If you want to sell your product online, Facebook ads are often the best choice, because nearly every paying customer can be found on the platform. However finding and targeting those customers can be a tricky thing, so we compiled a list of the three ways you can target for the best ROI.
Demographics and interests
When you first start off you actually won’t have anything else to go by other than the interest targeting offered by Facebook. Sometimes these can work great, but most of the time it’s just a stepping stone towards a better audience creation. Depending on the product or service you’re selling results will vary (e.g. it’s near impossible to target someone looking for a new car, however if you’re selling something for babies, you can easily target by interests related to infants – cribs, strollers, baby clothes etc.) but at the very least you will get visitors to your store or web page.
Page visitors aka retargeting
Once you’ve got your ads going and your page starts getting visitors, you can start using the best audience you’ll ever get – the so-called retargeting audience. However this covers a few different kinds of retargeting audiences.
- The simplest retargeting audience is just anyone how has visited your page – these are people who have shown some interest in what you’re offering and just might become your customers. This is a must-have audience that has to be a part of any campaign, unless you cover all your visitors in more specific audiences described below.
- You can also retarget visitors of specific pages on your web site – if you have different products, you might want to show different ads depending on what product page the user has visited. Don’t rush to create campaigns for very single product page though – the audience size must reach a certain limit before Facebook will show the ads to them, so at least at the beginning you might want to clump them all together.
- Once you start accumulating more visitors to your site or store, you should be distinguishing people by their place in the purchase funnel. The usual steps for online stores are – site visitor -> viewed product -> added to cart -> viewed cart -> clicked checkout. Each of these is better than the previous as the customer is closer to finishing their purchase and might be easier to convince.
- Depending on what you’re selling the last retargeting audience – purchasers – might be the best or worst audience you have. If you’re a pizza place, this is your best audience – someone who orders a tasty pie is likely to do so again (with a caveat though – they are unlikely to do so two days in a row, so you might want to exclude them from your campaigns for a few days after purchase). If you’re selling TV’s, your customer is unlikely to buy another one any time soon, so you should exclude them from your campaigns and not waste your hard earned money on them.
Facebook offers a wonderful tool that is called lookalike audiences. This is how Facebook itself describes it – “A Lookalike Audience is a way your ads can reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers”. In another words, it is an audience that is similar to an audience you’ve already created. How similar, in what ways and by what criteria – these are not disclosed by Facebook, but in our experience they do indeed deliver as promised.
A lookalike audience is built from seed audience – this can be any of the retargeting audiences we covered previously. The better and larger the seed audience, the better the lookalike audience. Ideally you would have an audience of a thousand people who have purchased your product and Facebook through their algorithmic magic would find you more people who are most likely to purchase. However if you only have a couple hundred page visitors and no purchases yet – that will do too. In most cases visitor based lookalike audiences perform better than simple interest based targeting and will get you to your sales goals faster.
To recap – you have the interest based targeting, which is usually a first stepping stone unless it somehow specifically works extra good for you. Then you have the various ways of retargeting your visitors – these audiences will be best at netting you sales. Last but not least – lookalike audiences built upon your retargeting audiences will widen your reach and pull more visitors to your site, after which they fall into your retargeting audiences and hopefully – end up buying your products.