Our Facebook Ads guide is for anyone looking to increase sales, as Facebook Ads is a powerful paid social media marketing method that any online store can grow their sales and traffic to their websites.
The strategy you’re about to learn from this article uses features that are more beneficial to those online stores with the initial data from which they can extract powerful targeting options to fuel their sales growth.
But regardless of what stage you’re using Facebook Ads to grow sales to your online store, this article will benefit you.
If you’re starting, take the first steps we mention to the heart and start expanding from there with the methods we will show and especially setting up the Pixel correctly for data collecting for later use and ad scaling.
The methods will work with any online store and platform out there like Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce, and any custom-built online store as well.
If you’re still wondering if Facebook Ads is the right strategy to grow your online store sales, learn all the benefits that Facebook Ads provides from here.
Further ado, let’s look at the prerequisites for this Facebook Ads guide to work in its intended way.
Prerequisites To Get More Sales with Facebook Ads
- An online store or website with checkout
- Facebook Business Manager account or Facebook Ads account
- Enough sales or website traffic data (Collected through the Pixel)
- For lookalike audiences (We will refer to lookalike audiences also as LA in this Facebook Ads guide)
- Pixel installed in the store (Learn more pixel installation here)
- Ad creatives (Images, videos, copy)
- Preferably, you have already tested and seen some success with some types of content.
- Large enough budget
- While you can start with a low budget, to get more precise and better results, you’ll need a budget that can handle your ad creative and targeting experimentations
- Enough stock, product variety for upsells,
- If you only have a stock under 100 units, the method can’t scale to grow further.
If you can tick all the previous boxes, we can continue with the Facebook Ads guide.
Setting Up Everything To Get More Sales With Facebook Ads
The key to getting more sales with Facebook Ads comes down to data use, especially Pixel data. But, while not a requirement, please install Google Analytics as well, if you haven’t already.
With Google Analytics, you will discover how the generated Facebook Ads traffic behaved on your online store. Through this data, you can optimize your online store experience to be the best it can be. It’s crucial for increasing online sales regardless of the traffic generation channels you use.
The Facebook Ads guide here will only use the Pixel and not use Google Analytics for its benefits. But remember, additional data is always critical in digital marketing.
Setting Up Online Store Conversions With Pixel For Facebook Ads
If you didn’t add the online store conversions with the Pixel while installing, let’s do it now.
While you can create custom conversions that serve your needs more specifically, we will use the most common conversions to create a basic sales funnel for online stores for Facebook Ads.
In some cases, Facebook will create conversions for you (for available partner integrations), but you want to make sure that you have all the preparation for the ad campaigns, which we will later create and use.
The must-have conversions:
- Page View
- View Content
- Add To Cart
- Initiate Checkout
These conversions and events will create a sales funnel where you can start your advertising campaigns.
Starting with PageView and ending in a Purchase, depending on how much data you have initially, you create lookalike audiences based on these events and conversions.
The more data you have, the more accurate lookalike audiences you will create.
Facebook Ads Lookalike Audience Funnel Method Example
For example, If you have zero data, you should start campaigns that drive traffic to the online store and website.
Then when you have enough PageView-data, create a lookalike audience based on that.
Have at least 500 PageViews before creating a lookalike audience, and then continue with your Facebook Ads funnel.
Use the 500PV LA to achieve enough data for the event and conversion called View Content (For example, a product page view). When you reach at least 500 VCs, you can create a lookalike audience based on the 500 VC.
After which, you use the newly created lookalike audience to produce enough data to Add To Carts (ATC) – event. When you have the needed 500, make the new LA-based on the ATC.
And continue the same way until you reach purchase or your other final conversion goals.
While Facebook doesn’t require 500 events per se, it creates a good starting point for more accurate results of how many sales you can achieve with Facebook Ads.
You can create LA’s with less data than earlier and even skip parts of the funnel more before. For example, if you’re lucky and achieve enough sales from the first PVLA, you can directly create the sales-based lookalike audiences for experimentation.
An essential tip for managing lookalike audience targeting campaigns is that using more targeted options doesn’t guarantee sales growth.
Always test different lookalike audiences between each other, and especially different sizes of LA’s (1-10%). And include broad and interest-based targeting in your experimentation campaigns.
For example, we have seen multiple times where a broad targeting option beat our super-specific sales-based LA or gained the most sales from a VC-based lookalike audience.
Using Event Setup Tool and Standard Events For Facebook Ads Campaigns
Navigate to the Event Manager and click add events in the overview. Then click “From the Pixel” and then click “Open Event Setup Tool.” Enter your URL and continue.
Then click on the “Track New Button” and choose the type of standard event and find the online store’s highlighted button that reflects that event. For example, selecting the event add-to-cart and then clicking the highlighted add to cart button on your online store.
Double-check a couple of times you have all the necessary standard events mentioned earlier marked as an event.
It’s time to test whether your event works properly.
To test events, go back to the Event Manager, and click on test events next to the overview-tab. Enter your URL and start clicking around the online store and see if the correct buttons trigger the right events.
Once you have the Pixel installed and checked that the necessary events are active in your online store, you need to wait until customers and users use your online store to collect data for later use.
And once we have enough data to create lookalike and custom audiences, we will continue with our Facebook Ads guide.
Creation of Custom Audiences
Before we can create powerful lookalike audiences, we need LA’s custom audiences in the background.
Navigate to Audiences to start with custom audiences.
Once there, let’s create the custom audiences that we will use for our lookalike audiences later.
Click on ‘Create audience’ and make sure you have the correct Pixel selected. Choose from the dropdown menu for the first event (For example, PageView.) And choose the duration between 1 – 180 days.
Please give it a reliable name you won’t forget, such as PV30D.
Create a custom audience for all the events we created earlier.
Remember that you can create very detailed custom audiences as well. For example, using the ‘people who visited specific web pages’ – option, you can create unique funnels to generate a variety of lookalike audiences.
Especially useful if you’re experimenting with advertising other content marketing types, like blogs or articles. And if you want to test with keyword-based audiences on Facebook Ads, here is where you would add the correct pages.
But for this Facebook Ads guide, we will only create the basics we need.
Creation of Retargeting Audiences
To truly increase sales with Facebook Ads, retargeting is your best friend.
Setting up retargeting with Facebook Ads is relatively simple and offers various retargeting options to tweak until you get the performance you want.
Creating retarget audiences happens through the same custom audience interface.
Choose a custom audience and use the website option as the source. Then you will have three options for retargeting: all website visitors, specifically visited pages or events.
If you want a general retargeting ad, you want to use all website visitors.
By choosing specific visited pages, you can create a custom audience based on your funnel’s web pages, or you can experiment with different types of pages combined.
Third, retargeting for events will be one of the most potent options when creating specific retargeting funnels.
Creating Event Based Retargeting Funnels
Going back to the original funnel:
- View Content
- Add To Cart
- Initiate Checkout
The goal of event-based retargeting funnels and their ads is this. You want to maximize the exposure for the people who did an event to increase the chance of doing an event higher in the sales funnel.
For example, if your ads generate View Content -events, you want to create a custom retargeting audience based on those View Contents – basically showing ads to those who completed the view content event.
The goal conversion for these ads would be to increase the Add To Carts- events.
You will need to experiment to find the perfect ad creative that fits the new view content – audience to convert them to Add To Carts.
The best retargeting method for Facebook Ads is to retarget a custom audience with the best ad creative for all funnel steps.
The process of making these custom event based retargeting audiences increases your chances of converting more customers to your end goals, thus lowering ad prices and increasing profitability.
At all times, you should have event-based retargeting custom audiences live.
In a nutshell, sales-based lookalike audiences create new traffic to your funnels and retarget audiences keep them in the funnel.
Creation of Sales-Based Lookalike Audiences
After setting up the retargeting custom audiences for your future campaigns, let’s create lookalike audiences based on your funnel’s steps.
Remember that you will need a custom audience for every event you want a lookalike audience for, and if you didn’t do it previously, do it now.
The creation of lookalike audiences is simple enough, and you’ll do it in the same audiences – section.
You will need at least 100 people in your custom audience before the lookalike option is open for you. But of course, the more data, the more accurate Facebook Ads targeting you will have.
Before scaling, try to achieve at least 500 or more events before creating a lookalike audience. But you can always experiment with the minimal data audiences.
If you’re starting and don’t have much data, PageView- event will be your first available lookalike audience if you start gaining traffic purely to your website. You’ll be upgrading your lookalike audiences from there, a funnel step at a time until you reach a sales-based lookalike audience.
As in everything with Facebook Ads, you want to experiment all the time. Even if you reach the sales-based lookalike audiences, they are not guaranteed to increase your sales.
From time to time, even if you discover a winning lookalike audience, test earlier lookalike audiences from the funnel and also test with other targeting options (like interests or broad targeting).
But now, let’s create lookalike audiences.
Sales-based Lookalike Audience Example and Guide
- Click on “select an existing audience or data source,” Choose’ Other Sources’ and from the menu, choose the event-based custom audience you created earlier. Note that you can also create value-based audiences if you have the data available.
- For value-based lookalike audiences, you will need to have the Pixel to collect values from your events, such as for the purchase event or initiate checkout, a sales price.
- When you have sales data available, you can create many different value-based lookalike audiences to maximize your Facebook Ads profitability even further. Something to experiment with immediately when you get the opportunity.
- Select Audience Location – Choose the regions or countries you want the lookalike audiences to be from, and remember you will need prior data from the said region or country (at least 100 people who activated the event)
- And lastly, you will need to choose the audience size and how many different lookalike audiences you want to create.
- You can choose a size of 1-10%. Lookalike audience sizes mean that 1% of the target market is closest to the audience that reacted to the event, and 10% is the furthest but largest.
- In a nutshell, a 1% audience is the smallest available from the target country but might be the closest to your original audience.
- Always create at least three sizes for experimentation—for example, A 1%LA, 5%LA, and 10%LA.
- Rinse and repeat until you have the lookalike audiences you need to run your campaigns the most optimized way. And if you lack the data to create one now, remember to make it later when you can.
Creating and Managing a Facebook Ads Campaign For Sales Growth
To create a conversion and sales-based campaign, navigate yourself into Facebook Ads Manager, and click on Create and choose the ‘conversions’ as the campaign objective.
By choosing conversions as the objective, we let Facebook optimize our targeting towards people who are most likely to convert based on the characteristic of the audiences we have set earlier.
The more data a campaign can get towards conversions, the more likely the number of conversions will increase, which is the essential mindset of getting more sales with Facebook Ads.
After choosing the campaign objective, put ‘Campaign Budget Optimization’ on and determine a daily budget for the campaign.
A reasonable budget is in line with your total advertising budget and leaves room for experimentation.
You want to choose a budget that doesn’t exhaust your budget too fast. For example, for Facebook to properly optimize your conversion campaign, it needs time, and if your budget drains in a week, your results will suffer.
But before we can create the actual campaigns, we need to understand the relationships of good and bad ad creatives in our Facebook Ads campaigns.
Ads and Ad Creative Experimentation
You will need to discover the best ad creative that works for your audience in their respective funnel stages. And sadly, this Facebook ads guide won’t get any deeper on the subject of ad creatives themselves, but here are the key points you need to understand about them.
Experiment with ad creatives using engagement campaign objectives in your Facebook Ads campaigns, and look for positive signals. The goal is to find the best ad creative format to which your audience reacts and engages the best.
A lousy ad creative will always be wrong, no matter how good your ad targeting is. Therefore it’s crucial to discover the best ads while doing your lookalike targeted ads or before going for maximized sales.
Most of us will get an idea of what ad creatives work for which audiences, and some of us have restrictions to what we can do with ad creatives (brand guidelines, for example.).
Therefore for growing sales with Facebook Ads, the targeting matters more in most cases.
But ad creative optimization isn’t something you can neglect completely. At least you have to understand if something about your ad creatives could be better.
Positive Signals for Ad Creatives in Facebook Ads
When running your ad creative experiment during lookalike audience campaigns or testing the ad creative with engagement campaign objectives, these positive signals help you discover what ad creative works best in your situation.
Positive signals include:
- CPC cost
- CPM cost
- Video views
- Clicks and clickthrough rates
- Conversions (would be the best telltale sign)
Closely keeping an eye for these positive signals helps you change and experiment with ad creatives on the fly.
And to be honest, depending on your ad spend scale, the difference in performance between the new and old ad creatives can be small—something to keep in mind.
But without data, you can never tell whether an ad creative is right or not.
Creation of Conversion and Sales-based Facebook Campaign Ad Sets
Now that you know how to manage winning ad creative let’s get into the bread and butter of Facebook advertising, creating and managing ad sets.
To create an Ad Set, click your campaign in the Facebook Ads Manager, and then click on ‘create’ and give your Ad Set a name. You can skip the ad creation for now.
Give your Ad Sets a name you can quickly identify, what targeting options you used. It’s a critical step because as we start scaling Facebook Ads, we will have many Ad sets across different campaigns, and you want to make sure you can find each one easily every time.
Then within the Ad Set setup, make sure that your conversion location is your website. And double-check whether you see the right Pixel and conversion event. For example, Your Website Pixel’s Name, Purchase event.
In the Budget & Schedule -section, choose a duration for the ad set. If you’re experimenting with targeting options, you want to make sure you set an end date for the experimentations.
In the Audience-section is where you’ll add the custom audiences and the lookalike audiences for targeting.
Choose a lookalike audience we created earlier here and make sure the ad set location matches the lookalike audience’s location.
When using lookalike audiences or custom audiences for that matter, you don’t need to get deeper into Detailed Targeting options (interests or behaviors) or demographic targeting. The lookalike audience will be the best representation of the people buying on your website if you have the data available.
In the Placement -section, choose Automatic Placements. This option gives you the broadest opportunity to reach everyone that would fit your lookalike audience’s characteristics.
Finally, make sure that you’ve set ad delivery to conversions.
Experimenting With Ad Sets In Facebook Ads
To discover, maintain, and eventually grow sales with Facebook Ads, experimenting with lookalike audiences through Ad Sets is crucial.
As of now, we created one Ad Set in our campaign. Now we need to decide on what we want to test and to what extent.
Always have some experimentations running, even if you discover a winning lookalike audience.
The point is to have your experimentations measurable and understandable. Therefore it’s crucial not to test too many different variations at the same time.
For example, in the beginning, you could be testing whether a broad targeting (like choosing a country as the only targeting or general interest) or principle lookalike audience of Page View works better.
Testing your lookalikes against broad options always gives a better idea of what you could get from your ads.
And in time, you’ll learn to find the positive signals faster from each experimentation.
For example, you’re testing how Purchase lookalike audience measures against the Page View lookalike, but quickly discover that Purchase lookalike does much better in the first week.
It takes Facebook time to optimize ad targeting properly. With our business experience and using Facebook Ads, we can use early signals to determine what direction the tested options are going and make quick decisions to maximize profitability.
For simplicity’s sake:
- Begin experimenting with two or three ad sets at the same time
- Start with a detailed lookalike audience vs. a broad option
- When you know the best lookalike audience, experiment what the best size of the lookalike audience (1-10%) is
- After finding a winning lookalike audience, always run new tests against the best performing lookalikes.
Managing Facebook Ad Campaign Experimentation Budgets
Technically, every time we are advertising on Facebook, we are experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t in our situation.
Therefore, we should consider every budget we set for our ads as experimentation, even if we scale up.
But it’s essential to think about experimentation budgets separately regardless. We need to understand how our results compare with each other at different budget levels.
The results of a $1000 a day campaign will be miles different from a $100 a day or $10 a day. But as a rule of thumb, experiments should have similar budgets; otherwise, we skew our data.
Figuring out the right budget allocation takes time and experimentation by itself and differs on your goals and the results you want to get from Facebook Ads.
Never stretch your budgets too thin. A thin budget will not get you a realistic representation of the results you might get now or tomorrow.
Scaling Sales-based Facebook Ads Campaigns
You’ve probably got an idea on how to scale a Facebook Ads campaign if you read and followed the guide thus far, but next, we will sum it all down.
- Grow traffic first and test ad creatives at the same time
- Use data to create custom audiences and lookalike audiences
- Find a winning combination of audiences
- Always run retargeting campaigns for each lookalike audience
- Always experiment with every combination
- Scale your budgets when you discover the best campaign
- Scale budgets with control
- Analyze and measure results and think about your business goals
Scaling winning Facebook Ads campaigns tends to lower your cost per result, and it’s crucial to plan the campaign’s end before the prices are too high to bear.
For example, during your experiments, you discover that you can achieve a comfortable cost per result of $20 and say you gain per sale $50 (after other expenses), meaning you earn $30 per conversion.
But as you scale, the initial cost per result might start to creep up towards that $50 mark.
To combat this, you need to calculate when you need to cancel that campaign and scale other winning campaigns.
In the best-case scenario, we will always have a campaign ready for scaling, and we’ll not have to get comfortable with losing campaigns with fewer results.
We hope that our Facebook Ads guide helps you grow your online store sales and helps you scale when positive signals tell you it’s time to seek growth on a new level.
While this guide does explain this method, it’s, of course, not the only way to grow sales with Facebook Ads and functions as a starting point to your advertising journey.
All of us will discover better ways of creating winning Facebook ad campaigns as we get more data about our customers, sales funnels, optimized online stores, and ad creatives.
And when it comes to maxing out your online store’s profitability, you will need to think about other marketing channels (like ecommerce SEO, influencer marketing) and using marketing principles like online marketing mix to your benefit.
Winning with one channel (especially a paid channel) leaves our business vulnerable to exterior changes we can’t control (for example, increased competition in advertising during seasons.)
Regardless, growing sales with Facebook Ads are effective but scalable and works well with most online stores. And as a sales channel, you can’t deny it, and it’s almost a necessity if you want to win as an online store.
But remember that Facebook Ads is more than just an effective sales channel. You can use it to effectively increase your brand awareness online, which this strategy isn’t the most suited for as optimizing sales will not get you the most brand awareness.
For example, you can also increase your Instagram followers with our Facebook Ads guide for gaining more followers.