Facebook’s algorithm changes, announced and put into action earlier this year, have certainly made it much harder for marketers to gain traction on the platform. Prioritizing posts from “friends, family, and groups” the News Feed algorithm disfavors public content posted by businesses, demanding of it to be highly engaging in order to gain any visibility in the first place.
All in all, with this move, Facebook has made the rules of the game clear for social marketers: if you want organic reach and higher engagement, you’re going to have to pay. Facebook ads have thus become normative, with the latest statistics showing that 93% of marketers use this feature regularly.
And when it comes to e-commerce, where social content is pretty much your storefront, Facebook Ads can be a powerful (or rather inescapable) tool for growing your business.
Thankfully, the ad platform is easy to use, and with the help of tools such as the FB Pixel, marketers can track their efforts and retarget audiences.
Nevertheless, it’s an overcrowded and competitive landscape where each creative decision is thoroughly weighed and justified by the campaign goals. In order to help you put your creative marketing efforts to their best use, we’re going to have a look at what makes an effective e-commerce Facebook ad and the brands that set a great example.
What makes a great Facebook ad?
The nature of social media and the platform itself leave a lot of room for creativity and authenticity, giving you the freedom you need to convey your message in a way that best suits your brand.
Of course, there’s no universal recipe for crafting an effective ad on Facebook but there are a few basic rules to follow in order to make it work. Regardless of the format you plan to use (such as video, single image, multi-product carousel, etc.) your Facebook ad will need to:
Be visually appealing. Although not as image-centric as Instagram, Facebook favors visual content because it’s easily digestible, more engaging, and ultimately more likely to stay top of mind. Not only that, but there’s some evidence pointing to e-commerce ads that feature only images without copy producing higher click-through rates than those with copy.
Be highly relevant to the target audience. Knowing your audience is crucial to successful marketing and Facebook even rates ads with a Relevance Score. The higher your score, the easier it will be for your ad to reach its audience and get the screen time you were hoping for.
Provide a valuable offer. You want to get people to click on your ad and visit your store, and that will take some convincing. First and foremost, your value proposition needs to be believable. Don’t overplay it just to get attention, but rather convince them with an enticing discount or a valuable offer that is sure to meet their existing needs.
Have a strong and clear call to action. No matter how great an ad you make, the CTA is what drives it home and directs the viewers to where you want them. Without it, the whole point gets lost. In order to encourage audiences to take action, the best digital agencies masterfully leverage the “fear of missing out” on social media; you can do the same by creating a sense of urgency with limited offers and “Buy now” CTA buttons.
These four points are very much like guidelines – the basic skeleton of a successful Facebook ad.
In order to make your efforts pay off, you’ll need to pay attention to all of them, but where do you start – and how do you make them truly work for your online store? Let’s dive into the best e-commerce Facebook ads to find inspiration and see what makes them work so well.
Pura Vida Bracelets
With their interactive, visually enticing carousel ad campaign, Pura Vida is a scholarly example of e-commerce marketing on Facebook nowadays – but it doesn’t lack authenticity. The brand image is clear throughout, and their tactics obviously work considering the campaign resulted in a significant increase in sales.
This ad has a couple of clear and precise features that make it work:
- A socially-conscious message
- Enticing wording – calling on audiences to “join the Pura Vida movement”
- Clear CTAs that complement each other (join the movement, shop now, see more)
- Discount offers
- User-generated content, which ultimately helps drive engagement and build trust
- Beautiful images that intersect storytelling and showcasing products
If you can establish your brand as part of a community that fosters similar values – take that role and make it central to your Facebook ad campaign.
Even if you don’t have a socially conscious message to convey (although, if you’re targeting the Millennial demographic, it’s best if you did) you can still create that atmosphere of community within a specific niche. Use carousels to exhibit your personality, tell a story, and showcase products simultaneously.
Products actually work great when showcased on their own, without models wearing them – but carousels that combine varied techniques, along with user-generated content, work best.
Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club’s campaigns are often found in various lists of the best e-commerce Facebook ads, and rightfully so. With a distinct brand voice and a great sense of humor, the company always makes their point clear in a straightforward manner – their value proposition is one of the best you’ll find, or at least they’ve made us believe it.
They had the same approach in their promo ad which was incredibly simple, straightforward, and successful, considering the number of subscribers increased 1.5x as a result of the campaign.
What makes this ad work:
It has all the key features of a successful e-commerce Facebook ad, but there’s one thing this ad does best: pique the viewer’s interest with cheeky confidence. What solution does this brand offer that Gillette can’t keep up with? It is entirely simple in its imagery and even its tagline – just enough to drive the audience’s curiosity and spur engagement with the mention of their competitor.
Very often, less is more. Exhibit confidence in your product and its marketability – a simple promo ad can show your audience that your offer is the solution they need. But in order to get them to click, you’ll need to raise some curiosity. Don’t reveal it all right away.
Dollar Shave Club could have written right away why they’re better than Gillette in just a few words, but that would have made for an entirely different ad – unquestionably one with a lower click-through rate.
The online underwear retailer made a smash hit on their Facebook campaign with a fast-paced, quirky video ad that was a great combination of storytelling and product showcasing. The video is mobile-optimized as part of the company’s goal to “drive mobile product discovery”, but that’s not all – underneath the video, there are MeUndies product images that allow people to shop directly from the ad.
What makes this ad work:
The most interesting thing about this ad is that it does not have a CTA button at first glance – yet it pulls the viewer in and, being a shopping-enabled ad, directs them intuitively. Only later, once you browse the catalog, will you find the “See more at meundies.com” call to action.
This is a unique example because it serves as two ads in one, but that’s not the only reason why it worked so well. It’s incredibly visual, with an engaging video that is clearly directed at the younger demographic, both male and female. The funny tagline – “stretchy undies that your butt has been dreaming about” sets the tone for the ad and facilitates engagement, bringing out the value of the offer.
Depending on your products and target audience, think about how you can incorporate a bit of humor to grab attention.
Video is a powerful tool for engaging viewers but it requires a story – a means to build a relationship with your viewers. Express your brand identity through it and show enticing moments that speak to your audience.
You can find inspiration from MeUndies even if you’re not planning on creating a shoppable ad, but if you are, follow their example and create a two-piece ad where the content complements the catalog and directs viewers towards it.
Advertising on Facebook does provide a lot of creative freedom, but in order to ensure you’re not lost in all that freedom, you need to equally rely on proven evidence of what works and an established feel for marketing on this platform.
Now, the latter sounds somewhat intangible, but that’s essentially something that slowly sinks in when you analyze successful examples and find inspiration in them. Considering Facebook’s keenness on changing algorithms and introducing new features, we have yet to see what the platform will bring and how it will impact e-commerce marketing. For the time being, learn from the big guys, combine that knowledge with your brand identity, and – dive in!