Facebook for eCommerce – How to Multiply Your Sales Today
This article will help you use the biggest social media site successfully in ecommerce. An ecommerce store cannot neglect social media – most of them do anyway. Even those online shops that are on Facebook, usually don’t invest very much energy in that.
That’s a big mistake. Because nowadays Facebook is a tool for reaching your target audience at a relatively low cost.
We’ll show you how to make advertisements, how to target, how to follow your customers and what kind of strategy it’s worth using, while avoiding the biggest blunders.
In this article you can read about the following:
- Build your page smartly
- What should you post?
- How frequently?
- Create a Facebook Store
- About Facebook Pixel
- Follow your individual audience
- Follow those who convert
- Define individual events
- How to define the target groups?
- Reach your already established audience
- Find people similar to them
- Concentrate on mobile!
- The most effective tools
- Use dynamic advertisements
- Use video advertisements
- Communicate actively with your customers
- A proven strategy
- Trends that you should be aware of
- Mobile is at the forefront of ecommerce
- DPAs bring higher returns
- Native pieces of content are very popular
- Videos becoming trendier
- How to manage your budget?
- The biggest mistakes you can make when creating a Facebook ad
- You don’t target properly
- You want to sell a too expensive product
- You place your ads improperly
- I have good news for you
Build your page smartly
What should you post?
First of all, you will obviously need a Facebook business page that will represent your brand.
It does make a difference what kind of content you upload on this page. The ecommerce stores that are present in social media at all, usually try to reach their audience with various sales and games. However, these are boring, not too many people trust them, and even Facebook is unwilling to display them.
Today Facebook users run through their timeline an average 14 times a day. This shows posts in an already filtered way, and you can be sure that if what you share is not interesting enough for those who like you, they won’t waste a fraction of a second on you.
Consequently, in everyday life you need to deal with things that they are also interested in. Publish a mixture of references, photos and simple text posts.
Look for topics just like in case of blogging: find out what people ask from each other within customer groups, relevant professional groups, monitor what kind of questions arrive to your customer service. Don’t focus on what you want to sell them, but on how you can help them in the given moment, how you can make their lives a easier.
How frequently should you post?
We don’t have a definite answer to that question – but just like in the case of email marketing, you have to follow the middle way. If you publish 5 or 6 posts within a day, your reach will be minimal, unless you have an incredibly committed and active audience who hang on your every word.
On the other hand, if you post too rarely, you’ll be forgotten, activity on your page will decrease and that will lead to the further decline of your organic reach. A direct consequence of this is that if you want to reach a larger audience again afterwards, you’ll have to invest a lot of time and money into doing that.
Experience shows that one or two posts a day are still fine, provided you actually create them smartly.
Create a Facebook Store
On the page, you have the chance of creating your own online store directly within the platform. This is obviously good for Facebook as this way the visitors don’t leave the page, they don’t have to be redirected outside Facebook’s own interface.
And it’s good for you because you can advertise more efficiently, you can gain a lot of relevant data and can sell directly, thus shortening the customer path.
You can create such a store within your Facebook business page. The process is not specifically simple, however, with the help of a more experienced professional, you shouldn’t have difficulties with it either.
If you want to choose the simplest solution, all you have to do is find an extension that automatically connects your products with the Facebook store. The advantage of this is that when you change your products in some way on your page (let’s say you change the description or the price), these changes will automatically be displayed on the social media interface as well.
You can find such extensions to Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and to practically all of the more professional ecommerce store engines.
For the sake of simplification, I suggest you use the help of a professional in any case: the comfort lying in automation will definitely be worth the investment, and you can also be sure that you won’t make any mistakes due to lack of experience.
About Facebook Pixel
Just like most of the advertising platforms, Facebook also uses following pixels for the advertisements, including retargeting advertisements. This basically marks the given potential clients visiting your page with the help of a cookie. This way you can follow their actions, and target them in the future with the most relevant offers.
This has been significantly simplified on Facebook in 2016: a single pixel has been introduced instead of the two different types, called Facebook Pixel.
With the help of this, you can do the following:
You follow your individual audience
The pixel can follow everyone who visits the page and is at the same time logged in to Facebook. The system will record which pages they visit and when. You can select groups based on that information:
- those who visited you within the last 24 hours
- those who visited you within the last 30-180 days
- those who visited a given page of yours
- those who visited a given page of yours but have not visited another particular one
Of course you can somewhat customize that, you can set the time intervals. By using this, you can efficiently monitor cart abandoners and those who bounce off as well.
You follow those who convert
If you place the pixel on the greeting page as well, you can draw up a list of those who actually purchased from you. This is very useful because you can retarget them after a certain time – for instance when the lifetime of the given purchased product ends, and you remind them it’s time they bought a new one.
You define individual events
A new, more developed feature is that you define various events. You can follow the users according to their behaviour by doing that – for example those who visit a landing page, launch a search on your page, those who add products to their carts, and so on.
You can target them with very precise messages, while also paying attention to ensuring message match – you can offer a one-time immediate discount for instance to those who searched on the product, visited the page but did not convert.
After having generated it, you have to place the pixel, or rather its code, in the head of the page. We won’t go into details about that because Facebook itself walks you through the process perfectly.
How to define the target groups?
Reach your already established audience
You’ll have a lot of opportunities on Facebook to determine to whom you want to advertise. You can set individual and lookalike target groups.
Like that you can retarget those for example who registered to your list due to one of your bait products, or who registered to your page. This way you can display exclusive, well-targeted offers to them and, based on which list they are on, you will also know which offer and which tone it is most probably worth using with them. (Read our article on remarketing and retargeting if you haven’t yet done so.)
It’s good because it reduces your advertising costs: you can advertise to those who are most likely to convert after having seen a given offer, in other words, waste coverage will be minimal.
Find people similar to them
Obviously, you probably also want to expand the group of your customers. Once you’ve done segmentation, Facebook will be able to work perfectly based on your defined individual audience: it will assess the profiles found, and will look for users, based on the pre-set parameters, who are similar to them.
The system typically takes into account the interests and the demographic data at the definition of the lookalike target group.
Concentrate on mobile!
In 2015 people used various applications in 90% of the time when they were using mobile phones.
Not surprisingly, the users spent most of the time in Facebook’s application.
There are a lot of people who almost completely live their online social life here:
- they share,
- they like,
- they chat in Messenger,
- they make friends in groups
- or share tips in groups,
- they ask questions from each other, etc.
The number of those who click through is also high: by the end of 2015 the CTR in case of mobile users was already twice as high as that in case of those browsing from desktops, and the increase is still dynamic.
So when you are making advertisements or planning campaigns, try to target mainly those who come across your advertisements while using mobile phones.
The most effective tools
Use dynamic advertisements
We’ve just mentioned retargeting. We wrote about how you should organize such a campaign, and now we’re going to let you know how exactly you can use this tool on Facebook.
Dynamic advertisements (Dynamic Product Ads, DPA) represent the solution. With the help of the following pixel placed on your Facebook page you can mark those who carried out different actions on it – for example they viewed the products of a certain category.
If they didn’t convert, you can target them with a message that lures them back to you. You can indicate it to them that the cart is still there, all they have to do is make the payment, or you can also offer them some kind of immediate discount, provided they promptly purchase the product they inquired about earlier.
Use video advertisements
We’ve already written quite a lot about the power of videos as well – you can benefit a lot from them also on Facebook.
There are multiple reasons for that. One is that according to the official data of the networking site, video advertisements are able to reach your target audience 25 percent cheaper, you get a click on average that much cheaper. This is not too surprising, as you can grab attention with a video much more easily than with a static advertisement.
The data also show that video advertisements run with an average return of 175%.
Of course you need to make good videos to be able to achieve that. On the one hand, you should take into account that longer videos are viewed from beginning to the end by only a very few people. Think in a one-minute long time period at maximum, a relatively lot of people will be willing to view that much. And at the same time, write scripts that capture their attention from the very first moment and don’t let it go until the end of the video.
And don’t forget to subtitle the video either: many people start the video without sound, so if you don’t have subtitles, the talking is wasted, your main message can be lost.
Communicate actively with your customers
One of the greatest things about using Facebook is that you can communicate with your customers in the most direct way possible. They can simply send you messages through the page, moreover, if you’re smart, you’ll build a closed group for your registered customers, where you’ll be able to communicate with them actively.
It’s worthwhile for you to promptly and actually answer the questions and the inquiries. Not only because your customers will be satisfied if you do so, but also because in case of the corporate pages, Facebook monitors what your response time looks like, and it even displays the result.
If people see that you respond within a couple of minutes in the majority of the cases, they will be more willing to ping you – you will obtain more information like that and you’ll have a greater chance of convincing the individual customers. Of course, after having reached a certain level, you may need to hire a separate social media manager to be able to realize that, but you can be entirely sure that it’ll be worth it.
You should write down the incoming information and questions just like you do in case of your customer service. That’s how you’ll know
- what part of your given campaigns are worth fine-tuning,
- what you should post,
- what kind of pieces of content are worth publishing
- and what kind of questions you should answer.
A proven Facebook strategy
Selling on Facebook is not easy. It is much more difficult to create profitable advertisements here than in Google’s system. There’s a very simple reason for that: the diversity of the audience’s intentions.
If you target the right keywords with your advertisements in Google’s system, you’ll reach people who have strong, specific purchase intentions. On Facebook, on the other hand, the most you can hope for is a weak purchase intention, or even none at all. (You can read more about segmentation by intention in our writing covering the mysteries of ecommerce segmentation.)
The following technique has worked for a lot of people already, and although it requires a noticeably higher energy input, we can only advise you to try it:
- Concentrate on content-based advertisements. Create a piece of content that’s useful and valuable for the target audience, and try not to sell anything at first. Write an article that is somewhat related to your products or services, but the focus should be on the things that the users are interested in, on their problems.
- It’s great if they have clicked through to your page, but you shouldn’t try to reach for their wallets just then either. You won’t yet create the purchase intention with the valuable piece of content, only the interest. You should rather create a bait product: a relevant ebook for example in which the consumers of the given content may be interested enough to download it.
- Obviously, you shouldn’t offer it for free: ask for their email addresses and names in return. And you can start list building right away. You can offer the download at the end of the piece of content.
- You can then work with this list. You can send automated emails to the users, you can communicate with them actively, and of course you can build an individual audience from them on Facebook, like we described earlier. At this point you’ll have a much greater chance of conversion, as you can build your offer nice and slow.
Some tips for managing your campaigns more effectively: we are going to outline a couple of very recent trends that will help you with the formulation and the targeting of your messages.
- Mobile is at the forefront of ecommerce
We’ve already mentioned that you must pay special attention mobile devices. Nowadays the click-through rate is twice as high as in the case of desktop, and there’s almost a tie even in the number of purchases as well. It’s quite clear already that the share of mobile will continue to grow in the upcoming years as well.
- DPAs bring higher returns
The return of dynamic advertisements (which we have also mentioned) is usually higher than that of traditional advertising techniques, mainly thanks to retargeting. More people notice personalized advertisements, they also make more people click through and convert as well. And that’s also a growing trend.
- Native pieces of content are very popular
More and more native pieces of content start to appear on Facebook – supporting content, the goal of which is sales promotion, which also offer value at the same time and which appear on the timeline just like the liked pages and the shares of friends. You should also invest in this, because experience shows that quite good results can be achieved like that, this can be for example the starting point of the funnel outlined above.
- Videos are becoming trendy
In the last few years, video has shown a huge increase among mobile advertising costs. We’re talking about a 20-50 percent expansion here, and it’s not by chance that companies and agencies spend so much on that. Take the pieces of advice described above (and read our related pieces of content) in order to make good videos, and follow the trend yourself, too.
How to manage your budget?
When you plan a campaign, always outline multiple options. Test various advertisements and product categories. Obviously, it’s not worthwhile for you to advertise all of your products at the same time – don’t pour your money unnecessarily into advertising the less popular and cheap products.
Monitor how much one click costs you in case of the individual advertisements. Launch the campaigns at first with lower budgets, running parallel to each other for similar audiences, and watch how they perform.
Keep an eye on the statistics of the page as well: it may happen that you get clicks more expensively in a given case, but at the same time, a higher proportion of the leads convert, the cart value of their purchase is higher, and so on.
Yes, this means that you’ll have to spend a lot of time examining the analytics. However, that’s the only way you’ll be able to plan actually effective campaigns, which may then run with multiple return. You shouldn’t push what doesn’t work, trust the experiences.
The biggest mistakes you can make when creating a Facebook ad
You don’t target properly
If you don’t set your audience properly, you’ll simply throw money down the drain. The magic of Facebook is the one billion active users, but that’s not because you’ll have to reach everybody.
Nowadays online interfaces are more and more used for advertising, for selling exactly because even though the reach was huge in case of traditional advertising (for example on TV), the waste coverage was also huge. Companies paid to reach millions – among whom there were only a precious few who were actually interested in the given product or service.
You want to sell a too expensive product
According to the researches people have two main motivations to use Facebook. One of them is that they’d like to feel that they belong to a community, the other is that they’d like to show themselves to others.
Wanting to purchase is not included in this anywhere.
Of course you can persuade the audience into purchasing, but to achieve that, you’ll most probably need tools similar to the funnel outlined above.
Keep in mind that the interface is not ideal for the selling of all kinds of products.
If you want to sell too expensive products or services, you’ll have a more difficult job, as you can’t target directly on the purchase intent.
It’s worthwhile for you to take the customer into the funnel with pieces of content, with bait products or with your cheaper products at first – the bigger offer can come later in email, or even on the phone or any other way that brings the highest return according to your experience. However, you won’t sell a car efficiently with a Facebook advertisement, that’s for sure.
You place your ads improperly
You can choose from various positions on the platform, depending on whether you want to display the advertisement on the sidebar or on the timeline, whether you’d rather advertise on desktop or on mobile.
So it’s good to know that each of these positions are suitable for different things. For example, according to the experiences, the advertisements appearing in the right sidebar work well on desktop if you run a high-reach marketing campaign. You also have to bear in mind that the size of the image is quite small here, and if you display the same image parallel on the timeline, that may reduce its efficiency.
You should appear on the timeline only if you are working with a strongly targeted audience, you’ll see better click-through rates and activity indicators in that case.
It’s worthwhile for you to appear on the timeline in almost all cases – it was not by chance that we emphasized how much it’s worth concentrating on the mobile devices. Experience shows that the advertisements appearing in the application’s timeline bring good results practically every time (provided of course that the campaign is smartly targeted and the advertisement is actually good).
At the moment there are a ridiculously few online shops that actually exploit the potential lying within Facebook.
Most people simply show advertisements – and then they don’t understand why their products are not bought by the people who are not targeted in any way and have no purchase intention whatsoever.
You can become the leader of your market if you take the time and budget and build complete customer funnels based on specific strategies. For this, you will need to make analyses, will have to do a lot of planning and dig into analytics, and you’ll most probably need the help of a professional as well.
Even then it will definitely be worth it, because you can multiply your conversion on the most popular social networking platform using the techniques described above.
You can be the one who doesn’t reach for the wallet but who helps his shoppers: someone that people are willing to turn to, who they know and trust. And thus you can become the one who the competitors will try to catch up with in the upcoming years, even if you’re only setting up your Facebook strategy just now.
Digital Marketing Manager
Gábor started working for AionHill as a Magento eCommerce project manager. After 6 years, he joined the restructured Marketing Team. His main responsibilities are content strategy and communications partnership management. Gábor has two kids, likes cooking traditional Hungarian meals and playing strategy and online role playing games.