The global COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a devastating blow to retail while making e-commerce an even bigger opportunity now than it was before. This has caused many people to try to get in on the action, only to learn firsthand that it's not as easy as they initially thought it would be.
From an outside perspective, it might appear to be easy. Find a product with a high margin, set up a Shopify store, run some Facebook ads, and profit. Well, it's not that simple, no matter how many self-proclaimed "e-commerce guru" ads you see.
Facebook ads are highly effective while also being highly complex. It would be impossible for me to provide a foolproof formula, as it takes a lot of testing to come up with winning campaigns. But I can share some fundamental tips that you can use, and with some testing and optimizing, build winning campaigns to help scale your e-commerce business using Facebook ads.
Understanding how Facebook Pixel works
I implore you to consume as much information regarding how the Facebook Pixel works before launching ad campaigns. It will make a huge difference in terms of results.
Here is a very simple explanation of how the Facebook Pixel works:
- A consumer lands on your website and visits certain pages, views certain products and maybe even adds some products to their cart.
- The Facebook Pixel is collecting all of that data, links it to the cookies in the consumer's browser and assigns it to a specific audience in your ad account.
- Using this data, you can then serve that custom audience with ads that are tailored to those specific actions.
Once a brand fully understands how to utilize Facebook's Pixel, the ability to scale shifts to production and fulfillment capabilities. While you can learn how Pixel works via trial and error, I highly recommend doing as much research prior to launching your first campaign. The more of an understanding you have from Day One, the better your results will be and the bigger your ROAS (return on ad spend) will be.
Cast a top-of-funnel Pixel data campaign
The biggest mistake e-commerce brands make is launching a campaign intending to try to convert sales with the very first interaction a consumer has with the brand. This is how ad budgets are spent without seeing a significant return.
You need to create campaigns that cast a wide net – top-of-the-funnel ads. These are broad and should introduce a potential customer to your brand and product. These ads allow your Facebook Pixel to collect valuable data.
Video ads are great for this, and with great messaging and a strong product and offer, you'll likely see some sales trickle in, but the priority here is allowing your Facebook Pixel to collect as much valuable data as possible.
Breaking even at this stage is the goal, and at scale, even a little loss here is fine, as the upside when you fully understand the capabilities of the Pixel is massive.
Launch a remarketing campaign targeting last actions
Your Facebook Pixel data allows you to create campaigns that target the consumers who visited your website through your top-of-the-funnel ads, based on actions while on your site. This is where the most successful Facebook ad campaigns drive the largest percentage of its sales and revenue. There are several actions you can target, and I'll explain three of them so you get an idea of why each requires a different approach.
These are visitors that left the first time without adding anything to their shopping cart. You can't target them with a specific offer, so a more broad approach is required.
If they visit your website again after seeing your remarketing ad, there is interest, so include a little extra incentive for them to pull the trigger. Coupon codes for sitewide savings or a free shipping call to action work well.
Add to cart and/or viewed cart
These ads can be highly targeted, down to showing the consumer the product he or she was on the cusp of purchasing. If they added an item to the cart, there was purchase intent, but something stopped them from going through with the purchase.
Product-specific discounts work great to convert this traffic. If the consumer has widget X in their cart, an ad that shows that specific product, along with a call-to-action along the lines of "Save $20 right now on widget X" performs excellently.
Added payment information
This can be the most frustrating missed opportunity. If a consumer takes the time to enter his or her payment information but then doesn't complete the transaction, something changed their mind at the very last second.
Did they leave to price shop? Did they need to do a little more research? Generally, they are fine with the produce if they entered their payment details, so you don't have to go aggressive in the discount department when remarketing.
Instead, offer an upgrade or an additional product. It doesn't have to be something with a high monetary value. Think of something that has a low cost to you and is low-weight so there is no additional shipping charge absorbed by you.
Facebook ads can be intimidating and overwhelming to someone who has never run a campaign before. Launching a campaign blindly will not produce the desired results, so it's important to have a good understanding of the basics.
Facebook Blueprint is a free training resource that I suggest looking into before starting. Arming yourself with that knowledge is a great starting point, and then using the simple tips above will help you get started on the right foot.