In 2022, Facebook is as much of a social networking site as it is a sales channel. The platform allows for more than simple brand-customer interactions—it’s one of the best channels for reaching your target audience and driving online sales.
And though Facebook advertising may be experiencing diminishing returns, skyrocketing costs, and targeting challenges due to ever-changing privacy policies and regulations, it remains an important channel to consider. After all, Facebook is still the biggest social platform (it has nearly 2.5 billion active users) and offers some of the most robust targeting options for advertisers.
While it’s best to use your online store as your business’s command center, you still need third-party platforms as distribution channels to meet buyers where they’re at. Facebook ads serve as a highly effective medium to do exactly that.
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Benefits of advertising on Facebook
While you can certainly make the argument that Facebook ads are becoming less effective than they were in the past, it’s still the social media network with the most active users—not to mention it also covers Instagram. That’s why it’s important to use intentional Facebook ad strategies to ensure you’re not wasting budget on ads that don’t contribute to the bottom line.
There are a few key advantages to advertising on Facebook:
- Advanced options to target your ads to specific audiences
- Seamless ecommerce integration
- Insightful data analytics
- One of the largest social networks
- Access to Facebook’s entire Ad Library
- Options for every budget
You can use Facebook ads for both customer acquisition and retention. It’s a great way to build brand awareness and advertise to new potential buyers, as well as nurture relationships with people who already know your brand. In fact, Facebook offers three key goals or objectives to choose from for each ad:
- Awareness. Use this objective if you’re new to business or advertising on Facebook and want to attract new customers. You may also use awareness goals to launch a new product line or promote an event.
- Consideration. This is sort of the next step in our Facebook ad journey—after your audience has some awareness of your offering, you’ll want to hit them with ads that provide more information. These ads should drive engagement or help you collect leads.
- Conversion. The final step in the journey is getting people to convert. Maybe that means purchasing a product, or maybe you want people to visit your website, get directions to your physical store, or fill out a form providing you with their information.
There really is no benchmark or telltale sign for when you should consider Facebook ads. In fact, the platform offers opportunities for almost every business and budget.
How to install the Facebook pixel
Before we dive into the Facebook ad strategies to use for your ecommerce business, you’ll want to get set up with the Facebook pixel. The pixel is a snippet of HTML code that you put in the back end of your site. Once installed, it collects data about your site visitors and their activity, which makes it easier for you to run effective targeted Facebook ad strategies down the line, especially as you collect customers’ email addresses.
Here’s how it works: Once the code is installed, when a user clicks on one of your ads and visits your site, the pixel will track their behavior. You can see how much time they spend on your site, which links they click, which pages they visit, which products they purchase, and more.
While those insights are certainly valuable, the real value in the Facebook pixel is in your ability to build audiences, or customer segments, to target. Targeting your Facebook ads to specific audiences enables you to tailor the creative and bidding for more effective ads.
Shopify merchants can take advantage of the Facebook-Shopify integration. Selling on Facebook with Shopify allows merchants to sync product catalogs and easily create ads and shoppable posts, as well as use Shopify to create, track, and manage Facebook ad campaigns and orders.
5 Facebook ad strategies to try in 2022
1. Personalize your ads by targeting specific audiences
Facebook has some of the most robust ad targeting options out there, allowing you to get super specific with your target audience, promotions, and ad creative. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of existing customer data to use. Facebook’s Core Audience feature lets you hone in on your target market based on five criteria:
- Location. Target specific countries, states, provinces, cities, communities, ZIP codes, etc. You can also set a radius around a central point—for example, users within 10 miles of ZIP code 12345. Demographics.
- Demographics. targeting options include age, gender, education, job, language, political affiliation, income, relationship status, and more.
- Interests. These include hobbies and other things your audience may like to do.
- Behavior. Facebook considers users’ digital behavior in this section, including device usage, network speed, and purchase behavior.
- Connections. This targeting parameter allows you to dictate whether you want to target people who are connected to your Facebook page, and thus already know your brand to an extent, or if you want to exclude those individuals and focus on boosting brand awareness and customer acquisition.
You can get ideas for building your Core Audience with Facebook’s Audience Insights tool. Audience Insights tells you your current followers’ location, demographics, interests, behavior, and connections—you can then apply those parameters to your Core Audiences as you see fit.
Here are some ideas on how you can use the Core Audience targeting options in your Facebook ads strategy:
Target by life events
There are many life-event targeting options, including, but not limited to, engagements, marriages, babies, new job, graduation, recent move, retirement, anniversary, the loss of a loved one, and many more. Consider the contexts in which your products are used and think about life events that may correspond to such uses. The below ad for Lights of Scandinavia, for example, could be repurposed to target new homeowners with messaging around getting lighting for their new space.
Target by weather
Though this isn’t a native Facebook targeting option, there are third-party tools you can use to automatically adjust ad creative and activate/deactivate ads based on local weather conditions. Indow Windows did exactly that with WeatherAds to promote its window insulation products, targeting ZIP codes with temperatures dropping below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Target by hobby
Audience Insights are especially valuable for this Facebook ad targeting strategy. Look at the shared hobbies among your audience and pick out the ones that aren’t directly related to your niche or products. A brand like Orca, which sells rugged coolers for the outdoors, might predict shared hobbies like fishing and hiking among its target market. But Audience Insights may also show it an interest in country music and concerts—in which case it may consider targeting those people with ads that suggest the coolers are great for tailgating before concerts and festivals.
2. Nurture repeat customers through Facebook Custom Audiences
Facebook Custom Audiences are groups of Facebook users who know about your brand to a certain extent. This means that they’ve visited your website before, engaged with your Facebook page or posts, signed up for your emails, made a purchase, or engaged with your brand in some other way.
Essentially, Facebook takes the customer data you give it and compares that data to Facebook users, eventually matching your customers to individual users. Facebook then creates groups of these people, allowing you to target them with different ad campaigns.
You can create four types of Custom Audiences:
- Website Custom Audiences. Build these audiences from users who have visited your website or a specific page on your website.
- App activity Custom Audience. These segments are made up of people who have engaged with your mobile app or taken a specific action within your mobile app.
- Customer list Custom Audience. Import a customer list spreadsheet and Facebook will match the data to its users to build this audience group.
- Engagement Custom Audiences. Groups of people who have engaged with your Facebook content or ads in the past, including watching a video, submitting a lead form, or viewing your Facebook page. This is a great source for building Lookalike Audiences (more on that next).
3. Expand your market through ‘lookalike’ targeting
Over time, you’ll use your Custom Audiences to create new segments with similar characteristics to target. These audiences are called Lookalike Audiences.
Lookalike Audiences are valuable because they have a lot in common with your existing audiences, so you already know what they like and which ads perform well. In many cases, you can use the same ads for your Lookalike Audiences that you’re already running for other targets.
This Facebook ad strategy is a great way to acquire new customers. You already know these groups’ preferences, so you can use proven, effective ad creative to introduce them to your brand.
You can scale how similar your Lookalike Audience is to your original source audience. If you keep it very similar, you’ll target a smaller but more specific group. If you allow for a lot of variance between the audiences, you’ll target a larger but broader audience. Facebook allows for a maximum of 500 Lookalike Audiences, so you have plenty of room to get creative and experiment.
4. Retarget previous visitors to your Facebook or Instagram pages
Facebook retargeting ads are shown to users who have visited your ecommerce website or interacted with your Facebook or Instagram page in the past. This Facebook ad strategy is a great way to nurture relationships you’ve already started. You can target users down to specific actions they’ve taken—likes on Facebook, products added to cart, or even specific pages visited.
There are many applications to this Facebook ad strategy, with retargeting options that include people who have:
- Engaged with your brand on Facebook and/or Instagram
- Visited your website
- Used your mobile app
- Spent a certain amount of time on your website
- Visited specific pages of your website Viewed a product (called “viewed content”)
- Added a product to their cart
- Initiated checkout
If you’re trying to sell a certain product, you can retarget users who have visited that product page. The below ad for Benoa Swim, for example, keeps reminding me to buy a bathing suit I recently checked out on its website.
5. Check out your competition in Facebook Ad Library
Attention is the currency of advertising, and in order to know what attracts your audience you have to know what your ads are up against. Once you’ve developed your Facebook ad strategies and built campaigns to promote your brand, check out what your competitors are doing as well. In 2018, Facebook made an effort to increase transparency around advertisers and launched Facebook Ad Library (now Meta Ad Library). The tool essentially serves as a repository for all the current and past Facebook ads run by any advertiser.
Any user can search ads by keyword, with options to filter by location and four ad categories—issues, elections or politics; housing; employment; and credit.
When strategizing your Facebook ads, it’s helpful to see which ads your direct and indirect competitors are running. Pay extra attention to the ad creative, including imagery and copy, as well as ad variations. The example below, from Partake Foods, leverages Facebook’s dynamic ads, so the ad creative is automatically selected by Facebook based on data.
You can also see when each ad started running, which platforms they’re on, how many ads use the creative, and if the ad is active or inactive. Consider doing a SWOT analysis to understand your greatest chances of standing out.
Iterate and analyze your Facebook ads strategy
While you can certainly “set it and forget it,” the most effective Facebook ads are constantly optimized for performance.
It’s important to test your Facebook ads to learn what works and what doesn’t work, and then make adjustments according to those insights. For example, you might test Facebook video ads versus photo ads to see if one content type performs better than the other. Another optimization strategy for Facebook advertising is to consider the cost of your ads. You can adjust bidding and targeting to optimize for a lower cost-per-click (CPC).
Regardless of the data you’re looking at, the Shopify-Facebook integration makes it easy to validate data accuracy and see how it fits into the bigger picture when it comes to your online business. When you sell on Facebook with Shopify, everything is at your fingerprints in your Shopify dashboard, so you can manage your entire business from a single central command center.
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Facebook ads strategy FAQ
What strategy should I use for Facebook ads?
- Personalize your ads by targeting specific audiences
- Nurture repeat customers through Facebook Custom Audiences
- Expand your market through “lookalike” targeting
- Retarget previous visitors to your Facebook or Instagram pages
- Check out your competition in Facebook Ad Library