The busiest, most stressful (and best!) time of the year to be an eCommerce business owner is fast approaching.
That's right, we're talking about Black Friday.
In this article we'll show you how to start your Facebook ad campaign ahead of the holidays so you can run a cost-efficient, effective campaign to get a flood of customers to your store on Black Friday.
- Why Black Friday matters, and why you should start your campaign now
- How to create custom audiences with Facebook ad manager
- Audience types
- Lookalike audiences
- Retargeting Facebook ads
- How to drive new traffic to your site with Facebook ads
- Scaling your Shopify store Facebook ads
It might be the most hectic time of year, but that's because it's the most lucrative.
According to RJ Metrics, sales in November and December make up to 20% of the eCommerce industry's annual revenue. That means Black Friday and the holidays, also called peak season, is an opportunity you can't pass up.
Shopify used past stats to make future predictions in this very cool holiday shopping infographic, forecasting a total of $5.8 billion in sales this Black Friday — that's a $500 million increase from last year!
Black Friday 2018 spending is on course to smash last year's total. Shopify Plus
Now, with all those increases in spending over the holidays, and the corresponding uptick in competition for consumers' attention, what does this mean for eCommerce marketers?
It means you have to start getting your messaging out there well before Black Friday, and an effective and affordable way to do that is with Facebook ads.
Start your Facebook advertising campaigns before the holidays to keep your costs down
Like I mentioned above, increased spending over the holidays means more people to target. But it also means more businesses trying to get your customers attention with their ads, inevitably increasing your advertising costs.
The cost per click on Facebook spikes during November. Image source: Shopify Plus
If you're an experienced Facebook advertiser, then you probably already have some custom and lookalike audiences created, so you can skip this part if you want.
If you already have customers and people coming to your site but haven't yet set up custom audiences, that's the first place to start.
And if you're not familiar with Facebook ads at all, check out our complete guide on how to use Facebook Business Manager for eCommerce.
Start by logging into your Business Manager account, click on the menu in the top left corner, and select 'Audiences' from the drop down menu.
Next, you'll select 'Create Audience.'
And finally you'll see all the custom audience options that you can choose from.
There are three main audience types I generally like to use for eCommerce Facebook ads which I'll discuss below. If you want to learn more about the other types, AdEspresso has an article on everything you need to know about Facebook ad custom audiences.
Type 1: Customer file
This would usually be where you could upload a list of your current customers or your email list to target ads specifically to them, or use this list to create a lookalike audience (more on that later).
You can either upload a CSV file, import from Mailchimp, and even include your customer Lifetime Value (LTV) to create lookalikes even more closely matched to your current customers.
Type 2: Website traffic
To define this audience you'll need Facebook Pixel installed on your store
Note: don't worry, you can still do a lot without Facebook Pixel, but if you want to target even more potential customers we have a post on how to install it!
Facebook Pixel creates audiences based off of people that have previously visited your site. It can be a great way to retarget potential customers who viewed your site but did not purchase anything.
You can target people who have:
- Visited any page on your site (up to a max of 180 days since the last visit)
- Visited certain product pages
- Visited by a specific amount of time
- And by specific events triggered by your Facebook Pixel
- Detected by your Facebook Pixel doing this like
- Viewing pages
- Adding to carts
- Initiating check out
- Adding payment info
- Purchasing products
Or any other custom Facebook conversions that you create.
Type 3: Engagement
If you create a lot of video content or have a large or engaged social following, than these audience types could be great for you.
A great place to start is to create a list of people who have viewed your videos.
So if you have video content that is getting tens of thousands of views, guess what? You can make an audience of those people and create content specific to what they just saw in the video. This is great for helping them through the buyers' funnel!
You can also target Instagram and Facebook followers who have:
- Engaged with your page
- Engaged with a post or ad
- Clicked on a call-to-action
- Saved your page or post
- Sent you a message
And just like website audiences, you can target people that have engaged with your pages from the past 1-365 days.
If you have custom audiences already created, another great way to reach more people is to create lookalike audiences.
In short, theses audiences will be similar to the custom audiences you already made because Facebook will create them by looking based on behaviours and traits you've already defined in your other audiences but with an added .
To get started simply go back to the 'Create Audience' button, then click and select 'Lookalike Audience' from the drop down menu.
From there you can select the source of the lookalike audience you want to create.
The source = the custom audience you created that you want to base this lookalike audience from.
You can also choose the desired geographic location and audience size you want.
You just created some Facebook custom audiences and lookalike audiences and you want to start creating ads to get some traction. I get it.
But before we do that, I recommend setting up your Facebook Retargeting ad campaigns. Notice I mentioned campaigns, plural, and NOT just one campaign.
The reason is, if you set them up properly, your highest return on ad spend should come from your retargeting ads.
As you can see above, this brand (who didn't want to be mentioned by name) is getting a pretty great return on theirs!
One of the keys to getting a high return is to set up retargeting campaigns for different stages of your funnel.
As marketer you know people rarely buy from you the first time they see your ad, click on it, go to your site, and then buy the advertised product. In fact, a Facebook study found that you need to expose people to your messaging at least once a week to influence their purchase intent. That's why you need Facebook retargeting ads for your Shopify store.
In the example above, the brand had ads running for people that visited any page in the last seven days, people who visited specific product pages in the last seven to fourteen days, and people who added items to the cart in the last week.
Over the course of their month-long campaign they generated $24,525.36 just from retargeting ads and only spent $2,104.36, for a Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) of $11.65 — that means for every $1 they spent on ads, they made $11.65!
ROAS = Purchase conversion value / total amount spent
Note: For this brand, that's a great ROAS, but depending on what the total costs and profit margins are for your own products, you may need a higher ROAS to get a good return on investment.
Which audiences are the best for retargeting?
- People that visited specific product pages.
- People that have read blog posts or viewed video content.
- People that have engaged with your Instagram and Facebook pages.
- General website visitors.
- People that have added items to their cart or entered their payment info.
- Past customers.
- Email subscribers.
If you're looking to dive deeper into the world of retargeting, check out our step-by-step guide on Facebook retargeting for eCommerce.
Now that you have your custom audiences set up and your retargeting ads ready to roll, you can look at creating campaigns to get more (new!) visitors to your eCommerce store.
What's the best way to drive traffic with Facebook ads?
There are a few different options here, but you'll probably want to start with creating a traffic focused campaign. You can use the lookalike audiences you've already created, competitors, and related interests to find new people to bring into your funnel.
To get started, create a new campaign in your ads manager account and select 'Traffic' as the campaign objective.
Next, name your campaign, ad set, and click 'save to draft.'
The ad set level of your campaign is where you can select the budget and audience that you want to target.
Once you're there you can either select the lookalike audience that you want to target from the Custom Audiences section, or you can target new people by using the Detailed Targeting option and selecting a demographic, interest, or behaviour that relates to your target demographic.
Next you'll want to choose your ad placement.
By default, Facebook starts you off with Automatic Placements, which will show your ad on all available Facebook ad placements (you can read more about Facebook ad placements here).
I recommend using the Edit Placements option and using primarily the Facebook and Instagram feed options (and stories — but only if they'll fit the story format!). From my experience those options drive more traffic, but feel free to test placements for yourself.
The final part of the ad set section is the Optimization for Ad Delivery. I recommend using the Landing Page Optimization option, that way Facebook will show your ads to people that are more likely to actually follow through after they make it to your landing page.
Create ads specifically designed to bring traffic
We won't get too deep into what you should add in your text, headline, and news feed link description, but for traffic ads, our friends over at AdEspresso cover that with their post on the Facebook Ad copy secrets the pros use. In general, it's always a good idea to keep the copy short, simple, and direct.
SoFi does a great job in their ad below. First off, the creative is colourful and draws your attention. The copy in the headline begins with an uplifting tone, and then reinforces the main message of the ad four times in the text, creative, headline, and description by using different wording to creatively relay the same message.
image source: Wordstream blog
This example from Muscle Republic also works well in the opposite way as the previous example. It uses motivation for the audience, in this case using the word 'Persistence' to make the user feel that if they simply persist towards their fitness goals they can achieve them.
The headline and description are also less direct, enticing the viewer to Muscle Republic's products.
Over the span of seven days, this particular ad resulted in:
- 1,052 landing page views
- A page view cost of $0.05
- Reaching just over 10,000 Facebook users
- A click-through-rate of 14.69%
That's a good amount of new traffic for a low cost, and roughly one-thousand new users to retarget!
Another thing to keep in mind when trying to increase traffic is to continuously test and tweak your ads.
You can test things like CTAs and placements, but if you're just starting out, I'd recommend starting by creating two similar ads and testing either the copy or the creative (images, gifs, videos, etc.).
So by this point you've got:
- Business Manager set up
- Facebook Pixel set up
- Custom audiences created
- Lookalike audiences created
- Retargeting ads set up
- Ways to drive more traffic to your site
So what's next? You'll want to start converting all that new traffic into customers.
Strategy 1: Use discounts to attract new customers
For the visitors that you have not yet converted into customers, you'll probably need to offer them a discount or a low-commitment product before they commit to a larger purchase.
One strategy I like to use is creating an ad set that promotes only products in a store's outlet or sale section. These offers will only be delivered to users that have gone through the sales funnel without purchasing, but have visited the site, specific pages, and added items to the cart without purchase.
Strategy 2: Test multiple ad sets for conversion campaigns
Another good way to scale your ads to both new and current customers is to use the eCommerce Facebook Ads strategy outlined by Taylor Holiday from Common Thread Collective. This is a more advanced strategy that their agency used for a client over the holidays in 2017.
But even if you're not at the same level of expertise as their agency is, you can still pick out some good points to apply to your own campaigns.
Some quick points form Taylor's strategy:
- Test your ad creative for your conversion campaigns (purchase focused) before you start them by running different creative to new and current customers in an engagement objective ad campaign. The ads with the most engagements win. Then use those ads to test during your conversion campaigns.
- Deciding when to scale or kill an ad set.
- Working with influencers to reach new audiences and give your products social proof.
Strategy 3: Use Instagram story ads with CTAs
Instagram Stories is a fairly new and underused sales channel. But the opportunity is huge, with 400 million people using Instagram stories every single day.
And if your targeting is good, it can yield great results.
This simple Instagram Story ad yielded 37 sales at a cost per sale of $1.42.
I would suggest only showing these ads to users already in your sales funnel since they work best with customers who are more familiar with your brand.
Some brands are reporting 15-25% click-throughs on their swipe-up CTAs!
There are a lot of options out there for you to focus on for your holiday sales push.
Hopefully this post helps you to start (or scale) your Facebook ads for your eCommerce store, and gives you a little insight as to what it might take to make that happen.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share other campaigns you've used to crush it during the holidays!
Want to know more? Check out our best Black Friday sale ideas, conversion strategies, and optimization tips all in one place!