In 2014 Facebook announced they would filter out some of the organic content published on the site. Soon after, companies reported a 50% decrease in traffic from their Facebook posts and it’s been declining ever since.
Today, companies have little choice but to boost their content and products through ads if they want their audience to see them. The reason, Facebook claims, is not that they want to make more advertising money. It’s just that there’s too much content being published on Facebook and they have to filter out a lot of it.
Whatever the case, if your audience is on Facebook (and most audiences are) you need to master Facebook Ads if you want your content and products to reach readers.
To learn more about what makes Ecommerce Facebook advertising successful, we interviewed some of the best-performing Facebook advertisers who are currently using Compass.
We chose stores that are gaining at least $1.50 per dollar spent on Facebook and have 50% or more of their revenue coming from Facebook Ads. If you’d like to analyze the ROI of your Facebook Ad campaigns, set up a free account with Compass and get your report in two minutes.
We learned nine tips from three profitable stores that use Facebook Ads as their main engine for growth: The Dove Store, Outbreak Nutrition and New Mom Design.
Tip #1: Audience size
One of the first questions people ask when they start a Facebook campaign is how big their audiences should be. “Around one million works best”, says Yaniv Copel, from New Mom Design. “Audience size is very important. You don’t want to get to broad or too narrow.”
Tip #2: Get close to your target market
But finding the perfect audience is about more than size. It’s about quality. Understanding your ideal customer is as crucial for creating profitable Facebook campaigns as it is for any other marketing activity.
If you happen to be close to the demographic you’re targeting, even better. “I knew I was going for ‘New Mom/Moms to be’ since that was the situation at home,” says Yaniv. “So I felt I was the closest to this audience and could deliver them extra value.”
Some of New Mom Design’s best-performing Facebook campaigns
Tip #3: Target a niche market
Narrowing your focus on a niche market makes it easier to create relevant and profitable ads. Outbreak Nutrition’s target market are gym frequenters that enjoy fiction content, such as Sci-Fi films and fantasy shows. They’re an example of a very specific audience that responds well to Facebook Ads.
“I was surprised as well to see that the stereotype of the gym goer is not actually true. There was a large, untapped market for food supplements out there, some of which love RPG and other ‘geeky’ things. Outbreak’s brand relates very well with them,” says Diego Mey, whose agency manages Outbreak Nutrition’s Facebook ads.
Tip #4: Start broad and narrow it down
If you’re having difficulties pinpointing your perfect target audience, Piotr Komorowski, owner of The Dove Store, has a recipe for finding the ideal Facebook customer.
“My audience is Christians, which is very broad. When I started I didn’t know the gender, age, location, etc. that would better respond to our products on Facebook. So I started targeting ads to very broad audiences (millions) until I saw some patterns in the data. Certain demographics were buying more frequently than others. I then created lookalike audiences based on these different buyers and was able to narrow my focus on them.”
Tip #5: Use video to learn who your customers are
Piotr also told us about a clever trick he uses to discover Facebook audiences that are likely to buy his products.
“I sometimes create short video ads just so I can create a custom audience of people that watch it for some time. Facebook measures how long people watched the video and I built audiences based on users that watched 75% or more of the video.”
Tip #6: Use content to grab attention
People log into Facebook to connect with their friends and consume entertainment, not to shop. When you advertise on Facebook you compete for attention with sites such as The New York Times and BuzzFeed, celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as friends, spouses and crushes.
“People don’t click on ADS, they click on CONTENT.” says Diego. “Our most successful campaign is the Outbreak Story, whose main goal is to generate Leads for the brand. It’s a story told via an animated web series in the genre of The Walking Dead.”
“This allowed us to curate a very detailed and engaged audience, which we used to target via Shopping Ads and Retargeting. We believe this whole campaign is successful because we’re not just pushing Product Ads, there’s a story for people to follow. We offer value and entertainment first, before we promote products.”
Tip #7: Sell below cost to stand out
Piotr also recognizes the need to attract attention for The Dove Store on Facebook, but he does it by reducing the price of his offer to new buyers.
“I know my product is popular, so I offer it below the cost to attract people,” he says. “Once they’ve bought it, they’re likely to return to shop for more items. It’s a way of getting noticed on Facebook and building a customer base.”
Tip #8: Find a consultant to help
Initial attempts to run ads on Facebook can be very frustrating for new advertisers. Yaniv advises beginners to “Try out some stuff. But if you don’t get it right and don’t know how to, spend that initial money on a consultant instead of ‘donating’ it to Facebook.”
Tip #9: Prepare for ad fatigue
Optimizing for conversions on Facebook can be challenging, due to the unpredictability of the platform. “I’ve run two identical campaigns to the same target audience and got completely different results,” says Piotr. “We had a campaign that was working well for months, driving most of our sales as we spent tens of thousands on it until one day it suddenly stopped working.”
Facebook advertisers need to be prepared for ad fatigue, the point when a particular ad that was bringing results suddenly stops working because most of the target audience has seen it a few times already and can “tune it out” when it comes up again.
“Don’t stop testing,” Diego says.“We have ads that worked for 30 days, then stopped working. Keep on creating variations, test images, copy, audience, content and landing page. Once you find an ad that works, increase spending.”
Managing a profitable ecommerce business that relies on Facebook traffic is challenging. Everything, from the Facebook’s algorithm to the low attention span of the site’s users, works to drive customers away from your campaigns.
Diego Mey, Piotr Komorowski and Yaniv Copel mastered the art and science of Facebook ads by creatively solving the problems by finding their perfect audience, getting noticed on the platform and optimizing their conversions to stay profitable while generating volume.
What about you? Do you have a trick to share with other entrepreneurs that helped you make money from Facebook? Share it in the comments section below.