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How Can I Use Facebook Ads to Grow my Shopify Store?

Richard Sutherland
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July 18, 2019
Traffic acquisition
Adquisición de tráfico

Facebook ads offer the allure of reaching out to your ideal customers based on their interests, behaviors, and what they like. It’s a tool that can optimize your ad and increase conversion rates.

A personalized Shopify store and Facebook ads are a match made in heaven. Even small businesses and those just starting out with a meager advertising budget can gain much from Facebook ads. With the right set up, your advertising will give you much better returns for much less cost than traditional methods.

Why Use Facebook Ads?

It goes without saying that Facebook’s pretty addictive and is the number one place online today that people use to connect with their family and friends. With over 2 billion users, Facebook is easily the largest social media network, and Facebook ads can also be shown on websites and mobile apps, not to mention on Messenger and Instagram, which Facebook also owns.

As Facebook users share their likes, personal updates, locations, relationship statuses, photos, and just about everything else about themselves on Facebook, it’s an absolutely ideal advertising network for targeting customers based on their interests, behaviors, and demographics.

Facebook has created comprehensive user profiles that marketers can use for their targeted ads. Instead of wasting advertising revenue on broad marketing efforts reaching a wide swathe of people, you can match your products against a long list of user interests. Facebook ads allow for targeted marketing at its finest.

Facebook ads can also be tied to your business's Facebook presence. This results in new followers and increased brand awareness.

Getting Started With Facebook Ads

First, we need a Facebook business manager account. Here you will enter your Facebook business page alongside some other details such as your name, your email address, and billing details.

Facebook ads are designed to work on a wide range of e-commerce platforms. For Facebook ads to work, it needs to know about all of your products, and also be able to track users on your website. We do this by setting up product feed and installing the Facebook pixel.

With Shopify, one way to do this is through Shopify apps like Flexify or Pixel Perfect. Using one of these, all you really need to do is to enter your Facebook pixel account number into the relevant Shopify form field.

It is also possible to enter your Facebook pixel account number directly in the Shopify admin under the Online Store menu if you don’t want to use one of these Shopify apps to manage your Facebook ads.

Within a few hours, you’ll start seeing statistics in the Facebook ads business manager on the numbers, behaviors, and actions of your website visitors.

Retargeting with Facebook Ads

One of the most effective forms of Facebook advertising is retargeting. Retargeting is another name for advertising to people who have shown interest in your website or your products or followed you on social media but have yet to make a purchase. Perhaps they just need some encouragement, and Facebook ads can do just that. To do this, create a Custom Audience in the Facebook Business Manager. 

Now you have to define what it means to be a target for this particular type of advertising. You can choose from a number of sources to use for the custom audience list. 

Firstly, you can use a customer file that includes contact information you already have from your customers. This could have come from an Excel file full of past leads, for example.

Secondly, you can choose to create lists based on actions performed or pages visited on your website. For example, you could target anyone who has visited your website over the past 14 days. Alternatively, to help lower your cart abandonment rate you could target everyone who has added a product to their shopping cart over the past 24 hours and left the website.

Thirdly, you can choose to include people who have engaged with your social media in particular ways. For example, you could target all people who have watched or liked a specific product video that you posted on Facebook.

Gaining New Customers with Facebook Ads

Facebook has two powerful tools that can help you find new customers for your website. The first is Lookalike Audiences. Having created a Custom Audience profile of some or all of your website customers, Facebook and take the audience list and create you a new list of people similar to your existing customers. You have the option of choosing just how similar those targets are.

Using this new list, you can have targeted advertising to people who have never engage with your brand before but who are similar to people who have purchased from you in the past. Very powerful.

Instead of using the automated tool of Lookalike Audiences, you can take charge of your targeted advertising by creating your own list of prospective customers to make a new Saved Audience.

You can choose the people for your list based on their interests, behaviors, and demographics. You may, for example, be interested in targeting people who have shown a certain interest such as weight loss. You may wish to be targeting people who have recently moved home. You may wish to only target people with a college education. All of these things and more are possible.

Facebook’s Audience Insights tool can help you find new customer interests and understand the demographics of your customers better, showing you things such as where they might live, the pages on Facebook they usually like, and other such insights that can help you branch out in new directions with your marketing.

Choosing an Ad Campaign Objective

Facebook ad campaigns can be run to increase awareness, consideration, or conversion. Consider the goal of a particular ad campaign wisely. Common choices are:

  • Conversions – to increase the number of sales on your e-commerce website
  • Brand Awareness – to get a buzz going about an upcoming product
  • Traffic – to get more people to visit your website
  • Engagement – to get more people to like, share, and comment on your social media posts (creating social proof)

Name your Facebook ad campaign using a naming convention that will remind you later of your campaign’s objective, audience, and how it fits into your overarching strategy.

Choosing A Budget and Schedule

Having now considered your ad campaign’s audience and objective, you must decide how much to budget for the campaign and how long to run it for. This can be tricky when running your first advertising campaigns as you have little previous data to use to help you make decisions.

Obviously, you can only spend as much as you can afford. Generally, the higher cost of the item for sale the higher ad spend that is required. Similarly, an ad campaign focused on conversions will typically cost more than a campaign for brand awareness or social media engagement.

You also need to allow time for your Facebook ads to be seen by enough people for you to be able to make conclusions on how well the ad is performing. You should wait until you get at least 1,000 impressions before considering changing an ad, replacing it, or shutting down.

Facebook also allows you to choose where your ads are displayed, such as in mobile device apps. It’s generally recommended to allow Facebook to automatically place your ads.

As you perform more and better Facebook advertising, it becomes easier to budget new ad campaigns as you have more experience and previous data on which to rely.

Improving the Sales Funnel

The ‘sales funnel’ is built upon the idea that every person is at a different stage in the buying process and that you should be tailoring your advertising depending on where they are in that funnel.

This starts off-site. First, you should be targeting a cold audience of possible customers with a low-cost brand awareness campaign. At the same time, you can be running a retargeting campaign for those who have visited your website or shown interest with the goal of keeping your brand in their mind and bringing them back to your site.

The sales funnel certainly doesn’t stop once the customer has arrived on your product page. If your product page is poor, all of the Facebook ad revenue will be wasted. Optimizing your product pages, landing pages, the home page, shopping cart, and checkout process will increase your conversion rates and average order value.

Your Product Pages

Just as we compartmentalize Facebook ads so that different audiences see different things, we can do the same thing on-site. With DataCue, product pages can look entirely different for different audiences. We can upsell to increase average order value based on previous buying habits, and cross-sell on a personalized basis.

Importantly, we can remove distractions from each page. Based on the source and content of the Facebook ad, alongside whatever we know about the visiting customer, we can remove buttons, menus, and other distractions that are not applicable to them. We can also make the checkout process faster by automatically filling in many of the details for the customer in advance.

Remember that your product pages need to convert well not only for Facebook ads but for all types of visitors. People may have reached your product page from a natural search engine result. The may have received a link to your website from their friend. Therefore, you should spend most of your time optimizing your product pages and your website using A/B testing while still dedicating some time to tweaking your Facebook ads.

Optimizing Your Facebook Ads

Getting the best from advertising on Facebook is an ongoing process that never ends. You will need to continually try tweaking and improving your ads for the best return on investment.

For example, many e-commerce stores undervalue international markets. If you don’t have anything holding you back from selling to an international audience, setting up a worldwide ad that excludes the countries that you normally target the hardest is a good way to test the waters and potentially build a worldwide audience.

Much of your initial work will be in testing new ads rather than optimizing current ads. Until you find a clearly winning strategy, it’s best to keep testing out different products to advertise and ad styles until you get there. Once you have an ad that is performing particularly well, consider how you can scale that ad to new targeting options while keeping the cost per conversion low.

Directing traffic to your product pages instead of your homepage or category pages tends to convert better. For one, it forces you to create a more focused ad, one that will convert better and have a more targeted audience. People also expect to be brought to the product page of any product image that they click on, whether that’s on-site or off-site. You can also use specific product page ads to help test which of your products will sell the best and therefore require more of your attention.

Facebook ads for engagement may initially seem like an unwarranted expense. However, if you can get your ads to have many people commenting on them, liking them, telling their friends, and sharing them, it signals the Facebook users liked your ads and your ad costs will lower. Your audience will also grow and some of those shares or views will ultimately lead to sales.

Finally, although Facebook offers more complex ads such as canvas ads, video ads, and carousel ads, you may find that a basic Facebook ad will deliver the best sales results. Why? These ads look like regular posts and more seamlessly fit into Facebook’s design. However, video ads do get many views, so should be considered for increasing engagement and brand awareness.


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DataCue is an automated plug and play personalization algorithm for e-commerce stores. We write about personalization and data analysis. Enter your email below if you'd like to keep in touch.

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About the author

Richard Sutherland has worked in online marketing and search engine optimization for over 15 years. Excited about how we can offer the customer a streamlined, personalized online experience, Richard looks for every way to increase conversion percentages with a high return on investment.

Sobre el autor

Richard Sutherland tiene más de 15 años de experiencia en marketing online y optimización de motores de búsqueda. Apasionado por ofrecer una experiencia inteligente y personalizada a cada consumidor, Richard está constantemente buscando nuevas maneras de incrementar la conversión y, con ella, los retornos a la inversión.

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