If you run an ecommerce business, Facebook Ads is one of the most popular ways for driving conversions to your store. With over 2 billion daily active users, understanding how to use Facebook Ads is a must-have skill for any serious marketer.
Some common questions people have about ecommerce Facebook Ads are: Do they still work in 2022? What kind of starting budget do I need? And how do I get started running a profitable campaign?
Do Facebook Ads Still Work for Ecommerce in 2022?
Ecommerce stores are spending more money on Facebook Ads every year. 2020 saw a huge increase in Facebook ad spend, due to the rise of ecommerce stores and online shopping during the pandemic lockdowns.
It’s also becoming difficult to run a successful Facebook Ads campaign in 2022 due to two reasons: Privacy regulations and higher competition.
After the iOS 14.5 update, 80-95% of iOS users opted out of allowing Facebook to track them outside of Facebook, causing a big hit to advertisers.
Shortly after that, Facebook removed thousands of detailed targeting options, making it even more difficult to run a successful campaign.
Many businesses which relied on retargeting in order to profit from their Facebook Ad campaigns are now losing money on Facebook Ads. Losing access to iOS user data was a huge hit to Facebook Ads, as iOS users are known for spending the most money.
But does this mean Facebook Ads is dead?
Of course not! It's still the most profitable social media advertisement platform for a reason.
After analyzing 2700+ecommercead campaigns, we found that Facebook Ads were still incredibly profitable, but relied much more heavily on having a high converting creative and copy. Ads which have relied on targeting aren’t nearly as profitable.
Nowadays, content is king. So if you want to succeed with using Facebook Ads for an ecommerce store, here’s what you have to do:
How to Run Facebook Ads for Ecommerce Websites
First, I’ll share with you 6 steps to get started in Facebook Ads, then I’ll share some tips on how you can optimize your ad performance later.
Here’s how to start promoting your ecommerce website on Facebook:
Step One: Study Other E-commerce Competitors
The absolute first step, before you do anything else, is to analyze your competitor’s ads. This will allow you to gauge the type of content that is performing well.
Try to find other ecommerce sites that are running Facebook Ads and see how they do things. Pay attention to their copy and creative:
What format do they use?
What colors are they using?
What are the common themes across their designs?
What is the length of their copy?
So how do you find competitor ads?
1. Go to Facebook.com and search for Facebook pages with a similar niche. Ideally they are an ecommerce store too, but this is not always the case. Also look for ecommerce stores in different niches to get a variety. Make a list of 10-15 to start.
2. Head to the Meta Ads library and input the pages that you just listed. Here you’ll be able to see all ad campaigns that are run by them.
3. Note down the URLs of ads which caught your attention for future reference. If you see a campaign that has been running for a long time, it’s likely a successful ad.
4. Take inspiration from these ads in order to come up with ideas for your own ads.
Try to look for companies that do a LOT of testing. Their creatives tend to be very high converting. I’ll show some high converting examples later.
Step Two: Set Up Meta Pixel
Meta Pixel (formerly Facebook pixel) is a snippet of HTML code you just copy and paste into your website.
It allows you to track your visitors and see which pages they visit, which will be important for retargeting.
How do you install Facebook Pixel? This video will guide you through from adding the code, setting up events to verifying your domain:
Step Three: Set Up Conversions API
What is Conversions API? In a nutshell, Conversions API allows Facebook to get data from your Shopify/Woocommerce store.
Conversions API is another method of tracking visitors on top of Facebook Pixel. You should be using both methods. Why?
Facebook Pixel tracks data through the user’s browser, and conversions API tracks visitors through your website’s servers. This means it doesn’t rely on browser cookies and isn’t prone to the same errors as Pixel (ad blockers, browser settings, browser crashes etc).
Combining these two methods of tracking will provide the most accurate full-funnel data for your campaigns.
The easiest way to set up conversions API is outlined in this video:
Step Four: Design Your Ad Creative
On average, people spend 2.5 seconds browsing each Facebook post on desktop, whilst on mobile, they only spend 1.7 seconds.
This means your ad needs to grab their attention fast.
There’s a difference between grabbing someone’s attention and standing out.
People dislike having advertisements shoved down their throats. If they realize your ad is an ad before they even read it, they’ll skip through it.
The best performing ads are ones where the user browses through their news feed, reads a post, then realizes it’s an ad after reading it.
In order to design some award winning ad creatives:
1. Begin by analyzing your competitor’s ads to get a feel for what’s working and what’s not.
2. Identify your audience. There’s a difference between making an ad creative for a warm vs. cold audience.
3. Decide on which type of ad creative to use.
4. Ensure you get your image/video sizes correct so there’s no wasted space or awkward margins.
5. Use a tool like Canva for quick, easy, professional designs. Canva is often the tool of choice since it allows fast designs for rapid testing. There are also many Facebook image/video templates to help you get started!
5. Apply some basic color theory.
6. A/B test
7. Test, test test… The only way to achieve that killer ad creative is through testing dozens of times every month. Aim for 20-40 per month.
R is powerful and allows complex data manipulation and the ability to handle big data, but requires a data science background to operate or many months of training. Meanwhile Excel and Google Sheets are solid options, but most people find their interface confusing.
Using a tool like Polymer Search, which was designed specifcally for analyzing Facebook Ads data, can streamline the process and make it extremely easy for a beginner to learn.
Polymer's dashboard makes the data interactive and easy to understand, allowing you to filter through the data using tags and extract all the insights you need to run a successful ecommerce ads campaign.
15 Tips for Improving Your Ecommerce Store Conversions
Now that you know how to get a campaign up and running, let's look at how you can improve your profits.
These tips are based on our analysis of over 2700+ ad campaigns on Facebook:
1. Build High-Converting Landing Pages
No matter how skilled you are at Facebook Ads, you won’t drive conversions if your landing page isn’t optimized. The landing page is the most important factor in determining the success of a paid campaign. Here are some tips to improve your landing page:
1. Have a clear unique selling point (USP): If a user visits your landing page and is doesn’t understand what your website is selling within 3 seconds, you have failed your goal. The landing page should be clear and concise, addressing the “what” and “why/how” it’ll be useful to the customer.
2. Include real user testimonials. Unboxing videos are ultra popular. Headshot photos with full names and website/contact info will help build trust and drive higher conversions. Including statistics or specific details about your products in these testimonials can also help.
If you manage to get testimonials from high profile individuals/companies, that can drive conversions through the roof.
3. Warm up the audience: Conversions aren’t the only important factor in an ecommerce Facebook Ads campaign.
Over 90% of visitors won’t buy your product within their first visit to your ecommerce site. It’ll be a waste to just ignore these people.
Instead, warm them up by offering them information, or even better, a freebie. You can use these audiences for retargeting down the line.
4. Make a clean, simple design: When it comes to designing ecommerce pages, less is more. Minimal designs are often best - avoid having too many CTAs and if you’re going to use pop-ups, make sure to delay them or make them appear at the end of the page.
5. Learn from examples! See the example ecommerce sites we've listed below in order to get an idea for what's working.
2. Use Faces on Images/Videos
You might’ve noticed that most Youtube content creators include a reaction face on most of their videos. They do this because it generates more clicks.
People are drawn to faces.
It’s no different when it comes to Facebook Ads. Using a reaction face as your image creative can greatly boost engagement and click-through-rates.
Here’s an example:
The environment and reaction face choice will depend on who your audience are.
3. Write Killer Copy
There are many approaches to writing Facebook Ad copy and this depends on your audience. However, if your brand is new to Facebook Ads, I recommend starting with a short, punchy one-liner as your hook. This is one of the easiest, guaranteed methods of running a successful ad.
Also take note: the first thing the reader will see is the first line of your copy, not a title. Therefore, it’s crucial the first line is the hook and NOT the title.
Here’s another example we used to promote our product:
The length of your copy depends on how well known your brand is.
If the audience isn’t aware of your brand and what you offer, your ad might have to be longer to educate the audience about their pain points and the solution you offer.
In order to get people to click through to your website, cliffhangers can be a great strategy.
4. Use Broad Targeting
There are 3 ways you can target people: through interests, lookalikes, or broad targeting.
Lookalikes used to be the most effective method of targeting, but broad targeting is becoming increasingly more important due to privacy regulations.
As of 2022/2023, broad targeting is the most popular form of targeting. Broad targeting means letting Facebook’s algorithm decide who to target without restricting whom it targets.
Every industry is different and there’s no one-size-fits all, but every ecommerce store should do an A/B test with broad targeting.
We’ve personally found that the fewer restrictions we used, the lower the customer acquisition cost (CAC).
5. Embed a CTA Button
Facebook offers dozens of CTA buttons, but for an ecommerce store, the ones you care about are for conversions.
Here’s a list of Facebook Ads “conversions” CTA buttons:
So which button should you use?
For ecommerce stores, we found that “shop now” nearly always outperformed other CTA buttons.
Generally speaking, having a CTA button is better than not having one, but every industry is different and I highly recommend A/B testing with “no button” as well.
6. Run Retargeting Campaigns
Retargeting means showing ads to people who’ve already visited your website.
So if someone viewed the “Nike Hoodie” page on your website, you can retarget them by showing them an ad of the Nike Hoodie + a limited time discount.
It’s not a good idea to retarget everybody who’s visited your site, but you should look at engagement metrics such as people who’ve added items into their shopping cart or visited certain pages on your website.
Since these are “warmer” audiences, your ad copy should be tailored towards these people which is different to a cold audience. Limited-time promotions work poorly for a cold audience, but they convert extremely well for warmer audiences.
7. Run Ads at Optimal Times
Running ads during optimal times and dates can help increase conversions.
When is the best time to run Facebook Ads? According to Buffer, engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays and it’s generally good practice to have ads running between 1-4 pm.
With that said, there isn't a one-size-fits all and the best way to know is by conducting tests and analyzing the data. You’ll need a data analysis tool like Polymer that can quickly give you insights into questions like these.
8. Ensure You Budget Correctly and Have a Healthy Budget
A common mistake is approaching Facebook Ads with a low budget and attempting to run tests/experiments. If your budget is in the “low four figures” range, I wouldn’t worry too much about A/B testing.
Here’s how to budget correctly:
In order to get valid A/B test results, you’ll need at least 100 conversions per ad variation. So let’s assume the cost-per-conversion is $20, and you want to test 2 ad variations. In order to get valid A/B test results, you’ll need a $4000+ budget (100 x 2 x 20).
A/B testing starts becoming ultra important for 5-figure ad campaigns.
9. A/B Test… A lot
For 5-figure campaigns, you should be A/B testing everything: copy, creative, audiences, placements, CTA buttons and more…
Since creative and copy are everything nowadays, I recommend testing at least 20+ variations per month.
Every 20 tests may yield 1 high performing ad that gets a 4% CTR. And every 100 tests may yield that one killer ad that gets 5.5% CTR which you end up scaling like crazy. In order to find award winning ads, you must test a lot!
10. Use Emojis
Through our testing, we found that in most cases, adding emojis to Facebook Ads tend to yield much higher click-through-rates and engagement than the same ad without emojis.
Not only will emojis make an ad look less like an ad, but emojis are also an attention grabber which can be used to highlight parts of the text. They allow you to convey an emotion, connect with the reader and get your point across.
Common emojis to use are the check mark emojis ✅ , relatable emojis 🙏, 5-star emojis ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and other eye-catching icons ❌ to get your point across.
Here’s an example:
Using emojis in place of bullet points is a very common and effective tactic.
11. Use Carousel Ads
Carousel ads allow you to show up to 10 images, each with their own link. These are great for showing multiple products with their own landing pages and are very high converting.
We’ve found for ecommerce stores, carousel ads result in a higher return on ad spend (ROAS) than static images or videos.
Here’s what they look like:
12. Avoid “Trigger Words”
People don’t like having ads shoved down their throat, especially when they’re browsing Facebook. Trigger words are overtly promotional words or phrases that make your ad look like an obvious ad.
Examples of trigger words are “limited-time, follow, like, share, discount.”
If you’re targeting a cold audience, people will subconsciously ignore these ads and skip over them.
The story is different if you’re retargeting: Since the audience is warmer and interested in your brand, these tactics become much more effective.
13. Host a Contest
A contest or giveaway is a great way to generate tonnes of user generated content (UGC) and brand awareness.
Here’s how Pepsi did it:
If you’re doing a giveaway of the products on your ecommerce store, be sure to state a ($) amount on how much those items are worth (e.g. $5000 worth of items).
Having a dollar amount will allow your audience to see the value in this contest.
An easy way to reduce ad spend is by using the “audience exclusion” feature.
If you have an email list of existing customers, Facebook will allow you to upload a custom list of emails and exclude showing ads to those people.
The audience exclusion feature can also be used to exclude audiences whom you are targeting in a different campaign, so there’s no overlap between the campaigns.
15. Get External Reviews
If people end up clicking on your ad and landing on your website, there’s a good chance that they’ll do some research on your product before purchasing.
You’ll want to contact other publications and even people on Reddit to leave reviews about your products.
People will often search for:
“Is Website X a scam?” “Product X reviews” “Product X reviews reddit” “Brand X review” “Brand X coupons”
Having external reviews can make or break a customer’s decision to purchase from you.
5 Examples of High Converting Ecommerce Facebook Ads
Now that you’re familiar with the many Facebook Ad tactics you can employ, let’s look at some examples of high converting ecommerce ads for inspiration:
1. Solo Stove
Solo Stove keeps things simple.
In their ad, they write a simple anecdote about their product and limit their word count to under 30 words.
It’s easy to mistake this ad for a post that your friend shared. And that’s why it’s so effective. By the time you realize it’s an ad, it’s too late.
LARQ’s product and value proposition is immediately evident when you visit their website:
They offer a way to filter water from toxic chemicals like lead, PFAS and chlorine. Here’s one of their high performing ads using the carousel format:
✅ The ad uses a short catchy hook as the first sentence.
✅ Uses the “Shop Now” CTA button
✅ Uses 2 emojis
✅ Carousel ad format
Skullcandy specializes in gaming audio products. Their ad starts with a very strong hook: “JUST DROPPED.”
It really grabs your attention and piques your curiosity: “What just dropped?”
Like the previous one, the ad also uses an emoji + the “shop now” button. There’s a reason why most ecommerce stores prefer including these in their ads.
This isn’t always the case, but it should be something worth testing out.
Here’s an example of a high converting ad with zero copy:
Natori is an apparel ecommerce store that positions themselves as classy, luxurious and elegant.
In this example, the images do a great job in conveying this. No body text is needed.
When studying ads like these, pay extra attention to the use of color to convey a certain emotion and message. In this example, the pastel colors convey a feeling of gentleness and elegance.
Although not including body copy might work well for industries like fashion/clothing, other industries can greatly differ.
Also interesting to note is that Natori prefers the more passive “learn more” CTA button than the “shop now” button. It goes to show that no two ads are the same and require A/B testing to get the optimal result.
Ruggable’s ad performs well because they quickly address the customer’s pain points and how they’ll address it.
Most rugs out there are non-washable, so a stain on the rug can ruin it entirely. People who’ve accidentally stained their rug before can quickly get on board with the idea of a machine washable rug.
Ruggable uses lots of “unboxing” videos for their Facebook ads which mostly have some similarities:
The thumbnail looks more like an organic image than an ad
Vertical videos are preferred over horizontal videos
The videos tend to show kids, dogs or other family members who accidentally stain the rug
The music creates a positive vibe overall
Like the other ads, they also love to include emojis and the “shop now” CTA button.
Ecommerce Facebook Ads Campaign Structure
Now that you’re ready to dive in - how should you structure your campaigns? We recommend starting with 10 ad sets.
Use automatic placements and keep everything consistent between these 10 ad sets except for the audience targeting: Test 10 different interests and go broad with one of those ad sets. You can allocate $20-40 for each ad set.
Make sure to follow our Facebook Ad naming conventions which will greatly help in analyzing your data later on.
Believe or not, if the product is good, you can turn a profit on day one. Otherwise, out of these 10 ad sets, find the ones that are profitable and start scaling them.
Once you have the audience down, you’ll want to start A/B testing the copy and creative.
Which Facebook Ads are Best for Ecommerce?
Facebook offers a variety of ad formats, and we’ve found the best one overall to be carousel ads.
With that said, there are several reasons why you should use other ad formats:
1. Not all audiences are receptive to the same format.
2. Bottom of the funnel audiences respond differently to top of the funnel audiences
3. Ad fatigue is a real thing - where showing people the same ad over and over again can cause them to ignore it completely.
This is why most ecommerce stores use a combination of everything:
1. Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)
One of the best ads for ecommerce websites are Dynamic Product Ads (DPA).
Dynamic Product Ads are like carousel ads, however, instead of having to manually create an ad for each product, you create an ad template, and it’ll automatically pull images and product details from your data feed.
Dynamic Product Ads are perfect for ecommerce stores because Facebook will use the tracking data from Facebook Pixel to show ads to people who’ve shown interest in a particular product.
Ebay uses DPA a lot. Their website has millions of products, but they’re able to advertise exactly the products that people are interested in without manually creating each ad.
2. Carousel Ads
If your ecommerce store has a small amount of products (i.e. 20 or less) - carousel ads are better to use, because you can customize each one separately.
You can use them like DPA to promote different products on each slide, to tell your brand’s story with different slides, or to have certain slides drive traffic to your informational content (a blog post).
3. Video Ads
Videos can engage audiences better than static images and most marketers prefer to use them because they result in higher click through rates (CTR).
However, there are a two major downsides to using videos:
1. Creating them takes a lot of time/money if you don’t have UGC
2. Videos can result in higher customer acquisition cost (CAC) and cost per mille (CPM)
Even with a higher CTR, you can still get a higher customer acquisition cost than static images.
This isn’t always the case, so that’s why it’s so important to test. But do keep in mind, it’s easy to get excited at the high CTR of using videos, but the important metric is return on ad spend (ROAS).
Also when using videos - you’ll want to analyze two metrics:
1. Thumb stop ratio (or stop rate)
2. Average watch time
“Thumb stop ratio” is the percentage of people who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video. This metric is highly important in determining how effective the hook of your video is. You can have a high thumb stop ratio and a low average watch time which indicates you have a good hook, but the rest of the video is lacking.
Marketers should not underestimate images. They can yield a very high ROAS - and since you can create them much quicker than videos, you are able to test different creatives more frequently.
Overall, the best ecommerce stores use a combination of everything to achieve the best results and avoid ad fatigue from their audiences. If you look at the example ecommerce stores above, you'll notice they all use various ad formats: videos, images, carousel ads, DPA...
In the right hands, all these ad creative formats can be highly profitable.
Start by setting up those 10 adsets mentioned earlier and allocating $20-40 budget to each one.
Let the data do the talking and see which tests were successful so you can scale those.
Start by optimizing for ideal audiences, then move on to optimizing ad creative and copy. Afterwards, A/B testing the different CTA buttons, and times to run the campaign can optimize results further.
Then finally, use the data you've gathered to retarget people. This is still one of the most profitable steps.
Data analysis might seem like a complex topic, but using a tool like Polymer can save countless hours of data wrangling and allow any beginner to extract important insights from their Facebook Ads data that other tools like Excel or Google Sheets can miss.