.

And despite some rising costs to advertise on the platform as a result of the increase in number of advertisers, Facebook ads do still represent the cheapest method of digital advertising, allowing you to get your brand in front of more of your ideal customers for every penny you spend.

As of 29th July 2021, there are 2.89 billion users active on Facebook per MONTH, the largest number of ecommerce orders generated from advertising on any social media platform, and an average ROI (return on investment) of 152%, NOT advertising on the Facebook is a HUGE missed opportunity.

So how do you get it right then?

Learn my 5 steps to running profitable Facebook ad campaigns PLUS grab my free guide below

How to run killer eCommerce Facebook ads in 5 steps

1. Appeal to your tribe

The biggest issue with most eCommerce Facebook ads is that they are not showing the right thing to the right people. The visuals are dull and uninspiring and the targeting is way off.

This is especially true since the Apple iOS update removed the ability for us to track in as much detail using the Facebook Pixel.

Now, we need to be much more accurate in what we know about our ideal customers’ interests, values and browsing behaviour, in order to show them the right images (aka ‘stop the scroll’!) and to choose the right audiences to target.

Here’s an example of a scroll-stopping image that stands out from the newsfeed and attracts customers like bees to honey, from our client MadMia:

And when it comes to your targeting – it’s pointless trying to create an ad that shows to a million different audiences at once. For starters, if you set it up like this you really have no way to identify which of those audiences is responding and which isn’t, which ends up costing you a lot more money.

The effectiveness will be also diluted, because you just can’t create an ad that is appealing to a wide audience – it needs to be much more specific than that.

The easiest way to target your ads effectively is by working out what your ideal customers are likely to be interested in. For example, think about other brands (not necessarily in the same product category) your customers might buy, or magazines they read in your industry.

For example, in my last business selling reusable and eco-friendly baby products, my ideal customers were also likely to be fans of associations like the Australian Breastfeeding Association, bloggers like Stay At Home Mum (who are all about being thrifty and economical with the household budget), natural parenting products like baby carrier brands, and eco-friendly product brands like Enjo.

Top Tip: Select these brands, media or other relevant interests as your ‘Detailed Interests’ targeting within your Ad Set:

2. Warm up your audience first

Basically, you need to understand HOW your customers buy – that is, what is their purchase decision-making process?

Most eCommerce Facebook ads are too generic and sales-y.

Have you ever seen a Facebook ad promoting a product that’s for sale, and it pretty much says ‘Check out our awesome product. Click here to buy it now.’

Not particularly engaging is it…

The first ad should not be a hard-sell – it should be educating your potential customers about your brand and product benefits.

And to do this successfully, you need to know what your customers actually want.

HINT: it’s not your product.

People don’t buy a drill, they buy a hole in the wall!

They key is – you need to communicate your product benefits with a short amount of text and some gorgeous images.

Top Tip: Use a Carousel or Collection ad format for this ad, like my clients Arch Bags and Awakind.

3. Retarget to overcome objections, show social proof & get the sale

The next step in your customer’s buying journey AFTER learning about your product, is to buy it, right?

So the cool thing with FB ads is that you can actually re-target the people who have engaged with your brand, with an ad designed to encourage the viewer to move from ‘consideration’ to ‘buy now’.

This requires you to have a deep understanding of what your customers need to know, understand and believe in order to want to buy from you.

And what are the perceived risks or common objections that hold them back from buying from you.

Sometimes this means showing social proof – the ‘oh that person’s just like me so I’ll love it too’ strategy.

Sometimes it means proving you’ve got your customers’ back – mention your guarantee or whatever other risk-reversal strategy you use.

And sometimes, it’s just about making them an offer to get them over the line!

And if you can get this set up correctly, your sales conversions from your Facebook ads will increase dramatically once you start getting them in front of a warm audience (ie people who actually know, like and trust you already)!

Examples: Check out these examples from our clients Arch Bags and Babiators:

4. Monitor and measure

The most stressful part of running Facebook ad campaigns is often the amount of money you end up spending.

And so you really need to know how to work out whether you are getting worthwhile website traffic and sales from that ad spend.

Please note, that spending money on Facebook ads is not just about building brand awareness!

I’ve spoken to far too many eCommerce business owners recently who have decided that their high ad costs but zero sales are perfectly OK because it’s “good for brand awareness”.

Let me be clear – the metrics you should be judging your ad success on are whether or not you’re actually driving quality traffic to your website that translates into profitable sales.

You can find out the number of sales you’re getting from an ad by making sure you’ve integrated your online store with your Facebook ad account. (Click here for instructions on how to do that.)

Then you can use the Facebook ads manager to report on how many sales have occurred from each ad you run and how much money you’ve made.

But also – this requires you to have an understanding of your margins and your returning customer rate.

If you know that, on average, customers purchase 3 times a year, spending an average of, say, $70 each time, you can confidently spend more money on acquiring that first purchase.

Top Tip: Use an Excel spreadsheet to track and monitor your Facebook ad metrics on a weekly basis.

5. Don’t rely entirely on Facebook ads!

You can’t rely entirely on getting visitors onto your website in order to grow your sales.

Have a think about the percentage of your website visitors go on to become buyers?

Often it’s pretty small, as little as 2% for most ecommerce websites, which is pretty heartbreaking when you think about it!

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you have no control over these numbers, because you DO.

The key to increasing the number of customers who buy from you is to follow up with them and make them an offer they can’t refuse!

And the best way to achieve this is to have an enticing opt-in offer to attract them onto your email list, and then use email marketing to follow-up and convert them into buyers.

Putting it into practice

So I’ve just walked you through some of the strategy, but in practice setting up eCommerce Facebook ads can be a bit of a minefield… There’s always a lot of settings and options to choose from, which can become a bit overwhelming and confusing until you get the hang of it!

And not only that – getting your ad creative (your text and images) just right so they appeal to the right audience and “get the click” – is also a bit of a learned skill!

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How to run killer ecommerce Facebook ads

Updated 13th August 2021