Facebook is one of the oldest social media networks online today. Its massive network stretches across 2.27B monthly users. And Facebook’s reach extends beyond that. The company has an audience partner network for their ads, giving advertisers the choice to advertise not just on Facebook, but across the web. Facebook is also one of the best acquisition channels for Shopify stores as it provides an average conversion rate of 2.49%.
For years, Facebook provided businesses with an excellent platform to drive organic customer engagement and sales. However, since 2014, Facebook has been slowly but steadily converting into a pay-to-play network for companies (especially ones who are just starting to use Facebook). Because of that, this article is going to mainly focus on how to get the most out of your paid usage of Facebook.
How to Set Up a Profile
You’ll want to set up a Facebook business page, so start at https://facebook.com/business. Once on that page, you’ll see a “create ad” button at the top with a drop down. Click that and you’ll see “create a page.” Click that.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to choose what type of business you are and enter some of your business details. After that, it’s time to start personalizing your page, which requires a number of things:
- Profile picture. Most companies use their logo for the profile photo, but if you have another on-brand, recognizable shot, you could theoretically use that.
- Cover photo. The cover photo appears at the top of your profile page and provides an excellent opportunity to convey via image who your brand is to visitors. Many brands showcase their latest products in the cover photo.
- 155 character description. This description should be clear and simple as it will appear in the search results for your page.
- Vanity URL. The vanity URL functions similarly to a handle on Twitter and can be up to 50 characters.
- About section. The about section is where you can go wild filling in your details. Add your contact information, your origin story, location, website, and any other nitty gritty details you can think of.
Finally, install the Facebook tracking pixel on your Shopify store. The tracking pixel enables you to retarget site visitors with ads on Facebook. It also bolsters Facebook Ad Manager’s reporting abilities by tracking conversions for you. Fortunately, Shopify makes installing this pixel insanely easy:
1. Find the pixel in your Facebook ad manager.
2. Copy the account’s pixel ID number.
3. Within your Shopify store, select Online Store in the navigation and go to Preferences. Once there, go to the Facebook Pixel tab and paste in your ID number. Done!
And with that, your Facebook page is up and running.
Even with all that done, Facebook business pages can be highly complex web pages so here are some other things you’ll want to have on your to-do list:
- Set up the roles your employees will have on the page. You can make people administrators, editors, moderators, advertisers, analysts or live contributors. Only administrators have complete access to all aspects of your Facebook page.
- Add a call to action button on your Facebook page to direct your visitors to an action (like shopping). Facebook gives you a few pre-created choices (such as “Learn More” or “Book Services”) so you can’t get too creative, but it should do the trick.
- Verify your page. Getting a verification badge from Facebook helps inspire trust in your customers.
Setting up Facebook as a Sales Channel
As a Shopify store owner, you have an important leg up when it comes to using Facebook: you can create a Facebook shop that is completely connected to and managed through your Shopify website. This functionality allows you to sell your products right on the Facebook platform and keep the Facebook shop’s inventory updated in real time.
To get your Facebook shop up and running, you need to add Shopify’s Facebook Channel app. Once the app’s installed, you just need to connect your Facebook page. Facebook takes 48 hours to review your shop and then you’re ready to go.
When paired with a good ad strategy, using Facebook as a sales channel can produce excellent results.
Organic Best Practices
While it has indeed become far more difficult to make use of Facebook organically as a business, there are still some methods left to you.
1. Post lightly, but regularly.
As Facebook has shifted its algorithm over the years, it’s increasingly punished brands for posting frequently. Rather, posts are more likely to surface to more of your followers if you post sparsely, but on a consistent schedule. Run some tests to determine the time your followers are most engaged and then post 2-3 times a week at those times.
2. Join relevant groups.
Groups are Facebook communities that people have built up around certain things. There are groups for everything – beagles, neighborhoods, wine, you name it. Sirarpi Sahakyan from Incredo.co says, “If you sell hiking equipment, for example, you need to find groups where you can find people interested in hiking and share some of your items to get their attention and feedback.” You can even use these groups to elicit feedback on potential products before you launch.
Bonus tip: There are some fabulous groups for Shopify users where you can receive expert feedback and tips on how to run your Shopify site even better. Check out Shopify Entrepreneurs, Shopify Freesources, and Shopify Traffic Academy as a starting point.
3. Utilize Messenger.
Chat has become a powerful marketing channel and Facebook has opened up its highly popular chat service, Messenger, to business use. While Messenger is often best partnered with a third-party chat bot, you can certainly run it as a live chat. If you choose to run it live, you should use Facebook’s native abilities to create automated responses and pre-set greetings to respond to chats sent during off-hours. You can also save common replies to help you save time on the typing.
Facebook Paid Usage
While Facebook’s organic capabilities are no longer particularly impressive, they boast one of the greatest ad platforms available (they also run Instagram’s ad platform). Additionally, ad placements on Facebook itself are among the cheapest to run. The retail industry average CPC hits $0.70/click. However, they can be far cheaper. I, personally, have run ads on Facebook where the CPC came to less than $0.10.
The ad platform is incredibly flexible, enabling you to utilize a variety of ad types and locations, both on and off Facebook (including Instagram, which we previously discussed here). The ad types boil down to:
- Boosted Posts are an organic post you then place spend behind. Boosting your post must be done right on your page, rather than in the ad manager.
- Single-image ads are the original ad form: just a photo with no more than 20% of the space taken up by words.
- Multi-product ads allow you to show up to 10 photos in an ad. Facebook will automatically place the most engaged photo as your first.
- Video ads are much the same as single image ads, though rather than a static image, you use a video.
- Lead ads allow you to collect a user’s contact information without them having to leave Facebook and land on your page. They’re not necessarily the best ads for B2C businesses, but if you need to build an email list, these ads an easy win.
- Dynamic ads are single or multi-image ads featuring products that your target has previously viewed or added to cart on your site. Dynamic ads also allow you to serve post-purchase ads featuring new arrivals or related products. This type of ad is particularly easy for Shopify users to run. I’ll address how to in a moment.
- Offer ads enable you to advertise a discount code with an expiration time specifically to your Facebook audience. These ads are useful for creating urgency and exclusivity.
Please note that all of these ads include a heading, subheading, and “status update” caption.
The ad locations are:
- Within a viewer’s organic feed as they scroll through
- On the sidebar of their desktop page
- On the partner network
- In-stream videos on both the Facebook Feed and the Audience Network
- Inbox ads on Messenger
- Sponsored messages on messenger
- Banner, interstitial ads and native ads, rewarded video, on the Audience network
How to Create an Ad
Facebook’s ad manager is incredibly easy to use for even the most brand new of marketers. When it comes to creating most ads, simply hit “create an ad” and the manager will walk you through the process step-by-step.
For dynamic ads, you’ll first need to upload your product catalog to Facebook from within the Business Manager. As a Shopify user, the easiest way to do this is with an app, for instance, Flexify: Facebook Product Feed. Divide your catalog into one or more product feeds. In order to have the feed automatically update, you’ll want to specify “Schedule Recurring Uploads” when you create the feed.
Next, you’ll have to create an ad in the Facebook ad manager, selecting “promote a product catalog” as the objective. Alternatively, set your remarketing ads autopilot with an app from Shopify like Kit that does all the work for you.
Boosted posts must be boosted from your profile. Facebook will serve a button on each post that clearly says “Boost.” From there, it will take you into a version of the ad manager for you to include the targeting and budget restrictions.
Facebook Advertising Best Practices
Mastering Facebook’s ad platform takes time, but the platform’s been around long enough that there are some established best practices to get you off to a strong start.
1. Use surgical precision when targeting.
For better or worse, Facebook has a massive amount of granular data on its users, and you should not hesitate to use it. For reference, check out this infographic Larry Kim put together visualizing ALL of Facebook’s ad targeting options:
When you segment your audience with precision, you can make highly personalized ads that result in better click-through and conversion rates.
For instance, if I sell dresses, rather than targeting anyone on Facebook who “likes” dresses, it would behoove me to segment my audience by buyer persona and other requirements. See:
- Ages 25-35 (this persona is for a millennial)
- Located in the USA (We offer free domestic shipping)
- Further located in the NYC, Boston, DC, LA, Miami, and Bay Area metropolitan regions (this buyer persona is an urbanite)
- Works in marketing, politics, teaching (jobs that require professional clothing)
- “Likes” dresses
- “Likes” competitor brands
- Likely to engage with shopping advertisements
- “Likes” complementary handbag brand
You can see how much more narrow this targeting is than simply “liking” dresses. We know a lot more about this person and are therefore able to speak on a more personal level to her. The ad essentially goes from being “Like dresses? Click here!” to “Looking for the perfect 9-5-9 dress? Click here!”
In addition to narrowing your general audience, Facebook also allows you to target by milestone behavior, such as getting engaged, becoming a parent, or knowing someone with an upcoming birthday.
2. Test your audiences like crazy.
It’s not enough to come up with one precise audience and call it a day. First, you should have at least as many audiences as you have buyer personas. That means you’ll likely have one main audience with two secondary audiences.
However, you should also be testing each of these audiences. Swap in and out a single trait and see how it affects your CTR. Add in new traits one at a time. As you test out different traits, you’ll start to get a very clear idea of what targeting traits create your perfect audience.
3. When audiences work, save them.
And when you find that perfect audience, save them! You can save the audience right within Facebook to use for later ads. This ends up saving a ton of time.
4. A/B test all your ad creative.
Beyond testing your audience, you need to be A/B testing your ad creative. This includes such aspects as:
- Heading: Some words are more effective than others.
- Subheading: See above
- Ad image: Does one image work better than another? Does changing the background color make a difference? Does it help to include words or not?
- Video: Does it matter where the video starts playing?
Test each one of these things individually so that when you note changes in the CTR, you know what caused it.
5. Match your ad to your landing page messaging.
You can have the best ad in the world, but if the landing page is bad or doesn’t match the ad’s messaging, you will not make sales. So if your ad is receiving a lot of clicks, but you’re not getting conversions: it’s not your ad, it’s your landing page. Optimize it and match its messaging to your ad’s messaging.
6. Use a single CTA.
When it comes to marketing materials in general, it is paramount that each item, whether advertisement, landing page, or blog, etc., contain only one call-to-action so that your reader/visitor knows exactly what it is you want them to do – making it more likely that they take that action.
Absolutely adhere to this golden rule when creating your Facebook ads. Facebook will help you stick to this rule by only allowing a single CTA button with very limited text. However, you should make certain that the text and images are in line with that CTA, as well.
7. Don’t expect your ads to just work on their own.
One of the biggest mistakes I see new marketers making is thinking that spending money on ads automatically = sales, regardless of what else is happening on their site or other marketing efforts. The truth is that Facebook ads must be viewed as part of a holistic approach to your customer’s experience with your brand. Today’s consumers don’t just click on an ad and buy. They often read reviews on third party sites, explore your website, and even check out your other social media platforms to ascertain whether they should purchase from you.
Ad Metrics to Care About
You can’t know how an ad is performing without measuring the results. This becomes especially important as you run more and more ad campaigns. Metrics allow you to compare campaigns against each other. (We’ll go through what metrics are important below.)
The Facebook ad manager can give you a ton of insights on how your ads are performing. They can display easily 10+ metrics. Most of these metrics, though, are just vanity metrics and are fairly useless unless your only job in the world is to optimize Facebook ads constantly. So with that said: what are the metrics you should be paying attention to?
1. The Base Metrics
The base metrics are numbers that, when taken alone, don't necessarily tell you a whole lot about how your ad is performing. However, when taken in conjunction, they reveal other metrics that tell you everything you need to know.
- Conversions are when a user takes the action you wanted them to take. Conversions can be taken in multiple stages: clicking the initial link, adding to cart, making a purchase, etc. Facebook can only track this metric if you have the pixel installed on your Shopify store.
- Clicks are when a user clicks your CTA. (This number can be tricky to find in Facebook as the manager officially tracks “clicks” as any click on any part of the ad, including those that click into your Facebook page. You want to look for “Link Clicks” in Facebook’s ad manager.)
- Total spend on the ad, ad set, and campaign.
- Reach is the number of people who saw the ad in total.
2. Cost per click (CPC)
Cost per click is the average cost of each link click. Facebook’s bidding system means that each click will cost something different. Keeping on top of your average spend per click will help you determine the ROI of your campaigns.
3. Click through rate (CTR)
The click-through rate is the percentage of people who saw your ad and then clicked on it. It can be found by dividing link clicks by reach. Click through rate is the most important metric to determine if your ad’s creative and targeting are working.
4. Cost per action (CPA)
Cost per action measures how much it cost to get an ad visitor to actually make a purchase (or perform whatever action it was that the ad was intended for). CPA can be broken down to measure actions taken along the way to the final action as well. That means you can figure out how much an “add to cart” cost, as well as how much the final purchase cost you. CPA helps you judge how effective your landing pages and site journey are as well as keeping budget in mind.
CPA can also be used to measure other actions like add to cart.
5. Return on investment (ROI)
No matter what marketing campaign you’re working on, tracking ROI is key to understanding how your efforts are performing. The formula is simple: divide your net profit from the ad campaign by the amount you spent on the ad campaign. Then multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage.
Audience Network Ads
The Facebook Audience Network is a group of websites that create a third party platform for Facebook to display your ads. The Audience Network is more an alternative to Google AdSense than it is a Facebook marketing endeavor, and as such, an entire 3000 word post could be written just about that platform. In an effort to keep this post focused on marketing just on Facebook, I'm going to redirect any interest in the audience network to this post.
Shopify Apps for Facebook
This is the app you need to download as a Shopify store looking to have a presence on Facebook. This is the app we discussed earlier that enables you to turn Facebook into a sales channel.
Kit is Shopify’s free virtual marketing assistant. Kit is capable of a wide variety of administrative marketing tasks with little effort on your part like:
- Creating Facebook ads (including dynamic ads)
- Posting Facebook updates
- Building lookalike audiences for your ads
Bob H. from Bloody Toe, a music apparel company, says that Kit saves him about 5 hours a week on administrative tasks!
This free app makes it easy for you to message your customers in Messenger. You can even send their order receipts and shipping notifications through Messenger.
This app is $3.99/month and makes it possible for you to add a Facebook comments discussion to your products and blog. This app enables your customers to easily leave reviews and comments on your site, making for great social proof.
Retarget App is another free app you can use to automate Facebook ads. Retarget App has a team of Facebook ad experts who monitor ads using the app to help you optimize their cost.
You’re Ready to Get Started
Facebook is an absolute powerhouse of an advertising and communications platform. No retailer can afford to ignore Facebook, and now you’re ready to utilize it to your advantage.
This article originally appeared in the ShopPad blog and has been published here with permission.