The Complete Guide to Nailing Facebook Ecommerce Ads

Isaac Hayward
Isaac Hayward
HK Digital Co-Founder
16th November 2022

Facebook Ads are a powerful tool for driving traffic and conversions - but only if they're done right. In this comprehensive guide, we'll show you everything you need to know in order to successfully utilize Facebook ecommerce ads to create a campaign that is relevant for today's audience.

The top 7 Facebook Ecommerce ads Formats

There are a lot of different ways to advertise on Facebook, but not all of them are equally effective for ecommerce businesses. In this section, we will explore the seven most effective Facebook Ads formats for ecommerce businesses.

Carousel Ads

This is one that everyone has to be familiar with: Facebook Carousel Ads. This simple format allows you to display a combination of up to 10 images or videos, and you can either let Facebook determine the sequence based on the performance of an individual card, or you can set the sequence manually if you are trying to disperse information in a crescendo.

However, if that is your goal, you may want to also consider Slideshow Ads, as they don't require your audience members to click through the carousel cards. It really depends on how quickly you expect your audience to pick up on the information per card or slide, with carousels offering more time per card.

In order to give you an idea of how these ads should look in order to get the most out of them, take a look at the example below:

As seen in Rabbit's advertisement, the image should be high quality and relevant to your product, and all text should be as concise as possible while clearly communicating your value proposition. It should be noted that the primary text doesn't change as the user clicks through the cards.

Remember to include a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your ad so that people know what to do next.

What is also visible in the example is Rabbit's strategy of using the carousel to show off multiple products within the same category. This is great if you are working with a wide offering that applies to your audience, however, you can also use carousels to showcase multiple features of a single product.

As seen in Massage Chair Store's advertisement, they have decided to hammer down on a specific item on sale, showcasing many valuable features in the image cards, where the headlines and descriptions come together to paint a bigger picture of the value of the sale, starting with the highest perceived value (55% off - Big Fall Sale 🍁) first.

Video Ads

Video ads are a great way to promote your ecommerce business on Facebook. They can be extremely effective in grabbing people’s attention and providing them with a good amount of valuable information about your products or services.

After all, Facebook is known for very high video engagement rates, so the audience is primed to take special notice of your advertisements, which results in higher average engagement rates than other forms of content on Facebook.

If you want to include this beast of a format in your Facebook ecommerce ads toolkit, you will want to know that users tend to not play the videos with sound while in public, and may not even do so in the comfort of their own household. 

Be sure that your imagery conveys the story, that all of your most captivating branding is in the first 3 seconds, and that the most important parts of your value proposition are showcased in the first 10 seconds; 15 seconds at most.

Collection Ads

Collection ads are right about at the pinnacle of what could be considered Facebook ecommerce ads. They seamlessly bring users from click to an experience with a collage of images or videos of your offer, where they can shop and be sent directly to your checkout or landing pages.

Collection ads are great for ecommerce businesses because they can be either be paired with lookalike audiences (we will get into these later) to generate cold traffic, or used to retarget your site visitors with many relevant options for them right in the app.

Instant Experiences

Instant Experiences offer you the opportunity to showcase a ton of valuable information about your products in an interactive canvas, which is probably why they used to be called canvas ads. 

Why are we separating these two, then?

While they can both be used to generate new leads and retarget your previous visitors and customers, instant experiences offer more templates that can help you build your brand awareness.

Lead Ads

If you are on the hunt for some qualified leads, Facebook has you covered with Lead Ads. Out of all the Facebook ecommerce ads formats, I find this one to be quite interesting due to the pure focus on lead generation: you are simply prompting users to click to a form field where they input information that can be uploaded to your connected CRM.

Typically, what you will want to do with lead ads is ensure that you are offering something in exchange for your audience's commitment to your brand. After all, you are asking something of them, so you should reciprocate with some kind of offer.

Messenger Ads

Messenger Ads are probably the least understood format offered by Facebook at this time, but that is changing rapidly as businesses realize the massive potential in Messneger's chatblasting capabilities

On top of being able to send messages en masse, Messenger's paid campaigns allow you to either place an ad in the Messenger feed , which can either prompt users to click to message, or click to your landing page. These advertisements see around the same performance as your general Facebook feed ads.

The magic starts to happen when it comes to generating and qualifying leads. The click to message CTA can be set to show up in either Facebook's or Messenger's feeds, or both. Then users are brought into a drip conversation that can be as complex as your understanding of bot programming extends, or you can use templates to create a simple drip.

Either way, what this results in is your campaign costing 30-50x less than a traditional news feed campaign.

Dynamic Ads

One of the most important things to consider when creating your ad is the Dynamic ad setting. This allows you to customize the ads based on user behavior. This means that you can target ads specifically towards people who have already visited your website and viewed a certain product or category page in the past.

You can also use dynamic ads to promote upcoming events or products. For example, you could create an ad for a new product launch and then target people who have shown an interest in that product in the past.

When it comes to precision targeting, Dynamic Ads are the absolute pinnacle. However, you will need to ensure that you are selecting the right products to promote and really integrate your inventory management into your strategy if you are going to be able to successfully create a sense of urgency.

6 hot tips on how to use the Facebook ad Formats

Now that you know the best Facebook ecommerce ads formats like the back of your hand, let's dive into 5 simple ways that you can use these formats to both generate cold traffic and get more out of your site's visitors and customers. 

1. Generate Leads and Awareness with Lookalike Audiences

One of the best ways to generate new traffic to your site is by setting up your custom audiences and using them to create lookalike audiences on Facebook.

This is one of the best ways that you can use this platform to target those who haven't had the opportunity to interact with your brand without taking a major risk in aiming at the wrong target. Facebook's algorithm finds similar interests between your current site audience and those on their platform, which allows you to expand your reach scientifically

How do you get the best balance between custom and lookalike audiences?

Be sure to remove all underperforming audiences, both custom and lookalike. In order to keep expanding on your lookalike audiences' reach, update your custom audiences after collecting valuable site data on your new traffic and repeat the process.

2. Steal the Competition's Visitors with Intent Targeting

Facebook's intent-based targeting is a great way to follow up any actions that your audience members take on Facebook and Google's search engine or partner sites. What this genius feature opens you up to is the possibility of targeting certain search terms, or even competitor sites.

That means you can use keywords in much the same way that you are able to on Google, but with the advancement of Facebook's lookalike audience generation. 

By targeting shopping intents, you are telling Facebook and Google when to trigger an ad on Facebook as a result of recent activity elsewhere on the net!

In order to pull this off, you will need to be very specific with your keyword targeting to try to create a trigger for sites that are very similar to yours, which will help increase both ad engagement and conversion rates.

3. Reduce Your Cart Abandonment Rate with Retargeting

Here is where the dynamic ads come back into play, heavily. If you want to be able to pull your visitors back to your site to make a purchase after they viewed either a product page, the cart page, or initiated checkout but failed to complete it, then you will have to use dynamic video or carousel advertisements.

The reason for the dynamic advertisement format is because you will undoubtedly need to tailor your offer based on the actions of your customer, and this allows Facebook to determine which ad version is going to apply to your customer through automation. 

If you want to avoid missing out on those customers who simply forgot to finish their purchase, this is the best way to do so.

4. Retarget Visitors to Bring Them Back

If you want to make use of the site visitors that landed but didn't really engage with your site, the best way to go about this is by setting up custom audiences based on the different behaviors that visitors exhibited while interacting with your site. 

This will allow you to segment your audience into groups who will appeal to different collections of products. Because you are reaching out to a portion of your audience who has little information about the deep value of your offer, you are best using one of the Instant Experience formats or video ads.

5. Bring Customers Back with a Drip Campaign

One of the main benefits of targeting customers who have already purchased from you is that they are very aware of your brand and, typically, you have a reasonable amount of data on their interests, allowing you to better understand how to position your offer.

The reason why I denoted this as a form of a drip campaign is because you will definitely have to consider how engaged your customer is with your brand. This has implications that will determine how you change your approach to the offers and copy as you target customers with different retention requirements.

Be sure to target customers at all of these stages:

  • First-time buyer
  • Only purchase + dropoff
  • Multiple purchases + dropoff
  • Continuing buyers
  • High-frequency buyers

In order to entice these customers back to your site, you are going to want to set objectives for each group, based on what they are likely going to be willing to do. This might sound counterintuitive, but you want to be more generous with those customers that are more highly engaged with your brand.

You can use any of the following to entice your customers, based on their previous behavior:

  • Upsell similar products
  • Inventory alerts
  • New product announcements
  • Seasonal promotions
  • Exclusive / personal promotions

Of course, this is again done with a format under the umbrella of Dynamic ads, and works particularly well with a simple carousel!

6. Organize Your Campaign Well 

We just went over a lot of ways that you can actually get your ads in front of the right customers at the right time, but all of that effort can be rendered useless if you aren't able to make sense of your campaign enough to track your performance.

There are three distinct levels to the Facebook campaign structure: campaign, ad set, and ad. You start with your campaign: it is the 'top of the pyramid,' where you define your goals for the ads within it. Once you define the goals of your campaigns you can go on to define your audience and set up your bidding parameters; this defines your ad set. You can and should have multiple ad sets within a campaign and, finally, you can design and upload your ads that align with your audience and campaign goals.

Organizing your audiences and creative within that structure can make or break your success with Facebook ecommerce ads. Check out this article on the Facebook Ads Campaign Structure to ensure your campaigns grow more confusing and burdensome as you scale.

The cost of ads on Facebook

Facebook ecommerce ads are pretty much essential for companies that are trying to get their products to market these days. However, because the platform has such massive reach, it can be a very competitive arena for businesses paying to place their ads in front of the same audiences.

While the competition is inevitable, it is worth knowing how to bid on your Facebook ecommerce ads, as well as some benchmarks that can give you an idea of what you might pay for your own campaigns.

Facebook's Cost Structure - How to bid on Facebook Ads

As you can see in the previous table on the average costs of running Facebook ecommerce ads, you are left with some options when it comes to the campaign objectives that you are able to choose from when you are setting up your campaign. Head over to this article to learn more about Facebook Ads' new, consolidated list of specific objectives and how they relate to your campaign goals. 

Facebook's Cost Optimization Methods

Facebook's ad platform offers more than just optimization around CPC. If you are looking to increase your awareness, you can optimize your campaign to charge you on a CPM basis, or you can choose to have the algorithm optimize your cost per acquisition / action (CPA). 

My advice: don't waste your time on any of the other options. There is a reason most marketers optimize for CPC on Facebook, and that is the fact that it always turns out the best results. 

Auto vs Manual Bidding

Facebook offers you two options when it comes to bidding: allowing their algorithm to place your ads in a manner that optimizes for the lowest CPC (auto), or allowing you to set a target CPC (manual).

The idea with manual bidding is that you can set your target CPC higher, in hopes of winning more competitive ad placements. However, marketers have consistently turned out better results with the auto-bidding feature, and it makes sense. A click is a click, and the more you pay for them, the more you are going to pay for your acquisition.

The Facebook Ads Cost Benchmarks - GlobalAverages

In order to get a better idea of how to forecast the cost of Facebook ecommerce ads, we will look at some of the global averages on Facebook's costs.

As you can see in the above graphic, the average cost of Facebook ecommerce ads ranges from quite low ($200) to a pretty significant amount ($1500) per month. This is an example of how different budgets really determine the amount that is going to be spent on the platform: you can find companies running less than $100 per month and you can find companies that are paying tens of thousands on their Facebook ecommerce ads per month.

If you want a good measure of how you are doing with your Facebook ecommerce ads, it is best not to solely look at the overall cost of advertising on the platform, but the return that you gain on your ad spend (ROAS) from individual ads and ad sets. This is something that will require extensive creative testing to perfect. Head over to this article on How to Write a Growth Plan, for the section on the creative testing frameworks that you could use to grow the effectiveness of your ad creative.

Now you Know

Facebook's platform is basically a gold mine for marketers in the ecommerce arena. There are plenty of options for ad formats and targeting parameters and, if you are setting up your campaigns correctly, Facebook ecommerce ads don't have to break the bank for you!

Above all, remember that the manner in which you organize your campaigns is going to determine how easily you will be able to test and track your progress as you scale, which is going to determine how quickly you are able to develop your ability to 'wow' your audience with new creative and copy.

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