Why advertise on Facebook
Facebook has over 2 billion active users, with 1.5 billion of those logging in and using on a daily basis. With these numbers, the potential for a shopify website to advertise and get results through Facebook is almost limitless. Facebook is a huge part of modern societies lives now, particularly younger generations as they have grown up using social media and the platform. As time goes by the average age of Facebook users is slowly increasing, nevertheless, Facebook’s has two other platforms (Instagram & Messenger) which are ingrained with a young audience.
Advertising on Facebook has never been as simple and complex at the same time. Consistently Facebook has been adding new features, improving user experiences (for both users and the advertisers). This has made communication between Businesses & Customers not only a possibility but an expectation. While some businesses can see this platform as an added burden, the truth is far from it.
Advertising & communicating through Social Media provides valuable insight into the minds of your current customers and potential customers, understand their pain-points, what are the common questions they have about your products, what messaging resonates best with each audience and plenty more. Advertising on Social Media, doesn’t just provide a direct opportunity to increase sales, but to truly appreciate who the custom is. This can provide future marketing material, website adjustments and offerings that can’t be determined through other forms of marketing (like SEO or Google Ads).
Facebook Ad Engagement
Facebook is the biggest social media network, but not only that it’s the network that users spend the most time on as well. It therefore makes sense to advertise where the users are spending most of their time. Advertising on social media has regularly seen better engagement rates once users are on the website (fewer people bouncing off, visiting more pages and longer average session duration). Part of this is through positive brand affirmation, associating websites with other enjoyable aspects of the users lives. The end result of this is connecting a website with the positive feelings that the user has about other brands, topics etc.
Don’t Lose Out To Competitors
Shopify themselves mention that the best marketing strategies for shopify website use a multi-channel approach. Relying on SEO, Google Ads or Social Media alone unfortunately isn’t going to cut it nowadays. Websites need to create a presence around their users, providing content in multiple formats, with different messaging and continually engaging in two-way communication. By focussing on only one marketing channel, websites are risking competitors stealing customers that were close to purchasing previously. Not only that, but by neglecting one advertising channel, websites are ignoring a huge number of potential customers who don’t use the other platforms. The Facebook Ad Manager allows websites to advertise through Facebook, Instagram & Messenger (potentially in a single campaign to make things easy to manage).
Find New Customers
Social Media advertising is perfect for prospecting, finding potential customers who have never interacted with your website in the past. Shopify websites can place their content in front of these users demonstrating value, solving problems and creating awareness, rather than waiting for the user to search in Google to solve their issue. Over time with continual testing, Shopify websites will be able to find the right audience for their product range. Testing is the only way to find which audience, targeting, messaging and ad content is the most relevant. Not only will this increase customers & revenue, but will result in a lower CPC, meaning a better ROI as well.
Facebook’s Different Ad Formats
Link Click Ads
Link Click Ads are the standard ad format for most websites who advertise on Facebook. These ads drive traffic to the website, usually the home page or category pages. Link Click Ads are the default for a reason, as they can provide plenty of information and allow users to navigate through the website in their own time. An added benefit, is receive an occasional like on the facebook page as well.
Video Link Click Ads
Video Link Click Ads have the same features as the standard ad type, however use a video instead of a static image. Again, typically these will use the home page or collection pages as the landing page. The extra work involved in created the video generally pays off in ad performance. Video ads tend to have a higher engagement rate than image ads, as they are more captivating and can provide much more information.
Boosted Page Posts
Boosted page posts are a way of artificially getting more visibility and interactions with a standard facebook page post. They give websites the opportunity to reach more people and will look identical to the original post, with a small “sponsored” label at the top. A lot of websites will start by using this format, while this is an easy setup, it’s not a recommended approach.
Multi-Product or Carousel Ads
Multi-Product or Carousel Ads are a very useful ad format for Shopify advertisers. This ad format allows you to show up to 10 images or videos, promoting multiple products from the same collection, sale items or best sellers. With Carousel Ads, Websites can gain valuable insight into which audiences are attracted to particular products. These learnings can then be used for targeting future ads.
Dynamic Product Ads
Dynamic Product Ads is Facebook’s answer to Google Dynamic Remarketing. With this ad format, websites can interact with users who have previously viewed products on their website, added products to cart or partially checked out. Once the user logs back in to Facebook, they will be displayed images in the same format as the carousel ads of the products that they viewed on the website.
There is extra work involved in setting up Dynamic Product Ads, including detailed pixel tracking on the website (like Google’s Data Layer), recording Product IDs, Value, Content Type as well as event codes for Adding to Cart, Purchase etc. The other added requirement is the creation of a product catalogue, this houses information about each product and is what will populate the images and content of the ad. Remarketing is always a campaign type that performs well for Shopify eCommerce stores. So the added work involved in setting up this campaign is almost always worth it.
Facebook Instant Experiences
Facebook Instant Experiences previously known as Canvas Ads are a relatively new ad format. The biggest benefit of this ad type is that it is extremely interactive with the user, designed purely for mobile, this ad format loads instantly. With this ad format, users can view videos, photos swipe through carousels and explore ‘lifestyle images’ with tagged products and all. This ad format is perfect for websites who want to make an instant impact with their audience and provide a comprehensive overview of the website and it’s products, all in one single ad.
This format is similar to Carousel ads (which is great for eCommerce stores). The ad has a cover photo or video and multiple products. Collection Ads are perfect for new ecommerce websites, they do require a little extra work with the cover photo/video, but provide plenty of areas to give information and understand how products perform with certain audiences.
Page Like Ads
Page LIke Ads are a very basic form of social media advertising. In years gone by, having a large base of followers on your profile page was a valid strategy in itself. The more followers you have the greater your organic posts go. Now, things are a little different. With the increased exposure of ads in multiple formats, just running page like ads isn’t likely to get websites the results they would hope. These ads can appear anywhere on Facebook, and is still relevant as a low focus always on campaign, with the focus on the other ad formats.
Ad Copy Principals
Ad Performance and Creative
The type of ad format being used is only half the battle. Websites can use the correct strategy, ad format, but with bad content the campaign is never going to succeed. The images, videos and written content that websites use is one of, if not the, most important attribute of social media advertising. Because users aren’t actively searching or hoping that they see an ad, the image or video needs to be as captivating as possible. The impact that high quality visuals can make can be immense, affecting the Cost per Click and Cost per Sale directly.
Facebook Ad Design Best Practices
From an image or video design perspective, the cover image should use bright colours with contrasting elements. The aim here is to grab the users attention as they are scrolling down their newsfeed, often you will just have a split second before they have moved onto the next post. Advertisers can split test the same creative & targeting using different colours to see which one gets the highest interactions, however if budget is a limiting factor a good test is to create 3 or 4 variations, flick through them in preview or another image application, each for a second at most and see which one grabs the most attention.
Including a strong call to action or key value point in writing in your image is also a must for advertising on social media. Make sure that the font is large, in bold and easy to read (using all caps can also help).
Best Practise Ad Copy
The messaging or ad copy is the next most important element (behind the image). The content of this section needs to reinforce the key message in the image and provide further value, context and intrigue for the user. Ad Copy should be written as if the user has never interacted with the website before. The content should be brief but direct, with an aim of providing just enough information to build some curiosity, try to avoid selling straight on the ad (unless it is a remarketing campaign). Using this technique correctly will deliver a high Click Through Rate combined with engaged users on the website, interested in finding out more information.
Shopify websites who are just starting out using Social media ads, should be testing the ad copy in multiple ways. First of all, testing different messaging across the same target audience. This will provide insight into what style of messaging is captivating for your target audience. For Shopify websites which have been advertising through Facebook for a while, and already have multiple audiences, this can still be applied, with the learnings used to build a customer profile for each audience. This should be documented down, that way advertisers can target future messages, offers and content specific for each audience, seeing improved performance immediately.
Some final points advertisers can include on their ad copy checklist include, using strong call to actions to sign-off the copy, as well as using a call to action button on the post itself. Finally, freebies and discounts do generally outperform other posts, but don’t fall into the trap of giving away product margins. Find other ways to provide value to customers that don’t just involve discounting.