Today we’ll dive into how to use Facebook as a tool that boosts the performance of your eCommerce website. The is the second post in our series of posts looking at how to use social media to drive sales. Feel free to check out our first post in this series to learn how to use Pinterest to drive eCommerce sales.
Setting Up Facebook for eCommerce
Facebook has made it very easy to create accounts and pages so that you can get started with posting right away. However, there are a few extra steps you should take that will make your marketing efforts much more efficient. If you don’t know much about website programming then these steps are a little more difficult. Get someone with programming knowledge to help you because it’s worth it.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Set up Open Graph tags
- Create and install the Facebook Pixel
- Create a Facebook Product Catalog
Setting Up Open Graph Tags
Open Graph tags are elements of code added to a website that tell social platforms like Facebook how to display the content. This is especially important now since Facebook has taken away the ability to modify link previews while creating posts. Many people are grumbling about the change but it also means that those who are setting up their open graph tags properly have control over how their content is shown when it’s shared. Here’s in-depth detail about using Open Graph.
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Creating and Installing the Facebook Pixel
The Facebook Pixel is more code (hooray!) inserted on a website that sends information to Facebook about the people who visit the site. Specifically, the pixel fires every time a user lands on a page that has the code installed and the number of pixel fires is tracked in Facebook’s Business Manager. You can create lookalike audiences from that information and target ads to people who are similar to your website visitors. Check out Facebook’s instructions for implementing your own pixel.
Creating a Facebook Product Catalog
Facebook allows you to upload a feed of every product from your eCommerce store, along with information like names, product IDs, prices, and more. With this information you can tag products in regular posts or create an automatic retargeting campaign with Dynamic Ads. Facebook’s newest ad format, Collection, creates a more immersive brand experience compared to other social ad types and it is a lot easier to create ads in this format with an existing product catalog.
Now that you’ve taken care of these preliminary steps we can talk about specific ways to drive sales through Facebook.
Best Practices for Sponsored Posts on Facebook
Facebook Ads continue to increase in CPC’s as more and more advertisers push ads. Companies that want to amplify the reach of messages and get them in front of the right people are going to have to find ways to keep cost down. Fortunately, you can learn from others that have spent millions on Facebook ads so you don’t break the bank when first starting out. There are other ways to gain exposure as well.
In this section we’ll cover best practices for:
- Boosted posts
- Lookalike audiences
- Retargeting ads
How to Boost Posts on Facebook for Best Results
We’ve seen many cases in which businesses click on ‘Boost Post’, enter a budget, and then feel completely dissatisfied with the results. They’re left feeling like advertising through Facebook is too costly. Facebook’s algorithm tries its best to get you results. At the end of the day, the people that see your posts are people. They either like your posts or they don’t. To get the most out of boosting, use posts that are already performing well organically. Select a few candidates and set the budgets for them very low. They can each be boosted for as little as $1 a day. After a clear winner has emerged you can divert the budget of the others to it as needed. Repeating this process regularly creates a few posts that remain at or near the top of your feed. The higher engagement numbers from this boosting cycle will improve the first impressions of your page visitors. Combine this best practice for boosted posts with solid targeting or lookalike audiences and you’ll get even more bang for your buck.
Targeting Facebook Ads
Whether boosting a post or creating an ad, sponsored posts allow brands to select the exact audience they want to show messages to. This sounds great but it can often prove challenging to find the audience that responds to your ads. Know your targeting options! Either experiment with Facebook’s audience builder or find some infographics that detail what’s possible (even better, do both!). An important piece of advice: In most cases, it isn’t important to define the exact audience you’re looking for. In other words, don’t worry about trying to predict every aspect of your customer’s life. You’re more likely to end up excluding a lot of potential customers than discovering new opportunities to attract people.
We mentioned earlier that Facebook is trying its best to get you results you’ll be happy with. If you set broader targeting options for ad campaigns, Facebook’s algorithm has more freedom to find people within your brand’s realm of influence who are going to interact with sponsored posts.
Creating Lookalike Audiences in Facebook
This is where the Facebook Pixel really shines. If our section on targeting brought up frustrating memories of guessing who might like your brand this one will restore the peace. With the pixel installed on every page of your website (relax, there are plugins that can do this) you are sending information directly to Facebook about who visits your site. You can, and should, set up custom events that track specific actions that visitors take. We recommend setting up custom events based on your product categories and individual products. Then you can serve up ads about those products to people that viewed them on your site. Take this one step further and create lookalike audiences based on those custom events. Now you’re showing ads to potentially millions of more people who are very similar to the ones viewing your products on your site. It’s kind of like a manual way of running a retargeting campaign, though not as timely and therefore not as effective. But it is much easier than going through all the guesswork.
Using Retargeting Methods on Facebook
Did you install the Facebook pixel and create a product catalog like we recommended? If you did then you can set up a retargeting campaign in the form of Dynamic Ads. With the information provided by the pixel matched with your catalog, Facebook will automatically serve up product ads to people who have viewed them on your site. How cool is that! Your involvement is minimal once the pixel and catalog are running. All you have to do after that is sit back and watch the sales roll in. It’s proof that a little hard work, in the beginning, leads to a big payoff later on. For more on how to get Dynamic Ads running check out Facebook’s instructions. And check out our blog if you want to know more about running a retargeting campaign beyond Facebook.
Organic results have been declining on Facebook for a long time now and brands are taking notice. Facebook has been trying to shift marketing efforts over to a paid model and the bottom line is, when done right, it works very well.