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5 Tips on Mastering Facebook Mobile Advertising for E-commerce

Written by: Laurie Cutts, Director of Marketing

Leading retailers throughout the world are leveraging Facebook Mobile, and rightfully so. With 680 million users regularly connecting via mobile, Facebook offers a massive and tantalizing audience to retailers. So how committed are marketers to the mobile e-commerce opportunity on Facebook? By all accounts, they are embracing it as a critical engagement point with their base. The space is not only large; ad spending is hitting new heights. 20% of Facebook advertising revenue is coming from mobile and retail is reportedly one of the top industries that is leveraging the social network to find and acquire customers.

A well-executed Facebook mobile advertising strategy allows retailers to engage their audience and generate tangible results in ways that traditional and online media channels cannot. With Facebook mobile advertising, you can:

  • Find and acquire fans, members and purchasing customers
  • Efficiently promote unique, timely, and personalized offers
  • Drive increased traffic to your mobile and offline store
  • Develop an opt-in database of customers for future direct response marketing initiatives
  • Regularly experience mobile click-through-rates that are 46% higher as compared to desktop

Following are five tips to make Facebook mobile advertising an essential part of your e-commerce marketing strategy:

1. Extend relationships with existing customers.

Mobile advertising on Facebook shouldn’t solely focus on acquiring new customers. You can leverage Facebook’s custom audience feature to reach their existing customers on mobile.  For example, many companies with significant audiences in the desktop space want to move these companies to their mobile app.  By uploading your CRM information (phone numbers, emails or Facebook user IDs), Nanigans can match this information to Facebook profiles with similar information, creating a custom audience of existing customers to target.

2. Find customers that look like your best customers.

Even more compelling, if you provide a list of customers with optimal lifetime values, Nanigans can try to find more users like them.  We can analyze what your customers have in common and then show your ads to similar users.  This “lookalike” feature can be a highly effective way to find and acquire profitable customers.

Facebook provides an infinite number of combinations of characteristics you can use to determine who sees your ads.  Nanigans leverages the information in users’ profiles to give marketers the ability to show their ads to a specific audience.

We recommend targeting broad keyword sets such as fashion/shopping or retail goods. After you’ve been running long enough, you may want to try serving untargeted ads to capture an even broader audience.

Targeting options include:


  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education
  • Relationship status
  • New job
  • New home
  • Expecting


  • Relatable brands
  • Technology
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Fashions
  • Games
  • Pages Liked

It’s important to adjust your criteria to target a relevant audience while keeping estimated impressions large enough to capture your full audience.  Facebook recently released two new targeting options for mobile app developers: operating system version targeting and wifi targeting to drive app downloads. There’s also the opportunity to leverage “partner categories,” or audience segments created by third-party data providers that U.S. advertisers can use for targeting.   Grocery purchases, shopping habits and car ownership are among the new options advertisers will have access to on Facebook.

3. Develop ad creative specific to Facebook Mobile.

Not surprisingly, Facebook is a unique channel and your creative assets should be designed to reflect what works best on this platform.  Here are a few tips and examples for designing mobile ads that drive results for retailers:

A.) Leverage Mobile App Install ads for apps and Unpublished Page Posts for mobile websites.   These two ad units appear directly in the Mobile News Feed which means greater visibility (40% of users’ time is spent there) and ultimately higher returns.  Ads in the mobile News Feed perform 46X higher than Facebook domain ads which appear on the right hand side of the page.

B.) Make sure your images contain less than twenty percent text. This is required according to Facebook policies.

C.) Feature a timely offer in your call-to-action.  Our data shows that Facebook shoppers are more likely to respond to CTA’s that offer a discount or a percentage off within a specific timeframe.

D.) Vary the types of images in your ads.  Highly polished images such as a front and back shot of a product or person wearing the product work best.

E.) It’s important to refresh your creative every few days.  Click-through-rates and action-rates can drop significantly after running the same creative to the same audiences for more than a week.

F). Keep your images contextual to your targeting. For example, show cosmetics to people who have liked cosmetics and handbags to users who have shown an interest in accessories.

G.) Always be testing. By constantly testing new layouts and styles, you can get a sense of what works and resonates with different types of targeted audiences. Facebook is continuing to evolve its mobile ad units and strategy so it’s important for advertisers to learn as much as they can now to stay ahead of the curve.

A Facebook performance advertising platform can show you which ad creative perform best across not only CTR, but sales and ROI.   This will save you loads of time so you don’t have to sift through data trying to determine the best performing ads within specific campaigns.

4. Strategically bid with optimized CPM.

Rather than CPC or CPM, bidding, optimized CPM based on your CPI goals can be more effective for Facebook mobile because click-through and conversion rates are typically higher. Optimized CPM allows you to set a goal (revenue, registrations, app installs, page likes) and automatically target your ads to audiences that have the best chance of reaching your goal. Optimized CPM bidding requires integration of the Facebook SDK or a Strategic Preferred Market Developer partner like Nanigans who can help manage the process.  It’s also important to consider the size of your audience segment.   Allow for higher budgets for your advertising to drive a higher volume.   We recommend a minimum audience segment size of 500,000.

5.  Measure and Refine Results.

Retailers have found that Facebook is a plentiful source for finding and acquiring customers.  In fact, some of Nanigans’ clients have found that it can be their most efficient channel with spends at large volumes.  Following are the key metrics:

A.) Spend – It is important to track your spend so you can ensure proper flighting and campaign expectations are being met.

B.) Volume – Tracking the number of actions in your campaigns based on specific time frames allows you to optimize your spend to the most efficient parts of the day, week or month.

C.) Conversion Rates – It’s essential to know your conversion rate so you can properly benchmark your campaign.    Retail conversion rates on Facebook on average range from 1-2%.  By establishing a benchmark, you can allocate additional spend to specific campaigns that meet your goal and reduce spend on those campaigns that are underperforming.

D.) Lifetime Value Forecasting (LTV) – This consists of a few metrics including Total Spend, ROI and Expected LTV.   By having an understanding of each of these metrics across lifetime value forecasting you can more accurately predict future campaign performance.

E.) Cohort Analysis – By analyzing cohorts, you can better understand how different groups of people perform rather than individuals so you can apply learnings at scale.


A significant number of retail brands – across all types of categories – are already advertising on Facebook, with more joining every day. These brands are using Facebook mobile to drive a variety of goals, ranging including sales, registrations and app installs. By leveraging visually appealing ad creative, broad targeting strategies and engaging consumers with action-oriented promotions, retail marketers are making the most of Facebook mobile to deliver against their goals in an effective and efficient way.

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