With over 1,500 different targeting options, 15 types of campaigns and over 1.6 billion users around the world, the Facebook advertising platform represents an excellent marketing opportunity for most B2C businesses, particularly ecommerce businesses.

That's the good part. The bad part is that having such a huge platform available, with so many different options and opportunities, can provide small businesses with a daunting task. Where to start?

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed, so take a look at our guide below to the different types of ads you can create and what they can be used for.

Lead generation

Collecting email addresses and building email lists can be easy using the lead generation ad unit offered by Facebook.

Using this ad unit, potential customers can sign up to an email list with no more effort than they'd use like or sharing a post.

Facebook are really helpful here and will pre-populate most of the fields a potential customer would normally have to enter themselves, so the conversion rate of these ads is great.

Dynamic product ads

One of Facebook's newest and best additions to the advertising platform are Dynamic Product Ads (known as DPAs). Large brands like booking.com are using DPAs and seeing a great ROI in comparison to search.

Your online store's product catalogue can be connected with your Facebook ad account so when someone visits your website and the logs into their Facebook account, they'll see an ad displaying the same products they were looking at on your website. It's a great way to show relevant and personalised ads to your potential customers.

To create DPAs you use the Product Catalog Sales ad objective. The great thing about DPAs is that because they automatically run from your product catalog, you don't need to worry about them going out of date.

Using DPAs you can choose 4 different types of audiences to target:

• those that have viewed but not purchased

• those that have added to cart but not purchased

• upsell products

• cross-sell products

Again, based on the audience you select, Facebook will automatically optimise the ad for each objective.

Abandoned basket recovery

We all know what a killer the abandoned basket can be to an ecommerce website. Studies show that nearly 70% of all baskets are abandoned (for multiple reasons) - and as much as you can do to recover these baskets will be essential as to whether your ecommerce store thrives, just surivies, or dies.

Unfortunately, because of the nature of ecommerce websites, most customers will abandon their basket before you get chance to get their details. As little as 5% proceed far enough in the checkout process to actually enter an email.

With Facebook retargeting you can run a highly personalised ad targeting those who have abandoned their basket.

We'd always recommend offering an incentive too like free shipping or a percentage off.

We all know the power of video marketing as well (at least if you don't they you should do) so why not consider changing your standard image based ad to a video one and explaning how hurt your shopping basket feels by being abandoned.

Thank you ads

You may have read our post on packaging inserts, and if you havent' then we'd recommend you do so!

If you love your customers, if you show them you appreciate them and their business, then they will love you back. And what better way to show it then with a Facebook ad, thanking them for their purchase and telling them that you hope you'll see them again soon.

We find that one of the most common mistakes ecommerce website owners make is to not properly focus on customer retention, satisfaction and loyalty.

Notifying existing customers about new products

The cost of acquiring a new customer is considerably higher than bringing an existing customer back to make another purchase.

A well run ecommerce website should, on average, be achieving 80% of it's profits (or therabouts) from 20% of it's existing customers.

So, it's really not rocket science to conclude that your existing customer base should be your first marketing 'port of call' when advertising new products that you have to offer.

New customers

We've talked a lot above about retargeting visitors of your website (either those who did complete a purchase or those who didn't) but any ecommerce website needs to attract new customers on a regular basis in order to keep growing and to make up for any customers that can't be persuaded into become regular customers.

These types of ads are likely to have lower click through rates (CTR) and higher cost per clicks (CPC). You don't know as much about the people you are targeting, and they don't know anything about you. We have however gathered together a few tips below to assist you

Import an existing customer list

If you have an existing customer or prospect list, this can be imported into the Facebook Ads platform as a custom audience. You can then use it to create a lookalike audience, containing Facebook users who most closely match your existing customers.

Use audience insights

Facebook have a great range of free tools allowing you to discover a great range of demographic, behavioural and interest data on its users.

You can also learn more about your potential target audience by entering your competitors' pages into Audience Insights. You'll then be able to see a wealth of data about the Facebook users that like your competitors' pages.

A/B test

It's always a good idea to A/B test Facebook ads, and it doesn't really matter what type of ad it is. But without knowing who your potential new customer is, you don't know what they respond to and so it's critical you A/B test Facebook ads targeting new customers.

So for any new campaign we recommend creating 2-3 copy (ad text) options and 2-3 creative (image) options and then test each variation on multiple audiences.

It doesn't mean spending a lot of money, Facebook will generate plenty of data for your ads for under twenty pounds per day. Once you've analysed the data you can refine and retest and eventually formulate the best copy and creative ads based on the best audience.

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