Facebook advertisers have tons of targeting options and campaigns to choose from. It's no wonder businesses of all sizes use Facebook's advertising platform—from small mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 100 companies.
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While having access to a massive variety of advertising options is a marketer's dream come true, it can also make getting started a daunting task. If you're feeling overwhelmed, check out the following six types of Facebook ads to see how you can apply them to your own business.
Table of Contents
- Lead ads
- Dynamic ads
- Abandoned cart ads
- Customer thank-you ads
- Existing customer new product ads
- New traffic generation ads
1. Lead ads
The lead ad unit makes the process of collecting email addresses and building email lists incredibly easy. With this ad unit, your prospects can sign up for an email list (among other things) with as little effort as it takes to like or share a post.
The beauty of the lead ad unit is that Facebook auto-populates most of the fields that a prospect would normally have to fill out manually. This reduces friction, which makes them more likely to follow through.
If you're looking to grow your email list, lead ads are a great option. You can use Zapier to connect your lead ad with your email service provider and leverage automations. New contacts will be added to one of your lists and entered into an automated workflow that you've created.
2. Dynamic ads
Dynamic Ads (formerly Dynamic Product Ads) connect your store's product catalog with your Facebook ad account and pixel. When someone visits your site and then logs into Facebook, they'll see an ad that features the same products they were looking at on your website. As a result, the ad they see is incredibly personalized and relevant.
Multi-product Facebook ads, or carousel ads, are a dynamic ad that promotes a collection of multiple items from your online store. Each product has its own caption, image and destination URL. According to Facebook, advertisers who use the carousel ad type have a 30–50% decrease in cost per acquisition and a 20–30% decrease in cost per click (CPC).
Here's how Nuu-Muu uses the carousel ad to showcase a range of products:
You can also apply custom audiences to your carousel ads. This can help you curate more targeted collections of items based on who will be seeing it. For example, maybe you have product categories on your website. You can create carousel ads for different categories and show them to users who've visited pages within the corresponding category.
To create a Dynamic Ad, use the Product Catalog Sales ad objective. I bet it'll quickly become one of your favorite Facebook ad types. Here's why:
When you run a dynamic ad, the copy is the same for everyone who sees it, but the creative is 100% unique and personalized based on the respective viewers' behavior on your website.
Campaigns can run indefinitely
If you run a lot of ads, you know how time-consuming it can be to refresh your creative. With dynamic ads, you can set it and forget it. Just remember to monitor performance!
Achieve multiple objectives
With dynamic ads, you can choose four different audiences to target:
- Viewed but not purchased
- Added to cart but not purchased
- Upsell products
- Cross-sell products
Based on your selected audience, the ad will automatically be optimized for each objective. Once again, this saves you time and leads to better results.
Many of Facebook's largest marketing partners have had impressive results with dynamic ads. According to Facebook, Wayfair has beat their customer acquisition target by more than 20% thanks to dynamic ads.
It's easy to understand why the ROI is so high given that it's the most personalized, targeted and relevant ad businesses can run—short of creating a unique ad for every Facebook user.
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3. Abandoned cart ads
Roughly 70% of shoppers abandon their cart, according to data collected by the Baymard Institute. In other words, for every 10 people who add a product to their cart, nearly 7 of them will leave your store without making a purchase.
How do you get these shoppers back to your store so they can complete the purchase? With retargeting, you can run a highly personalized Facebook ad aimed at these individuals. These ads typically offer an incentive, such as free shipping or 10% off, if the person returns to complete their purchase.
I've found that using a fun video for this type of ad delivers even more impressive results. I once ran an abandoned cart ad for my apparel store featuring a 30-second video of me telling the viewer that carts have feelings, and they're hurt when someone abandons them. It may sound silly, but this campaign had a 20x ROI.
4. Customer thank-you ads
Many business owners have a bad habit of putting all of their marketing efforts into turning leads into customers, and stopping there. This is a huge mistake.
It's much easier to turn a first-time customer into a repeat customer than it is to turn a cold lead into a first-time customer. And it's often significantly more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current one.
This is why I ran thank-you ads for my store. For two days post-purchase, new customers would see an ad featuring a 30-second video of me personally thanking them for their business. These ads generated significantly more engagement and organic reach per impression than any other ad I had previously run.
My objective with this ad was to build brand loyalty and increase customer satisfaction. Surprisingly, it's also turned a large number of first-time customers into repeat customers within two days of their first purchase.
5. Existing customer new product ads
As I mentioned in the previous section, business owners often spend enough marketing resources on their existing customers. It's amazing considering the probability of generating a sale from a new customer is between 5–20% while the probability of making a sale from an existing customer is between 60–70%, according to SignalMind.
What's even more amazing is that repeat customers spend an average of 33% more than new ones and 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
Given the data about repeat customers, it's a no-brainer that when you roll out a new product, the first ad you run should be an announcement targeting existing customers.
HelloFresh used this tactic to promote their new sub-brand, Green Chef. They partnered with influencers to run targeted Facebook ads to their existing customer base, announcing the latest arrival to the brand.
6. New traffic generation ads
Retargeting is great, but unless you're driving high-quality traffic to your site, it won't be very effective. It's always a good idea to have a Facebook campaign driving potential new customers to your store. I call this type of campaign a first touch point ad, as it's likely the first time the person viewing the ad has heard of your business.
Here's an example of a traffic generation ad from DreamCloud Sleep, announcing their brand and product to their audience:
This type of ad will typically have a lower click-through rate (CTR) and higher CPC than retargeting campaigns because you don't know as much about the people viewing your ads. But there are several ways you can decrease the cost and improve the performance of a first touch point ad.
Start with a Lookalike Audience
If you have an existing customer or prospect list, you can easily import that into the Ads Manager as a new Custom Audience.
Once that audience is ready, you can use it to create a Lookalike Audience of 2–20M people. This new audience will contain Facebook users who most closely match your existing customers, making them easier to target.
Use graph search and Audience Insights
Facebook provides advertisers with a variety of powerful free tools. Audience Insights allow you to discover a wealth of demographic, behavioral and interest data on all Facebook users. You can make this data more useful by filtering the search by specific pages, interests, locations and demographics.
Input your competitor's pages into Audience Insights to learn more about your potential target audience. This search will return an incredible amount of data about the Facebook users who like your competitors' pages, which you can use to target your first Facebook ads.
It's always a good idea to A/B test your Facebook ads, regardless of the type of ad, but it's critical to test your first touch point ads. For a new campaign, create two or three copy options and another two or three creative options. Test these variations on multiple audiences.
You don't need to spend a lot of cash to do this right. You can invest a few dollars a day on each variation for a week and then analyze the results. Upon analyzing the data, ramp up the spending for your best-performing copy, creative and audience.
To begin advertising on Facebook, start small, experiment, measure results, and iterate. The types of Facebook ads mentioned in this article can be a foundation for you to build your business's long-term social media marketing strategy. Now that you're done reading, start testing!
More resources to learn about Facebook advertising:
- How to Scale Your Facebook Ads (While Maintaining a Healthy Return on Ad Spend)
- 7 Common Facebook Advertising Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)
- Facebook Ads for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs
About the author: Maxwell Finn is a serial entrepreneur, consultant, and Facebook advertising expert.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article was originally published April 2016.