Maybe you’ve got a small marketing budget and it needs to stretch. Or you’ve got more to invest this year but you’ve also got a big target to hit.
If you’re weighing up your options for growth and considering Facebook and Instagram ads, this post is for you.
And you’re right to do your research first because Facebook ads aren’t a quick win. You can start small and test the waters first, but to see any real and sustainable success, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul.
So, are Facebook ads right for you? Why do other people swear by them and what sort of benefits could you expect?
Here are my top 8 reasons e-commerce businesses should be advertising on Facebook this year.
1. Your customers are on Facebook and/or Instagram
We’ll start with the obvious. If we’re talking reach and potential, there aren’t many pools bigger than Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook reports that over 2 billion people can be reached with Facebook ads and 849 million with Instagram ads.
You might not be setting your sights that high, but whoever your customers are, it’s very likely that they will spend time on Facebook and/or Instagram.
Facebook advertising helps you meet people where they are.
2. Facebook ads support your organic strategy
In 2018 we saw the final nail in the coffin for organic Facebook reach when Mark Zuckerberg announced the ‘meaningful interactions’ algorithm update. This resulted in updates from friends, family and groups being prioritised in the newsfeed ahead of Pages, making it harder than ever for businesses to get their content seen.
The good news is, on Instagram especially, a good organic strategy combined with advertising can mean you’ll see improved results in both areas. If you’re doing good organically you’ll see a better return on ads (especially when they’ve been tested well). And if your ads are performing, that will feed into organic growth and engagement.
3. Facebook ads are affordable
Facebook ads are affordable – not cheap – but affordable. And they are cheaper than most other advertising streams, especially when you take into account how focused you can be with your targeting (see point 6).
You don’t need a huge budget to get started with Facebook ads, and that makes them accessible to small, independent businesses. As an advertiser you get to set the maximum spend, so you are always in complete control of your budget.
4. Facebook ads influence purchasing decisions
We know social media has a big impact — 57% of consumers say it influences their shopping. Among Millennials, this jumps to 74% and among Gen Zs further still to 80%.
Shopify research shows that an average of 85% of all e-commerce orders from social media come from Facebook.
But how do Facebook ads fit into that?
Hootsuite reports that the average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month. Women click more ads than men do (15 per month vs. 10).
And, according to a 2017 report from Spark Central, 26% of Facebook users say they’ve made a purchase after clicking on an ad.
There is no doubt that social media influences purchasing decisions and — when they’re done right — Facebook ads can certainly boost sales too.
5. Social proof in ads is very effective
One huge advantage of Facebook advertising is the ability to leverage social proof (think customer reviews, photos and videos).
When we see that other people are satisfied, it makes us more likely to act.
Think back to the last time you were out in town looking for a place to eat. You ignore the empty restaurant assuming there must be something wrong with it. But that place with the queue outside the door? That’s the place you want to go to.
The same can be said for the online world. It’s hard for people to resist clicking on an ad that has hundreds of likes and comments or checking out a Page they are told their friends like. Facebook knows this and advertisers use it to their advantage.
6. You can target new and similar audiences
Facebook ads are so effective because they allow advertisers to target people based on specific information.
Targeting is broken down into location, demographics, interests, behaviours and connections which can be combined (known as layering) to create very specific audiences. You can also use these options to exclude certain audiences from seeing your ad.
Powerful targeting options include:
- LOCATION: Location targeting allows you to reach people in the cities or countries you sell/ship to.
- DEMOGRAPHICS: Demographic targeting allows you to select an audience based on age, gender, education, relationship status, job title and more.
- INTERESTS: Interest-based targeting allows you to build an audience based on their interests, activities, and pages they like. Organic food, parenting, fashion – whatever interests and hobbies your audience has, Facebook has it covered.
- BEHAVIOUR: Behaviour-based targeting lets you select people based on their prior purchasing behaviours (great for e-comm businesses!), device usage and other activities.
- CONNECTIONS: Want to reach people who are connected to your Facebook Page or event, or exclude them to find new audiences? No problem.
- LOOKALIKE: Create a new audience that looks similar to your purchasers, website visitors, page fans and your email list. Essentially, this takes the guesswork out of finding new customers, with the resulting audiences more likely to buy your products than a completely cold audience. Clever huh?
A quick tip here – make sure you have a really clear idea of who your potential customers are before diving into Ads Manager, as it’ll really help when it comes to building out audiences.
7. Retargeting can help to boost sales
Retargeting gives you an opportunity to recover the sale. With the Facebook Pixel installed on your website, Facebook will track people and the actions they take when they engage with your business, including the pages they visit and the items they add to their basket.
Apple’s privacy update has limited the potential here but, combined with abandoned cart emails and a consistent, organic social media presence, retargeting ads can still help you to boost sales.
Another opportunity retargeting presents is to re-engage past customers. They won’t all open your emails or follow you on social media, and so retargeting ads can help you to reach them again and bring them back. This increases the lifetime value of each customer and — if you’re satisfying them — it will breed loyalty.
8. The data you get from Facebook ads will help you elsewhere
Again, Apple’s privacy update has affected the amount of data Facebook can collect and store, but you’ll still get more than you’d get with print advertising, influencer work or PR.
Data from Facebook advertising can tell you what creative elements are working, what types of audiences are responding and what products are resonating, among other things — all information that can be useful in other areas of your business and marketing.