Facebook Ads is one of the most popular platforms for eCommerce brands to advertise on. As the main player in the paid social game, Facebook ads can help stores increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their websites, and ultimately boost sales.
However, it's not just about reaching the right audience, but also about measuring the success of your ads and being able to attribute it to the revenue generated, which will help you scale your ads account and increase profit margins.
Because the platform can be quite intimidating to new advertisers and smaller players, with its variety of ad formats and targeting options, this guide will give you a comprehensive overview of how to use Facebook Ads for eCommerce and how to correctly measure and attribute your ad performance.
To create an ads account, follow these steps:
A Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that you can place on your website to track visitor actions (like button clicks and purchases) and gather performance data for your Facebook Ads. You'll need this to measure any actions taken by users who click on your ad, which ultimately will help you determine which ads are driving your desired outcomes. Here are the steps to set up a Facebook Pixel:
Shopify makes adding a Facebook Pixel super easy by having an integration feature that allows you to add the Pixel without manually changing the code.
If you want to use the Shopify integration:
Since the more recent iOS privacy updates, Facebook has not been able to track a user's full path like it once used to. That's why it's important to install your Triple Pixel, which will help you track your customer's data while helping you scale accurately. Using the Triple Pixel will help ensure that no visitor action is untracked, meaning more accurate ad data to help you make better decisions when scaling.
On Shopify, adding the Triple Pixel is pretty simple:
When you create a new campaign, you will first be prompted to choose an objective for your campaign. The objective that you choose will dictate the metrics that you track to measure the success of your campaign, as well as what Facebook’s algorithm will optimize for. For example, a campaign with the "Traffic" objective will measure Link-clicks, while a campaign for "Leads" will measure leads (or form completions).
Although there are many goals, including more top-of-funnel goals like "Awareness" and "Traffic," the main metric that you want to optimize for is Sales with an eCommerce store. This will count a conversion for every purchase made on your website from your ads.
It's every marketer’s dream to have new customers buy from your eCommerce store after seeing one of their Facebook ads for the first time. It's also unlikely to happen for most of your customers. The customer journey is quite a complicated one, to say the least.
Here are the most popular types of campaigns that you should have in your account. Each campaign serves a purpose and targets specific customers in their stage of the sales funnel.
This Facebook ad campaign type is the broadest and is highest on the funnel. Its goal is to reach potential customers and hit cold audiences that have not yet interacted with or who have not seen your ads before, based on the targeting that you configure.
For prospecting campaigns, here are examples of audiences to use:
The point of a prospecting campaign is that you give Facebook enough signals to know where to look for the initial phases of your campaign. Your targeting here, and your ad creative, will drive your ad to high-quality users.
Retargeting campaigns are the middle and bottom-of-the-funnel campaign types. This campaign type typically targets users who have already interacted with your ad, or visited your website, intended to driving sales.
To create a retargeting audience of those who have interacted with your website, you'll need to create a custom audience. A custom audience is a feature in Facebook that you use to build audiences off of data from either the Pixel or email lists that you upload.
Some popular custom audience examples are:
H4: Retargeting campaigns post-iOS 14
Although retargeting is still a very important part of any eCommerce store's marketing strategy on Facebook, since Apple's recent privacy updates, these audiences have gotten weaker and less accurate. Pre-update, Facebook had a ton of data on every user that interacted with your ad. Now, most of your retargeting audience will be in your prospecting campaign, because Facebook isn't able to keep track of them as efficiently.
With that being the case, if you're running ads with smaller budgets (anything under $10,000 per month) it's worth testing your campaign setup without a retargeting campaign. Test it, and see if it makes sense for your brand.
Over the last few years, this campaign has become one of the most important campaigns in a Facebook ads account. Your ad creative (the visual element of your ad like an image or video) will be the most important factor to determine whether your ads will be successful or not. Therefore, Creative testing is one of (if not the) most important concepts in Facebook ads.
Although it's important to know what works for your brand and to test different things, here's one way you can run your creative testing campaign:
To create a creative testing campaign, simply run the creatives you want to test against each other under the same ad set. Make sure your campaign is running on an Ad set Budget Optimization (ABO) so that Facebook spends your budget on each creative test.
Your creative testing campaign should use about 10% of total ad spend, and winning ad creatives will be pushed into the "Prospecting Campaign" with the different audiences, ready to be scaled.
Determining a winner will be based on your goals, but the first metric to look at is the "Amount Spent," meaning which creative Facebook spent the most on due to its performance, and then the second metric to look at will be Click Through Rate (CTR).
Once you create your campaigns, they will enter the "Learning Phase." This phase is when Facebook takes all the signals you gave it and begins learning about your target audience and learning about who responds well, and who doesn't, to your ads.
Facebook will get out of the learning phase once it hits 50 conversions within 7 days. However, the learning phase is quite sensitive, and actions such as changing ads or updating copy can reset the learning phase. In reality, Facebook will always be learning about your ads, but this phase will just be Facebook's initial learning and can have worse performing metrics.
There are two ways to optimize budget in Facebook:
Creative is the most important piece of your Facebook ads puzzle. It's what your potential customers first see, and it's what gets them interested in your brand, and onto your website. It'll have the most impact on your ROI and will drive sales.
Best practices to have in your creatives:
Note: Keep ad fatigue in mind, and have a constant flow of creatives you can reach for when you start seeing Frequency creep up and CTR decrease.
Test idea: See whether sending traffic to your product pages or dedicated landing pages will increase conversion rates.
When you select a Facebook bidding strategy, you're telling Facebook how you want it to bid in an ad auction for your e-commerce store. Although changing the default bid strategy (from Highest volume), depending on your goals, can be a positive optimization that you can test, it generally isn't going to be the reason why your ads are or aren't performing the way you want them to.
Play around with bidding strategies to help improve performance that's already doing well, but don't use them as a way to fix your ad’s overall performance. Chances are, your creative needs refreshing, or your targeting needs a look at.
You can switch the bidding strategies at the campaign level (if you're using CBO), or at the ad-set level (if you're using ABO).
Here's a brief overview of the different Facebook bidding strategies:
Each bidding strategy has its own use cases and things to look out for.
Attributing your Facebook ads to a sale accurately is necessary to scale your ads effectively. Your e-commerce business needs to know where a specific sale came from, and what part of the user journey a single ad falls under.
An attribution window is the timeframe where the desired event will be attributed to an ad after the user interacts with an ad (typically a view or click interaction). On Facebook, you can customize your attribution window. The default is set to "7-day click or 1-day view," meaning that if a customer buys up to 7 days after clicking on your ad, or 1 day after viewing, that ad will get attributed the conversion.
The different attribution windows on Facebook are:
You can change the window under the ad set level.
It's important to know that the attribution window that you pick will be Facebook's optimization window. This means that Facebook will try and show your ad to users that are more likely to convert within your set window.
Since the iOS privacy update, Facebook's tracking has become inaccurate. The Facebook Pixel alone "can no longer track a user's path from ad-click/view -> conversion with the accuracy that it once had."
This is where your Triple Pixel will come in handy. The Triple Pixel will be able to track and attribute ad clicks to conversions, capturing the full user journey across multiple platforms (Facebook to Google to TikTok).
To efficiently scale your ads, you'll first need to look at accurate data. The metrics that you look at will depend on your goals. For example, if you're looking at sales, ROAS and cost per acquisition are two important metrics to look at. If you're looking at traffic quality, conversion rate (CVR) will be a crucial metric to track.
The bottom line is, figure out which goals you're focusing on with your Facebook advertising, and look at the metrics relevant to those goals.
If your ads aren't performing how you want, you'll need to identify where the performance drop-off is. Are people not clicking on the ad? Are people clicking and not converting? Using this data, you can learn where in your funnel needs optimization.
If your ads are performing well, continue slowly increasing the budget. Don't increase your budget more than 20% every 3 days, as doing so will shock the algorithm and reset the learning phase.
From setting up your ads account to scaling your campaigns accurately and efficiently, your e-commerce business is now ready to tackle Facebook advertising! Keep in mind, there are many different strategies and the Facebook ads landscape is constantly changing.
There is no one roadmap to Facebook ad success, but with the strategies outlined in this article, you now have a great foundation to build your own strategies.
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