Facebook Ads for online shops: 8 steps to create successful campaigns


One of the most difficult things to achieve when striving to succeed with e-commerce is getting visitors. You may have created the best online store in history with a perfect design and the best prices, but it is all useless if nobody sees it.
There are countless options to make it work:

However, there is a perfect way of generating traffic that many e-commerce sites do not use: Facebook Ads.
If you want to get the most out of Facebook Ads and start getting visitors for as cheap as €0.01, keep reading and you will find out how.

What are Facebook Ads and why should you use them for an online shop?

Facebook Ads is the name of the ads platform from Facebook. When you scroll down through your timeline, in between the posts from your friends and pages you will see ads in the form of sponsored posts from different brands.
The news section is one of the possible locations for ads, but there are many more. We’ll see them one by one below.

Facebook Ads’ biggest strength is segmentation.

By creating personalized audiences, you can show ads to only the people that you want to see them. If you have an e-commerce about products for dogs, it’s not worth spending your money on showing ads to people who don’t even own a dog, is it?
The possibilities are almost endless.
We’ll also talk about remarketing with personalized audiences based on how web users interact. Facebook Ads, when linked to your shop, will allow you to segment you audience depending on whatever options you may think of. You will see how hard work and optimizing your campaigns can lead to results at an almost laughable cost.
First, let’s talk about the page structure.

Campaigns, groups, and ads

It’s important for you to understand the structure of Ads Manager, previously known as Power Editor, the tool that you will use to manage your ads.

  • Campaigns: global information about your campaign.
  • Ads group: you can create different groups of ads for one campaign in order to test their performance.
  • Ads: the different ads that can be grouped.

You can set up different options for each level, but we are going to stop ourselves here for now and continue talking about the first steps.

What do you need to advertise on Facebook?

In order to advertise on Facebook you only need to create a Facebook page . You can do that in less than 5 seconds from your personal account or by using Facebook for Business.
Once you have the page, choose the option “Brand or Product” and select the category that best describes your store.
After doing that, we recommend that you fill in all the details about your website, upload the profile and cover photos and get some “Likes” before you start advertising.
It is always good to have some “Likes” before you start advertising.
If you already have a fan page and you post often, you already know the message shown by Facebook that invites you to promote your posts and reach more people. This is the fastest and easiest way to boost your post visibility, but it should not be considered a proper campaign.
Our advice is to avoid those campaigns. They are bait for people who don’t want to or don’t know how to create a truly impactful campaign on Facebook Ads. This is not your case, so at least try to read this post. 😉

How to advertise like a pro on Facebook—step by step

Once you have met all the requirements, you are ready to create your first ad. We are going to explain you how to do it step by step to make each visitor both cheap and valuable.

1. Create a business account on Facebook

After having disregarded the “promote your post” option, we are going to get serious about our campaigns. The next step is to create a business account on Facebook Ads.
If you work on different projects, create a separate account for each of them to avoid mix-ups.
If you want several people to have access, you can assign various administrators and give each of them the permissions that you decide since business accounts are managed by personal profiles, not by pages.
Each account works with a different pixel. A pixel? Huh? What’s that? Keep reading…

2. Install Facebook pixel to track everything going on in your e-commerce

As we’ve talked about before, every marketing campaign must be measured.

What’s the point of creating a Facebook Ads campaign is you don’t know how many people end up visiting the shop or actually making a purchase?

To do that and to send all the information about what users do, you need to install the so-called “Facebook pixel”.
The pixel is really just a bit of JavaScript code that is inserted in the <head> tag of your site’s code. If you don’t know a thing about coding, don’t worry—every CMS offers tons of options to do it:

  • In the theme
  • Through hooks
  • With different plugins, modules, or extensions

This pixel can be found is your Ads Manager, where you can download it and check that it works correctly.
The most basic piece of information that can be measured with the pixel is the pages seen, but it also offers other standard online shop conversion options:

  • Buy
  • Add to cart
  • Lead creation
  • Register
  • Search
  • Start the payment process
  • Add payment details
  • Add product to wishlist

You have the official documentation with all the standard events for developers.
There base installation contains essential code in order to start tracking, and then you can add the predefined conversions to the pages that you want later.
This means that the code to track sales is only added to the thank you or order received page, and the AddToCart code only to product pages.
The best way to manage which URLs tracking code should be inserted into is by using a tag management tool such as Google Tag Manager.

Personalized conversions and remarketing on Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads make it possible to go a step further with segmentation.
With the trackCustom code you can define which user interactions with your shop you want to use to create a personalized audience.
Imagine that you have a long sales landing page. With a personalized event, you can create a group made up of the people who scrolled down at least 80% of the page and show them an ad with a specific remarketing strategy.
This way you make sure that the people who see the ad are those who are truly interested, filtering out the ones who clicked but didn’t scroll.
In the same way, you can also track and segment any user interactions with your website that may be relevant to your business:

  • Clicks on buttons
  • Videos played
  • Amount spent on your e-commerce
  • Products seen
  • Or a combination of several of them

In order to use this segmentation tool in an advanced way, you need to know how to use Google Tag Manager so you can activate or deactivate the conversion code in relation to user actions in your shop.
But don’t worry—measuring the standard events is more than enough for a basic level.

3. Choose the right objective for your ad

As we have already seen, there are infinite possibilities. That’s why it is so important to define what you want to achieve with your campaign.
Facebook has 10 different types of ads, from website promotion to the most recent video ads. If you have an online store with loads of products, from Doofinder we recommend choosing the following objectives:

A. Increase conversions on your website

This should be your standard active Facebook ad during the whole year. After selecting this objective, decide what a conversion means for you. It could be a Facebook user adding a product to the shopping cart, making a payment, or just registering to win a coupon.
From the default conversions that we have seen, define those that most interest you and always keep that goal in mind.
Normally a conversion is a sale, but perhaps you are just going for shop visits, leads capturing, or any other personalized events.

B. Boost your posts

This is a perfect way to promote a special offer even though there is an intended method to do so on Facebook Ads.
Because the cost of this type of ad is lower and you will see a larger reach.

It is useful for newer brands that want to gain visibility.

It is difficult—but not impossible—to get sales from cold traffic, so these first efforts are really important for getting your name out there and becoming more known.
In order to have success with promoted posts you need to make it popular before advertising it. Try to get a lot of interactions (likes and shares) and you will pay a lot less for it than for a post with no interactions.
In this case, the event to track will be pages seen.

4. Focus your audience to the maximum

The second key factor to success with Facebook Ads is knowing how to choose your audience. To get good results you have to focus your audience as much as you can.
Do not try to get to one million people, try to reach those people who are most likely to buy from your shop.
To do so, the first thing you have to do is to select the country, the age and the sex. Before creating an ad you should know who your target audience is: if they are men or women, if there are between 30 and 45 years old, if they are younger or older, or where they live.
A mistake when selecting these parameters could cause you significant loss with Facebook Ads, so do it carefully. Regarding interests, you can choose to show your ads to people who like certain topics or pages. If you have a sunglasses store it will be better for you to show your ad to people who like Ray-Ban or Hawkers than to people who just like sunglasses.
Try it out with a few different audiences and find out which ones work better for you.

Similar audiences

Creating similar audiences is another interesting option.
Imagine that you have created an audience group with the users who carried out a specific action on your website, such as completing a purchase.
Facebook can generate a new audience group with new people who share characteristics with those who have already made a purchase. The conversion rate for those similar people would probably be higher, wouldn’t it?

5. Define the time periods and budget of your campaign

Is it going to be a one-time thing? How long is it going to last? How much money do you want to invest?
You need to have clear answers to these questions before launching your campaign. As with other paid traffic options, a bad decision can mean wasting a lot of money with no results.
In order to avoid that, define some expense limits, at least while you optimize the performance of your ads and your ad groups.

6. Choose your locations

Locations are different places where your ads will be shown. These are the options you have at the moment:

  • Facebook: you can target certain areas within the social network, for example:
  1. In the news stories
  2. In the right-hand column
  3. In the videos
  • Instagram: as you already know, Facebook and Instagram share the same owner, so IG ads management is done from the same Ads Manager. Within Instagram, you can choose either the main wall or stories for your ad location.
  • Audience Network: these are banners in the Facebook display network.
  • Messenger: Facebook’s instant messaging system.

Based on your goals and your buyer persona, you may be interested in different locations. Make sure that’s all clear before choosing one and if you don’t know, test it with a smaller campaign in order to analyze the returns.

7. Work on the message and the image

Whether you create an ad with multiple images or with just one, we can assure you that the success or failure of the ad will depend on the image itself.
Pictures are the most important thing on Facebook and they must capture the user’s attention. Do not risk it! Hire a graphic designer or photographer to make them really count.
Regarding the text, there is an infallible trick: using emoticons 
They attract attention, they emphasise some nuances, and they assure that the post does not go unnoticed. On this website you can find all the emoticons that can be used.

Be careful with the text-to-image ratio

In order to make sure that your ad have a good reach, you need to make sure the percentage of text compared to images in your ads doesn’t exceed 20%.
In the past, Facebook would eliminate the ad, but now it just limits its exposure. In order to make sure that your ads meet the requirement, use the “Text Overlay” tool.
After doing all this, you just need to click “Order” and your ad will be ready for review. In a few minutes (or hours), you will get a confirmation that your ad has been approved.
Now you “just” need to analyze the campaigns, see which ones work better, and carry out lots of tests in order to find the perfect ad.

8. Measure and optimize

The best guarantee for success with your campaigns is ongoing optimization.
Start with a low budget or a few days, analyze the performance of different ads, get rid of the worst ones, and create a new version of the best ones. These A/B tests will help you to create a 100% optimized ad that will get you the best conversion performance.

Time to make your online shop’s first Facebook Ads campaigns!

A good strategy, more focused audiences, and continuous optimization of your ads will help Facebook Ads become an incredibly profitable source of traffic.
Let’s get to it! You can thank us later.

We recommend that you read the following article on social commerce for more info 😉

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