How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Ecommerce Sales


In 2011, advertising on Facebook contributed to the majority of the companies $3.7 billion in revenue. With nearly 850 million active monthly users, many companies are turning to Facebook ads to increase brand awareness.

facebook ads

But how can Facebook actually grow your ecommerce sales?

Because Facebook is a social networking site, it is automatically personal. You’re more likely to do something at the suggestion on a friend than of a total stranger, right?

Seeing an ad or sponsored story that a friend “liked” creates a level of trust between your brand and the user.

The low-cost, easy set-up, and targeting options make Facebook ads a great way to grow customer engagement on an ongoing basis, and ultimately drive sales.

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

Identifying your goals will help determine how you set-up and manage your Facebook ads.

  • Are you trying to build brand awareness? If so, you’ll want to reach a large audience with a widely targeted ad campaign.
  • Looking to increase your fan base? Sponsored stories increase distribution of your stories in the News Feed. When someone “likes” the page, they become a fan without leaving the page they’re on.
  • Hoping to drive sales? By offering giveaways or special deals in your ad campaign, you can drive people to your online store.

Step 2: Set up Your Ad

Setting up a Facebook ad is surprisingly simple.

When you are ready to set-up your ad, login to your Facebook account and go to 

External URL vs. Facebook Page

Right away you’ll see a couple of options. When a visitor clicks on your ad would you rather have them go to an external website, like your online store? Or would you like them to go somewhere within Facebook?

For most people, keeping users within Facebook is the best option. Your hope is that they will “like” your page, engage with your brand, and grow sales.

Linking to an Internal Facebook Page

If you choose to use an internal Facebook page, you will be given the option of paying for a Sponsored Story or Facebook Ads.

Sponsored Stories: Increases distribution of the News Feed stories published about your brand.

You can either sponsor a post or a page. When a visitor likes your page, it will show up on all of their friends News Feeds. Or, when a visitor likes a specific post, all of their friends will see a story about it.

Facebook is in the processes of renaming sponsored stories to feature stories. You may see both names within Facebook.

Sponsored stories are so effective because all someone has to do is click “like” at the bottom of the ad to become a fan of your business. You’ll be able to engage with the user on an ongoing basis, connecting them to your brand.

The best part is that this all happens without them having to leave the page they are on.

Facebook Ads: Promote a Facebook page, other destination on Facebook, or even your own website.

By customizing your message and call-to-action you can increase engagement. Actions from the viewer’s friends will be shown, increasing word-of-mouth awareness.

You are also able to specify the Facebook destination landing page (wall, photos, info, etc.).

Step 3: Target & Design Your Ad

Why are Facebook ads so effective?

Facebook ads target real people based on volunteered data.

By using Facebook ads you are able to target your ads to people based on information they provided describing themselves, as well as their interests.

You can target your ads by:

  • Location, Language, Education, and Work
  • Age, Gender, Birthday, and Relationship Status
  • Likes & Interests: Select Likes & Interests such as “cooking”, “baking”, or “Top Chef” instead of “appliances” or “kitchen cabinets”
  • Friends of Connections (allows you to target friends of users already connected to your page to reach a relevant audience)
  • Connections (this allows you to target your ad for current fans to promote special offers, etc.)

With traditional search based CPC advertising, you direct your ads at people that are actively searching to purchase products that meet your needs.

Facebook ads can help create demand for your products and increase awareness. Because of this, it’s helpful to think about what your target audience is interested in, rather than what they are looking to buy.

Being able to target this directly can be very helpful for growing ecommerce sales. Let’s say you sell camping gear.

You can target your search for 25-40 year olds who live in Colorado, watch Amazing Race and like rock-climbing.

Have a blog about web development?

Targeting your ad for males between 20-35 who like ThinkGeek , live in Silicon Valley and subscribe to Smashing Magazine.

Designing Your Ad

Facebook requires all ads to include an image. By using an eye-catching image you’ll increase the effectiveness of your ads. Make sure your image is relevant to the product or service advertised.

A few tips for creating successful Facebook ads:

  • Create multiple versions of your ads to determine which combination is most effective
  • Use a clear call-to-action in your body copy, highlight the benefits of your product or service
  • Target various audiences to determine which groups are most responsive to your ads
  • The smaller your target audience, the faster your ad will go stale. Update your ads regularly, changing the images and updating the copy

Step 4: Manage Your Schedule & Budget

Should you use CPC or CPM?

There are two options: cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM).

CPC is most effective for building “likes” and increasing engagement on your page or post. CPM would be an effective option for building brand awareness. While CPC is more expensive, you only pay when someone clicks.

Monitor Your Performance Often

Facebook rewards successful ads with a lower cost per click or cost per impression and more visibility. Because of this, it’s important to monitor your campaign carefully.

By experimenting with ads and target audiences, you’ll be able to see which ads produce the most user engagement, and ultimately sales.

That’s all! With each of the site’s 901 million users averaging 7 hours a month on the site, hopefully you are able to see how Facebook ads are proving to be a cost-effective way to engage new customers, increase brand awareness and drive sales.

Author Bio: Nii is COO of CPC Strategy, a shopping feed management agency and is responsible for day-to-day business operations and long-term financial, tactical and strategic planning for the company. He has been with CPC Strategy since January of 2007. Prior to working with CPC Strategy, Nii was a product manager at eBay working on algorithmic merchandising and reviews and guides.

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Traian is Director of Search Marketing at Pitstop Media Inc. He has more than 11 years experience in helping small and medium businesses generate and convert organic traffic from search engines. Connect with Traian on Google+. He is also the author of the Ecommerce SEO book.


One Response to “How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Ecommerce Sales”

  1. Jasmine said:

    Jun 19, 12 at 9:27 pm

    I have tried Facebook ads briefly sometime ago, but the result was not very good. I guess it might be due to the targeting or even my ad’s design. But after reading your article, maybe I give give it another try!

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