Passivity isn’t something that the typical online retailer can afford. If you sit back and expect the shoppers to roll in (as they might for a well-placed brick-and-mortar store), you’ll be sorely disappointed: while there is a virtual equivalent of footfall to be earned in the form of organic traffic, search rankings aren’t static, and an inconvenient Google update can sink you.

This is why pay-per-click advertising remains an invaluable sales tool. It’s flexible, rapidly adjustable (you can create, pause, resume or delete a PPC campaign at your leisure), and consistently effective if handled correctly — this includes choosing an approach that suits your specific needs. You’ll achieve solid ROI that’s easy to track, and have a fantastic platform for refining your efforts to do even better in the future.

And while you can advertise through Google, Twitter, or even Amazon, your main focus should be Facebook. It has by far the biggest reach of any social advertising platform, and with the remarkable complexity of its targeting options, you can keenly tailor your campaigns and ads to reach only the most relevant people.

So how should you use it correctly? Well, in this piece, we’re going to look at 6 strategies that all ecommerce brands should be using for Facebook Ads. Let’s begin:

Improve upon competitor ads

If you think originality is one of the most important elements of running good PPC ads, you’re right — but your concept of originality might be somewhat questionable. In practice, originality isn’t about developing everything from scratch to be distinct. It’s about building on what’s gone before: taking established ingredients and putting your own spin on them.

Accordingly, the smartest way to proceed often involves taking inspiration from what your direct rivals are doing. If you know that a competitor is thriving, and you can see that it’s investing heavily in Facebook ads, then there’s a solid chance that its tactics are working. Something you should absolutely try is iterating upon their methods. Do what they’re doing, but with a fresh tweak to make yours stand out — see how it pans out.

Direct people to your content

Have you put a fair amount of time into content marketing? If you haven’t, then that’s something else you need to rectify. Providing high-value original content is a key part of building a great modern brand, as it shows professionalism and expertise and brings in valuable traffic. Your instinct might be to stick to promoting your products, but that isn’t the only way to go.

Some people just won’t buy products through ads, but they might click on ads that offer interesting content. Once they reach your content, of course, you’ll be able to push them towards converting in a much more subtle way. It’s all about understanding the marketing funnel enough to apply pressure at the most opportune times.

Invest in excellent visuals

Because Instagram has been owned by Facebook since 2012, there’s rich connectivity between the two that even encompasses advertising — in fact, running Instagram ads requires the use of a linked Facebook page, and provides all the same options. And when you run a Facebook Ads campaign, you don’t just get the option of extending your ads to Instagram: it’s enabled by default provided you choose a compatible campaign objective.

So even if you’re under the impression that the visuals for Facebook ads don’t matter so much (they do), it’s tough to contend that it’s not worth making an effort for Instagram. Plenty of marketers budget heavily for volume but use low-quality stock images. Instead of doing that, invest in superb product photos and videos. The results will justify it.

Use multi-product ads

Multi-product ads do exactly what the name suggests: they display multiple products alongside one another (though you can also use a multi-product ad to display multiple tiles about a single product). For the cost of one ad placement, you can get eyes on several items, making it very economical if you’re trying to budget more carefully.

Is it a good idea in all situations? No, certainly not — but if you have several items in a range that you recommend buying together, or you want to show off the options for a particular category (proving that your store offers a lot of choices), then it’s tremendously useful.

Highlight positive UGC

Advertising annoys some people because they don’t want to hear what brands have to say about themselves. They assume that claims will be wildly exaggerated and products will be presented as far better than they really are — and it’s tough to blame them. So what can you do to bypass that skepticism (or even cynicism)?

One of the best options is to focus on UGC, or user-generated content, which encompasses everything from customer reviews of your products to photos customers have taken of your products in real-world use. Carefully-selected UGC paints your products (and your brand) in a positive light in a convincing way: it’s much easier to believe praise from a fellow shopper than it is to believe praise that a seller is giving itself.

Promote sales chatbots

Chatbots have rapidly gone from simple novelties to practical tools, particularly in ecommerce where being able to quickly and effortlessly answer customer queries (at great scale, no less) is absolutely essential for making sales and retaining interest. By implementing a chatbot through Facebook Messenger, you can give your store a support service that almost any customer can access (considering the incredible reach of Facebook).

When it comes to PPC, then, the trick is to use click-to-Messenger ads: instead of marketing your products, content, or UGC, they market your chatbot (or chatbots). That way, you can write copy explaining the value of your chatbot service and provide a direct link for the reader to start a conversation. Someone who won’t click for a product or because of UGC might click for an opportunity to get some relevant questions answered, so it covers another base.

Each of these Facebook PPC strategies brings something different to the table. You can use all of them, or just attempt a few of them — regardless, you should be able to meaningfully boost your performance in the process.

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