Facebook Ads for E-commerce: Driving Traffic

This is Part 3 of our Facebook Ads series. In this part we’re going to discuss how to run and optimise your campaigns to drive traffic to your website, product or landing page. 

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t read them already.

We’ve talked about how you can drive a lot of traffic to your site for cheap using Facebook Ads, but also how this traffic will probably not convert into sales immediately. The problem is people browse Facebook to socialise and see what their friends are up to. They aren’t in a frame of mind to purchase anything. “I need a pair of shoes so I’m going to browse Facebook,” said no one ever. If I wanted a pair of shoes I’d either search on Google, browse Zappos, or head to the nearest shoe store.

That being said, if someone sees your ad a bunch of times, then the next time they want to buy a product you sell, they’ll remember you and visit your site. It’s like watching ads on TV. When an ad shows up you don’t jump out of your couch and go buy the product. But after seeing that same ad enough times, the next time you’re in a purchasing frame of mind for that product, you’re going to remember that ad.

Now you don’t want to be paying for ads all the time in the hope that people see them often enough to remember your site. Ideally, you want them to click on those ads simply because they are interested, and then you want you capture their e-mail so that even if they don’t buy you can keep sending them e-mails so that eventually they do buy.

E-mail marketing is a different story, and we’ll deal with that in other articles, so for now we’ll stick to the advertising part. Set aside some time to implement the following steps to get your ad campaign on the road. You’ll need to do the step of creating a page in Part 2 before you can start the steps here.

If you have a page then go through these steps –

Step 1 – Ad Setup

Head to your Ads Manager page and click on Create a new ad. You could also just go directly to the Ads Page on Facebook. You’ll get the same list of options as before. This time, click on Clicks to Website. Facebook will ask you to enter a URL to promote. Put in your homepage or product page and then click continue.

If you just want people to browse your store and see what you’ve got, a homepage promotion works fine. But if you want to do a promotion for a certain product, say you’re running a discount on one of your shoes, it makes more sense to advertise that product page.

Once you enter the URL, you’ll see the ad setup screen. This is the basic ad manager where you can set up your ad copy and target audiences. Facebook provides an advanced ad manager called the power editor. We’ll come to that in a later post, but for now we’ll deal with a regular setup.

Step 2 – Creative

The ad images, text and links form the creative part of your ad. You want to configure your ad in such a way that when your audience sees it they feel compelled to click on it, even if it’s just out of curiosity. Let’s take a look at two clothing ads. I honestly don’t know why these ads show up on my homepage because I never shop for clothes online, but they work great as contrasting examples of what to do and what not to do.

The first ad is one for trench coats. Note that it has 27 likes and 1 share. I don’t know how many times this ad has been shown to people but it seems to be doing pretty poorly and we’ll find out why soon.

Trench Coat Facebook Ad

The second one is actually an ad for page likes but, judging from the engagement, it could work well for website clicks. 236 comments and 818 shares is no joke. This, if you haven’t guessed already, is our champion ad.

OnePiece Facebook Page Likes


Alright, our two contenders are in the ring. Let the fight begin!

Round 1 – Image

The image is the attention grabber. It’s big and colorful so that’s what people notice first. If it looks interesting, they’ll start reading your ad copy. Don’t use generic images or images with poor resolutions. Facebook allows you to try out 6 different images for the same ad, so get your best product images out and upload them all to the ad. Make sure they are all wide images, so that they take up the entire width of the ad.

Both ads above have wide images. However, if you take a quick glance at them, you’ll see that the OnePiece image is much better. It’s more colorful and it’s got real humans rather than the dull mannequins of the first one. The red color in the second image immediately stands out, and I suspect they did that on purpose. As you scroll through your Facebook News Feed, you’re very likely to pause for a bit when this image shows up.

Round 2 – Headline

As soon as you pause at an image, the headline takes over. It’s where your eyes naturally go. The big, bold letters right under the image. That means you need to make this so good that people continue reading the rest of your ad.

The first ad has a really lame headline. “Buy this cool thing” doesn’t inspire people to buy at all. It might have been cool to use the word ‘cool’ a decade ago, but not anymore. Also, the headline isn’t really giving me any information I didn’t already know. From looking at the image I already know that it’s a men’s coat and that they want me to buy it (otherwise they wouldn’t be advertising it).

Now the OnePiece ad has a more interesting headline. It’s Norwegian so it’s exotic, at least to a non-Norwegian, and it’s original so that makes it unique, as opposed to a cool coat. This gets you interested. What the heck is a Norwegian jumpsuit and what makes it original? And so you read on.

Try using words that evoke curiosity in the reader. Simple headlines like Buy Now jus don’t work anymore. If you have a discount, then letting people know they can get 20% off is a good headline. You could also use words like ‘limited’ to indicate that the product is flying off the shelves and induce a sense of urgency in the reader. Finally, the word ‘free’ is very powerful. It might sound gimmicky but people pay more attention if they can get something for free. Letting them know they can get something free, even if it’s a coupon, in your headline will definitely capture interest.

Round 3 – Text

This section is the text that appears above the image. Once people are interested in your ad after looking at the image and reading the headline, they’ll want to read more. So they’ll start with the text on top and then come back down again.

Before you start entering text, be sure to connect your Facebook Page to your ad. This is why you needed to create a Page in the first place. When your ad shows up on the News Feed, it will show up as a sponsored post from your page as you can see from the examples above.

Now on to the text. Facebook suggests that you use this section to describe what you’re promoting. It looks like Rosewholesale took this suggestion to heart and put in a very dull description, with that word ‘cool’ making another appearance. Again, it’s not saying anything new. Obviously the coats are long-sleeved, we got that by looking at the picture.

OnePiece does a better job again but I think it’s too short. They could have expanded on it but this one seems to have worked for them. What they are doing is describing benefits by implying that their jumpsuits will make you comfortable. This is in contrast to the trench coats where we only see features. A clear example of the classic features vs benefits copywriting technique, or talking about the why and not the what.

Round 4 – News Feed Link Description

Now we come to the advanced options just below the Call to Action section. If you’re promoting your e-commerce store and products, use the ‘Shop Now’ call to action. This filters out people who aren’t interested in buying. If you just want people to browse your site and subscribe to your newsletter, the ‘Learn More’ option might be better.

Click on the Show Advanced Options link to see the News Feed Link Description box. This is the text that comes right at the bottom under your headline. This section is the clincher. The last piece of copy people read before they decide to click through, so make this really compelling.

Again, you can see a clear difference between the two examples. Rose sticks to its dull formula while OnePiece oozes character. Even if you don’t want to buy a jumpsuit you’re still curious about it and you’ll want to click through.

For your product talk about the benefits again. Make sure your copy appeals to your target audience. OnePiece has that whole rebel thing going for them because that’s who they are targeting with their ads. Similarly, use language that resonates with your customers and even add in or reiterate an offer for them to click through.

Step 3 – Audience

Audience targeting is really important if you want to get qualified leads and low-cost clicks. Simply blasting your ads to everyone on Facebook won’t work. You’ll be paying to show ads to people who will never buy from you.

With the power editor, you can go really deep while defining audiences. That’s more of an advanced class. You can still do some pretty good targeting with the regular ad manager. The first section is the custom audiences section. You can create those in the power editor so we’ll ignore that for now.

Next up is the location section. This is very important for e-commerce stores. Resist the urge to target the entire world even if you provide worldwide shipping. In fact, when you start out, don’t even target an entire country. Just do one state or one city, preferably the one where your warehouse or headquarters are. I’ll say it again, niching down is really important.

The age range needs no explanation. Just don’t ignore this field. The default value is 13 to infinite so you’re including a whole bunch of people who don’t earn if you ignore this. For e-commerce, 22 to 55 seems to be a decent range. At 22 you’re a new graduate, hopefully with a new job, so now you have a salary coming in and you can spend on line. People over 55 are retired and unlikely to spend online.

Again, gender and language are pretty obvious. Enter the value that are relevent to your store.

The more demographics is a really interesting section. Facebook introduced this not too long ago and it’s based on all the data they have collected from your Facebook usage and through their data mining partners. You’ll be amazed at the level of detail you can go into. Facebook has collected A LOT of data on you and everyone else.

You can drill down into education level, work industry, relationship status and even income levels. If you have a high-end product, simply filter out the people who don’t earn enough to buy your product. If you’re selling products for college students select the corresponding education level.

Interests are based on what people have liked. Facebook suggests general categories, but again try to filter down as much as possible. In fact, ignore the generic categories because they are too loosely defined. To find out what your audience really likes do a graph search on your competitors. Check out who likes your competitors and find out what else they like. You can also find pages liked by people who like competitor A and competitor B. This will give you a more refined selection of interests.

Finally behaviours are actions the Facebook users have taken or are taking, like spending money through their platform or uploading pictures. When you target certain demographics, interests and behaviours, Facebook uses an AND combination instead of an OR combination.

So let’s say you are selling used video games through your store. You’d select university students as your demographic. In interests you’d select some of the video game titles, or even a retail competitor like Gamestop. Finally in behaviour you’d select console gamers. This means you’re targeting people who are university students AND like Gamestop AND play games on consoles. This is a really niche audience with a high likelihood of buying from you.

Step 4 – Finishing up

In Part 1 we talked about the advertising structure and what a campaign, ad set and ads are. After you’re done targeting your audience, you can set up the ad set details and budget. Budget works on a set level, so you can create multiple ads within a set and they’ll all use the same ad set budget.

Let’s say you have an ad set for residents of NYC. Within that let’s say you create 2 ads with different ad copy. The ads all point to the same page, but you’re split testing the creative to see which converts best. If you set a daily budget of $10 for your ad set, and each ad gets shows evenly, then you’ll pay $5 for each one.

Finally, in the bidding section, you want to bid for clicks. That means you only pay for someone clicking on your ad, instead of paying for showing the ad a certain number of times. Set the optimisation at automatic for now. When you’re a more advanced user you can manually set bids and optimise yourself.

Click place order and your new ad campaign will begin after Facebook reviews it. Be sure to create multiple ads and split test them. Good advertising means taking a look at your stats at least once a day, finding out what works and what doesn’t, and changing things to improve their performance.

Most people complain that they are getting poor click-through rates on their ads. Poor CTRs lead to higher cost per click. They don’t bother trying to improve their CTRs so they end up spending a lot of money for nothing. The worst part is most of those clicks are unqualified because they haven’t targeted properly, so they spend money on clicks that don’t pay off.

Decent Facebook ads go between 1%-2% CTR. 3%+ are really good so try to get there. If you’re getting CTRs less than 1% then something is wrong. Go back and refine your targeting, or try more images and ad copy variations. If you still have problems, let me know and I’ll help you troubleshoot them.

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