Facebook Ads Introduction

Nosto Facebook ads are a powerful tool to acquire new customers, re-target hesitant shoppers and re-engage existing customers on one of the world’s favourite if not the favourite social networks. In article series under Manuals, we explain how Nosto’s Facebook feature works technically, shedding also light on most valuable business cases and not forgetting to share some best practices and optimization tips.

Why Facebook?

Facebook is the biggest social network, meaning its reach is extremely good compared to any other ad platform. In addition, Facebook also enables access to Instagram where users come using their smartphones for visual inspiration, making it a perfect channel if your products are visually compelling.

One of Facebook’s key values is its focus and reach especially on mobile. According to Facebook’s own estimation, over 60% of users log-in mobile, while over 20% of mobile app time is spent on Facebook mobile app and on Instagram, just a little shy of time spent using mobile email applications.

Heavy focus on mobile also directs Facebook’s focus on multi-device and channel tracking. Unlike cookie based systems, Facebook is capable of tracking interactions by the same users regardless if they use desktop, mobile or tablet. This makes Facebook very attractive tool especially for re-targeting and re-engagement as according to another Internet giant Google, 60% of shopping journeys leading to an online conversion start on mobile. As a rule of thumb, 60-70% of shoppers on e-commerce sites are identified by Facebook as its users, making it very likely that online shoppers can be reached and re-targeted using Facebook as an ad platform, even if and when they switch devices between.

Simplified and user-friendly User Interface

Facebook’s own ad manager is powerful tool for creating and managing campaigns as it allows advertisers of different sizes and shapes to create campaigns supporting different business objectives. This comes with a cost as catering for huge global brands like Coca-Cola and micro-enterprises and everything in between has an impact to Facebook’s management tool’s user-friendliness, as it needs to support many goals for many different types of businesses.

On the contrary, Nosto is a technology serving  transactional e-commerce sites and their offline presence so it’s within our capability to streamline interface’s flow by including only those features that are valuable for sites selling goods and services online. One of Nosto’s key purposes and values is to drive more conversions on a site, the user interface and features built are narrowed to those which are most valuable for e-commerce sites e.g. driving well converting traffic to the site. Nosto’s campaign objective is always to drive valuable traffic to your site that should convert, meaning that our ad objective is driven by sales outcome, instead for example brand awareness campaigns, where goal is to expose an ad to maximum amount of users. Taking all these factors into consideration, compared to Facebook’s ad manager, Nosto’s user interface is very simple and user-friendly both for beginners and for more advanced users of Facebook advertisement, but unlike ad manager, suitable only for transactional e-commerce sites.

For instance, should you want to increase brand awareness of your business or run local awareness ads for your brick and mortar store or similar, you might want to use Facebook ads directly and launch campaigns using Ad Manager. Nosto’s value comes in when your campaign objective is sales outcome online and campaigns should drive immediate results in terms of site visits and sales. Facebook’s ad manager and Nosto are great tools when used in parallel and one doesn’t entirely replace the other. Essentially, Nosto is a tool for product based ads and ad personalization whereas Facebook’s ad manager allows creating full width of different ad types, which Facebook as an ad platform provide.

Product Catalogue Upload And Pixel Positioning

Nosto’s product ads for re-targeting are based on Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads. This ad product by Facebook require essentially three technical features which Nosto automatically handles on behalf of you:

  • Automated product upload and update management
  • Facebook pixel positioning
  • Facebook pixel events (product-view, add-to-cart, purchase)

Thanks to these features, you can for example easily re-target customers with those products they left behind in their carts or simply viewed, items related to their previous purchase, all managed automatically with zero manual management or input when getting started. On top, instead of manually uploading product catalogue to Facebook, Nosto handles product updates when these occur on your site. For example Nosto removes sold out items from ads – as it’s typically a bad practice to advertise that are not available for purchase.

Product Catalogue Upload And Management

When Nosto is implemented accordingly on your site, Nosto creates a replica of your product catalogue as we need this to produce other features we provide.

In other words, Nosto knows what items are in-stock and what are sold-out alongside keeping all key product attributes such as name, price and brand up to date if and when these change. When Facebook ad feature is used, Nosto automatically uploads your product catalogue to Facebook and updates it for example when products are sold out or when prices change as it’s in essence bad practice to advertise products that can’t be bought or showing wrong price details disappointing customers who click the ads. The update and management process is fully automated alongside keeping the integration always up to date, whenever Facebook introduces changes or updates to their API.

Pixel Positioning and pixel events

Dynamic Product Ads, which enable personalizing product advertisement on Facebook, also require Facebook pixel positioning, alongside adjusting different pixel events to be sent to Facebook. When your Facebook ad assets, mainly the ad account and tracking pixel associated to the ad account are connected to Nosto, we automatically populate and add the Facebook pixel to your site. In addition, pixel events, which enable better targeting options for different subsets of users, such cart abandoners and visitors, are also managed and automatically added by Nosto.

If you already have a Facebook pixel on the site, you either need to let Nosto to handle pixel positioning or use a separate ad account for Nosto Facebook ads as otherwise the pixel might load twice, which might cause analytics discrepancies.

More Relevant Ads

On top of more technical features, Nosto also uses its product data to enhance personalization effects in ads. For instance, post-purchase campaigns targeting existing customers include products related to previous purchase, cart abandonment re-targeting is enhanced with relevant cross-sellers if user has added only a limited amount of products to cart, whereas prospecting campaigns targeting new customers feature best selling items, which are statistically the best converting products hence most likely to be clicked.

Products shown in ads can be also filtered for each campaign separately meaning you can advertise only selected product ranges. For example, if your store is selling pet food and other pet accessories, you can target dog owners only with dog products and on the contrary cat owners with products more relevant to them instead of exposing them with the full width you have to offer. Facebook also allows interest based targeting based on affinities towards brands so for instance you can target users who are interested in Nike (or even fans of Air Jordans by Nike) only with suitable products all increasing likeliness that your ad is clicked.

Nosto doesn’t recommend curating product feeds for re-targeting campaigns as these are by default personalized to each individual separately. Should you want to use filters in re-targeting, keep in mind you might have degenerated performance. Therefore, with re-targeting campaigns we suggest only to filter out products that violate Facebook’s ad policy e.g. adult toys and firearms and items that you can’t advertise based on your possible business rules.

Pricing And Billing

Nosto’s Facebook ads are charged based on success similarly to other Nosto features. In practice, when customers buy something after clicking or viewing an ad on Facebook, sales is attributed as a sales through Nosto ad. Time window and conversion attribution window is the shortest one available by Facebook: 24 hours and includes both clicks and views leading to visits. Ad reporting and analytics is covered separately under chapter Performance and Analytics. Nosto share is 3% of sales (January 2017) of the entire basket value when ad clicks or views lead to purchases. Fee is charged as a part of the monthly invoice and separated clearly in bill breakdown.

In addition to Nosto’s success based pricing, as a user of Facebook ads you pay to Facebook for the ad platform use i.e. showing your ads on Facebook. These are charged separately from your payment method associated with your Facebook ad account and based on CPC pricing (cost per click). Basically you will pay for Facebook for traffic and use of their ad platform and if the traffic converts to buyers to Nosto based on the value of conversions. If ads don’t deliver any sales, Nosto doesn’t charge anything from use of the service.

Required Facebook Advertisement Assets

In order to advertise on Facebook using Nosto or Facebook directly, you need to have Facebook advertisement assets available and enabled. These are:

  • Facebook Business Manager: A user role enabled for your Facebook log-in credentials. All business assets are accessed using Business Manager.
  • Facebook Ad Account: Facebook advertising account and feature, which also provides Facebook pixel when created
  • Facebook Page: A Facebook page of your business. Pages are followed by users.
  • Optionally Instagram account in case you want to use ad placement on Instagram. If you don’t have one, Facebook creates automatically “a shadow” Instagram associated with your Facebook Page.
  • Payment option associated to your ad account, typically Credit Card or PayPal. This is used to pay for your ad impressions on Facebook.
  • Business manager needs to be also an admin for used Facebook pixel

When getting started with Facebook ads, simple connection wizard within Nosto’s admin panel asks you to connect all the assets to the Nosto account you’re logged in. Connecting Nosto to Facebook requires that all of the listed assets above need to be managed by a user with an admin-level access. For example if you work for an agency and manage ads behalf of your client, or have an analyst-level access for your company’s ad account, you might need to ask for an account privilege escalation to an admin, or ask another person to connect Facebook ad assets to Nosto on behalf of you. Steps required are covered thoroughly in article getting started. Once Facebook’s ad assets are connected to your Nosto account, you can proceed and create ad campaigns.

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