When to get started with Facebook Ads
As the e-commerce industry gets increasingly dependent on online marketing, Facebook advertising has been emerging as the big winner. And why not? Currently, the most dominant factor in our lives is social media. The number of active users on Facebook is larger than the population of China! This means that your potential customers are also on Facebook, scrolling right this moment, and all you need is the right ad to catch their attention.
Facebook’s highly specific targeting helps e-commerce brands pitch their products to relevant audience segments based on location, age group, gender, lifestyle, interests, purchase behavior and much more. Moreover, the affordable budgeting is proven to bring in potentially sky-high ROAS. (Read our case study on how SR Store increased their ROAS 10x in 30 days.)
But getting Facebook advertising right isn’t easy business. If you don’t know where you’re going, it can get frustrating and you can lose money. So it’s crucial to understand and analyze if you’re ready to jump on that wagon.
Here’s a checklist to tick off before getting started with Facebook ads:
An up and running online store
Your site/online store should be fully functional. Ensure that it has been bug-tested, SEO-tested, is easily navigable and provides quick-responding chat support. If you’ve managed to make people click over from your ad and come to your store, the impression you make here decides whether you lose or gain a customer. Shopify has a quick test on preparing your store for launch.
The Facebook Pixel
You need to install the Facebook Pixel on your store. This helps you track visitor behavior on your store and is essential for running retargeting ads.
This is especially crucial because it tells you how long your visitors have been on the store, how much of the site/products they’ve explored, and if you have been getting traffic but no sales, gives you much-needed insight into where exactly you’ve been losing your potential customers. (Read our blog post on the Facebook Pixel and why your store should have it.)
A bit of homework comes in here. Create a persona sheet for your ideal customers. Your ideal customer doesn’t have to be one specific persona. You should have 2-3 different personas for whom your brand is a good fit.
Imagine you sell organic makeup.
Your ideal customer can be Sarah, a mother of one, in her 40s, who buys organic skincare and baby products, attends yoga retreats, likes to bake and read, and hunts for good deals while shopping.
Your ideal customer can also be Kayla, who is in her twenties, has a high flying corporate job, is single and independent, travels internationally, shops fair trade and local, has a huge Instagram following.
When creating your persona sheet, get down to the nitty-gritty. Flesh out your target customers. The more you know about them, the better you can narrow them down and segment them based on interest and behavior when advertising.
Once your checklist is out of the way, let’s consider where your store is currently positioned and your best advertising options.
When your store has some purchase history
This means, even if you haven’t yet started advertising, you’ve had people visiting your store. This can be both in the case of an online store as well as an offline store.
1. If you've already had the Pixel installed, it would have recorded your visitor data:
Check how many unique visitors you have in your Pixel. If it’s 500+, you’re in luck. Retargeting is the most profitable way of advertising on Facebook.
It’s easy to see why.
You’re targeting people who are already familiar with your brand based on their past behavior on your website. They are more likely to purchase than someone who is visiting your site for the first time. In the long run, retargeting helps build buyer trust and eventually establishes customer lifetime value. (Read more about how retargeting ads help you sell more here).
If you already have a significant number of Pixel visitors (advisably, 500+), you can easily run a Dynamic Product Ad (DPA).
Unlike other forms of retargeting, a DPA targets users with products tailored to their interest. For instance, if a visitor has viewed a particular product on your store, they will be targeted with that product as well as other similar products. This form of personalized targeting brings in the most effective results.
For instance, if you target recent cart abandoners with the items they have left in their cart without checking out, they are very likely to come back and complete the purchase. (Read about how you can target your buyers during each step of their purchase journey.)
Once you hike up your ROAS with retargeting, go the Cold Ads way. If you’re unsure, there are two ways to run cold ads—interest-based audience segments and lookalike audience segments.
Interest-based segmenting is where your customer personas come in. You already have those chalked out. Now create audience segments based on that.
You can go by location, age, gender, education, relationship status, hobbies, online engagement level, device usage and much, much more when you create these target segments. For instance, if you’re selling activewear, you can choose to target women, active Instagrammers, aged 22-32, in metro cities of your target country, interested in sports, yoga, fitness, wellness. You can create another segment targeting men of the same age group, interested in gym, soccer, MMA. The more you know your customer the better.
The Lookalike audience consists of people who are similar to your existing customers and followers. Lookalikes can be created from past purchasers, so when you’re creating a Lookalike segment, choose your best-performing audience segment as the source audience.
For instance, from the above example, if the audience segment with women performs better than the segment with men in terms of selling activewear, create a Lookalike of that audience. Facebook looks at 1000s of categories to find those closest in characteristics while determining Lookalikes. 1% matches the maximum number of characteristics to the source audience, so that's considered the ideal audience match. Otherwise, Lookalikes can also be sectioned into 2-3%, 3-5% of the source audience.
Remember that cold ads are mostly to get as much traffic to your site possible so that you can retarget your site visitors later. You have to keep trying out different audience segments and comparing and analyzing which group(s) your ads resonate with more. Unlike retargeting, ROAS here may be lower, but don't let that discourage you! Once you get more people in your Pixel, your retargeting will become even more effective.
2. If you've had significant offline purchases, you can custom upload the order data:
You’re in luck if you have a brick and mortar store that has its own set of loyal customers. You can manually upload their phone numbers and email addresses and create an audience.
Facebook will try to match the data with people on Facebook. You can easily run retargeting ads to this audience.
Target them with ads featuring bestsellers, new arrivals, and seasonal collections. If this audience performs well, create a Lookalike and target them.
When the ROAS increases, reach out to cold audience via interest-based targeting to drive more traffic to your store and get more visitors in your Pixel.
When your store is brand new and you've had no visitors
Unlike where you already had a trickle of visitors to your store, here you’ll be starting from scratch.
But that’s alright.
Facebook advertising is designed for interest targeting. And there’s no better place to get to know a person more than through their information and activity on social media.
So, get those persona sheets out. Meticulously create audience segments based on your ideal customer personas.
Selling organic makeup (refer to ‘Customer Persona’ section above)? Create an audience segment targeting everyone who is a Sarah.
Create another targeting all Kaylas.
Remember this is the first time they’ll be getting introduced to your brand, so make sure your ad grabs attention and resonates.
When you’re starting out, the trickle may be slow, so experiment with different kinds of audience segments to see which ones work best. At this point, the goal is to get maximum traffic to your store.
Once you have at least 500 unique visitors in your Pixel, you can start retargeting. Start with DPAs to get the highest potential ROAS, then move on to other kinds of retargeting. Like we discussed, there are plenty of ways to target your audience based on their past activity and behavior on your site (browsing and bouncing, viewing products and not purchasing, adding to cart and not checking out, high-value purchasing, etc), to get the most ROAS.
Then create a Lookalike audience based on your best performing source audience to bring in more store traffic.
The trickle may be slow initially, but once you follow these guidelines and start getting the hang of it, Facebook advertising will begin bearing fruit.
You can check out our blog post on getting your ad spend right as a budgeting guide.
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