How to use Facebook Ads for your online retail objectives

By: Lengow


We continue our Social Commerce series with a look at which Facebook advertising formats work best according to your objectives.

Facebook is the world’s most popular social network and boasts over 2.01 billion monthly active users. With the launch of the Facebook Marketplace in 2016, the social network has gradually been increasing its involvement in the ecommerce industry and has become an essential stepping stone in the ecommerce journey.

Zephoria Digital Marketing reports that 42% of marketers claim that Facebook is critical or important to their business. This comes as no surprise as it is the perfect platform to reach a wider audience, engage with your customers and increase your brand's visibility. However, with the vast quantity of advertising formats available on the social network, how do you know which ad types would work best for your business? We’ve put together some advice about which Facebook Ads you should consider using according to your business objectives.

Boost your Brand Awareness

If your objective is to boost brand awareness, think about using Facebook Canvas Ads. The immersive mobile advertising format loads instantly, with an attention-grabbing design that puts your brand into the limelight. Once a Facebook user clicks on your ad, they are fully immersed into your brand through a full screen ad that encourages interaction through images, videos, texts and links.

There are several components involved in a Canvas ad, which allows you to display a header, image, text, carousel, call-to-action button, video and theme, all in one advert. The ads are easy to create, and you can either use one of the Facebook templates or create a one-of-a-kind canvas ad from scratch.

Canvas works best if you have a story to tell, so make sure to emphasise what makes your brand unique and really dive into your brand’s story, allowing customers to understand the core of your ethos and want to learn more about your products. Facebook has a handy guide for Canvas, to help you create the perfect ads.

You can also use Facebook Photo, Video and Carousel Ads to drive your brand awareness. For these advertising formats, ensure that you adhere to the social network’s design recommendations. For example, image ads should have an image size of 1,200 X 628 pixels, with text no longer than 90 characters and a headline with a maximum of 25 characters. You can find the full list of recommendations online on the Facebook Ads guide.

Drive Site Traffic and Conversions

If you’re looking to drive traffic to your online store and increase conversions, you can opt for Facebook Collection, an advertising format exclusive to mobile with a similar layout to Facebook Canvas. According to eMarketer, 60% of digital buyers will make a purchase via smartphone this year.

Collection facilitates this mobile buying process, encouraging users to make a final purchase through their smartphones. The Collection ad is integrated in the news feed and showcases a video which is accompanied by four secondary images, highlighting the products shown in the video.

Upon clicking on a Collection ad, Facebook users are directed to your product collection which displays up to 50 products without leaving the Facebook app. You can also add a call-to-action button to direct users to your entire catalogue. Canvas works to drive conversions and further immerse users into your brand’s story.

Another option to drive site traffic and inspire more clicks is to use Facebook Link Ads. These clickable ads can feature a video, an image or a carousel of images in addition to a call-to-action button. If you want to measure your results, make sure to install the conversion-tracking Facebook pixel.

If you have a special offer, make sure to use Offer Claims to further encourage users to purchase your products or click on your site. Through Offer Claims, Facebook users are given a barcode or QR code to redeem in-store deals, or sent directly to your website and given a discount code to use at checkout. Each offer is time limited, and users are sent notifications when the deal is about to expire, giving a further push for conversions.

Highlight Your Products by Encouraging Page Post Engagement

If your objective is to encourage post engagement with your Facebook content, you can create a custom audience and boost the photos, videos and texts shared on your page. According to Buffer, photo posts get 39% more interaction than links, videos or text-based updates. Furthermore, shorter posts receive 23% more interaction, so if you’re sharing a text post, you should limit your text to 500 characters.

Boosting your posts can help to promote your special events and news, or generally highlight your brand in the Facebook community. You have the option to select your audience, with targeting metrics such as age, location, gender and interests. You can also have boost your post exclusively to people who like your page. Once you have set a maximum budget, Facebook gives you an indication of the number who users your post will reach within your set time period. By boosting your posts, you can improve the level of customer engagement and interaction and encourage an increase of comments, likes and shares.

If you’re looking to highlight particular products, it’s worth using Facebook Dynamic Ads which automatically remarket products, targeting people who have previously expressed interest on your website, app or elsewhere on the internet.

The ads maintain up-to-date pricing and availability while encouraging users to complete a sale. To target holiday-makers with your travel promotions, use Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel which are built specifically for holiday packages to display real time pricing according to the consumer’s date and destination requirements.

Lead Generation

Use Lead Ads to generate leads and capture information about people who are interested in your business. Launched in 2015, these ads enable you to run lead generation campaigns that include a contact form, giving you essential information about users who are interested in your products or services.

When someone clicks on your ad, they’re directed to a contact form which can be auto-filled with their information and they are prompted to send their contact information to you. You can choose to customise the questions that you ask in the contact form (although you need to make sure to follow Facebook’s lead ads policies)  giving you the opportunity to get all the information you need for your business.

You can also add one of six call-to-action buttons to your Lead ads, incing:lud Sign Up, Subscribe, Learn More, Apply Now, Get Quote, and Download. Once your leads have been submitted, you can download them directly from Facebook or connect them to a CRM which allows you to download your leads faster. These ads work best if you’re in the hunt for new customers or want to encourage users to sign up or register for deals, app downloads or product pre-orders.

Store Visits

Launched in early 2015 to encourage a seamless multi-channel buying journey that brings together online and physical shops, Facebook Dynamic Ads for Retail are the perfect Facebook ad format to drive in-store visits. Retailers are able to implement retargeting campaigns and acquisition tools to promote their entire product catalogue on Facebook.

The advertising format is displayed to Facebook users near your physical stores, and with one simple click, they are able to locate their closest shops and check the stock levels and costs. Images are displayed in carousel format and the ad includes a detailed product description. If customers don’t want to go to the store immediately, they are given the option to purchase the products online or save them for later.

You can also use Facebook Photo, Video and Carousel ads to drive store visits by adding a ‘Get Directions’ call-to-action button. The adverts dynamically localise messaging to all your shop locations, and uses a creative template to customise each ad. The feature is available to anyone who has locations set up on their Facebook Page and the ads are optimised for mobile, catering to consumers on the move.


As the leading social network in the world, there are many benefits to using Facebook advertising platforms to help boost your ecommerce activity. The social network provides unrivalled access to a goldmine of potential customers, allowing for precise ad targeting and customer-brand interaction.

It is therefore essential to tackle the ultimate dilemma that brands face with Facebook, which is having a deep understanding of what each advertising format can achieve and how it can work to further enhance their strategies.


By: Lengow

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