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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!