A guide to Facebook ads for ecommerce
50% of Facebookers find their next purchase via ads. And, they have the potential to reach 2.11 billion people. 🤯 For ecommerce marketers, you know what this means! Time to get your FB game on point. 👌Paying to play lets you target niche markets and serve your products to potential buyers as they scroll. This stops you from wasting money trying to get the attention of people who aren’t interested.

Facebook ads can be used in a variety of different use cases, too, depending on your goals:

  • Reminding shoppers about items they’ve added to their cart
  • Capturing subscribers for your email list to nurture toward a sale
  • Promoting offers and discounts to drive urgency and sales
  • Generating in-platform sales for people who don’t want to leave Facebook

Use Facebook advertising alongside your existing ecommerce marketing strategy and you can unlock a consistent flow of sales from new and existing customers.

How to set up a Facebook ad

Setting up a Facebook ad falls somewhere in between a walk in the park and struggling uphill through treacle. The process itself is pretty simple – Facebook basically hand-holds you through it – but choosing the right settings can be a fun (😬) game of trial and error.

1. Create an account with Facebook Ads Manager

First things first, you need an account to get started. Go to Ads Manager and create an account if you don’t already have one.

2. Click “Create New Ad”


3. Install Meta Pixel on your website

The Meta Pixel is a piece of code that you can install on your website to better track your customer’s behaviours. It’ll help you measure the effectiveness of your ads, as well as collect data to optimise future Facebook campaigns.

4. Choose an objective for your ad

Surely your objective is cold, hard cash?! 💰 Whatever your end goal is, Facebook has something to help.

The objectives cover a range of activities:

  • Reach
  • Website traffic
  • Engagement
  • Video views
  • Direct messages
  • Conversions
  • Store traffic

choose an objective for my ads

5. Select your audience

Get specific here. You can target users based on their age, sex, and location, as well as other differentiators, like their relationship status, financial status, job title, past education, and even the life stage they’re at.

You can also upload a custom audience made up of your website visitors, email subscribers, or customers and create lookalike audiences based on common demographics and traits.


Select your audience

6. Set your budget

You can choose to set a daily budget (which FB won’t go over) or a budget for the entire campaign.


7. Add an image and copy

Find your eye-catching images or videos in Dash (or your drive if you haven’t got one yet), then upload them to Facebook with your gripping Facebook ad copy.

Add an image and copy to your FB ads

8. Monitor the ad’s performance

Finally, make sure to check back regularly to see how your ads are performing. Are they getting the click-throughs you want? What about engagement? If they’re not quite hitting the mark, try tweaking your visuals, the copy, and your target audience until you’re getting the results you want.

How much do Facebook ads cost to run?

Facebook ads come with a price tag that will eat into your budget if you’re not careful.

Costs can vary wildly, but for the most part, you’re looking at a cost per click (where you pay every time someone clicks through on your ad) of between £0.40 and £1.50. This will ultimately depend on your product and the industry you’re in. If you’re competing with hundreds of other brands selling a similar red ballet pump, you’ll pay more.

The easiest way to know your costs is to test them. Run a short campaign to get an average CPC and identify what kinds of ads perform the best.

The importance of visuals in FB ads

A picture tells a thousand words, but it also needs to do it quickly. Facebook users are fast scrollers who are seeking out the next dopamine hit, so you have about 3 seconds to grab their attention.

Eye-catching imagery can work wonders for this, but the perfect pic doesn’t just attract eyeballs. It can also say a lot about your brand. In fact, 75% of consumers consider visuals to be influential in their purchasing decisions and 22% of products are returned because they look different from the photos.

Use Dash to store your visuals in one easy-to-access place. You can organise files, share access with multiple team members, and create a collection of ready-to-use images you can pull into your FB ads in seconds. Read more about it in our guide to marketing asset management.

Video vs image ads: Which works best?

So now we’ve ironed out just how important visuals are in your Facebook ads, how do you decide whether to use a video or an image?

Research has shown that videos are better for driving engagement (such as likes and comments), while images are better for click-throughs. Videos can ramp up brand awareness by deep diving into an aspect of your brand, like how your products are made, a customer story, or a narrative around how your bestseller came to be.

Images, on the other hand, can attract shoppers in buy mode. They see something they like the look of, they click through, and they purchase. Whichever visual you choose, you need to make it good. No one’s going to click a blurry, low-quality pic, just like no one’s going to engage with a badly lit video that doesn’t make sense.

It’s worth experimenting with both types of visuals to see which works best for your audience and the goals you want to achieve.

The different types of Facebook ads

Facebook has come a long way since its early days and now offers a range of ad types to suit different brands, audiences, and goals:

Photo ads: You’re probably the most familiar with these. They combine an image and copy to create a simple, static ad that can spotlight a product, a customer, or the lifestyle associated with your products.


AllBirds showcases how lightweight their trainers are in this powerful photo ad campaign.

Video ads: Like photo ads, but with a video instead of a pic. You can run a short ad that brings your product to life or a longer, film-style version that delves deeper into your brand and your customers.

 

HubSpot Video

 

Good Pair Days features a beautifully shot unboxing video as part of their ad. 

Stories ads: Facebook Stories are relatively new in the great scheme of things, but they provide an excellent way to connect with shoppers. They’re customisable and immersive and have some of the highest engagement rates of any FB ad - in fact, 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories.

Tentree shares quick shots of its new product line in its Stories and encourages shoppers to Swipe Up to discover more.

Carousel ads: Spotlight up to 10 pics at once in a single ad, each of which links to a different product page. Viewers can swipe through the images and choose which one resonates with them the most.

Love, Bonito

Love, Bonito uses a carousel format to showcase a selection of its products.

Collection ads: Perfect for ecommerce brands, these ads allow shoppers to browse your product catalogue and get more info without ever leaving Facebook.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club introduces Facebook users to a selection of products. When they click on an image they can find out more without ever leaving the app.

Dynamic product ads: Serve personalised ads to people who have already shown interest in your products. Great for reducing abandoned cart rates and increasing brand awareness.

Eton Shirts

Tips for better Facebook ad campaigns

Did we mention you have just seconds to catch the attention of passing scrollers? Luckily, there are plenty of tips to help you improve the performance of your Facebook campaigns.

Keep your copy concise

Your FB ad mantra should be “short and sweet”. Make the headline too long, and you’ll quickly lose the interest of shoppers. Aim for two or three short sentences and try and include your unique value prop (UVP).
Edible Blooms

Edible Blooms keeps it simple and shows how you could use their product to apologise to a loved one. It’s a very specific message - but something many of us can relate to!

Ask your audience a question

If you’re gunning for engagement, try asking Facebookers a question to pique their interest. This will hopefully stop them in their tracks and give you enough time to convince them to click through.

First Leaf

Firstleaf kicks off its Facebook ad with a question, asking people if they’ve ever spent money on a wine they didn’t enjoy. It might spark a memory of a time they had a less-than-stellar glass of plonk they regretted spending so much money on.

Solve a problem

If you can exacerbate a pain point in your FB ad copy and then offer a solution when people click through, you’ll be golden. Maybe someone’s struggling to find a dress for an upcoming party, or perhaps they need a tasty non-alcoholic drink.

HubSpot Video

Bombas touches on a pain point in its ads: Annoyingly slidey socks. People who struggle with this will automatically resonate with the messaging and might decide to check out the brand based on past experiences with slippy socks.

Add some humour

If your brand voice allows for it, inject a little humour into your Facebook ad copy. It could be a joke, a relatable scenario, or an anecdote that puts a smile on shoppers’ faces.

HubSpot Video

Chubbies uses a humorous video alongside personality-driven copy in its FB ads. This video's caption reads: "Softer than me watching Dawson's Creek crying into my pint of ice cream."

Highlight any offers

People love getting a good deal. If your ad promotes a discount or an upcoming sale, mention that in your ad copy. The goal is to convince users that they’ll get something special when they click through.

ModCloth promotes a discount and other unique selling points, like local currencies and easy returns.

Let your customers do the talking

Who better to advertise your products than your customers? Instead of agonising over the perfect set of words, use your customers’ words instead (aka user-generated content). Include reviews, customer testimonials, and stories in your FB ad copy.

Liv Watches keeps it simple by showcasing a past product review as the ad copy.

Use eye-catching product images

The visuals of your ad are what will stop people mid-scroll. Use high-quality pics that showcase your product. If you’re retargeting, make sure to show them the product they’ve already shown an interest in. Avoid using the same colours as Facebook so your ad stands out on the platform and steer clear of cheesy stock photos. Read our guide on DIY product photography to get started or use our photographer brief template if you want to outsource the job.

Stitch Fix uses flat-lay style images to create outfits. The pictures are clear and provide inspiration to potential shoppers.

Create lookalike audiences

If you have a decent email list of at least 100 people - either prospects or customers - you can create lookalike audiences that match the demographics and traits of the people on those lists.

This is a great way to warm up cold audiences because the people you’re targeting will have the same characteristics as your actual customers, email subscribers, or website visitors, meaning they’re more likely to convert.

Create a lookalike audience

Target custom audiences

As well as lookalike audiences, you can target potential customers who have already shown interest in your products. For example, you can retarget shoppers who have visited your bestsellers page or you can serve ads to people who have signed up for your email list. These shoppers already know who you are and need less convincing, which can lead to higher conversion rates.

Vivo Life
As you can see, Vivo Life knows that I’ve already taken a cheeky peek at their products 👀 Now that it’s popped up in my feed, I’ll be more tempted to go ahead and buy.


Generate traffic by promoting blog posts

Instead of guiding cold audiences straight to your product pages, use your Facebook ads to direct people to blog posts and other useful content. This sets up a sales funnel that you can help them navigate through. You might direct people to a guide that shows them why they might need a product like yours or send them to a customer story.

Purple encourages people to learn more about its products by providing information about the technology behind the mattress.  

Win back customers with an abandoned cart campaign

69.99% of shoppers abandon their cart before buying anything. They don’t have to be lost forever, though. Run an abandoned cart campaign on Facebook to serve ads to people who have products waiting in their carts. Sweeten the deal by offering a cheeky discount if they come back and claim their goods.

Baba Souk

Baba Souk reminds shoppers they have items left in their carts and offers 15% off if they go back and make an order.

Include a call to action

Want to drive clicks? Tell people what to do next. Your FB ad should leave no doubt about what shoppers should do next. It could be a click-through to a product page, a discount code, or an option to sign up for your email list. Use active words in your call to action (CTA) to encourage decision-making.

Nisolo

Nisolo uses the CTA “shop now”, leaving Facebook users in no doubt about what action they should take next. 🛒

Offer a discount

Everyone likes to get a deal, and a discount reduces the barrier to entry for new customers. Offer your target audience a percentage off their first purchase or advertise a flash sale to instil a sense of urgency.


Annmarie Skin Care offers people 25% off for one day only. Better get in there quick!

Organise your Facebook ad content

Ready to dip your toes into the world of Facebook ads? Make it easy to manage your images with Dash. For ecommerce brands, storing all your visuals in one place makes it easy peasy to collaborate with different teams and stay on brand at all times. Want to try it for yourself? Sign up to a free trial below! 👇


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