20 Sep '21


Get more sales from Facebook & Instagram ads

If you’re an individual or small team early on in your journey, using Facebook & Instagram ads for reach is one thing, but generating sales might require a bit more strategy and effort.

Done correctly, advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be a powerful way of growing revenue. So if you’re looking for ways to increase sales and get your products in front of the right audience… here are seven essential things you need to know!

Things like brand identity and a well-designed website are also important, but are outside the scope of this particular article. We’ll save those for a future post.

1. Start with your most popular posts

How your current following reacts to your posts is a good clue as to which posts are going to be most effective as ads - plus, ‘organic’ posting is a free way of testing out what works! So why not start by advertising / promoting your most popular posts first?

The beauty of this method is that you already know these posts produce good results. By putting ad spend behind them, you are far more likely to get more sales and attention. For reference, our data suggests that people reach only ~1% of their total existing audience with their regular posting, on average (looking at followers and retargeting audiences - see more below.)

2. A/B test posts

TL;DR = the more posts you test as ads, the more likely you find something that works really well.

A/B testing is just marketing jargon for comparing the performance of different ads, or different versions of the same ad.

When you’re starting out, the most obvious thing to test is the content of the ad. In other words, finding out which of your posts get the best response. You do this by running them side by side to your various audiences (more on audience targeting below).

With a small budget, restrict testing to just a few posts at a time. A sequence of A/B tests of 2 posts can make more sense than testing 10 posts all at once (would that be A/J testing?!), to make sure you spend enough budget on each post for a fair test.

Also, you don’t necessarily have to spend time creating anything new. You probably have a bunch of great content that you’ve posted to Facebook & Instagram - use that for ads and make the most of what you already have!

Then, when you’re a bit further down the line, you can get really smart with A/B testing all sorts of things: ad text/copy, media/content, call to action, audiences.

3. Run video ads

You’ve probably already heard, or know from first-hand experience, that video tends to be more engaging on Facebook & Instagram than still images. This is now conventional wisdom, and our independent data shows video posts outperform images by 50% - a pretty significant margin.

So, make good use of video content when running your ads. Short and engaging is best: a 15-30s clip would work well, ideally with audio too.

4. Dial down the sales pitch

Sometimes, an ad that is too focused on sales will turn people off. We’ve all ignored sponsored posts that were too blatantly sales-y and come across as unwelcome in your feed.

Our data suggests that natural, everyday posts often outperform more “sales-y” content. Weirdly, promoting something that doesn’t feel too much like marketing can actually make your marketing much more effective.

Try promoting your organic posts, and don’t feel like you have to write “buy now!” everywhere in the caption. You may find this entices people to check out your website and buy your products more effectively.

5. Know your business objective

When you run a Facebook or Instagram ad campaign, you need to set the goal you want that campaign to achieve. In the case of increasing sales, your objective is likely to be conversions - specifically purchases - as long as you have a pixel working on your website (see below).

You’ll need different objectives at different parts of the customer journey, from discovery to purchase. Engagement and video view campaigns work well at the top of the funnel (discovery - reaching new people who don’t know about you yet). Landing page view / conversion campaigns work well lower down the funnel (e.g. purchase - generally targeting people who already know about you - they might be in a retargeting audience, followers or existing customers).

6. Install a Facebook pixel

A technical point… but important! To run ads optimised for things like landing page views, signups or purchases you’ll need to have a Facebook pixel installed on your site. If you're using a site built on a platform like Squarespace, they usually have pretty good instructions on how you can do this (it usually involves copying and pasting your pixel ID, which is just a number).

iOS 14 has made things a little trickier, as you’ll need to verify your domain (if applicable). You can also only have 8 conversion events per domain - though that should be enough for people starting out. Again, your website provider should be able to help you out with instructions on how to do this.

7. Audiences and retargeting

Last but by no means least!

You might instinctively use Facebook & Instagram ads to reach out to new customers for sales. However, it’s generally more effective to target people who already know about you - this is called ‘retargeting’ and some examples are given below:

  1. Retarget people who have visited your website. They’re already familiar with your brand and products. There’s already a relationship there - you just need to remind them!
  2. Retarget people who have engaged with you before on Facebook and Instagram. A similar story to website visitors, though overall this audience could be less engaged / warmed up than website visitors.
  3. Retarget your customer list. You can upload your mailing list to Facebook: this audience will probably be small when you’re starting out, but the people in it tend to be very engaged.
  4. Retarget people who have viewed your video(s).

As mentioned before, the best approach for reaching new people might be to run an engagement or video views campaign, and then retarget them later on in their ‘journey’.

Can Feed help?

Hopefully those 7 steps make sense... but to actually implement them may sound daunting, especially if you’re on your own or working as part of a small team. That’s why we built Feed: to help people with smaller budgets do all of the above under their own steam.

Feed’s automated ads move your audience along the journey from discovery to purchase, without you having to pay a marketing person or agency. All you have to do is connect Feed to Facebook & Instagram, set a budget and we’ll do the rest!

Learn more about Feed and get started here.

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