How do I split test facebook ads
How to Avoid the 19 Biggest Mistakes In Facebook Marketing
In today's guest post, Berlin-based Shopify partner and digital entrepreneur Luis Huegel explains how you can avoid mistakes in Facebook marketing and instead advertise your company successfully on the world's most popular social media platform.
Facebook marketing is like many things when you start a business - you try, you improve, and then you start all over again. In the past few years I have made a lot of mistakes myself and have also looked after a large number of customers who have just started with Facebook marketing. Making mistakes is part of it and an important part of improving.
So in this article I want to introduce a few of these lessons in the hope that you don't have to repeat them. So that you can find your way around better, the errors are not sorted according to importance, but thematically and, where possible, build on one another.
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Mistake # 1: You don't have a Facebook Pixel installed
“What cannot be measured cannot be controlled,” said Peter Drucker, and this statement is more true than ever, especially in online marketing. Many shop operators do not even know how much data is available to them and what to do with it.
Data allows us to systematically improve our marketing. Of course, this does not mean that creativity does not belong to marketing, on the contrary - only the data can provide the right impetus to use your creativity in a targeted manner.
To ensure that all data is recorded correctly, you should first of all make sure that you have correctly integrated the Facebook pixel into your Shopify shop.
Mistake # 2: You don't test regularly
The variables that determine the success of a campaign are so numerous that regular testing is the only sensible strategy. Of course, good campaigns can and should be scaled, but you have to be aware that any strategy only works temporarily. With small iterations and improvements, you can have more success in the long term than if you had to develop a completely new concept every time.
Mistake # 3: You don't test systematically and don't build on the results
It is relatively easy to start a split test on Facebook. However, it is much more difficult to learn systematically from the results and to build on them in the next tests.
Since the ad manager on Facebook can get quite confusing, I can advise you to create a separate list on which you can evaluate the test results. Excel or Google Sheets is usually more than sufficient. Make a note of what you have tested for each test and the results of your most important metrics. A list of the most important metrics per campaign type can be found further down in this article.
Mistake # 4: You are not using Custom & Lookalike Audiences
Two very valuable components of Facebook targeting are Custom Audiences (customer-specific target group) and Lookalike Audiences (doppelganger target group). Yet few achieve the full potential of this type of segmentation. With a few tips and helpful apps, however, everyone can do this. As a quick reminder: Custom Audiences are lists of existing customers and people who interacted with you on Facebook or visited you on your website. Lookalike Audiences build on these and find similar people as in the Custom Audience.
Custom Audiences are used to address existing customers or to guide interested visitors to a purchase. Lookalike Audiences are useful for attracting new visitors to your shop. In this article I describe a simple but efficient Facebook marketing setup for Shopify that demonstrates many of the advantages of Custom & Lookalike Audiences.
The Shopify app Looga exports value-based custom & lookalike audiences to you at the push of a button. Other apps like Kit almost completely take over your Facebook marketing and create many campaigns and target groups automatically. I co-developed the first app with the ulterior motive of making it easier for Shopify sellers to use qualitative Facebook audiences.
Another little tip: Create a custom audience with people who have bought in the last 30 days and exclude them from your campaigns. You shouldn't address recently converted customers with a buy recommendation again. This is a waste of money and is often annoying for customers.
Mistake # 5: your audience is too big (or too small)
The optimal size of your target group primarily depends on your campaign goal. But since Facebook audiences can contain from 20 to 20 million users, there is a lot of leeway. If you want to address new people with the help of a lookalike audience, a target group size of 500,000 to 1.5 million is recommended. You should subdivide larger groups again in a meaningful way, otherwise your targeting is not specific enough.
Custom audiences tend to be smaller and more targeted. Here the type of custom audience determines the size. Some of these are also dynamic, for example if you create a retargeting target group with shop visitors from the last 30 days. Especially with small target groups, make sure that there is no ad fatigue (next mistake).
Mistake # 6: Your ad is showing too many times to the same people (ad fatigue)
Ad fatigue describes the decrease in campaign performance due to too often showing an ad to your target group. This can happen if your target group is too small, your budget is too high or the campaign has been running for too long without changes.
The most important metric to look out for is frequency. Especially with small target groups through custom audiences, a high frequency can be achieved quickly. If this value is above 3 or 4, you should bring a breath of fresh air to the campaign with text changes, new images or a new target group.
Mistake # 7: You always let campaigns run automatically
Facebook offers you a variety of placement options for your ads. In addition to the well-known news feed ads and the ads on the right-hand side of the screen, you can conveniently place your ads in Messenger, Instagram and the Audience Network.
However, the placements should not only be seen as additional channels, but should be used in a targeted manner. Depending on which goal you want to achieve with your campaign, another placement option is suitable. Facebook has published a guide to help you orientate yourself.
In addition, there is the decision whether the ad should be played on mobile or desktop devices. Always think about the action that you want your customer to see and where it would be most natural. Interactions such as likes or shares are very easy on the move and therefore popular, but expensive products are still increasingly being bought on the desktop.
Mistake # 8: Your ad image is not attracting attention or has too much text
Your ad is often right next to friends' photos or cat videos in the news feed, so it's all the more important that it attracts attention. So use quality images with strong but pleasant colors that can be seen without much detail. If you have text on your pictures, keep this to a minimum, as Facebook disadvantages pictures with a lot of text. With this tool you can easily check your images for text content.
Mistake # 9: Your ad text is too long, unclear, or has no call-to-action
In addition to the picture, the ad text is your way of attracting the visitor's attention. As quickly as possible, without having to read a lot, and with a clear call to action.
Focus on the benefits of your product, less than the description (that's what the picture is for). Be as brief and concise as possible here, and don't be afraid to use humor. A study by AdEspresso showed that the majority of ads are between 4 and 20 words long.
Designing and creating advertisements is a science in itself. There are quite a few good articles on this that you can take inspiration from.
Mistake # 10: You only ever have one ad per ad group
The campaign structure on Facebook allows you to group ads within ad groups. Facebook then decides and optimizes which variant is played in order to achieve the best result. Therefore, it is always good to have several images and text variants, from which Facebook can pick the most effective one.
Mistake # 11: You're jumping to conclusions about campaign performance
Facebook's algorithm for displaying the advertisements is a data-hungry beast that only becomes really effective after enough food. With the first impressions, Facebook systematically tests how and where your ad can best be displayed in order to achieve your stated goal. Facebook makes a lot of small changes that we don't see, but that affect how the campaign continues to broadcast.
To aid this process, it is in your interest to give Facebook as much data as possible as soon as possible. A tip for this is the fast-take-off method, in which you spend more than your planned daily budget at the beginning of the campaign in order to generate more data faster.
Nevertheless, you should be aware that you have to wait at least 24 hours (48 hours for a very small budget) before you can make a statement about the performance of the campaign. Don't stop your campaigns early because not enough is happening when it's only been running for a few hours.
Mistake # 12: You are changing too much to the campaign in a short amount of time
If there are major changes to a campaign, the Facebook algorithm starts to learn again. For example, if you change the audience, image or text, Facebook will have to start collecting data again. Try to make as few changes as possible to active campaigns.
Mistake # 13: You're not looking at all, or looking at the wrong metrics
Every company has different goals (growth vs. profitability vs. brand awareness) and these should determine your campaign types. Rather, it is about the evaluation of the campaign performance and which figures are indicative of the success of a campaign.
Here is a small list of important metrics per campaign type:
- Traffic:CPC, CTR, relevance, frequency
- Conversion: CPC, CTR, ROAS, cost per purchase, purchase value, shopping cart value
- Brand awareness:Reach, relevance, actions, likes, social reach
Mistake # 14: The content of your landing page is not based on your ad
When designing your advertisements, you should always make sure that the advertisement leads to a suitable landing page. For example, if you show a single product in your ad, your store visitor will also expect more information about that product. However, if the click directs the user to your shop homepage, it is highly likely that the user will jump back because they cannot find what they are looking for directly. Advertised characteristics from your ad should also be easy to find on the landing page.
Error # 15: Your shop loads too slowly or is not displayed correctly
How annoying it would be if you lose visitors for whose clicks you paid for, because of long loading times. The fact is that up to 30 percent of your visitors will leave the page again if it has not loaded within five seconds.
Almost half of all online purchases are now made from mobile devices. The “mobile-first” doctrine is therefore mandatory. Fortunately, Shopify makes this very easy, as many themes are designed for mobile devices. Still, I advise you to use as many different mobile devices as possible to thoroughly browse your own shop and make sure that the experience is smooth and pleasant. Because that's exactly what most of your customers see - not what you see on your 27-inch screen when you tinker with the theme 😉
Mistake # 16: You are not collecting email addresses
An email list can be gold. With the email of a user, you can bind them to your brands in the long term on several channels. With Custom Audiences, you are no longer limited to traditional emails.
There are many ways to get a user's email. Here are a few examples that can also be combined well.
- “Let's be friends”: Sometimes it is enough if you kindly ask the visitor to leave the e-mail in order to receive offers and news. Many also offer a discount on the first purchase here. (Apps: Klaviyo)
- “Spin to Win”: These widespread plugins playfully invite the visitor to take part in a competition. This is primarily about collecting e-mail addresses. (Apps: Spin-a-Sale, Justuno)
- “Where do you want to go?”: So-called exit-intent popups ask the visitor to leave an email before leaving the shop. (Apps: Privy, Sumo)
Mistake # 17: You are not using retargeting
Retargeting is one of the most powerful digital advertising methods currently available to us. In short, you address visitors who have already visited your site again to remind them of your offer. With the help of the Facebook pixel, you can use the behavior of the visitor in your shop as an information basis for creating campaigns. Dynamic ads are used to specifically advertise the products that the visitor has already viewed. Here, too, the integration with Shopify is not difficult. Apps like Kit or Shoelace can also do this for you completely.
Mistake # 18: You are not in direct contact with your customers
Everyone gets too many emails these days, and the effectiveness of this medium diminishes over time. It is therefore all the more important that you integrate direct communication channels into your marketing strategy now.
Here, too, Shopify makes it as easy as possible for you to get started with apps. The free app tawk.to enables you to have a live chat with your shop visitors, for example. Other apps like chatchamp or ShopMessage use Facebook Messenger to engage and win back customers. The mobile Facebook Messenger app alone has over 1.2 billion active users per month, so this tool is a good addition to any marketing setup.
Mistake # 19: You are not recording and evaluating your shop activity
In addition to the Facebook pixel, you can integrate other tracking pixels into your shop to better understand the behavior of your visitors.
With these tools you can analyze how your visitors behave in your shop, when they jump off and where they come from. Try to identify parts of your website or your buying process where a particularly large number of visitors jump off so that you can optimize them in a targeted manner.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for analyzing website traffic. You can evaluate where your visitors come from and which advertising measures are most effective, but also which click paths are the most common. This article describes how to use Google Analytics effectively and here you will find instructions for integrating it into your Shopify online shop.
Hotjar (screenshot on the right) is a tool available as a free version to generate a so-called heatmap of your website. Here you can see where there is more clicks on your website. The video recordings of the behavior of individual visitors are also very interesting. You can find help integrating Hotjar with Shopify here.
At this point I want to emphasize again that experimentation and iterating are part of the solution. Hopefully the “mistakes” in this article are starting points on which to build your own tests. Good luck with the campaigns!
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For more tips and tricks on social media marketing, check out the most popular article on the Shopify blog:
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Frequently asked questions about Facebook Marketing
Why Use Facebook Marketing?
How to Create a New Facebook Pixel?
What are Custom & Lookalike Audiences?
How do you narrow down the target group correctly?
What is the right ad text for Facebook ads?
About the author: Luis Huegel is a Shopify partner and digital entrepreneur. As Head of Product at Looga, he developed an app that helps Shopify retailers with Facebook targeting.
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