March 24th, 2015 | 4 MIN READ

7 Tips for Facebook Dynamic Product Ads

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Every ecommerce marketer wants to figure out how to make the most out of social (or anything out of social). And while organic exposure is cheap, it’s getting harder and harder to reach fans in the News Feed.

While many speculate this is purposeful on Facebook’s part, to make advertising more appealing and...necessary, its newest ad format Dynamic Product Ads look like they have some potential for ecommerce sites to gain targeted reach efficiently.

Dynamic Product Ads allow you to upload part or all of a product catalog, with ads served to Facebook users on desktop and mobile devices. The ad units may feature single or multiple products.

According to the social network, pilot advertisers Shutterfly and Target report a 20% increase in click through rate and conversion, respectively (compared to other Facebook ad formats).


But with any search, retargeting or social ad program, your results and return on investment will depend on how you execute. You need a strategy. Here are 7 tips for targeting with Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads:

1. Take advantage of custom audiences. Facebook allows you to create custom lists using email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook IDs or mobile advertiser IDs. This allows you to leverage segmentation from your existing customer and email programs. This may impact your targeting and creative strategies. For example, segmenting Facebook users already active in your loyalty program allows you to target headlines with incentives or “familiar” language. E.g. Sephora might use the headline “3x the points on fragrances for VIB Rouge until 3/31” with either a previously viewed fragrance product, or a selection of best-sellers.

Custom targeting gets even juicier. You can target “connections” (people who have interacted with your Facebook page) and friends-of-connections. And, even better, with Partner categories, you can get very granular, targeting Facebook users who have shown purchase intent for nearly anything, even if they haven’t hit your site.

You can also select audiences of users that have visited your site or mobile app (retargeting). This is a great way to support mobile-desktop cross-device visits. Those that discover you via mobile but don't want to convert on mobile can be gently reminded...even without capturing their email address (as with cart abandonment retargeting). It’s very important to your retargeting segments differently with rules and creative.

2. Consider exclusion audiences. If you don’t ship outside your native country, for example, there’s no point targeting Facebook international visitors. You may also want to exclude certain audiences from seeing ads for certain products. Male/female, age, education levels, interests, and even behaviors like device usage, purchase behavior and intent, travel preferences and all the creepy stuff Facebook tracks and gleans from third parties (believe it). Like negative keywords, exclusion audiences maximize your spend by eliminating wasted impressions.

3. Consider using a partial catalog. Certain items may be viewed on your site but have a low retargeting conversion rate. Products that are readily available on Amazon or competitors for lower prices, for example. If you have experience with retargeting already, use that data to determine which products successfully convert through retargeting and which are commonly price-shopped, low dollar items that aren’t worth the remarketing cost, etc.

4. Apply constraints. If you upload your entire catalog, make sure you leverage rules and constraints. It’s too easy to get relevance wrong otherwise. For example, use retargeting, or only target certain products to certain demographics. Start with targeting hypotheses, and build your rules, merchandising and creative around them, and closely watch your stats to validate your hunches.

5. Experiment with creative. Headlines and descriptions do affect click through. A/B test the heck out of them. Expect different headlines to perform better for different product types and customer segments as well. And of course, test single against multiple product ads.


6. Consider autopilot. Facebook has an option for you to let it optimize targeting and creative for you. Test this against your own program. Facebook knows a hell of a lot about its users, it’s worth seeing if its system beats your knowledge/prediction of relevance.

7. If you have limited budget, stick to retargeting. It’s most relevant to target existing visitors of your site and apps with remarketing ads. If you have a bit more budget, add the custom audience of existing “Connections.” Only if you have unlimited budget and have a good handle on campaign optimization and control, explore “cold impressions” to the broader Facebook audience.

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