5 Expert Tips for E-commerce Facebook Ads in 2021


At Frasca Digital, we’ve been seeing a lot of dated and misinformation regarding Facebook ads for e-commerce websites, so I decided to gather a list of my top tips and advice in general for 2021. Things have changed this year, more so than in past years as you might know (thanks Apple!). Facebook ads are what I do for a living, so I’m forced to keep up with these things daily. Might as well share for the community on Reddit.

Creative is more important than ever.

Gone are the days where you could throw up a low-quality ad with a mediocre product and rake in a solid 5+ ROAS. Things have been moving toward a more creative-focused FB ad world for a while now but this year has really solidified it – creative is king. End of story.

We’ve been seeing great results with more UGC-focused ad creative or content in general that seems native to the platform. Ideally, people should be near the end of your video ad before they think “This is a f*cking ad!”. If you are doing videos, make sure you have subtitles as most people watch with sound off. We’ve experimented with non-subtitle videos and they sometimes do well, but rarely. Test for yourself!

Even with still images, you can make a fun and unique native-looking video easily using something like Canva. Also – Facebook will reward you for using genuine, native content for ads on their platform.

Ideas: Unboxing videos, “TikTok” style outfit videos, influencer reviews, ect.

Check out your favorite brand’s ads in Facebook ad library for inspiration!

Proper funnel structure and objectives.

I can’t believe the amount of outdated advice that I’ve been seeing as of late when it comes to objectives and strategy. I understand it can be confusing and some of these theories seem to make sense at the time but at the end of the day, it’s equivalent to flushing money down the toilet.

For e-commerce, we run conversion objective 99% of the time. Don’t even consider moving away from this. Facebook is smart. If you put “Traffic” as your objective, you’ll get traffic (but no sales!). At the end of the day, we need sales. It’s that simple.

We structure our clients’ campaigns like the following, majority of the time:

  1. Always label as “purchase” event in adset level
  2. Top of funnel (TOF) (Cold) Conversion, CBO: Broad adset, Interest stacked adset, LAL adset 1% (ATC, All web visitors, Social engagers, Purchasers,)
  3. Middle of funnel (MOF) retargeting (Warm) Conversion, CBO: Social engagers adset, All web visitors adset
  4. Bottom of funnel retargeting (BOF) (Hot) Conversion OR Catalog Sales: View content/Add to cart adset

For retargeting campaigns, make sure to EXCLUDE purchasers. In bottom of funnel retargeting, I’m actually seeing better results using catalog sale objective rather than conversions. Something to try out for yourself.

One of our client’s accounts was struggling with the size of their retargeting audiences post IOS 14.5. Something we’re testing now is squishing MOF and BOF together into one campaign, making the audience size larger, and we’re seeing great results from it. Something to consider if you’re a smaller brand and struggling with retargeting. But for brands with more data, it’s best to keep MOF and BOF separate.

You might be wondering what I mean by a “stacked” adset. Despite what your local course selling guru might say, it’s common knowledge amongst real paid social experts that stacking is the norm and yields better results. Instead of testing each interest audience in a separate adset, we pool them all together and put it into one. This makes sure there is no audience overlap (waste of money) and keeps your overall audience BROAD, while giving you a true opportunity to scale once things get going.

Also – make sure to set up Facebook shop with your products (commerce manager). This allows you to tag your products directly into your posts and lets customers purchase straight off of Facebook/Instagram itself. I predict this to be huge in the upcoming years, get ahead of the trend. We’re seeing a good number of conversions coming from this on some client accounts.

Utilizing UTMs and Conversions API.

This might be a no-brainer for digital experts who’ve done their research since IOS 14, but for those who haven’t – use conversions api and UTMs.

UTMs are incredibly easy to implement and do help out a ton with knowing where your sales are coming from. You can set up Google Analytics to see if your sales and traffic are directed from your ads via UTMs. For you Shopify users, you can even click on an order to see conversion details or see a report of traffic/sales coming from your ads via UTMs.

Hyros is also an amazing option for tracking but is costly.

Stop touching your ads!

Too often we see frustrated clients complaining about not getting results. We take a look and the campaigns have had a significant edit nearly every day! Once you start your campaign, let it run without touching it for AT LEAST 4 days. Pros will let it run for a week with no-touchy. When you change the budget significantly or add anything new to the adset/ads themselves, it resets the algorithm and throws shit off track.

We look at it this way:

Imagine if you were doing the 100m dash in the Olympics while people were pelting you with tomatoes along the way. You wouldn’t get very far unless you’re Usain Bolt. That’s basically what you are doing by editing your ads every day and not letting them run their course.

Don’t start running ads too early.

Many brands come to us for management or advice that are a month old with no sales organically, yet want to start running social ads. No, god, please, no.

Unless you are an eCommerce veteran and this ain’t your first rodeo, it’s best to run your store for a while and get sales organically before moving to social advertising. By all means, install Facebook pixel right away. But don’t get your feet wet in ads until you’ve listened to what the market has to say about your products. Gather data. Listen to your potential customers. Get some sales.

Once you’re at the point where you can get sales WITHOUT ads and know your audience to a T, then it’s time to considering using paid social to scale things up.

​Need help Running Social Media Ads for E-commerce?

If these tips can help a single person turn things around or aid in getting them more sales, I would be ecstatic. If you do end up implementing any of these strategies, please let me know down the road how they’ve done for you. As always, the world of digital marketing is constantly changing so even these tips we’ve laid out might not be relevant in the future.

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