Facebook Ads for E-commerce: Getting Started

As a new e-commerce store owner, advertising is the best way to get some quick traffic right from the start. Google Ads has always been the preferred advertising platform, purely because of Google’s ubiquitous reach. Along with their Keyword Tools, Analytics and Product Listing Ads, Google has a powerful suite of tools to target keywords, acquire traffic quickly and track conversions. If you want to learn more, check out our primer on Google Ads.

The alternative to Google ads, and one gaining in popularity very quickly, is Facebook ads. Though Facebook doesn’t quite have the reach that Google does, they do have some advantages. The first being that since they are a social network, you can use their ads to quickly build your brand. While throwing traffic at your site with Google is a short-term solution, building a brand on Facebook is a long-term solution, ensuring you have a growing pool of customers and brand advocates at your call.

Secondly, Facebook ads are dirt cheap compared to Google ads, so from a purely financial point of view, Google’s popularity works against them. It’s simple supply and demand really. More advertisers on the Google network means more demand for a keyword, which leads to higher bids on that keyword. On the other had, fewer advertisers on Facebook means lowers bids on the very same keyword.

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. You’re bound to get different results if you run the same campaign on both ad networks. Your costs, traffic and conversions will be different. In general, Google seems to produce better results when it comes to conversions. If you think about it when people search on Google they do it with an intent to buy. Whereas on Facebook people are there to socialize, so when they happen across your ad they aren’t in the buying frame of mind. On the other hand, you can’t beat Facebook for cheap traffic.

All in all, if you have a limited budget and want to build a following over the long-term, Facebook Ads are your best option. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Campaigns

Facebook recently rolled out it’s new campaign structure for their Ads. The structure is similar to that of Google Ads, so if you’ve already used Google you’ll be in familiar territory.

The campaign structure has three levels. The top most level is the Campaign. Within a campaign you can have multiple ad sets, with each ad set comprising multiple ads. Pretty simple really.

The Campaign level describes the overall objective. When you start a new campaign, you need to define an objective from one of eight choices. We’ll come to objectives later, but for now know that the objective defines how your campaign is run and what types of ads you can create within it.

For each campaign, you’ll need to create at least one ad set. You can split your audience into various groups and target each group with a different ad set. For example, if you sell globally, you can create one ad set for customers in North America, and another for customers in Europe. You can then separately control the scheduling and budget for each ad set. So if you have more customers in North America, you can schedule your ads for when they are awake and set a higher budget for them.

Within each ad set, you can create multiple ads. At this level, you can control the bidding for each individual ad and go further with you targeting, showing different ad copy and images to different sub-groups of customers. For example, if you sell pet supplies, then within your ad set for North America, you can target dog owners with an ad that has a picture of a dog, and cat owners with an ad about cat supplies.

Objectives

As we mentioned earlier, when you start a new campaign you need to define an objective. Head to the Create Ad page on Facebook, and you’ll see the objective selection screen. Facebook gives you eight choices and tailors your campaign accordingly.

Page Post Engagement – This helps you promote a single post on your Page. If you have multiple Pages on Facebook, you’ll need to select the appropriate one, and then choose which post you want to promote from the dropdown. You can also do this from within your Page. For each post, you have an option to ‘Boost’ it on the bottom right-hand corner.

Page Likes – This option is geared towards maximizing your Facebook likes. If you use your Page to engage customers, you can get more people to like your Page and in turn see your posts and promotions. It’s a great way to build your brand, plus Pages with many followers tend to attract more followers because of the social validation.

Clicks to Website – Use this to get people to directly visit your site, instead of a Facebook Page. If you’re more intent on getting traffic to your site then this one is a good option. You can send people to your home page, a sales page, or directly to a product.

Website Conversions – With website conversions you can promote your store and focus on converting visitors to customers. You’ll need to generate a tracking code from your Ads Manager panel in Facebook and then load the code on the page you want to track for conversions. For example, you could advertise your site and place the tracking code on your checkout page to see how many convert.

App Installs – If you have an app, perhaps one related to your store, you can get people to install it on Facebook or on their phones.

App Engagement – As the name says, you create campaigns that get people to use your app.

Event responses – You can create events for your store, like a Cyber Monday sale event, and then create ads that promote your event across Facebook and get people to attend.

Offer Claims – Facebook allows you to create offers for products on your store Page and then directly advertise those offers. This is another way to promote any sales you’ve got going.

Growing Your Brand

Building a brand, and growing your Facebook, following is the best way to get the most out of Facebook ads. This might not get you sales right away, but it will get you a more focussed and engaged audience. A good Facebook following can be pretty handy in the long-term, especially if you create a lot of content and do many promotions. You can build trust by adding value to your Facebook page and eventually your fans will purchase from you and refer their friends to your store by sharing your content.

The two campaign modes that help you build a brand and Facebook Page are Page Post Engagement and Page Likes. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you create a Page, run an ad campaign, and engage your audience in our next post on this Facebook series. Check it out!

Driving Traffic

As we mentioned earlier, you can drive traffic to your site from Facebook but you won’t convert as much as you would with Google Ads. On the other hand, it’s still pretty cheap traffic, and if your site and copy are really persuasive you’ll still make some sales.

Clicks to Website and Website Conversions are the campaign modes you’ll need to focus on for this. Check out our step-by-step guide on this for more information.

Apps, Events and Offers

Offer Claims are surely meant for e-commerce stores, but you wouldn’t think apps and events would help would you? Well, with a little creativity, you can actually market your store with these campaigns.

For example, some stores have native apps where users can browse through their catalogues and even make purchases. As for events, if you’re planning a big promotion you can generate a lot of publicity through event invites. You don’t need to have a real physical location to create an event.

Chances are you never thought to take advantage of Facebook events and apps. This will be the final post in our Facebook Ads series, so get ready to get creative!

Have you tried using Facebook Ads before and did you get what you wanted out of it? If you encountered any problems or difficulties, let us know and we’ll address them in our subsequent posts.

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