Social media marketing is an integral part of a business’s holistic marketing strategy. Some may think social media isn’t the best way to garner conversions for an e-commerce site. However, with A/B testing and understanding your brand, it may be the best way to speak to your audience, spread brand awareness and boost your sales and revenue. See how we grew one client’s Facebook Purchase ROAS from 1.3x to 12.4x and how you can best think about social media when it comes to your business, so you reach your main KPIs and generate consistent ROI.
Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world, with more than 2.2 billion monthly active users, three-quarters of whom visit the site daily, and 51% visiting the site several times a day. With such a wide range of users, and with them visiting the site often, it’s one of the best social networks to utilize when advertising for your e-commerce business.
With that said, running Facebook ads for your business is a great tool to increase brand awareness and engagement, but also for growing online sales. Facebook can help any business, but to understand what resonates the most with your audience and remains the truest to your brand, you must do A/B testing within your campaigns. When it comes to A/B testing, you only want to test 1 element at a time to truly understand what works best for your audience. Here are several ways to run A/B tests on Facebook, and some examples from one e-commerce client who wanted to increase product sales.
This is the most important piece for running Facebook campaigns, and should be the first thing you do before creating the ads! When brainstorming how to best promote your brand, message, and products on Facebook, think of the different categories your business falls under and leverage these specialties throughout the year, creating a campaign schedule for your brand. For example, prior to crafting a strategic ad strategy for our e-commerce client, the sole campaign they had running was a product promotion campaign by month. As much as this was an important campaign category, and one we continued to run, we also looked at all other products this client had to offer and came up with several categories we could group them under for a more robust campaign structure. For example, we had seasonal campaigns where we would feature gift sets during the holiday season, fall products during the fall, and so on. We also tested their larger product categories, which were a clear connection to their business’s mission and thus great campaigns for their brand messaging. With that said, the most successful campaign we launched for this client, and one that can be used universally across all e-commerce clients, is a best sellers campaign. We not only gathered the list of products by looking at data, but also by talking to the client about what they see people buy and love the most.
TIP: Using data to help come up with these categories is a great place to start. It’s also a good idea to sit in a room with a few people and brainstorm different topics you want to try out. However, although all of this information should, in theory, tell you what will sell well on Facebook, to make sure your campaigns get you the performance metrics you're looking for, you’ll need to invest the time in A/B testing.
One element to test within your Facebook campaigns is creative, which includes your ad’s imagery and copy. When testing the creative of your ad, only choose one of the two: imagery or copy, and run that first before testing the other. This way you’ll be able to best pick a winner amongst your audience. When it comes to testing imagery, run an A/B test where one ad features the product, and the other features a lifestyle image of that product. In the case of our e-commerce client, we found lifestyle imagery outperformed product imagery. So, for example, instead of featuring a tote bag against a white background, we’d feature a person holding the tote bag, with potentially other brand gear on as well, for further push of the products and how they are used.
The other piece of creative testing is copy, which includes your main messaging for the ad and the CTA button. Through ad copy testing, we found our e-commerce client’s messages resonated well with audiences when it was a heartfelt message that pushed the brand, rather than a mere description of the product. Testing ad copy and understanding what not only garners engagement, but also revenue will be beneficial to implement successfully across all campaigns. One other piece to test within Facebook ads is the use of emojis. Emojis can help with driving more clicks and engagement. This is an element to test amongst your audience but can be beneficial in enhancing your ad tone and having it appear more organic and authentic within Facebook’s newsfeed.
Having several different kinds of ads running on Facebook is a great idea to make sure you hit all your KPI goals. For example, having a Page Likes campaign is important to continue throughout each month to continually increase your Facebook page follower count. However, it’s also important to have several ads that are created to either garner Link Clicks, Purchases, or whatever your main goal is for driving revenue. Through the eyes of an e-commerce site looking to produce purchases from their Facebook ads, it’s important to make sure the campaign is set up to have a marketing objective of conversions and is set to making a purchase. Once you have the campaign set up for this goal, the next step is to decide what kind of ad format you’d like to use. We have found this piece to be very important in ensuring the campaign is successful. The three ad formats we typically chose from are Single Image, Video, or Carousel.
When we launched a new campaign for our e-commerce client, one of the first A/B tests we’d run was an ad format test to understand which performed better. Each campaign performs differently, so if a Single Image performs best for one campaign, don’t assume it will perform best in the next campaign. With that said, we took the time to test out if a Single Image or Carousel ad performed better for most of the campaigns, and there was always a clear winner. For one campaign, the Single Image performed 87% better than Carousel in terms of purchases brought in. Continually testing out Ad Formats within your campaign is important in making sure your content is presented to your audience in the way they interact it with best.
Finally, audience testing. I keep saying how you need to understand how your audience reacts to different aspects of your ad, whether that is the image, ad copy, or ad format. However, another element to test within your campaign is the audience you are targeting. With our client, we used several different audiences within the campaigns, ranging from people who had similar interests to their mission and groups on Facebook, to those who were only interested in one type of product. When creating audiences, take advantage of narrowing down the audience by location, interests, age and even the lookalike audiences which can help with prospecting campaigns. Testing audiences on Facebook helps you understand who your best target audiences are on Facebook for your business and what kind of content they respond to best.
Running ads on Facebook can be a great place for your e-commerce site to generate revenue. However, as much time as you spend in coming up with the strategy behind the Facebook campaigns, you should also spend in A/B testing. Testing the creative, ad format and audiences within your Facebook campaigns is key to your business connecting with your target audience and receiving the ROI you have set to accomplish.
Remember with A/B testing to only test one element at a time, clearly, track performance and once completed, analyze the data. Don’t automatically assume the winning variation in one campaign will be the winning variation in another. However, using the data that Facebook reports out on and comparing that with Google Analytics results should help guide your future campaigns and alter the way you approach certain audiences or ad formats. Use your brand to your advantage and highlight the things that set your product and message apart. Test the idea, analyze its results, and test again.