Facebook Ads Guide for eCommerce Clothing Brands
Hello, and thank you for grabbing this insightful resource.
Some of the most persistent challenges we hear from brand founders like yourself revolve around inconsistent ad performance, uncertainties about ad creatives, feeling left in the dark by your agency, and the struggle to scale your ads without a dip in performance.
Well, we've crafted this free guide with you in mind to offer a glimpse into how we've tackled these very issues and helped brands navigate Facebook advertising.
One housekeeping note as you read the document. We will sometimes say Facebook or FB; at other times, Meta. We're still getting used to the name change. 😃
This brand faced many problems from a "best practice" perspective.
The brand tried to push every product simultaneously, with no "hero product" leading the charge in its ads.
The brand launched ads left and right without a clear plan. There needed to be a thought-out campaign structure for testing and improving these ads.
The brand's ads needed a more robust and compelling offer. It took a lot of work for customers to see why they should buy.
The owner knew ad creative was essential but wasn’t sure what kind of creatives to make.
The owner had worked with an agency but felt left in the dark. The lack of clear communication was frustrating.
But all of these issues created the most glaring problem of being unable to forecast revenue and scale profitably. When they tried to invest more in their ads, performance would drop at a particular spend. Scaling seemed impossible.
To successfully exceed this business goal, we implemented the following:
Reviewed the brand's P&L to understand the business finances and profitability. We wanted to understand if profitability was possible at the current average order value and how many sales they would need to make to offset the costs of creative, marketing fees, etc.
We audited and planned the creative strategy for the account. We wanted to understand if the client's existing creative resources would be enough and, if not, what our team needed to bring forward to solve the creative gaps.
We planned an account restructure to allow more room for a budget increase to minimize ROA performance's turbulent ups and downs.
We quickly and efficiently tested various angles and creative formats to find winning ads and messaging. Once identified, we utilized the highest converting ad formats & angles further to scale top-priority products and best sellers.
We audited the brand's Shopify tech stack and website performance to locate quick-win opportunities by increasing the site's conversion rate and average order value.
Using our eCommerce profitability calculator, we wanted to understand if profitability was possible at the current average order value and how many sales they would need to make to offset the costs of creative, marketing fees, etc.
Our initial audit showed that the brand needed to lift its AOV and improve its landing page view percentage and website conversion rate.
Here are some common rules to buy for eComm finances.
- While possible, don't bank on a sub $20 CPA to scale your brand. While reducing CPA is valuable, raising AOV is just as important.
- Aim to get your AOV above $100 on the first order.
- Keep your COGs somewhere in the 20-40% range.
- Keep agency fees under 20% of your ad spend.
- Review your income and profitability by product department and product type. Focus your ads on the department or products with the best revenue and profit, as long as your business does not require strategic introductory offers to gain new customers.
It’s no news!
Creative is the main lever to help scale your account.
Gone are the days of hacking the auction to get small wins. You must understand that Facebook's business objective is to keep its users on the platform long enough.
To succeed, you must align your ad creative and message with your audience's rational and emotional motivators.
Here is a quick breakdown of the process we use to plan a creative strategy.
Upload all of your customer reviews in a spreadsheet.
Look through each review to find the rational and emotional motivators.
Create a log of the motivators you find to understand which have the highest frequency ratio. These are the ones that matter most to your audience.
For this brand, we saw that the quality, comfort, and lifestyle associated with the brand were the most common.
There are a few opportunities in this phase. The key takeaways we want to gain are listed below:
- Understanding how we can improve the ad messaging & offers
- Understand what creative formats & structures the competitors are using
- Understand how we can improve our landing page strategy.
Understanding how we can improve the ad messaging & offers
There are two parts to studying your competitors: their reviews and ads.
Complete the same customer research process above for each competitor.
Then use the Facebook Ad Library to review their ad copy for rational or emotional motivators.
This is where things can get messy if not organized properly.
From a high level, you want to understand which rational/emotional motivators have the highest frequency ratio from their customer reviews and which ones they are talking about in their ads.
The goal is to find the following:
- Motivators that the audience cares about that the brands are not mentioning in their ads.
- Motivators in the reviews that you know you do better than the competition.
- Offers your competitors are running.
Understand what creative formats & structures the competitors are using.
Using the Facebook ads library, you want to look for common trends in the ad creatives to understand what may be driving success for their account.
Are they running a lot of one specific creative format? Images, videos, gifs, DPA/DABA.
Can you see a theme or trend in the creatives? Here are a few examples of creative themes.
Understand how we can improve our landing page strategy.
Analyze the landing page destination from their ads.
Are they sending traffic to the homepage, product pages, or custom offer landing pages?
Are they using UGC or other forms of social proof on the landing pages?
Review Google Trends
We used this to get insight into broader trends for the client's niche or industry. In this case, it was clothing, fashion.
Visit Trends.google.com and enter a keyword or topic related to your market or industry. Google Trends will show you that particular term's popularity and search interest over time. Analyze the trends to understand if the topic is gaining or losing interest among users.
Plan Your Creative Strategy
With all the information gathered, we finalized the overall creative strategy for the account, determined specific messaging themes and creative structures to test and put together two creative briefs.
One for our design team to optimize existing assets.
One for the brands' photographer to guide the next photo shoot.
Landing Page Optimization
You can have a great Facebook ad account setup and the most outstanding product and offer in the market. Still, if your site isn’t optimized, you will have issues driving sales at a profitable CPA.
While auditing the FB account, we saw that 80% of the budget was spent on mobile, which had a bad user experience, which caused a poor add-to-cart rate, and a slow load speed, which caused a low landing page view percentage. We placed both of these opportunities as the highest priorities for website improvements.
Here are some general KPI guidelines to help improve your website experience.
- The landing page view percentage should be 80% or higher. For example, if you have 1000 link clicks and only 500 landing page views, only 50% of the clicks you’re paying for make it to your website.
- Add to cart rate should be 5-7% or higher. If it is low, you may have opportunities to improve.
- Use Microsoft Clarity on your landing page and website to understand what is working, what’s interesting, and what is just fluff to prospective customers.
- Review offers and messaging.
- The website conversion rate from paid media efforts should be 3-5% or higher. If it is low, you may have opportunities to improve.
- Simplify the Checkout Process
- Build trust and credibility using customer reviews and testimonials while providing clear return and refund Policies.
Getting your offer right is crucial if you want to scale quickly and profitably using paid media, and we were ahead on this.
While other competitors were heavy on discounts, we decided to play a different ball game here.
Knowing fully well that your offer will stand you out from others, with the fact that this brand's AOV was pretty low, we wanted to come up with offers to help improve AOV, which will, in turn, boost profitability.
We decided not to run discounts as the primary offer as we’ve seen low LTV from such customers. We needed to do something very different; something simple and easy to understand throughout the customer journey offers work best.
We collaborated with the client and created a “surprise gift + free shipping above $100 on all orders” as the offer.
This made a lot of buzz as customers received surprise and delight at the mystery gift added to their orders.
We were pleasantly surprised at how high we could scale this while maximizing AOV and CVR.
Fun fact: This offer still runs to date...
Recommendations to improve your offer
- Gift with purchase (free candle, free case, something that’s high-margin, high-perceived value, and contributes to the product experience)
- Spend $X, and Get $Y off your order.
- Test BOGO instead of just a discounted rate.
We recommend using Rebuy to help improve your site's AOV.
It’s worth starting this section with one note; there is no such thing as a universal “best practice” for structuring Facebook ads. We’ve worked with businesses that have multiple ad accounts, each with specific audience types or campaign structures that worked for it.
Well, we take that back. There is one universal best practice that works for any business.
Listen to your customers and use those insights to guide your decisions.
We will share what we did with this brand and what we’ve seen the most success with.
The best thing you can do for your business if running paid media on Facebook is to avoid trying to outsmart the algorithm.
Post iOS14.5, we’ve moved towards a simplified and automated campaign structure - where Meta wants to give more data and control to machine learning.
With this in mind, we kept the account structure simple.
We identified 2 “hero product categories” we wanted to focus on with high margins and demand.
How did we structured this?
Because the products had different margins and new customer cost-per-acquisition target goals, we didn’t want to mix them in the same campaigns. Separating them gave us a holistic view of how each product is performing.
- Each product had its unique testing and scaling campaign
- Testing Campaign - A campaign designed to test new ad creatives.
- Scaling Campaign - Relevant interest-based audiences stacked together, high-value lookalike audiences stacked, and broad targeting.
- ASC Campaigns with mixed creatives / 15% budget cap towards existing customers)
- 1 Consolidated Remarketing campaigns using dynamic product ads.
How we define our Facebook ad audiences:
High-value lookalike audiences
Group together multiple lookalike root audiences using high percentages like 5%, 8%, or 10%. See some potential root audiences below.
- Top 25% of website visitors
- Segmented customer list (This will vary based on the client)
- 1x purchasers
- 2x purchasers
- 3x+ purchasers
- SMS Subscribers (frequently cleaned list)
Relevant interest-based audience stacked together
Take the best-performing interests in your targeting and combine them into one ad set to reach 20, 30, 40, 50 million, or more people in one ad set.
Wide open targeting in which the only things you change are age, gender, and location, but we would recommend keeping the location as broad as possible.
- 7-day Click
- We always run click-through attribution over view-through; from past testing, it’s less incremental, just taking credit for conversions it isn’t causing.
- The theory is that the algorithm learns that it can get more conversions on 7dc1dv by delivering cheaper impressions to users already in the funnel. Therefore, it doesn't need to try to get as many clicks to attribute conversions.
Message-Driven Creative Testing Campaign
Within the testing campaign, we ran ads set for specific messaging themes (aka angles)
- These messaging themes were all pulled from customer and competitor research.
- While we’re seeing, experts recommend using Dynamic Creative, which takes multiple ad components (such as images, videos, titles, descriptions, and CTAs) and uses that to optimize. Since we already had a winning copy and headlines, we launched our creative test in a NON- Dynamic Creative environment using 1 copy and 1 headline per ad. We only wanted to determine the angles we carved as headlines/hooks on the creatives.
- We ran 5 creatives per ad set.
- Let it run for at least 7 days, and we compare performance across by looking at the Spend, CPA, CTR, Thumb stop, and Hold rate. Whichever hits our target KPIs is being moved into the scaling campaigns using post ids.
- When moving winners to scaling campaigns, do not turn off the original creative test until the creative starts to pick up in the scaling campaign. And do not feel the need to turn off the creative testing campaign at any point if it brings you sales. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Hot take: Interest-based audiences still work!
Yes, you read that correctly.
We’ve seen comments from many in the industry that broad targeting is the only way.
Well, we disagree!
Don’t get us wrong; we believe entirely in letting your creative do targeting and running broad audiences but circling back to the intro to this section, there are no universal best practices with Facebook ads.
For this account in specific, looking at the history, we saw relevant interests and high-value lookalike audiences showing strong performance.
Here’s how we structured our Facebook ad scaling campaigns
Mixed Audience CBO
- 1 campaign
- 3 ad sets
- Broad targeting ( Age: 18-65+, US)
- Relevant interest stacked targeting
- High-value lookalike targeting
- 10% LLA Customer List
- 10% Purchase 180
- We use post IDs of winning ads from the creative testing campaign and throw them in weekly or as needed.
To minimize restarting the learnings of the campaigns, we launch all our winning ads in batches instead of launching one at a time.
We compare the trends on all KPIs’ and scale vertically by 20% every 48 hours if performance holds.
ASC Campaigns with mixed creatives / 15% budget cap towards existing customers - Website + Shops
Advantage Shopping Campaigns are the pioneering enhanced optimization model developed for the post-iOS14.5 era. It is exclusively designed to cater to direct-to-consumer and e-commerce retailers, enabling them to consolidate campaigns while prioritizing full-funnel marketing strategies.
The build-out process is in accordance with Meta's best practices as they operate under a sales objective, striving to enhance performance, increase scalability, improve efficiency, and foster customer growth.
ASC is a massive change in modern advertising related to control; we see it as a prospecting/retargeting hybrid campaign to ensure creatives can reach and connect to both audiences.
Seeing that we had different margins on the products, we separated them into two campaigns with mixed creative formats.
Since there’s little you can do, all that’s needed is
- Audience selection
- Placement: Website + Shops (Use the website only if you still need to set up a Facebook shop.)
- Targeting exclusions
- Facebook’s data isn’t as it was, so you must be strict by including your customer list.
- Existing Customer Budget Cap (We set this at 15-20% )
- You can scale as much as 20-40% every 24 - 48 hours if the campaign is time-sensitive and performance is good on the platform and third-party tracking. If performance in the campaign is declining, revisit the budget to find a good spot.
We’ve seen comments in the industry saying retargeting campaigns are dead, but it wasn’t for this account.
Especially if you are in the fashion industry, you want also to test retargeting with dynamic product ads seeing that you have different SKUs.
Facebook's Dynamic Ads enable you to promote your entire product catalog across Facebook automatically and Instagram platforms. It does well in retargeting as it tracks engagement on your website/feeds to continue displaying products they looked at or might be interested in based on other product interactions.
We consolidated our re-marketing campaign by stacking the relevant audiences in one ad set with a low budget while looking at the frequency and scaling vertically when needed.
Audience: View content / ATC 28 days
- This will vary depending on audience size; you could do 14 or 30 days if there is a lot of view content add-to-cart data or 45, 60, or 90 days if it's a smaller audience.
- Data quantities we consider needed to retarget each pixel event properly
- Page View - At least 30 - 50K on the 28-day view window
- Add To Cart - You can start slowly spending at 1.5 - 2k on the 28-day view window (For the bare minimum accounts, we can say 900)
- Checkout Initiated - Start slowly at 750 - 1,000 on the 28-day view window
- Purchase - Loyalty - 500 - 1,000 on the 28-day view window
Creative Testing Campaign: 10 - 15%, depending on your budget. The key things to consider are exiting the learning phase as soon as possible with 50 conversions and not compromising the likelihood of profitability in your account by spending too much on testing.
Pro Tip: We scaled this campaign vertically whenever it performed well.
Scaling Campaigns: 80% split across both campaigns
- Mixed Interest, Lookalike, Broad
Re-marketing Campaign: 5-10% depending on your budget (Keep an eye on your frequency)
As stated earlier, with the spend, the key thing is to ensure you have enough budget to exit the learning phase, and in cases where you don't, you can decide on keeping just one scaling campaign.
Best practice for setting up a campaign budget
- Determine the CPA for a given campaign in the last 30-90 days
- Multiply by 50 to get that campaign’s weekly budget
- Divide that number by 7 to yield your minimum daily budget
How we optimized the account
When it comes to campaign optimization, you first need to set KPI goals you want to hit, and this starts with understanding your margins. Ensure you’re setting achievable targets based on the account averages.
Ensure that each test runs for at least 7 days or with a 3x AOV spend and analyze your metrics.
Key metrics to focus on when optimizing your campaigns
Account Level - Spend, CPA, ROA
Ad level - CTR, CPC, CPM, Frequency, Thumbstop Ratio, Hold Rate
Website Level - LP View %, ATC %, Purchase %, ATC Abandonment Rate
Ensure you are not messing with your account and testing things daily; simply allow the machine to learn and optimize based on the data it receives.
This clothing brand saw a 216% increase in Q1 revenue YoY!
Q1 2022 Revenue -$ 88,945.79
Q1 2023 Revenue - $281,953.23
Even crazier, we saw a 26% increase in revenue in Q1 this year compared to Q4 last year.
Q4 2022 Revenue - $222,889.43
Q1 2023 Revenue - $281,953.23
Our initial 2023 goal for this business was to surpass 1 million dollars in annual sales for the first time, but based on the Q1 and Q2 performance, we are trending to pass that mark in Q3!