A guide to Facebook advertising for ecommerce businesses

A guide to Facebook advertising for ecommerce businesses

Facebook is one of the best digital advertising platforms for ecommerce businesses. It’s a great tool for building brand awareness and getting your products in front of potential customers – but like any great tool, you need to know how to use it properly to reap the rewards. If you’re yet to dip your ecommerce toes into the world of Facebook advertising, then this guide is for you. We cover why Facebook advertising is important, how to set-up and monitor your first campaign, and what makes an ad successful. 

First things first: Why spend money on Facebook?

Once upon a time, in the golden ages of social media, brands were able to attract considerable interest on Facebook without spending a cent. However, in recent years Facebook’s organic reach has been declining steadily. The experts at Ogilvy estimated organic reach to be about 6 per cent in 2014, and predicted that it would one day reach zero. While exact figures from Facebook are hard to come by, many recent studies put today’s organic reach at around 2.6 per cent. This means your posts will only be shown to a tiny proportion of your followers – unless you pay to advertise.

According to Facebook, organic reach is so low because of the millions of company pages competing for the same space. Imagine if every single post from every page you liked appeared in your newsfeed – you’d be scrolling for hours. Facebook also needs to make money, and what better way than through advertising?

Unless you have an insanely engaged, loyal fanbase – or every post you share happens to go viral – then you’ll probably need to spend some money on Facebook to get noticed. The good news is, often a little money can go a long way. While success is never guaranteed, it doesn’t take a huge marketing budget to cut through the noise. This is because, unlike traditional advertising channels, Facebook allows you to target extremely specific audiences. Facebook collects data about every user, so you can target people based on information such as location, age and language. It will likely take a few campaigns to find your Facebook sweet spot, but once you get it right there’s potential for excellent return on investment.

Create an ad in five simple steps

Now that you understand why spending money on Facebook advertising is necessary, let’s take a look at how to create a campaign. The first few times might take awhile, but after some practice it will become second nature.

1. Choose between ‘Power Editor’ and ‘Ads Manager’ Facebook offers two ad creation tools: Power Editor and Ads Manager. The Power Editor is considered to be the most sophisticated of the two, offering the latest and greatest features. However, it’s currently only supported by Google Chrome – which could be a pain if you don’t use this browser. The Ads Manager is like the Power Editor’s little sister. It’s a lot simpler, and it doesn’t get all of Facebook’s fancy new advertising features straight away, but for a beginner this is actually an advantage. We’d recommend starting out with the Ads Manager and upgrading to the Power Editor once you’re comfortable – but it’s up to you. To keep things simple for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to focus on how to create a campaign within the Ads Manager.

2. Determine your objective What is the purpose of your ad? Is it to generate page likes, drive traffic to your website or increase customer engagement? Facebook needs to know what you’re trying to achieve so it can suggest appropriate ad options. A simple objective to start with is increasing page likes.

3. Determine your target audience This is where the real fun begins. Facebook will provide you with a series of filters so you can narrow down your audience by traits such as age, gender, relationship status, location, employment, education and much more. Try to be as specific as possible – it’s better to get your ad in front of the right people, than in front of a lot of people.

4. Determine your budget Choose how long you would like your ad to run for and then allocate a budget. It’s a good idea to start small and build your way up once you’re confident using the platform. Create a series of short, affordable campaigns and test, test, test.

5. Design your ad With your objective, audience and budget locked in, now it’s time to design your ad. Facebook offers two main display options: link images and carousel images. With a link image, you can only show one photo, while the carousel option allows for up to five photos. Next, upload your images, write your headline and body text and you’re good to go.

Don’t forget to monitor the performance of your ads once they’re up and running. The Facebook Ads Manager dashboard is packed with data about views, clicks and other key performance indicators.

Five tips for creating an ad that works

Once you get the hang of it, creating a Facebook ad is easy. It’s making it stand out from the crowd that proves a bit of a challenge. Here are five tips to help your ad get the attention it deserves.

  1. Choose a great image. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – make sure yours is top quality.
  2. Write a clear call-to-action. Clarity trumps creativity. You only have a few seconds to capture attention – make sure people don’t have to work too hard to understand what you’re offering.
  3. Offer incentives. Phrases such as ‘Clearance Sale’ and ‘Limited Edition’ are always going to attract people looking for a bargain.
  4. Add value. Clearly outline what’s in it for the buyer. State the benefits of your product and how it will add value to your customer’s lives.
  5. Build trust. People will be more likely to buy from you if they trust you. Be professional and avoid pushy sales tactics. 

Facebook advertising can be a steep learning curve but it’s well worth the investment, especially for ecommerce businesses. It’s a great opportunity to get in front of your target market while they are online – with just a few clicks, they can go from Facebook to your online shop to hopefully the checkout. Why not give it a try today?

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