How Facebook Ads Are Still Underutilized with Retailers

1.86 billion. As of late 2016, that’s the number of monthly users on Facebook, as well as the number of people you could potentially reach with a Facebook Ad for your retail business.

To put this into perspective, a little over a fourth of the entire world’s population goes on Facebook every month. As if the sheer number of people that can be reached isn’t appealing enough, Facebook itself has one of the most powerful analytics and targeting platforms in the world. Retailers can see how to best target new users and tailor ads to fit the exact user profile for which they are looking.

Many merchants opt for the social media automation route, but there is too much opportunity with Facebook Ads to put them on autopilot.

Online merchants have barely skimmed the service of how powerful a tool Facebook Ads can be. No matter how well a Facebook strategy is, it could always be better or, at the very least, optimized for perpetual success.

Lack of Video Content

Video content has been getting a lot of buzz about being the next wave of media to which potential customers respond. By using a video either on social media or your website, viewers that are interested tend to stay on the platform or your website much longer than other sorts of media.

The benefits of incorporating video into your Facebook ad strategy are twofold. Not only are videos able to capture the viewer’s attention for a much longer period of time, but they are also a more engaging format that helps viewers understand what they are watching and what they are expected to do after. So now, not only are you sending traffic to your site, you are sending traffic that is educated on your brand, products, and services and is more likely to convert.

Facebook’s algorithm is suspected to actively prioritize video content. Retailers that create engaging and high-quality product or brand videos are more likely to see greater results from those video-centric campaigns. With more than half of all daily Facebook users watching a video on Facebook every day, it would be a huge missed opportunity to not create engaging and consumable video content in your Facebook ads.

Not Boosting Ads That Have Worked

Launching an ad that performs exceptionally well is an exciting moment for a digital marketer. Whatever specifications and designs you used clearly worked, so why let a good thing go to waste?

If a certain post you’ve previously shared is getting a lot of shares and interactions, you have essentially validated that it would be more likely to be successful for a larger, similar audience. If your post is particularly clickable and share-worthy, boosting it could end up getting even more exposure than you initially bargained for.

Not Targeting Familiar Traffic

While it may sound counter-intuitive to use Facebook ads to target people who have already been on your site and are familiar with your brand, this is actually a highly effective way to strengthen the connection to those users.

While having a customer acquisition strategy is a necessary component to a successful marketing plan, you shouldn’t neglect the portion of your Facebook audience familiar with your brand. Not only is it a good way to build your brand, it’s also significantly less expensive. The probability of closing a sale with a new prospect is between 5% to 20%, whereas closing a sale with a previous customer is between 60% to 70%.

Not only are they more likely to buy from you, they are more likely to spread the message if they had a positive experience with your brand. Using Facebook Ads to target traffic familiar with your site can be used for anything for a kind reminder about your business, to even pushing a referral program that could be more effective than using Facebook ads to target new traffic in the first place.

To get started, you will need to add a small string of code called a “Facebook pixel” on your site to allow Facebook to collect pertinent information about your site’s visitors. Once it has gathered enough data, go to the “Custom Audience” option, and you will be able to use the “Website Traffic” option to target users that have been on your site.

This is a simple way to increase click-throughs and test different retention strategies with visitors familiar with your brand.

Not Targeting People Who Can Buy Your Products

A mistake many retailers make is not qualifying their targeting metrics enough. Ultimately, if you are using Facebook ads to generate sales, you want to be hitting prospects that are willing and able to buy your products.


For example, the 18 to 26 age range is a very popular age-targeting range since younger people tend to be more active on social media (hence, more likely to click, share, and engage with your ads), but, when it comes to buying an expensive product, they might not be as willing. If you are selling $120 casual shirts, a college sophomore might “like” your ad but, likely, won’t buy it.

In the demographics tab of Ad Manager, you will find a financial section that allows you to target an audience based on net worth or annual income.

Inserting this small change in your Facebook ads will help to qualify the type of people your ads reach.

Final Thoughts

At the core of the Facebook Ad underutilization issue is a combination of not using Facebook Ad Manager to its fullest potential, failing to retain traffic, and failing to optimize the visual components of your ads. Facebook Ad Manager lets you niche down and segment your audience into such specifications that it’s almost impossible to not hit any type of user you want. Once you figure out which users respond best to your ads and value proposition, you still have work to do.

In order to not let your hard work on the front-end and expensive acquisition costs go to waste, incorporate a plan for retention in your Facebook Ad strategy. This could be anything from creating campaigns aimed at collecting emails to launching referral programs to your existing users.
There are literally billions of fish in the Facebook sea. There are countless combinations to make Facebook ads work for any retail business, so find a handful that do a great job for you. Look out for consumer trends that could impact your Facebook ad strategy moving forward.

About the author: Ronald Dod is a partner and CEO of Visiture, LLC. After founding Grey Umbrella Marketing, an internet marketing agency which focuses on Search Engine Optimization for eCommerce businesses, he merged with Visiture to create a full service search marketing offering for eCommerce businesses. His passion is helping eCommerce business owners and marketing professionals navigate the search marketing landscape and use data to make more effective decisions to drive new traffic and conversions. He holds a Masters in the Science of Marketing from Florida State University and is certified in Google Adwords & Analytics.

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