Why eCommerce Brands Advertise on Facebook
When direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are considering the best tools for reaching consumers, Facebook tops almost every list.
Why is Facebook a top marketing channel for eCommerce? Let’s take a look at some of the statistics:
- Facebook is the second most widely used social media platform in the U.S., followed by Instagram (which is also a Facebook for Business platform).
- Facebook had approximately 2.85 billion monthly active users as of Q1 in 2021.
- Facebook advertising revenue rose 46% in 2020.
- 200 million businesses use Facebook’s tools to connect with their customers.
- The 25-34 age group makes up the largest share of the U.S. user age distribution.
Beyond the statistics, some practical benefits of advertising on Facebook are:
- Ads running through Facebook for Business gives you access to reach audiences on apps other than Facebook alone, such as Instagram, Messenger, and across its Audience Network.
- It’s easy to get started using Facebook ads and there are a ton of resources available for learning how to run better ads.
- Facebook’s algorithm is super smart and is designed to help advertisers reach the most relevant audiences without wasting time or ad spend.
- Facebook’s advertising platform has sophisticated targeting tools built to leverage the abundance of data available to users.
So rather than ask the question “why should an eCommerce store use Facebook ads?,” we’d be better off asking “why wouldn’t an eCommerce store use Facebook ads?”
Well, we have an answer for that, too.
While Facebook for Business has been optimized to help advertisers reach the right people at the right time to achieve marketing objectives, the sheer wealth of ad options can be overwhelming to users, new and old.
eCommerce D2C businesses seeking to grow their business by advertising on Facebook will be most successful if they approach their ads with a growth marketing mindset.
Growth Marketing is the key to a profitable Shopify Store
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a business in possession of a good product, must be in want of increased revenue.” – eCommerce Marketers.
Okay, so this isn’t a direct quote, but it is certainly a universal truth. eCommerce store competition is nothing short of fierce, and new Shopify sites are popping up every day. With so many brands competing for customers, what’s the best path forward for stores ready to grow?
Answer: growth marketing.
You might wonder what “growth marketing” means—the whole purpose of marketing is growth, after all, right? While that is true, growth marketing is specifically focused on analytically-driven marketing strategies. Growth marketers use the scientific method to direct marketing efforts, rather than leading with creative initiatives.
For example, imagine you have a Shopify store that sells inflatable pool toys for kids and adults. From a “traditional” marketing perspective, your priority as an eCommerce marketer would be to develop creative campaigns, including slogans, copy, and visual assets. You might choose a theme or a creative direction and shape all of your advertising methods according to your creative plan. (Think: Mad Men-style marketing.)
From a growth marketing perspective, your priority as an eCommerce marketer would be to develop multiple campaign directions based on extensive research. Your campaigns would not be driven by creativity, but rather by data. Your priority is to develop hypotheses, use paid advertising to gather information about your audience, and quickly optimize ads based on ad performance.
Growth marketing as a whole can seem complicated, but the theory behind this approach is simple: “always be testing.”
When marketers question assumptions, test their ads, and optimize their approach based on data unique to their business, they are focusing on getting results. Getting positive results is the bottom line for growth marketers. Beautiful branding and wonderfully witty messaging is great to have…but if your creative approach isn’t bringing in sales, is it working in your favor?
Which brings us to this: how can you apply growth marketing tactics to Facebook ad campaigns to improve performance?
As we’ve already mentioned, this comes down to smart testing. Smart testing means you are making educated hypotheses, applying experiments that are repeatable and trackable, and analyzing results based on observations. On Facebook, applying smart testing techniques can save you thousands of dollars in wasted ad spend. Smart testing on Facebook is simply a necessity!
Let’s break down 5 crucial Facebook ad experiments you should be running right now, according to the experts at EmberTribe, a data-driven growth marketing agency.
What to do before you start running Facebook tests
Before we dive into the 5 Facebook ad tests you should be conducting, it’s important to make sure that you’re ready to start running tests. This means making sure you have all of the right foundations for developing, implementing, and tracking your experiments.
You must do these 5 things before you’re ready to start running ad tests:
- Set up your tracking pixel. The Facebook pixel is an important analytics tool that gathers data about your ads and helps you test, track and optimize your campaigns. You need to have your Facebook pixel set up properly to get accurate data.
- Conduct extensive research. Without conducting research, you’re running your test on assumptions…and not even good ones! You need to dig into information about your audience and your competitors to use as a starting point for your ads.
- Decide on your north star KPI. The KPI you set at the beginning of your experiments should be the KPI you’re tracking by the end. This indicator will help you direct your experiments and track improvements consistently.
- Separate your audiences into different ad sets. Doing this from the beginning will help you gather more accurate data about your audiences, and you’ll be better able to tailor ad creative and copy to each audience.
- Set up a reliable tracking system. Whether you’re using a kanban board (i.e.Trello) or a spreadsheet (i.e. Google Sheets), you should be diligent about recording what you’re testing, what results you’re hoping to achieve, and what you find out.
5 Facebook ad experiments to try right now to boost sales
1. Including user-generated content in your ad copy or creative
User-generated content (UGC) is any content that comes from your customers. It could be written reviews, video testimonials, even everyday images of a customer with your product. The beauty of UGC is that it immediately shows your ad audiences what other people think about your company and your product.
UGC is great for building trust, addressing objections, and showcasing authenticity. Test using UGC in retargeting campaigns to boost conversions!
2. Low-quality vs. high-quality images
This might come as a surprise, but not all ad images are created equal…and that’s a good thing.
While eCommerce brands tend to want to showcase their products in the best light (literally), high-quality images in ads aren’t always scroll-stoppers. In fact, it’s possible that low-quality images (such as amateur shots, UGC, and “in real life” scenes) will bring in more engagement than high-quality images.
In a recent study, EmberTribe discovered that lower fidelity ads often outperformed professionally designed ones. Try split testing an ad with high quality and lower quality images to see if you noticed a difference!
3. Long vs. short ad copy
Let’s talk about long-form ad copy. You might be thinking “who wants to read an essay in an ad?” You might be surprised!
The “short and sweet” mentally doesn’t always work with ads. Truly engaged audiences will look to your ad to answer some of their frequently asked questions or concerns. While it isn’t a guarantee that your audience will click “see more” and read through your ad, you can entice them with interesting stories or tidbits of information to keep them interested.
In short, long-form ad copy is worth testing in your Facebook ads.
4. Reusing Facebook ads with social proof
Have you ever run an ad that got great engagement? That engagement is social proof (a.k.a proof that people are talking about you) and it’s a powerful way to signal to audiences that you are a big deal.
The downside of social proof is that it goes away when you stop your ad. However, there is a workaround that lets you utilize your most engaging ads while testing new audiences and campaign objectives. If you have an ad that’s been a winner with one audience, test it with another without losing that helpful social proof.
5. Optimizing your landing page
This final test isn’t actually a Facebook ad test, but it is a crucial experiment for your funnel. Facebook ads are never meant to be a negative experience for users. That means that your ad should be friction-free from the copy to the imagery, even down to the linked pages.
Consider how your customer travels through your sales funnel. Once they come to a landing page, is the information clear? Is the page easy to navigate on mobile? Are there pictures, reviews, and FAQs? Your landing page is like your sales associate—a good landing page is a closer.
If your other ads tests aren’t yielding results, that indicates something is wrong with your funnel. You might be leaking leads on your landing page without even realizing it! Use the data you gather from Facebook to identify if your landing page is getting a lot of visitors but not a lot of conversions.
The Bottom Line
When you commit to a growth marketing mindset for your Facebook ads, you are committing to continually testing and refining your campaigns. This is a good thing! However, keep in mind that testing can take time. Don’t expect immediate results from your tests, but d recognize that the information you’re gathering from your tests is setting you up for long-term success.
At EmberTribe, we urge our clients to take on a “spend to learn” mentality in at least the first 60-90 days of their campaigns. If you cut off your campaigns too early, you’ll get incomplete data. Recognize that this learning phase is a critical first step for your growth.
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What is growth marketing?
Growth marketing is the application of the scientific method to traditional marketing tactics. It is a data-driven approach to ideating, creating, and implementing campaigns in the digital advertising space.
What is a good conversion rate for Facebook ads?
Conversion rate benchmarks vary by industry. The average conversion rate for Facebook ads is 9.21% across all industries.
When will I start seeing results from my Facebook ads?
It can take at long as 60-90 days to start seeing positive results from your Facebook ads.
The Facebook learning phase requires approximately 50 optimization events, which can take several weeks. After the learning phase, Facebook’s algorithm will be better suited to bring in customers.