CPC Strategy’s Senior Retail Search Manager Stephen Kerner was recently featured on 2X eCommerce to discuss Facebook eCommerce strategy. 2xeCommerce.com is a blog dedicated to ecommerce and multi-channel marketing run by the show’s host Kunle Campbell.
Campbell is an e-commerce marketing consultant specialist for mid-tier online retailers. He helps drive business growth and profitability through customer acquisition, conversion optimization and customer retention.
“In this episode we learn how to acquire more engagement and Likes, why retargeting allows us capture ‘low hanging fruits’ with Facebook, what Dynamic Product Ads and Multiple Image Ads are, how to define sets of target audiences, what the two main objectives when creating a campaign are, Facebook Pixels and so much more, including great resources to follow up on,” Kunle said.
20 Facebook Advertising Tips & How to Build Retail Campaigns
1. Evolution of Facebook advertising
- Expansion of different types of advertising and where you can advertise
- Lowest hanging fruit is in remarketing: retargeting people in the sales funnel
- Roughly 35% of brands with CPC Strategy use Facebook advertising
2. What to expect from Facebook Advertising
- A very wide mix of types of conversions available to retailers
- The conversion type depends on who you target and the goals of the campaign
- 98% you’re going to have to pay if you want really good results but an organic post can still go viral
3. Setting up a Facebook campaign Depends on your Goal
- For more brand awareness: focus on engaging content, Likes, and getting people talking
- For direct response conversions: focus on convergence, retargeting, and building off look-alike audiences
- Probably advisable to have one campaign for each of the above goals
4. Acquiring Engagement and more Likes
- Be human and engaging: put content that people have an opinion about or want to Like
- Engaging content builds community on your Page and the more engagement, the more it shows up on News Feed and is sticky
- Run competitions on Facebook
5. Driving Traffic to the website: Facebook’s algorithm
- If goal is send maximum traffic for leads/email addresses then choose click to website as your objective when setting up If goal is direct conversions, choose drive conversions to your website as your objective when setting up Facebook campaign
6. Best ad format for Conversions
- Multiple Adding Image units and Dynamic Product Ads
- They work because they take you straight to the product URL
7. Dark posts have seen some great results
- And ad that looks just like a regular post
- Has a more organic feel of not trying to sell something
- Is not on the Page, you only see it if served it
- URL can drive them to the actual Page or to the website
8. Importance of Mobile devices for Facebook
- So many people log on to Facebook now through their phone so you need to target mobile rather than desktop
- Can actually convert better than desktop
9. Using the Power Editor
- Recommended for the power user creating several ads a week
- Can really dive into different targeting, campaigns, audiences
- Required for doing Dynamic Product Ads
10. Structuring the campaign for Remarketing
- Target people who have actually view products
- Set up date ranges: people who have viewed products in the last 3 days, 5 days, 10 days, and so on
- Set up a different ad campaign for each one of those target audiences: keeps it organized and avoids overlap
11. Demographic Targeting
- Defined in the ad set level where all targeting is done
- Power Editor is very handy for copying ads and editing
12. What makes Good ad copy
- Write copy that speaks to the people that you’re actually targeting the ad to
- This will result in more engagement while and reduce your CPC cost
- Make it human: people on Facebook don’t want to be sold
- Video ads have a greater organic reach at the moment because Facebook is pushing that harder and people are more likely to engage with it
13. The two Facebook Pixel types
- Custom Audience Pixel: allows you to re-target people based on different combinations of your URL and where people have been
- Facebook Conversion Pixel: let’s you know conversion results
- Extremely useful and highly recommended to have both those pixels
- Provides info on cross device attribution
14. Ad campaign lifespan
- If you’re doing optimize for conversions, Facebook sends a lot of traffic impressions for the first couple days while it calculates its algorithm
- But as the ad runs, it can get fatigued really quickly depending on the size of your audience and frequency shown and won’t be engaging
- On the other hand, an engaging ad with a big enough audience can see a campaign really stretch out over weeks
15. Optimal Audience
- The optimal size is the size that actually converts
- Really target the people that you want to get your ad in front of to meet your campaign goals
- Lookalike Audiences: have had both of successes and failures and it’s going to vary based on industry, products, brand
- Success with Lookalike Audience based on people who have purchased from your site before but then really demographically whittling it down to the people who would be interested in your product
- Find ways to overlap your audience and test to build up your audience list
16. Ad Formats and Tools
- Single Image Ad: can set up through Ads Manager, choose website conversions as objective
- Multiple Image Ad
- Dynamic Product Ad
- AdExpresso tool makes it really easy to test different variations at the same time when starting an ad
17. Types of Images
- Highly recommend testing lifestyle images for your products
- The more engaging the image is, the higher the click-through rate
- But for other channels you still have to have kind of that plain image for like Google Shop
18. Dynamic Product Ads
- Takes a little of the manual work out of the retargeting product ads
- First install Business Manager tool for managing of the Page and assets
- Create a Product Catalog which is where you’re going to send the feed
- Install the dynamic Custom Audience Pixel
- Create a template through the Power Editor
- People who viewed a product within the last three days or so is when someone is likely to be still in the market
- Campaigns can be set through Dynamic Product Ads so people with abandoned carts will then be shown those products when they’re on Facebook. Can also show a coupon code to entice them.
- Manual product ads can be set up to show different products on Facebook that people have viewed in the past as well
- Success in sales is seen across all different price points
20. Parting Advice
- Facebook has a course that will help teach you the basics called Blueprint
- Social Media Examiner is a great blog to follow. Jon Loomer a really strong voice to follow and he does a lot of great posts on Facebook
- Our own CPC Strategy blog – we’re putting out lot more Facebook content as well as AdWords and just general eCommerce content
- You can follow me on Twitter – I’m always trying to curate content that’s relevant to what I’m doing
- Five links shared below from the CPC Strategy blog to do with driving the retail conversions on Facebook, general FAQs on Facebook advertising, Facebook products ads guide, how to install Facebook conversion pixel, and how to set up and upload Facebook product catalogs
- Always be testing, always seeing what works and building off that
(2:07) Introduction to CPC Strategy and Stephen Kerner
(3:47) Evolution of Facebook advertising
(4:50) Facebook and sales funnelling
(6:54) Kinds of conversions
(8:42) Paid platform versus the organic reach
(10:48) Structuring campaign and goals
(11:54) Acquiring engagement and Likes
(13:13) Facebook competition
(14:40) Driving traffic to a website
(15:52) Best ad format for conversions
(17:15) Dark posts
(18:45) Importance of Mobile
(20:44) Using the Power Editor
(22:22) Structuring the campaign for remarketing
(23:36) Demographic targeting
(25:50) What makes good ad copy
(28:28) Facebook Pixels
(31:53) Campaign lifespan
(34:01) Optimal audience size
(36:06) Lookalike Audience
(38:47) Audience list
(41:37) Ad formats
(44:11) Ad tools
(45:51) Types Images
(56:08) Parting Advice
You can also check out the Podcast’s full script here:
Welcome to the 2X eCommerce podcast show where we interview founders of fast growing seven and eight figure eCommerce businesses and eCommerce experts. They’ll tell their stories, share how they 2X’d their businesses and inspire you to take action in your own online retail business today. And now, here he is, the man in the mix, Kunle Campbell.
Kunle: Hi 2Xers, welcome to 2X eCommerce podcast show. I’m your host Kunle Campbell and this is the podcast where I interview eCommerce entrepreneurs and online marketing experts, driving metrics or just conversions, average order value, repeat customers, and ultimately sales. Right, today is the third part of my interview with the PPC agency, the paid search agency, page social agency CPC strategy. If you haven’t heard the other two episodes, the first one which is split into two which is about Ad Words, Google Ad Words in general. Very, very thorough, it’s tutorial style. Last week was Amazon, I spoke with Jeff the Founder on Amazon and today is about Facebook. It’s a three pillar thing so, CPC Strategy are really, really bullish on those three platforms and for retail. In case you don’t know about CPC Strategy they were founded in 2007, have 250 active retail clients, they’ve topped 50 fastest growth companies in San Diego for those of you in the US, there official Google Shopping Partner, I think they’re running about 10 of them, and some of their clients include mudcloth.com, Sirs, Zenni and PayLess. Now today I have Stephen Kerner. Stephen has quite an interesting profile, I’ll tell you why. Senior Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy and is referred internally as the ‘father of Facebook’ at CPC strategy. He’s their in-house social media expert with 5+ years of experience in social media. He is dedicated and passionate about social media advertising, and he’s here to tell us more about Facebook Marketing on the show. Welcome to the show Stephen.
Stephen: Thanks Kunle, I really appreciate and enjoy being on so far.
Kunle: Fantastic, fantastic. Okay, could you take a minute or less to tell our listeners about yourself, please?
Stephen: Yeah absolutely. I’ve been with CPC strategy for about two and a half years now. As you mentioned I’ve been the one that really kind of pushed us to social media and getting our own company off the ground with our content on social media, and just kept driving that further with, ‘Okay, how can we apply our learnings to our clients and bring this on as a different channel?’ So, it’s been something I’ve been passionate about for years and now at CPC strategy I have really been able to sink my teeth into it, so it’s been really great.
Kunle: Good stuff, good stuff. So you mentioned you were in two and a half years ago which could’ve been 2013 if my math is right. How has the landscape of Facebook advertising evolved from when you started, to today?
Stephen: So, when I first started advertising on Facebook was many years ago when I was in college and had an event planning company. Back then it was only the right-hand side ads and you were paying next to nothing for CPC’s and it wasn’t as evolved and developed as it is now. Now you have News Feed Ads, you have Mobile Ads, you have Right-sided Ads, you have Dynamic Product Ads, you have Multiple Image Ad units, so it’s really kind of come full circle and it really expanded on the different types of advertising you have and where you can advertise.
Kunle: Fantastic. Interesting, interesting, interesting. From a single format to multiple formats and a lot of them geared towards retail at the minute. I spoke with Rick last week and we discussed Facebook and the funnel. He said Facebook can now be used for the bottom of the funnel activity. How do you view Facebook in the sales funnel in retail and can it used at each stage or where best can brands and retail harness the power of Facebook in the sales funnel?
Stephen: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think the best place and the lowest hanging fruit is in remarketing. Because Facebook has such a wide user base, users or retailers can really take advantage of retargeting people on Facebook. So people who have been to other sites, looked at products, who have abandoned cart or have already made a purchase, Facebook is a great way to get back in front of them and re-engage them. That’d be the best place where retailers can really start picking off some of that low hanging fruit. And I think as it continues to evolve and people better understand how it’s used for a direct response, it’ll start working its way up to the medium of the funnel and even the top of the funnel.
Kunle: Very, very good point there. Okay, so how many of your 250 clients at CPC Strategy advertise on Facebook at the moment?
Stephen: So currently, I think we manage about 25 or so and it’s been picking up ever since the announcement of the Dynamic Product Ads. In terms of clients that are doing it on themselves I’d probably say you know, maybe a quarter of them have some type of Facebook advertising strategy if that, but that’d kind of be the lowest number I’d be throwing out there.
Kunle: So 10% of your client care about Facebook so much that they hire you guys to manage their campaigns and another 25% think it’s relevant and still have some activity going on, which is very, very interesting. [00:06:54] What sorts of conversion are the brands you manage on Facebook directly, these 25 or so brands, what kind of conversions are they expecting from Facebook? From a multi-attribution standpoint, I don’t necessarily mean a last interaction conversion, it could have been their journey started out from Facebook and eventually they converted off the back of maybe a direct or a Google search. What are you seeing at CPC strategy?
Stephen: So, we’re seeing kind of a mix of everything. We’re seeing direct conversions, were seeing assisted conversions, we’re seeing new people being introduced to the brand and then going down the funnel that way and converting. So it’s really kind of across-the-board, that’s kind of what’s so great about Facebook is it’s great if you’re remarketing and you can get the direct conversions, or if really targeting your audience and can get the direct conversions there. But you can also introduce people to your brand and products that might not necessarily have known about you in the past, so you can really start to see all the different conversions that you can get from Facebook. So I’d say it’s kind of open depending on who you’re targeting and what your actually goals of the campaign are.
Kunle: That’s a very good point, because I’m seeing Facebook being used as a discovery engine, particularly for quite unique direct to consumer brands, like on Kickstarter, lots of unique, very clever Kickstarter campaigns. Retail that have found success or bit of success on Kickstarter tend to use Facebook for that discovery, you know which obviously is top of the funnel. Let’s go now to what I call the basics of advertising, you know trying to get some numbers and trying to figure out how viable Facebook is as a platform. I’m going to start out with you know, Facebook has had numerous updates on its organic algorithm. I remember there was a time when 25% was a good number for organic reach; from the last time I checked it was about 2% of organic reach. So this pretty much means Facebook is a pay-to-play platform. Do you agree or do you see organic and paid, are they two different strategies/branches you engage in, or…? What are your thoughts in the pay-to-play platform versus the organic reach on Facebook?
Stephen: Yeah, I mean that’s something that a lot of retailers are starting to ask and people in general, it’s like, ‘Okay if we want to get on Facebook, what do we have to do?’ The organic reach is only going to get you so far and you’ll start have to be paying to really reach your audience, so it is going to be 98% you’re going to have to pay if you really want to see some good results. But that doesn’t mean that your organic can’t really spread through Facebook. I mean Facebook’s all about getting that engagement and getting that and sharing, so if you’re able to really do that with your organic post and get people engaged then you can see your organic post go viral still. It’s just a little bit harder than paying to boost a post and then getting the organic reach and everything built through a paid post itself.
Kunle: And I suppose you could perhaps use learnings from paid, your success in paid, to tweak the organic. So if you’re seeing good performance on paid, then you could feedback back to the team manager in the organic.
Kunle: Okay. Let’s talk about campaign goals. So what campaign goals should retailers aim for? How should they structure their Facebook campaigns and what kind of goals should they really be looking to set in for the campaigns they run on Facebook?
Stephen: I mean, that’s a great question and it’s going to depend on what the retailer’s really looking to get out of Facebook. If they looking for more brand awareness they’re going to want to focus on engaging content and getting Likes and really getting people talking about their post and their brand. If they’re looking for direct response conversions then they want to focus on convergence and they’re going to want to set some retargeting campaigns and then start building off that with Lookalike Audiences. So, it really depends on the overall goal. I’d probably suggest having a campaign that’s really geared towards engagement and gaining Likes and then at the same time have a campaign serving for remarketing and retargeting to people who are already familiar with your brand.
Kunle: Okay, that’s very, very valid points there. Okay, what are the basics of acquiring engagement for more Page Likes on Facebook?
Stephen: So, Facebook’s all about being human, right, they want that interaction. They want you to not be on autopilot, they want you to be human, more or less. And so, getting Page Likes is all about that. You know, being human, engaging, putting entertaining content out there that people have an opinion about or want to Like or want to Share. And that’s really how you’re going to start building your community on your Page and really start getting in front of people in the News Feed. It’s just making sure you have that content and the more people engaged with your content, the more it’s going to show up in a News Feed and make you more sticky to them.
Kunle: Mmm, that human element. I was yet I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk on one of his clips on Facebook and someone was asking about Instagram today. I know Instagram’s not Facebook and he’s like, ‘Why is my Instagram profile not getting that much engagement?’ and Gary said put more faces, put more people, show you’re real, don’t just take photos of landscapes and then expect engagement. [laughs]
Stephen: Yeah, absolutely.
Kunle: Good stuff, good stuff there, really, really good stuff. Okay I’ve seen some large-scale retailers grow their Facebook pages with likes from competitions you know they run competitions and I’ve seen a brand you know, they’re like 1.4 million or 1.2 million Likes, the UK brand a dot com. Will you recommend this strategy for acquiring Likes to retailers?
Stephen: Oh, absolutely. I have a side project that I’m currently working on and we’re selling shirts on Facebook. And that’s one of the ways we engage people is, saying ‘You know what, we’re doing this new release of the shirt, we’re giving one away, you just have to Like and Share a content, give us some feedback and your name will be raffled off. So it’s a great way to engage with the community and get people’s attention and who doesn’t like the chance to win something? So I found it a very powerful way to just increase that engagement. And as long as you doing it in a way that makes people go, ‘Yeah, you know what, this is easy, I’m going to Like it, I’m going to Share it,’ then it can be very successful.
Kunle: Nice one. So, could you channel such post with, could you boost such post or I don’t know, advertise or sort of promote them as sponsored post on Facebook?
Stephen: Yeah, you can. Whether you’re doing it as a, you just put out a post and you boost it, or if you actually have an ad campaign around it. It’s definitely something you could do
Kunle: Okay, make sense. What about driving new more clicks to a website? Would you recommend within Facebook marketing in general as an objective to drive more traffic to your website or would you prefer to work within the Facebook ecosystem?
Stephen: Again, it’s going to come back to your goals of the campaign. Because when driving click to the website, you know if you just select that objective when creating a Facebook campaign, Facebook going to try and send its many Likes to your page as possible, it’s not can be necessarily the greatest traffic, but they’re going to try and send as many as they can. So if you have a product, like you’re just trying to get leads and email addresses then that’s a great way to start to do that. If you’re looking for more direct conversions, you’ll probably get a lot of clicks, you might get some conversions but the conversion rate is going to be lower than if you would select you know, drive conversions to the website. Those are both objectives when creating a Facebook campaign and Facebook’s algorithm will actually help you know, make it as cheap as possible and find the right audience that’s going to actually convert or actually going to click on an ad and go to the page.
Kunle: Speaking about conversions, what Facebook ad formats are you seeing that work towards driving conversions to retail sites?
Stephen: So, we’ve really started seeing Multiple Adding Image units and the Dynamic Product Ads start to really pick up on the conversion rate. And I think that just goes to the ability of having different products that will take you to different landing pages of the actual product. Before those it was like you either put out a couple of images of products and then sent them to a category page because you could only send to one URL. And so you had to be kind of careful and start testing what’s going to convert the best. But with the new Multiple Image Ad unit and the Dynamic Product Ads, it’s going to take you exactly to the product that you’re looking at. Which, we’ve seen across other channels is the best way to go because if someone sees something that they like, they don’t want to spend time searching for it. They want to go directly to the product so they can check it out and hopefully buy it.
Kunle: They’re almost like Google shopping ads now that they?
Stephen: Very similar to them.
Kunle: And I guess it’d work on, we’re going to talk more about it but I guess it’d work off the back of product feeds, is that correct?
Stephen: Yeah so I mean, there are different ad units and the most recent one, the Dynamic Product Ads does work off your profit feed.
Kunle: Wow. Okay, the other thing I was going to kind to ask you is ‘dark post’. It’s been quite the rave on the podcast world and blog post. What are your thoughts on dark posts and could you explain what dark posts are, and is it recommended, would you recommend them?
Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. So, I haven’t actually done many dark posts but when I was at Social Media Marketing World that was all the talk and people were seeing some great results and engagement. From my understanding of it, dark post is basically a post that you’d see on someone’s page in general, if you were to go to like, Nike.com you could see all the posts they put out. So it looks just like a regular post but in fact it’s only an advertisement. So there’s more of a, I guess human aspect to it. It’s more of an organic feel and not so much an advertisement. So, I think that’s why people have seen such good results is because 1.) it’s not even on their Page so it’s like, the only way you can see it is if you’re served it. You can’t go to the page and actually see that post. And 2.) it gives it that organic feel like, they’re not trying to sell you something, it’s not an ad, it’s just someone pointing out this post.
Kunle: Wow. And then it just probably, does it end up in Facebook or does it take them to your website or could it be either?
Stephen: It could be either. You can set the URL to drive them to the actual Page or to the website, I believe.
Kunle: Okay, okay. So, why is mobile so important for ad targeting and Facebook advertising campaigns in general? And given the fact that it’s quite difficult, well it’s quite challenging to convert mobile traffic, why is it so important in Facebook advertising?
Stephen: It’s so important just because so many people log on to Facebook now through their phone. I forget what the exact number is but I believe Facebook has like 1.8 billion people on their platform and a humongous number of that or portion of that people are logging through their phone. And they don’t even go to their desktop to actually look at their News Feed. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I actually looked at my personal Facebook on a computer. It’s always through my phone and Facebook’s done a really good job of making their app be able to have a full capability of using the platform. So, it’s really where it comes down to and why it’s so important, because everybody’s using Facebook on their phone and if you not targeting mobile you’re only going to hit a small portion of the people who are on the desktops.
Kunle: And does it convert though?
Stephen: Yeah, I’ve actually seen it where people, it converts better than desktop.
Kunle: Wow, okay.
Stephen: I think that really goes back to the cross device attribution. As people are always logged into Facebook, Facebook can really tell, ‘Oh yeah, we saw this on mobile device, they clicked on it and then later came on the desktop and purchase it,’ or something along those lines, so I’ve definitely seen it convert.
Kunle: Mmm. And Facebook has the reporting to back this up, because you probably have your Facebook Pixels that’s tracking on the website anyway and they know they sent you the traffic so it would match eventually.
Stephen: Yeah, exactly.
Kunle: Fantastic, okay. Another thing, so just wrapping up the basics of Facebook advertising, one thing I’ve heard people talk about a lot which I’ve actually pressed into use is a Power Editor. What are your thoughts on the Power Editor or as a tool to use for managing or putting together Facebook adverts?
Stephen: You know, it’s a great tool, it’s very powerful, it can be kind of hard to understand and to really get to work for you. But once you understand it and you can really dive into and create lots of ads, I wouldn’t recommend it to just the basic user who’s going to run an ad here or there, it really is going to lend itself to the power user who’s creating 20 – 25 ads like every week; who are really diving into the different targeting you can do and setting up different campaigns with different audiences. It’s also great because that’s where Facebook rolls out all its new tools and products, so Dynamic Product Ads you can only do Power Editor, you can’t even build that type of campaign just off the Ad Manager in Facebook.
Kunle: So, okay, so as you start to get most sophisticated, almost intermediate really at your Facebook advertising you’d need to start use the Power Editor, I suppose. Okay, so the rest of the interview really, the next thing’s just for listeners, I’m going to be covering campaign set-up, hopefully; building audiences, product ads, and retargeting on Facebook. So the next set of questions has to do with campaign set up. I’m trying to figure out what the optimal structure of a campaign in Facebook should look like?
Stephen: Yeah, I mean again, it’s going to go back to your goals of the campaign. If you’re looking for just remarketing, you’re going to want to start off with some basic list and that’s how you’re going to structure the campaigns. Just so you know what campaign is focused on what audience. So something we’ve been doing here is targeting people who’ve actually viewed products and then setting up a date range. So we’ll target people that have viewed products in the last 3 days. We’ll target people who have viewed products in the last 5 days and then 10 days and so on. And so we’ll have a different campaign for each one of those target audiences and what that does is that keeps everything organized and helps you avoid overlap. And so you’re not double-serving to a certain set of audience. So, I’d recommend starting off somewhere like that, just base it on, ‘Okay, what kind of audience are you going to be targeting and what kind of ads are you going to be using.’ That way you can really keep everything straightforward and make sure you’re following the strategy that you laid out.
Kunle: Okay, okay so you really need to think about your audience and then you need to think about how to target them. What about device targeted, in the sense that should you separate your mobile from desktop or should you separate… so when you’re talking about also people should you… I know there’s lots of demographic targets and should you kind of split out various groups of people like male/female at the very top level? And where in the structure? Because I think there’s Campaign, there’s AdSense, and there’s adverts, so where does this split occur in a Facebook campaign?
Stephen: That’s a great question and really… so you’re going to have your campaign and then like you said it’s going to have your ad sets and then your ad sets are going to have your ads. So the split is going to take place at the ad set level because that’s where all the targeting is done, that’s where you’re going to say you know, if you want to target female between the age of 18 and 25 you’re going to have ad sets for them. If you want target mobile you’re going to have the female 18 to 25 mobile and then you have the female 18 to 25 desktop. And then under that is where you’ll have the ads. And honestly, that’s where Power Editor’s going to really help you, is you’ll be able to just copy the ad copy and the ads and everything in the spreadsheet and then just change just those small facts of the ad set. So that’s where you know you’ll be able to take advantage of Power Editor a little bit, but still be able to separate your ad sets and make it really functional to who you want to target.
Kunle: And I guess as well, I suppose in Google you always target keywords, right, and in Facebook you’re targeting people so your criteria would be a lot on that target you know in terms of what sort of people you’re targeting. It’s really fascinating. Really, really fascinating, the depths of targeting you can achieve with Facebook. Okay, in terms of ad copy, what on the frontline… what ad formats or what kind of copy are you seeing a lot of success from at the moment?
Stephen: Honestly, a copy that speaks to your audience. If you can make it you know kind of targeted to the people that you’re actually showing ads to, you’re going to get more engagements on those ads and you’re going to end up paying a lower CPC’s and getting more for your buck at that point. So, that’s one thing that I’ve always found and that I hear at conferences and everything is like, make it human and make it really geared towards the people you’re targeting. Because if you think about it, people on Facebook don’t want to be sold. They want to be entertained, they want to engage. So, if you’re just saying, ‘Hey buy this, buy this, huge monster sale!’ you know you might get some clicks on that but you’re better off relating to the person and giving them, actually paying attention to that.
Kunle: So, it’s People to People Marketing 101. It’s interesting. Very, very interesting. What are your thoughts on Facebook video ads?
Stephen: I haven’t had very much experience with it but from the articles I’ve read and kind of data have seen behind it is, with any new ad unit or ad product that Facebook is rolling out, they tend to give more exposure to. And that’s what we’re seeing with video is people are engaging in and sharing with it more and Facebook’s really pushing it out more. So instead of that 2% organic reach that you’re seeing you know, that my bump up if you’re using video post. Because 1.) because Facebook is pushing that harder, and 2.) people are more likely to engage with that more.
Kunle: Can you even tell the difference from a user perspective, can you tell the difference between an organic video and video ad, because to be honest I haven’t actually interacted, to the best of my knowledge, well, knowingly, with a video ad?
Stephen: We’ve actually use them for internal purposes. We’ve put a really good video together and when I saw it on Facebook like, I knew it was from our company but I didn’t realize till later that it was an actual ad.
Kunle: Ahh. Okay.[laughs]
Stephen: Yeah, it just has that little sponsored spot right below the name of the person, so I mean you can still tell it’s an ad but if it’s done in you know a good way, people might be checking out and not even realizing that it’s an ad for a company or something else.
[28:28] Kunle: Interesting. Very, very interesting. Okay, you know, because we’re talking about campaigns, at the setup of a campaign for those of our listeners who’ve actually played around on Facebook advertising, Facebook bangs on about Facebook Pixels. Could you sort of explain what Facebook Pixels are and what options we have as advertisers?
Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. And Facebook Pixels are really what’s going to allow you to measure the success and allow you to target people. So there’s two basic ones, there’s the Custom Audience Pixel and the Facebook Conversion Pixel. The Custom Audience Pixel is going to go on every single page of your website. And that can allow you to re-target people based on different combinations of your URL and where people have been. So you really want that one on your page because that is going to allow you to kind of get that low hanging fruit and really target those people who have already been to your site, without that it’s not possible. And then you have the Conversion Pixel which is how you’re going to get results and how you going to be able to measure those results. So, if you didn’t have the Conversion Pixel and you’re running ads, you don’t know whether those people actually converted or they made it to the page that pixel’s on, just because it’s not there. So it is extremely useful and highly recommended to have both those pixels.
Kunle: Especially in retail because you’re…I think the Custom Audience actually captures that journey at the start of the journey and Conversion Pixel makes sure it tracks the end, so they kind of go hand-in-hand. All right. So, I was going to ask how best it can be used but I think that pretty much covers the questions I was going to ask in regards to conversions. Really important to have both of them really, and if you’re a retailer you’d be able to track the performance. Yeah and I suppose Stephen, that for cross device attribution it’s absolutely important isn’t it?
Stephen: Yeah, absolutely because you know, Facebook’s going to be able to say whether you know they clicked on it or viewed it and then be able to tell you okay, did it start out on a mobile device and did it finish on a desktop or anything like that. And so if you really want to get a clear idea of what Facebook is driving, you’re going to want that Conversion Pixel. And even if you’re a retailer, you going to want to make sure the revenue variable of that pixel is dynamically updated.
Kunle: Ah, okay. And with regards to reporting, do you guys have a third-party reporting tool for Facebook or is Facebook reporting sufficient enough, the advertising reporting?
Stephen: So far we’ve found it efficient enough. They do a pretty good job at giving you the basics and you can break it down. It’s a little wonky sometimes where it doesn’t always work the way you want it to, it doesn’t see one thing and another thing at the same time. But for the most part it’s pretty useful. There’s some tools out there that we’ve seen that give you pretty cool data and you don’t have to do as much slicing and dicing to actually see what you want. But yeah it’s sufficient enough, especially if you’re just starting out.
Kunle: Okay, okay. Nice. Just to wrap up campaign set up, do you see campaigns having a lifespan? And by that I mean from a performance standpoint, do they eventually dwindle so maybe be getting 30% conversions and then have after a period of time it just pans out to 5% or 2%. What are your thoughts and from experience what kind of lifespan do campaigns have if any or is it more like a set and forget?
Stephen: It’s another great question. And that something we’re starting to test out a lot. It’s like okay, we have this great ad, how do we extend the actual lifetime value of it and keep it relevant? Part of that is going to go to the actual objective you selected when you created the campaign. If you’re doing optimize for conversions, what we’ve noticed is Facebook is going to send you a lot of traffic and a lot of impressions for the first couple days while it figures out, ‘Okay, who’s actually converting and who do we need to start showing this to?’ So their algorithm is working in the background trying to really find out quickly who they need to serve these ads to. And at the same time the longer the ad runs, it’s going to get fatigued really quickly depending on the size of your audience. If you have a frequency of five, that means on average someone’s seen your ad five times, you know they’re probably going to start getting tired of it and won’t be engaging with it and if they’re not engaging you know, that’s kind of going to kill the momentum that’s building up. On the other side, if you have an engaging ad and people are always liking and sharing it and you have big enough audience where that can really build, you can see a campaign really stretch out over weeks. So it really depends on the engagement, what Facebook is seeing when they’re optimizing, and how well it’s built and how well it can lend itself to people, interactive like that.
Kunle: Exactly, and frequency and the audience. Speaking of the audience size, what’s the optimal size of the Facebook audience in a campaign you’re seeing and retailers you sort of embed in their campaigns?
Stephen: I mean, the optimal size is the size that actually converts. [laughs] We haven’t really seen a trend and it’s like okay, really if you have 2 million people that you’re serving ads to, well if they’re all targeted and all following your demographic and the people you want to target than great. But at the same time if you are able to window your audience down to a hundred people that are in the market and ready to purchase then that’s going to be great for you too. So it really depends on 1.) again, the goals of the campaign, but 2.) really target the people that you want to get your ad in front of to meet your campaign goals. So the size is all relevant it’s just depending on what you’re looking for. I would say better to get it as targeted as you can with the audience to make sure that, if you’re looking for direct conversions, make sure you really hone in on the people that are likely to convert.
Kunle: Very, very good point. What about tweaking the audience, what target options would you see would drive the maximum output from your audience targeted?
Stephen: So the maximum output again is going to be just retargeting people who are already familiar with your brand. Whether they’ve been to your site, they’ve Liked your Page, that’s really what’s going to give you the best success. When you start to use Lookalike Audiences and diving into some of the other interesting behaviors that people have, you’re going to start opening up your targeting a little bit, start moving up the funnel, and that will all have an effect on what kind of performance you’re getting from that campaign and that audience.
Kunle: I’ve heard a lot about Lookalike Audiences, both on AdWords and Facebook. From your experience how accurate are Lookalike Audiences?
Stephen: I was going to say it’s something that where always testing and really trying to find the best way to get the best results. I’ve heard and seen people do amazing things with Lookalike Audiences, really just kind of driving more traffic that’s similar to them. But then we’ve but also had some horror stories where it just does not perform as well. And it’s really going to be based on your industry, your messaging, and how well you’re able to target in on people who are interested in your brand and are interested in your product. So, it’s something that we’re always testing and it’s going to vary based on industry, products, brand, to really see what you can do with it.
Kunle: This is what I was thinking, I’m not sure from your experience, what I think I would do would be to let my campaign kind of get conversions over a period of time, sufficient conversions whatever is the target, and then off the back of that I guess if that audience works I could tell Facebook to target the Lookalike Audience, but if it’s premature perhaps you might not get as good enough an output if you were to create a Lookalike Audience? Is that a case or am I just… it’s just a hypothesis really.
Stephen: [laughs] I mean that’s definitely a good theory and I would have to test it to see what the outcome would be. One thing we’ve been having success with is creating a Lookalike Audience based on people who have purchased from your site before. Taking that look like audience and really whittling it down to the people who would be interested in your product. So if it’s Lookalike Audience they probably aren’t familiar with your brand, they probably haven’t been to your site, but you can take that and use Facebook’s targeting to target people who are in-between the ages of your demographic so 18 to 25. If you’re selling like high-end fashion you can do female people who have bought luxury items, people who have looked at women’s clothing, women’s accessories and really start to whittle the number of people that is serving an ad to. So you’re making sure that your audiences really refined and then that’s going to be one way to really kind of hone in your Lookalike Audiences and have the best chance of getting results from that campaign.
Kunle: That’s a very, very, very good point. What should an audience list look like from your top-performing’s clients that are doing Facebook advertising, how many sort of audiences do they have on their audience tab and what should the breakdown look like, along with time frames, if that makes sense?
Stephen: Yeah, I think I got where you’re going with that and really it’s going to vary based on the strategy. We started getting really aggressive with some of the audiences that we were building out. One, just so we can have have them so they can build up in the audience tab. But like I mentioned before we started doing ones with product viewers over the last 3, 5, 10 days and we’ve also started doing key brands, people who have viewed products in that key brand in that lasts 3, 5, 10, 30 days. So it’s really going to depend on your products, your industry. We’ve done different categories so people who have viewed a certain category and then start serving ads to them. At the same time we’ve had where we were cross-targeting different audiences, so we maybe you know targeting someone who’s viewed footwear and shown them ads for dresses. And that’s something that we’ve found to be really helpful and a way to really re-engage with people who have been to your site. They might have already bought shoes or looked at them but you know, what goes best for shoes? Probably a dress. So finding ways to overlap your audiences and when you have them all built out it makes it really easy to start testing that type of thing and really honing in on what’s going to work, what’s not going to work and getting the best results.
Kunle: Interesting. Very, very interesting. I can see a lot of this hinges on user behavior on your site, so how their engaging with pages and actual products. And then you’re building out quite intelligent list to match their behavior on your site so you serve them much more relevant adverts. I can seeing opportunity for personalization, so I can imagine and app or a software that actually understands a user behavior and then suggests the kind of list to build out.
Stephen: Mmm hmm. And that’s definitely something that I would be highly interested in to see just exactly how far you can actually take that. I mean you could work off analytics but you know to have a software or someone do that for you would be a lot easier.
Kunle: So all our ‘software as a service’ listeners, people, you know you guys, think about it. User behavior and then channel that into Facebook audiences. Okay. Right, let’s move swiftly into the very important ad format for retailers which is product ads. You mentioned earlier Dynamic Product Ads, which I’m very excited about as a format. How many product ad formats do retailers have at their disposal on Facebook? And how can they be effectively set up?
Stephen: Yeah, so with Facebook we have three basic ad variations, if you will. You have your Single Image, which is the 1200 by I think it’s 628, kind of the rectangle ad that has been around for quite some time. And then you also have the new Multiple Image Ad units. And that’s basically you know, square boxes that are now like carousel ads, so you can scroll through them and see them. And those are set up on a manual basis but now you have the Dynamic version of that, where Facebook will just plug that information in for you and show people the proper products based on how they’ve engaged with your site. And then lastly, you have the right hand side which now has the same image requirements, just on the right-hand side. So, that’s your basic setup on there.
Kunle: Okay, okay. So you have the standard, the multiple ad which is manual, and then you have the dynamic. Okay so how do you set up the standard ads, the standard product ads?
Stephen: So the standard product ads I assume your meaning just Single Images?
Kunle: The Single Image, yes.
Stephen: Yeah, so you can set that up directly through the Ads Manager just like you would set up any other Facebook ad. One key thing, there’s… instead of choosing clicks to website as an objective, you’ll probably want to choose website conversions. That way Facebook knows what you’re going for and they can optimize towards that. But then you’ll just go through the process of send up the ad copy, uploading the image that you want to show, and then setting the URL and so on and so forth.
Kunle: So it’s a pretty much pretty manual process.
Stephen: Yeah, for the most part there’s tools out there that will help you create A/B testing, create different ad tests with them which makes the experience a lot easier and a lot more fun to actually test and to get into what you can do with Facebook. But if you’re looking to create a one-off ad and just kind of see what’s going on, Facebook makes it pretty easy to go on the Ads Manager, they’ll walk you through every step that you need to do. And then you can upload your first ad.
Kunle: Do you have any tool recommendations for third-party tools that can help you upload these single product ads or manual ads?
Stephen: Yeah. One that I’ve kind of tested out and really like was AdExpresso. It really has a strong platform user interface, makes it really easy to test different variations at the same time when starting an ad. So you can test different ad copy, you can test different images, you can test different audiences, all at the same time and they’ll give you the numbers of how one’s performing and they’ll compare the different tests that you’re running to see where you might be able to hone in your performance. Whether it’s pausing you know, males from 18 to 25 with this ad copy, I mean it really kind of builds it all for you and then gives you the tools to optimize it
Kunle: Nice, nice, I’ll link to it in the show notes. Okay, what about the multiproduct ads? Is a similar process to the manual ads?
Stephen: Yeah, and so it’s a very similar process, the only difference is you have to create it through Power Editor and walk through the steps on Power Editor. But it’s the same kind of process, just when you get there you choose ‘multiple image’ and then you set each image for each item in the carousel. And then you’ll set the landing page and the description. All this can be done through the Power Editor and you can build it in Excel spreadsheets and uploading it, but it can be a little bit of a manual process.
Kunle: Okay, sounds like the Power Editor is a really, really important tool to get to know and use. Okay, I was going to ask you a question initially about images. Images are quite… I think they’re the drivers in Facebook in general. You know the stronger the image, the more engaging the image, the more success you find and the more engagement you get. Products images are quite boring in a sense, depending on what you sell. Would you suggest or where are you seeing the most successes in regards to product images, you know for product ads.? What kind of images actually perform really well with product ads?
Stephen: And so this is, since it’s still new program and testing’s still out, but like you alluded to, the more engaging that image is, the higher click-through rate we’ve seen in the past. So I imagine that would carry over with product ads so, if you have a lifestyle image for your products, then I would highly recommend using that and then testing that alliance to see which one works best. And just be clear, lifestyle images is just like a image of your product in use or someone using your product.
Kunle: Gotcha, gotcha.
Stephen: So, definitely testing that to see which one gets the best results would be what I do and what we’re currently doing.
Kunle: Well, have any of your clients said, ‘Look okay, we have pretty rubbish photographs and so we’re going to add an additional lifestyle image for a significant number of products in our catalog for Facebook advertising,’ and would you suggest that?
Stephen: I would, just so you have those images. I mean that’s good marketing collateral whether you’re doing it on Facebook or somewhere else. But for other channels you still have to have kind of that plain image for like Google Shop and have to have a image where it is your product with a flat background. And Google doesn’t really like having those lifestyle images, they want it to be as clear as possible. So depending on where you’re going to the advertising, you’ll want to be aware of that. You’ll probably still need the stock images for a lot of channels but obviously with Facebook you might get more engagement from lifestyle.
Kunle: Okay, okay. Fantastic, okay. Let’s talk about Dynamic Product Ads. How are they set up? Or how would you set it up?
Stephen: So Dynamic Product Ads are awesome and takes a little of the manual work out of the retargeting product ads, so first things first you need a Business Manager. And if you haven’t had or looked into the Business Manager, it’s pretty easy to set up, I think we have a blog or two out there that I can forward to you and really walk people through how to create a Business Manager. But it is something that Facebook rolled out by about six to four months ago, allows you to upload a feed in there and really house your Page and your ad account and allow you to assign people to work on them. So really makes the managing of the Page and assets a little easier so you know who is working on what and what they’re actually doing for this. So, the first thing would be setting up the Business Manager so you can then create a Product Catalog. And a Product Catalog is where you’re going to send the feed. But once you set the feed you’ll want to make sure the dynamic portion of the Custom Audience Pixel is installed, we also have a blog about that that will help walk you through it as well.
Kunle: Okay, I’ll think I’ll link to that.
Stephen: Yeah, this is a portion that basically tells Facebook how people are engaging with your site. So whether it’s a product that their viewing and then going to another product, that allows Facebook to say, ‘Okay, you know what they’ve viewed this product, this product’s in the feed, let’s show them that product.’ That really ties the engagement to the feed and allows Facebook to show the proper products to the people. So once you have the pixel installed, the feed’s uploaded, you go and create the template. The template is created through the Power Editor. When you create your campaign you’ll select ‘products catalog sales’ and that will take you to the ad set where you can set the targeting, set the different product sets that you want to focus on, and then you can create what information shows up in the ads. So you can make it so the description in the feed is there and that you have the price. Or you can set it so the brand is showing up and the price or different combinations based on the information that’s in the feed.
Kunle: Okay. Brilliant, brilliant. So we have Business Manager first, then pixel setup, template selection, ad sets, and then the setting of how it looks like.
Stephen: Yeah, you also forgot the creation of the product catalog and sending the feed. Without that you can’t do anything with Dynamic Product Ads.
Kunle: Okay, okay. Which comes after the Business Manager.
Stephen: Yeah, Business Manager is first because everything else is going to be done within the Business Manager and you can’t send the feed without it.
Kunle: Nice one, okay. Let’s talk about retargeting on Facebook. I think this is the next most effective means of grabbing the low hanging fruits. Okay. When setting up retargeted ads, what kind of retargeting delivers the highest impact from a conversion standpoint?
Stephen: So, what we found is people who viewed a product within the last three days or so, and we’ve seen different variations, but that’s really when someone is still in the market. If they’ve been to your site, they’ve looked at a product, they’re most likely still in the market for that product three days later. So if you’re starting to show people ads within that timeframe you know, you’re likely to stay on top of the line and get them back to the site.
Kunle: While they’re is still fresh and hot.
Kunle: What about some shopping carts abandonment. Do you have any solutions to tie shopping cart abandoners to Facebook marketing or through retargeting?
Stephen: Yeah, you can create a couple different things. You can set up a campaign in ad sets through Dynamic Product Ads so people who added stuff to the cart, then abandoned, will then be shown those products when they’re on Facebook. You can also put a coupon code in the ad copy so you can entice them to come back and complete the order a little more.
Stephen: You can also set up the manual product ads to show different products on Facebook that they’ve viewed in the past as well. So there’s definitely things you can do there and I recommend always targeting cart abandonments because if they’ve added something to cart, they’re so close to actually checking out, they just got spooked for one reason or another, so getting out in front of them and enticing them to come back is very important.
Kunle: Absolutely, absolutely. [00:52:45] How should advertisers go about refining they’re targeting for better ROI? So you build out an audience, say you’re a very high traffic website you’re getting like maybe 30,000 visits a day I wish, and you have quite a big substantial audience and you want to try and be more targeted with who you’re targeting. What would be the key obvious things to do to sort of prune that list off to aim for the people who actually going to convert?
Stephen: I mean, if you getting that many people you can want to just start identifying who is actually on your site and then what position in the sales funnel they’re actually at. If you can identify that, then you’re going to have a much more successful campaign and you can target specifically those people with the right products, with the right messaging to get them back and complete the purchase. It’s really about understanding who’s coming to your site, how they got there, what they’re actually looking for, what their intent is, and then focusing in ads based on that information.
Kunle: Good stuff, good stuff. And speaking of what their intent is and products on the website, do high ticket items actually convert? I’m talking about $300+ products, through Facebook?
Stephen: Yeah, I’ve seen, we have high-end jewelry clients and high-end watches and that kind of stuff we’ve had a pretty good success with people actually engaging with content and coming back and purchasing. I mean especially with Q3 around the corner and then Q4 coming up I mean, that kind of stuff it’s a great way to get in front of them. If they’re looking for gifts, Facebook is where they’re going to be just hanging out. And if you stay on top of the line then can you can really get them back to the site. So, we seen success across all different price points, from you know you’re spontaneous buy a $3 flashlight to a $30 – $40 dress to a $3000 – $5000 watch, so…
Kunle: Wow, okay.
Stephen: It’s definitely room to play and it’s just a matter of finding your audience because your audience is there, you just got to find them and target them.
Kunle: True, true, true. I’m going to go back to the dynamic ads. I just want to ask a question about if Facebook Dynamic Product Ad format has actually killed the need for using third-party retargeting platforms such AdRoll or Criteo?
Stephen: I don’t think it’s killed it quite yet because some of the third-party tools are still out there and still adapting and making up ways to really kind of work with Facebook instead of being like a one-off and being able to only offer certain services that Facebook doesn’t. So what we’ve seen is, instead of them being the only place to do this type of thing, that they’re actually adapting and making it a way to manage Dynamic Product Ads, make it easier to build the campaigns and then running it directly through Facebook, instead of you know having their own, kind of working off the FBX.
Kunle: Nice, nice, interesting. Okay. Final set of questions. Are there any books, tools, resources that you recommend storeowners to learn more about Facebook marketing and advertising?
Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot of good online resources out there. Facebook has a kind of a course that will help teach you the basics, it’s called Blueprint. You can create your kind of course depending on what your goals are for the campaign and they’ll walk you through the very basics of what everything is, the terminology, how to set it up, the different ads that you can run, things to A/B test, how to track it. So it’s really kind of a beginner level course that you can go through and just really start learning some of the basics about it. So, I definitely recommend doing that and getting familiar with it, but then there’s also Social Media Examiner is a great blog to follow. Jon Loomer is kind of a really strong voice to follow and he does a lot of great posts on Facebook, different tests, so it’s a great one to follow. Obviously our blog, we’re putting out lot more Facebook content as well as AdWords and just general eCommerce content. So definitely follow us of course, you can follow me on Twitter. I’m always trying to curate content that’s relevant to what I’m doing and different things, so.
Kunle: What’s your handles so we can link to it, please?
Stephen: Yeah it’s KernerStephen. That’s pretty basic, it’s just my name flip-flopped.
Kunle: [laughs] Okay, fair enough. And the other thing is, I’ve got about actually five articles on here I will be sharing from the CPC Strategy blog. One’s driving the retail conversions on Facebook, it’s a course recording, a webinar. And the other is an article, general FAQs on Facebook advertising. And there’s another, Facebook products ads guide. And there’s, how to install Facebook conversion pixel, how to set up and upload Facebook product catalogs. So all that’s going to be shared on the show notes for our listeners. Okay, alright, cool. Before you say good your goodbye, it’s been a fantastic one hour so far, could you give our listeners one parting piece of advice around marketing in general or Facebook marketing, just one parting piece of advice from you know you being in the front line managing these many accounts and being an expert, basically, on Facebook marketing?
Stephen: Yeah I mean, the one thing I’ve always kind of stressed is, always be testing, always be seeing what works and building off that. Don’t be afraid to fail because if you don’t fail you’re not going to figure it out and you’re not going to start getting results. So, always be testing different things, different audiences, different ad copy, images and that’s not even having to do directly to Facebook; do that across all your channels, with your website. Just always be testing to find out what works and what the next direction to go in is going to be.
Kunle: Fantastic, fantastic. Okay so listeners, you can catch Stephen @KernerStephen on Twitter. I will be sharing his Twitter handle on the show notes and yes, I just want to say Stephen it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show and thank you for sharing your insights on Facebook advertising.
Stephen: Yeah, thank you for having me, it’s been a real pleasure. I love talking about Facebook, I’m pretty passionate about it so I love getting out and just having discussions around it so thank you so much for having me. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Kunle: Good stuff, cheers. Bye.
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