I’ll start this blog off with a confession: I have a dice problem.
Now, by that, I don’t mean that I have an addiction to gambling or anything along those lines. I do mean that I have an ever-increasing collection of polyhedral dice sets, which are used for playing tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons.
To play D&D, you only need one 7-piece set, from a 4-sided die to the mighty 20-sider. All I needed was seven dice. So why do I have many, many times that number? Why do I have blue dice and green dice, metal dice with an iridescent inlay, dice made out of opalite stone with their own traveling case? Why do I browse collections online, looking at transparent rainbow-colored dice, or dice that are a slightly different shade of blue than the ones I already have?
The short answer: Because they’re pretty and fun to collect. The slightly longer answer: Because they’re pretty, fun to collect, and I keep seeing ads for them on Facebook and other forms of social media. While browsing my feed, I’ll see an ad advertising a new collection from a dice maker I’ve previously bought from — even if I don’t click on that one, it won’t be more than a month or two before I see another set that catches my eye, and boom, another set of polyhedral dice in my collection.
As marketers, we’re all accustomed to the basic reality of the marketing funnel — how repeated contact with prospective customers drives familiarity with a brand and eventually drives them to take the plunge and make a purchase of some kind. Many of us are also familiar with the Flywheel model as outlined by HubSpot, which is another great take on the science of digital marketing, but for today, I’d like to go back to our trusty funnel and how we can use it to set up a useful, actionable Facebook ad campaign that drives consumers to purchase things from your ecommerce shop (like dice they may not need).
Why Is a Facebook Ads Funnel Important?
To understand why it’s important to use a Facebook ads funnel, ecommerce companies and those calling the shots at them should reflect upon why the marketing funnel exists in the first place: Familiarity matters.
How often do you, or your loved ones, see an advertisement for something on the internet or on television and immediately, right then and there? Probably not very often, right? Most of the time, we’ll have to see an ad dozens of times if not more before we start paying any attention to it as anything more than white noise, window dressing on the sites we’re actually trying to look at. It’s entirely possible that we’re just not in a state where we’re looking to spend money on that sort of thing at all.
Humans are nothing if not creatures of habit, after all, and making changes, even ones that count on our sometimes-impulsive natures, isn’t something that happens often. But because we are creatures of habit, if we see something, we remember it. We may become more interested in it. We’ll see a testimonial about this sort of thing that is now familiar to us, talking about how it solved a problem that we might have — or not realize we had — and start researching it. And the next time we see an ad advertising this thing, which we’re now informed about and interested in, we’re infinitely more likely to make a purchase than the first time we saw the ad, weeks or months prior.
This is why the funnel works. This is why, if you’re an ecommerce site, you should be applying the same principle to Facebook ads. Let’s learn how.
Step #1: Link Your Ecommerce Outlets with Facebook
You can’t get started on any of this until your site is linked with Facebook, obviously! The first step for any ecommerce site looking to start rocking Facebook ads is to set up a Facebook pixel and add it to their website. This will help Facebook keep track of your audiences and track other critical analytics.
Once your Facebook pixel is set up, you can use it to link other retailers where you might be selling your products, like Shopify.
During this process, make sure you are tracking conversions. This will help you know which ads are performing like gangbusters and which might need a little more workshopping to reach maximum effectiveness.
Step #2: Create Your Facebook Ad Audiences
Now that you have your site linked with Facebook, the next critical step is deciding who is going to be seeing your ads, and who won’t be. This is one of the most critical parts of any effective Facebook ad campaign.
When you create a custom audience on Facebook, you can do so based on sources like “website traffic” or “Instagram business profile.” The three categories that will be most relevant for this ad funnel are your business’ Facebook page, your website traffic, and your customer list. This ensures that you will only be attracting an audience that is already familiar with you and your business — in other words, people who have already progressed at least partially down the marketing funnel.
Why is this important? Why limit yourself to only audiences that are already familiar with your site and your work?
As previously mentioned, familiarity is a critical key in how human beings make purchasing decisions. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may remember our CTA19 recap, where MobileMonkey’s Larry Kim shared a mind-blowing statistic: Marketers tend to spend 10% of their overall ad spend on remarketing, but it generates 70% of conversions — which, conversely, means that 90% of ad spend only gets 30% of conversions!
Growing your audience to people who haven’t heard of you will always be important, but for driving conversions and making money, remarketing to consumers who have already heard of your business, who may have already visited your site, and who have already expressed interest in your products is a no-brainer.
Pro Tip #1: When creating a custom audience from your list of previous customers, segment this out into lengths of time since last purchase. This will help you tailor ads to people who may have very recently bought one of your products, or to former customers who may not have returned in a while. 30, 60, and 90-day windows are a great starting point, but you can add even more if you like.
Pro Tip #2: Want to grow your audience, but still maintain some reasonably assured level of success? Take your custom audiences and create a Lookalike Audience, to find people who may not be your customers yet, but who resemble them in demographics and interests. This will be less effective than a pure remarketing campaign, but will be more effective than just blasting an ad campaign into the ether and hoping someone will see it. Facebook can let you set these lookalike audiences from 1% similar to 10% similar, with a larger percentage giving a broader audience; we recommend staying at 1%, and no greater than 3% at the absolute most.
Step #3: Create Ad Campaigns for Every Stage of the Funnel
Now that you’ve set up your audience and are ready to start marketing to them, it’s time to do exactly that!
Due to the nature of the marketing funnel, consider the different types of ads that you’ll need to properly target customers at varying stages of the process. Which ads you produce depend on the resources that are available to you — for instance, do you have a videographer?
The funnel can be divided into three primary stages, and at each stage, your ads should be intended for a specific purpose.
- Top of the funnel: Drive awareness of those who are not yet familiar with your brand.
- Middle of the funnel: Increase interest in your brand and its offerings.
- Bottom of the funnel: Encourage action like making a purchase or signing up for a service.
Let’s dive more deeply into how you should tailor your ads to people in each step of the funnel. For examples, we’ll use some real — and quite successful — Facebook ads we created for one of our clients, Seal Skin Covers.
Top of the Funnel
These ads will likely be targeted at one of your Lookalike Audiences — a quote-unquote “cold” audience that hasn’t heard of your brand or what it offers before. If you try to directly sell your products to this audience, you’ll likely struggle to generate any kind of acceptable ROI, and might actually alienate potential customers by coming off as pushy or aggressive.
At this stage, you want to grab someone’s attention. If you have the sort of product that lends itself well to stylish images or video clips, this is the perfect time to use them. You won’t have a lot of time to catch someone’s eye before they keep on scrolling, so use your time wisely!
If your product isn’t one that necessarily lends itself well to glamour shots or exciting video clips — for instance, say you sell clothes for infants — deliver your value proposition right away and make it clear what distinguishes you from your competition, in as few words as possible.
One great tool is social proof. Include things like awards you’ve won, how many top-level customer reviews you’ve received. If you can gather testimonials from satisfied customers, this is a fantastic place to highlight the juiciest tidbits of the bunch.
The tried-and-true Call To Action for these ads should typically be “Learn More:” with your URL afterwards. That’s what you want them to do, after all — not to buy, but to learn.
Middle of the Funnel
These ads will be targeted at people who’ve already interacted with one of your ads, or have maybe visited your Facebook page. Your goal here is to entice greater interest, to make a consumer want to learn more about how your product can help them or fill a need that they have.
In terms of imagery, this is a good stage to have images or video of people using your product — action shots, not just glamour ones. Make your product feel real, tangible, and useful.
At this stage, the ad copy should introduce problems that your audience may be having, and present your product as a solution. One great way to achieve this (courtesy of Copyhackers’ Joanna Wiebe at CTA, as related in our recap): Use Google to search Amazon product reviews, looking for the phrase “tired of (keyword).” This will give you comments of people who were having a problem that products like yours are meant to solve. This is an easy way to develop authentic-sounding, actionable messaging and pitch your offerings as a solution for pain points.
Bottom of the Funnel
You’re finally here. This is the phase where your work pays off. These ads should be targeted at people who have visited your site, maybe even added some items to their cart, but who haven’t converted yet. These people already know you and your product, but for whatever reason, they haven’t yet made that final push.
One spectacular way to reach these people, here at the bottom of your Facebook ads funnel, is through Facebook’s dynamic ads. These will let you advertise the exact product, or products, that a person previously viewed — something that you know they have at least some interest in.
It’s fine to devote a fairly low percentage of your budget to this stage, as this will be your smallest audience.
Step #4: Remarket to Previous Customers
Remember what we said earlier? Just 10% of ad spend is on remarketing, but it drives 70% of all sales. When you target people who’ve already bought from you, you’re targeting people who already know your product, who have already been driven to convert at least once, and who (hopefully) have a positive association with your brand.
When you’re remarketing to previous customers, it’s generally best to treat them like middle-of-the-funnel targets in terms of your ad creatives. This is especially true if you’re launching a new product or trying to sell them something that is tangentially related to their purchase. If you’re a mattress store launching a new line of pillows, those are different things, after all — you’ll still need to make your case all over again.
Pro Tip: If you sell something consumable, like health drinks, shaving cream, or hot sauce, you can estimate how much time it will take a customer to use up their supply. Depending on how much of your product they’ve bought, you can start remarketing to them right around the time when they start running low.
With a properly executed Facebook ads funnel, ecommerce sites can see excellent ROI and turn one-time customers into loyal, repeat ones.
And that’s why I have too many dice.
To enhance the performance of your own e-commerce Facebook ads funnel, get in touch with SevenAtoms, a proven Facebook advertising agency.