what is unbounce
CATEGORY
DID YOU KNOW WE HAVE A PODCAST?

Become a Better Marketer. Anytime, Anywhere.

Listen and learn on the go with Unbounce’s Call to Action marketing podcast. Tune in and get inspired in the car, while you cook, or at the gym.

4 Strategies to Drive More E-Commerce Sales With Your Facebook Ads

facebook-advertising-roi
Do your e-commerce ad campaigns make you feel like you’re wasting cash? These strategies will help you get better ROI on your Facebook ads. Image by alles-schlumpf via Flickr.

With more brands advertising their products on Facebook every year, competition for ad space is crazier than ever. And with higher competition comes higher ad prices (an 123% increase over the last year, according to the Wall Street Journal).

The scariest thing is that while marketers are seeing dramatic increases in cost per click for their Facebook advertising campaigns, they’re also seeing lower click-through rates and poor ROI.

Knowing this, you may be tempted to think that Facebook ads just aren’t an effective strategy for e-commerce, that the space is just too crowded.

But the problem isn’t with Facebook. It’s with your ads.

As the competition increases, the solution isn’t to quit. It’s to adapt and improve to stay ahead of the rest.

Here are four no-fail strategies that will deliver more clicks on your ads, more qualified traffic to your landing pages and, most importantly, more e-commerce sales.

1. Personalize your ads

You’ve heard it many times before.

Identify a buyer persona and cater your messaging to that one person.

Your Facebook ads are no exception to this rule; after all, this is the strategy that earns Zappos an annual Facebook advertising ROI of $10 million!

Their approach is simple: using data from their website, social networks and comments from customers, Zappos creates multiple personas. Then they create ads to target one specific product per persona.

Check out this ad from Zappos that is only advertising their UGG boots:

zappos-facebook-ad-1

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to start by getting to know your buyer persona (here’s a great article to help you get started).

Then, you can re-build the persona in your ad targeting. Here are the extensive options Facebook gives you for targeting demographics, interests and behaviors:

Demographics

Fb_demographics
Facebook allows you to segment ads based on the demographics of your prospects.

Demographics allow you to target age range, gender, and location (down to ZIP code level in the US), and even specific groups such as newlyweds, university students, office administrators or new parents. And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

When Zappos found that their core customer is generally a middle-aged woman with an above average income, they refined their demographics targeting to reflect that.

Interests

Fb_interests
Facebook allows you to segment ads based on the interests of your prospects.

The interests section has many options to browse through, and it’s tempting to insert your product or service here – but err on the side of caution. Though people do buy boots from Zappos, it’s not likely that they’d self-identify as being interested in boots.

Zappos dug a little deeper and found that some customers like listening to NPR, so they further refined their ads with that data.

Be creative; you can target blogs that your customers read, influencers they follow and even people who like your competitors’ pages.

Behaviors

Fb_behaviors
Facebook allows you to segment ads based on the behavior of your prospects.

Behavioral targeting options allow you to target people based on their online activities, travel habits, the type of device they use and so much more.

You could target repeat customers, or more granular details such as specific niches they belong to and whether they typically shop for high-end or low-end products.

If you’re not sure which one of these to get started with, start by mapping out a detailed buyer persona. The more important dimensions will become evident as you go.

2. Pre-qualify leads by listing your prices

By now, your ads are targeted and you’ve selected a product that fits that buyer persona. You can further qualify your leads by mentioning the price of that product up-front.

Have a look at this ad for a new programming language course by Udemy that appeared in my Newsfeed:

udemy-2
This ad by Udemy pre-qualifies leads for a new programming language course.

This ad uses contrasting colors and simple imagery to catch the eye. You immediately know what the product is and how much it sells for. If you’re interested in learning Swift (which is pretty likely if this ad is successfully targeted), then you’ll want to read more.

But what about the $29 badge? If you’re already targeting your ads, why do you need to include the price? Won’t that decrease CTR?

Mentioning price up-front pre-qualifies your traffic.

If you have an enterprise app or higher-end product, listing price will filter out people who aren’t willing to pay that amount. That means they won’t click on your ads and you won’t have to pay for those clicks.

And that leads to lower CPC.

3. Make it easy for leads to take action

Now you have your prospects’ attention with a hyper-personalized ad – but there’s still something holding them back. They just aren’t clicking through to your landing page.

To get prospects to take action, you’ll need to make them an offer they can’t refuse and incentivize them to click.

Offer an incentive

No matter how well your ad describes your awesome product and its benefits, people are hesitant to open their wallets. You need to incentivize them to take action.

Udemy did this with their massive 70% discount.

discount-udemy

The response rates to ads with a promotion versus regular ads are impressive. In one survey, 67% of Facebook users said they were likely to click on a discount offer.

Hautelook had some amazing results when they offered discounts in their Facebook ads. Giving fans a 50% discount on their products resulted in the third largest day of sales in their history.

hautelook-facebook-ad-1

One final thing: Remember that a discount isn’t very effective if it lasts forever. You don’t want people putting off the purchase ‘til next week, only to forget. Deadlines incentivize people to act now.

It’s clear that Udemy is aware of this when they inject urgency into their ads. If you don’t buy the Udemy course within the next 2 days, you’ll have to pay the full price of $99.

udemy-urgency

Test your calls to action

Now your personalized ad has benefits-driven copy and an irresistible offer. The only thing left is to get the prospect to take action.

Facebook provides you with five options for a call to action button on the bottom-left corner of your ad: “Sign Up,” “Learn More,” “Book Now,” “Shop Now” and “Download.”

What’s the point, you ask? If your ad copy is optimized to incentivize people to click, do you really need to include a button, too?

Heyo ran an A/B test to see how adding one of those CTA buttons impacted click-through rates. They had two identical ads with an offer for a free trial of their software. The only difference was that one ad had a “Learn More” CTA button.

heyo

While the ad without a CTA reached 28,000 people and received 97 clicks at $1.22 per click, the one with the CTA was the clear winner: It reached 24,000 people and received 136 clicks at $0.86 per click. That’s a 63.6% increase in conversions and 40% decrease in CPC by simply adding a call to action.

You’ll want to test different variations on your CTA button and ad copy – like Heyo, you may find that small tweaks result in impressive conversion lifts.

4. Use dedicated landing pages

Your highly personalized ads are finally resulting in lots of clicks from prospects who want to take advantage of your product discount. They reach your product page…

… and then they start checking out the rest of your site. Five minutes later they leave without purchasing. What’s happening here?

The problem with a regular product page is it allows people to leave the page and browse the site. This is fine for consumers who reach your site through organic searches or other avenues, but counter-productive for those who reached it through targeted ads for a particular product.

On the other hand, a click-through landing page removes all distractions. This keeps the focus on the offer – the reason the prospect clicked – and leaves them with two options: buy now or lose the deal forever.

Landing pages offer a lower attention ratio

Though there aren’t many marketers employing this in their Facebook ads for e-commerce (yet), there’s evidence that shows it’s an effective tactic for PPC in general.

Avis had a very successful PPC campaign that delivered lots of traffic to their company website – but the traffic wasn’t converting to sales. They ran an A/B test that uncovered the crux of the problem.

avis
The landing page with only one CTA and no distractions resulted in 105% more conversions for Avis. Image source.

The page on the left had a poor attention ratio, giving visitors several potential options that distracted from the main goal of the campaign.

On the other hand, the PPC traffic sent to a dedicated landing page without distractions (right) increased conversions by 105%.

Landing pages offer better message match

The second advantage of a click-through landing page (which Avis also employed in the example above) is that you can change the headline and copy to match your ad without having to tamper with the regular product page.

When your customer clicks through, you want to demonstrate to them that they’re in the right place. A great way to do this is to keep your messaging consistent across the ad and the landing page.

Here’s an ad that appeared in my Facebook account from Blizzard, the creators of World of Warcraft (yeah, I used to play video games). The ad has a headline that doubles as a call to action, and the ad copy emphasizes the word “free” as incentive to click.

warcraft1-1

After the click, you’re taken to a landing page with a sign-up form for the game. There are no other links, no navigational menus or sidebars. One form, one CTA.

warcraft2

Best of all, the messaging is consistent: the word “Free” is reiterated in the header and CTA.

Pick one strategy and get started today

These strategies aren’t “hacks” or quick fixes. It takes time to create customer personas, craft a persuasive offer and build landing pages.

However, the only way to start seeing better returns on your ad investment is to pick a strategy and get started today.

Have you used any of these strategies on your Facebook or social PPC ads? What were the results? Let me know in the comments!

— Siddharth Bharath

facebook-advertising-roi

default author image
About Siddharth Bharath
Sid is a digital marketer at LemonStand, an eCommerce platform for professional online retailers.
» More blog posts by

Comments:

  1. Adam Lundquist

    Hi Siddharth,
    Great article:-) I think you make a really good point about prequalifying your leads with a price. It is a great way to avoid wasteful clicks, and you lets potential customers know what they are in for so they are not surprised.

    I do think that it is often better to use a soft sale first with facebook ads, where you give them an eBook or other incentive in exchange for their email address, build a relationship with them, and then sell to them. However, if you can sell immediately and that works, then even better!

    My question to you is you said that Zappos targeted women with above average income – how do you target by income in facebook? Again great article.
    Thanks,
    Adam Lundquist

    (0)
    Reply
    • Siddharth

      Thanks for the comment Adam! Glad you liked the article :)

      With regards to the soft sale, it’s a good strategy for B2B products. Sales cycles tend to be longer than B2C so there’s that whole lead nurturing period where, as you say, you build a relationship with them and then make the sale.

      In this article I wanted to focus only on B2C which is why I had the section on using discounts as an incentive.

      To answer your question on income, it’s under the ‘More Demographics’ section in your facebook ads targeting. This data is collected by Facebook’s data partners and made available to advertisers.

      Cheers,
      Sid

      (0)
      Reply
  2. Upenyu

    A great read. Sending PPC traffic to a landing page on a website with lots of product reviews should have caused a poor conversion rates. Free offers need fine tuning of demographics.

    (0)
    Reply
  3. Jenny Spring

    I’ve had interesting results with removing the CTA button and using ‘share’ in the text in one ad cMoaignim running for a client. I was targeted horse lovers and pony clubs, and I think removing the button made the post more shareable, and with good click throughs.

    (0)
    Reply
  4. Chris Swift

    Hi Siddharth,

    Thanks for this article, it’s a really great guide for beginners who are just setting up their fist Facebook ads!

    It is a great point that mentioning your prices in your ads pre-qualifies your traffic, I hadn’t thought of that! Your normal first reaction would be that it would decrease traffic, but if you say it works then I will give it a try!

    Cheers! :)

    Christian

    (0)
    Reply
  5. SMMTIPS

    I have been running Facebook ads campaign for over a year. Its been a great investment. But we have to use it wisely, ROI is very dependent on the configuration. So expert might needed if you are very newbie.

    (0)
    Reply
  6. Ryan

    Good job on this article! I really like how you presented your facts and how you made it interesting and easy to understand. Thank you.

    (0)
    Reply
  7. Saptarshi

    Hi Siddharth,
    RJust wanted to connect with you and let you know that we recently wrote a blog post http://goo.gl/GMXxZ2 on the latest offering by Facebook for Ecommerce sellers in the form of Multi-product facebook ads. We would love it if you have a look and let us know your feedback.

    Please feel free to share the blog post too.
    We are basically an e-commerce platform supporting more than 1500+ online stores in India.

    (0)
    Reply
  8. Reload Food

    Great post, thanks for sharing…

    (0)
    Reply
  9. Stacey Kelly

    Thank you for this – I have recently re-launched my website selling personalised children’s books that I have written & illustrated (www.yourveryownstory.com) so I will be putting this into practice this week :) I am new to Facebook advertising so this has really helped me!

    (0)
    Reply
  10. Magento

    Billups said: I love this game, because of your players dont need every night to contribution of super star data.
    Magento http://www.de80.org/08/

    (0)
    Reply
  11. Melinda marlin

    Trying to get advertising

    (0)
    Reply
  12. Melinda marlin

    Trying to advertise

    (0)
    Reply
  13. Adam Schaefer

    Just make sure you avoid selecting the audience network in Facebook. Your CPCs will drop, but the traffic is absolute garbage and will not yield conversions. As in you will seriously never get a conversion from that traffic. The uselessness of the audience network is crazy.

    (0)
    Reply
  14. mens black hoodie

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally
    educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The issue is something not enough men and women are speaking intelligently
    about. Now i’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something regarding this.

    (0)
    Reply
Comments