We have been answering a ton of questions via email and on social media about Facebook ads. It’s a hugely popular ad platform right now, and a lot of Shopify merchants are trying it out. For good reason. If you are selling consumer products in eCommerce, Facebook ads are simply the best value out there. And – like everything else online – there are a lot of ways to do it wrong.
Make no mistake. Every business has to find its own “marketing secret sauce” – the mix of content, ads, and other marketing efforts that will help their business grow. But no matter what kinds of ads and creatives you are going to use in your Facebook ads, there are few things that you can do to ensure that you have the best chance for success.
Getting Started – Facebook Ads Best Practices for Shopify Websites
What Do You Want People To Do?
As soon as you start the ad creation process in Facebook Ad Manager, you are presented with a choice. Facebook calls them “Objectives.” If you are doing eCommerce in Shopify, you probably will jump immediately to “Conversions,” and that’s fine. Eventually you will discover lots of ways that other ad types can really help business, but right now we are just getting started and we want to try to get more sales.
Advertising 101: Demographics and Audiences in Facebook Ads
Rule #1 of modern advertising is don’t spend money to show your ad to someone who will not buy your product.
Sounds simple enough, right? But believe it or not, since the dawn of the media age, EVERYTHING about advertising was about showing ads to as many people as possible and hoping that a few of the target customers were in the mix. But those days are fading fast. Now, it’s all about targeting ads to the specific demographic of people who might buy your product. Facebook calls this “Audience.”
In Facebook you can actually upload your own targeted list of customers and leads and create Facebook ad campaigns for them to see … it’s pretty cool. But save that for later when you have a larger list of customers and people in your email marketing list. For now, select the locations you want the ad to appear. For example, if you ship to only the United States and Canada, make those selections. If you are doing a special ad to promote your physical store location, select your state and city.
Next, you will get to choose an Age range, Gender, and the language spoken by the audience member. The next one is really important and powerful – Detailed Targeting. In Detailed Targeting you can actually type words that represent specific interests of your best possible customer prospects.
For example, if you are selling maternity clothing to US customers, if your ads are appearing in the Facebook feeds of eighteen-year-old males in Germany you are wasting your money. But you can sue the following specifications for your target Audience:
- Location: United States
- Age: 20 – 35 (statistically prime childbearing years)
- Gender: Women
- Languages: English, Spanish
- Detailed Targeting: Motherhood, Maternity, Pregnancy
Your ads will now only appear in the feeds of people who match those parameters. Makes sense, right.
You can also see that you have the ability to select “Connections.” This setting allows you to target people based upon their Connection to your Facebook page. This is something to think about when you get more experience.
Placements Are Critical in Facebook Ads for eCommerce
The next section gives you the choice of Placements. We think that this is especially critical, especially when you are just getting started.
By default, Facebook selects “Automatic Placements (Recommended).” If you leave this checked, it means that Facebook can (and will) place you ads wherever they can. We DO NOT recommend that you leave it on auto. Bit if you select “Edit Placements” you will have the ability to tell Facebook to only place your ads in specific locations.
Here's the deal ... if you leave it set to Automatic Placements, you will get more views. The problem is that – in our experience – those views are very low quality. Remember … you don’t want views, you want action. If you Edit Placements properly, we think you will get fewer views but more actual engagement and clicks and spend less money doing it.
Since you are just starting out, we recommend that you limit your ad Placements to Facebook Feeds and Instagram Feeds. That’s it. Unclick all other boxes. Again – in our opinion –“Audience network” and “Messenger” ads are of no value to Shopify eCommerce merchants at all.
Leave “Device Types” and “Specific Devices & Operating Systems” set to “All Mobile Devices” (unless you are selling products for specific devices).
The Bottom 20% Rule
A lot of professional markets focus on A/B testing. In A/B testing you create two similar ads and run them both to see which one works best. It’s great and it’s an industry best practice. That’s fine when you have a little bit of experience and already have a general idea about what kinds of ad designs and theme work for your products. But when you are just starting out, you have no freaking idea. So we say, do A/B/C/D/E testing and rotate it.
Don’t just create one ad. Create a bunch of different ads and run them all. Measure the results to find out what works and then adjust. Do some with humor and some straight. Do some with product images and some with lifestyle image. The point is that you will learn what works for your business by experimentation.
We think a best practice for Shopify stores just starting out might look something like this:
- Create five different ads to start.
- Let them all run for two full weeks and divide you total Facebook ad budget equally between all of them. Start with a low budget and then slowly increase it as your confidence increases.
- Use the reporting/management area to measure and NOTICE the differences between what worked and what didn’t.
- Create one new ad and use it to replace the worst performer from the original set.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Keep creating one new ad and eliminating the weakest ad every two weeks for three full months. Eventually you will learn what kinds of ads are working the best for you and which ones don’t. Then you can decide to change the program and put more money behind your top performers … or not. The point is that you will learn.
Getting Creative with Facebook Ads
One of the hardest parts of doing something new is just getting started. How do you create an ad in the first place? Where do you get ideas for ads?
Well, getting started with Facebook ads has never been easier because Facebook has made a bunch of changes recently. In response to problems with fake account advertising and other things, Facebook will now let you see the ads being run by anyone using their platform. This is SUPER helpful and SUPER easy.
Go to the Facebook Search Bar at the top and type in the name of one of your competitors or an eCommerce company that you admire and go to their Facebook page. If it is set up properly as a business page, you will be able to click on “Info and Ads” and see all of the ads they are currently running.
It's like a magic telescope into the ads of all your favorite brands.
We are NOT saying that you should copy an ad directly. That’s just not right. We are saying that you can learn a lot about what kinds of ads are working for your competition and the larger businesses you admire and then use that inspiration to create your own campaigns. And if you need help creating ads, TaskHusky has a low-cost service that can make ads for you real fast.
Time to Get Started with Facebook Ads for Shopify Stores
These are the basic best practices to help you get started with Facebook ads. There are a ton more things to know and learn as you get into it, but this will help you get off on the right foot without wasting too much of your ad budget.