The 6 Strategies of Highly Effective E-commerce Advertisers on Facebook

The 6 Strategies of Highly Effective E-commerce Advertisers on Facebook

February 25, 2014

We love to be on our phones – checking the morning news, sending and reading texts from friends and, when the time comes for a bit of retail therapy, shopping. We spend a bit of time on Facebook too – 78% of smartphones users use Facebook on their phone.

Mobile advertising on Facebook is a bit of a no-brainer for online retailers looking to capture consumer attention and dollars while they’re swiping through the News Feed. Thanks to Facebook’s always improving offerings, retailers can now precisely target and convert customers cross-platform, and measure the ROI of their advertising campaigns. But using these tools is only the first step to a successful campaign, knowing how to use them takes campaigns from good to great.

Based on our experience working with retailers small and large spanning all types of products, we’ve compiled a list of Facebook advertising best practices for e-commerce companies.

#1: Seize the Day, One Part at a Time

Day-parting, splitting the day into sections and catering ads to each part, takes advantage of the context in which users are browsing social feeds to make ads more effective. For example, a restaurant ad highlighting a new lunch menu item is more likely to convert when it’s posted during peak lunch hours than if it were posted late at night. In the case of e-commerce companies, brands should consider day-parting for mealtimes and bedtime, since those are the times when online shopping generally spikes. Even better, day-parting doesn’t necessarily cost any more than other types of campaigns. Done well, advertisers can achieve greater ROI driving down the cost per customer.

Additionally, brands should keep an eye on which days ads perform best. An Ampush client that sells high-end home furnishings has found that Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays are the best days to advertise as big purchases tend to be made on Sundays and Mondays. Note that these tendencies vary from business to business, so look to the trends in your data when making day parting decisions.

#2: Let’s Make a Deal

Everyone likes a bargain and with an abundance of choices available, a discount or free gift with purchase can sway the savvy consumer toward one brand over another. In a 2013 survey of online retailers, a little over 50% indicated that mobile/online promotions and coupons have led to increased sales. Incorporate deals like free shipping, or 10% off your first purchase in ad copy to give your potential customers one more reason to convert. Be sure to include the relevant information, such as the promotion’s end date, within the post.

#3: Stay on Target(s) with Custom Audiences

Target ads to Facebook users that already have a relationship with your brand with Custom Audiences. Advertisers can use CRM and website data to create Custom Audiences of  individuals who have already shown interest in the brand or intent to purchase. Campaigns using Custom Audiences continually outperform those using other targeting options.

Segmenting Custom Audiences by additional criteria, such as purchase type, size, frequency or the item itself, adds another layer of effectiveness. Ad creative can be tailored specifically to these smaller groups, increasing personalization and likelihood of engagement. For example, create a segment of first-time customers and send that group ads with coupons for products similar to the ones they just bought.

#4: Chase Those Moving Targets

Of all the people that visit a brand’s site, only 2% will convert on the first visit. Rather than lose the remaining 98% to the many other distractions on the internet, retarget previous website visitors or app users as they browse Facebook – regardless of platform. Use the Facebook remarketing pixel to track users that come to your site, then create a Custom Audience of these people and show them ads accordingly. For instance, a clothing retailer can target the customers who visited specific pages or abandoned a shopping cart on the site and then tease them with ads featuring pictures of the items they didn’t purchase. This has been shown to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates, increase conversions, and lower CPA. Facebook is currently the only platform that allows brands to retarget consumers on mobile devices.

#5: Have a Type

Once the audience is chosen, the next step is choosing an ad unit that aligns with your objectives. News Feed ads are the clear choice for performance – ads in the News Feed have been shown to drive 75 times higher click-through rates than right sidebar ads. Ads that appear in the News Feed, called Page Post Ads, have three variants, each of which works best with a different campaign type and demands a different strategy.

Page Post Link ads direct customers to specific external pages to take an action, like buy an advertised product or download an app. These deep links are especially effective for driving conversions. For ad creative, keep copy short and enticing (text must be under 90 characters) and don’t include the URL – it is redundant and you’ll save characters for other text. We also recommend not linking to generic pages and/or site-wide promotions, such as free shipping – link them to where they’ll convert!

Page Post Video ads are optimal for driving brand awareness and increasing consumer/brand engagement. Videos can resemble a standard commercial or showcase more engaging content, like a product demo. Choose a captivating still from the video for the thumbnail and include accompanying text that encourages the audience to click the play button. While video ads are the choice ad unit for engagement objectives; they are less likely to influence conversions.

With vivid images that prompt immediate likes and shares, Page Post Photo ads are best for engagement and conversion objectives. Choose a high-quality image that complements the accompanying text and doesn’t resemble a typical ad – consumers want captivating images that blend with the native feel of Facebook. The text should give critical information, for example a sale on all women’s apparel, in 90 characters or less. For more nuance on page post ads, check out our helpful infographic.

#6: Location, Location, Location

The majority of purchase are still made on desktops, but the buying process can, and often does, involve all kinds of devices. Consumers may research a product or service on their phone, browse the online store in their mobile app, then hop to a computer or tablet to complete the purchase. Online retailers should have a presence on all platforms, but ads should direct customers to which ever platform offers the best experience for the shopper. For example, if your mobile app glitchy or doesn’t show all your inventory, send customers to your desktop store. Also look to data to find out where your audiences tend to make their purchases and place ads accordingly.

Bottom line: Whether e-commerce advertisers are looking to lower costs, increase conversions, or improve engagement, Facebook offers many a tool for achieving campaign goals – and knowing how, when, and why to use these tools will result in an even greater bang for your buck.

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Allison Berman, AmpushAllison Berman is a recent University of Michigan graduate and a Senior Media Analyst in Ampush’s San Francisco office. When not driving ridiculously high ROAS for clients, she spends her time frosting cakes, exploring the side street of San Francisco, and trying to maintain her strong mid-western accent.