7 Proven eCommerce Facebook Ad Strategies Used by the World’s Top Brands

It’s no secret that, given enough time, your Facebook Ad campaigns will slowly decline in performance. Even the best campaigns are not impervious to the effects of ad fatigue, so it’s important to be ready for these periods with new copy and creative.

When I find my client’s campaigns are starting to suffer from the effects of time, I need to find inspiration. And what better place to find inspiration then some of the top eCommerce companies in the world are using, companies like Adidas, Sephora, and Victoria’s Secret. With the recent addition of the ‘Info and Ads’ module on all Facebook pages, it has never been easier to spy on your competition.

If you’re currently using Facebook Ads as part of your eCommerce marketing strategy (as you should), hopefully this post will give you some insights and inspiration from what some of the top dogs in eCommerce are doing to keep their ads fresh.

Continuous Carousel Images – A Simple Spice to Throw in the Mix

Traditionally, Facebook Ad Carousels are simply used as a method to display more products. This concept of ‘image breaking’ – splitting a single image up throughout a carousel to form 1 big ‘banner’ – is a nice variation to that. Here’s what it looks like:

Pretty simple, right? I don’t have data on clickthrough rates, but I think it’s safe to say a format like this has a much higher tendency to stop Facebook ‘zombie-scrollers’ in their tracks, rather than just a boring old product carousel. The fact that eCommerce titans like Sephora, Target, and Nike are using it should be justification enough.

A nice continuity in the images also encourages people to swipe through the carousel to see what the ‘rest of the picture’ looks like, thus increasing engagement. It’s fairly simple to make, too. Each carousel image ‘card’ is 600px by 600px. So all you need to do is scale your big image height down to 600px and then make a new image every 600px in width.

Simple, effective, and a break from the typical ad copy your audience may be used to seeing. One important thing to note, though, is that in all of these examples, the brand is still portraying their products front and center. It’s important to not get too wrapped up in making things pretty and remember what the purpose of paid ads is: to sell.

A few more examples can be found on Facebook’s Creative Hub here, here, and here.

Video is Still King, No Matter How Minimal

It’s long been known that video is one of the top ad formats to use when it comes to engagement.

Recently, though, I have noticed large brands moving away from the flashy, full-production video commercial hybrids, and instead experimenting with GIF-like videos that use very minimal movement.

I’m guessing the rationale is that the slight movement may catch people’s attention easier than a full video, which people may immediately interpret as an ad. Anything new or novel like this also has the added bonus of having people like, comment, or share it just because of it’s appeal, which you wouldn’t normally get with a standard advertisement.

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The beauty of this is just how easy it would be to transform a normal product shot into this. In the example above, the animated part is, quite literally, drawn on.

Another example can be found here.

No Video? Slideshows Are An Easy Fix

Don’t have time or the money to make a video? Slideshows of images are a simple fix, and Facebook’s built-in editor makes creating them a cinch.

I used to be in the camp of thinking all slideshows are ‘tacky’, but seeing these brands make use of them has begun to change my mind. When done correctly, slideshows can be a tasteful and refreshing change in ad format.

Striking imagery and quick switches between product shots seem to be a recurring theme. Despite being slideshows, these ads look far from amateur. When done correctly, slideshows give a clear and appealing picture of the product, without the need for them to swipe through a carousel.

You can see more examples here.

Split Images in Half For More Ad Real Estate

Odds are, the image you’re using have a lot of ‘unused’ space that is otherwise going to waste. Think of Facebook Ads like digital billboards – you’re paying for them, so might as well get the most out of them that you can!

Unless you’re going for a hyper-minimal approach to your ads, this method is a great way to include more info and copy in your ads regarding your product or offer. From what I’ve seen, brands are typically this single-image format for larger promotions, like coupon deals or collection launches.

You could do a more subtle transition like the Victoria’s Secret example above, or literally 2 different images like in the Adidas example. In both cases, the images mesh fairly well together and don’t look particularly out-of-place. They add to the overall experience, rather than take away from it.

Quizzes – Engage and Qualify Potential Customers

Quizzes aren’t just reserved for Buzzfeed and other clickbait outlets. I’ve noticed a trend in brands using quizzes as a sort of ‘engagement magnet’. It’s a very low upfront investment from someone (compared to shoving a product in their face) and it allows you to potentially qualify them given their answers, showing them different products or services depending on their responses.

Take the example from Blue Apron below.  They hook with a statistic on how few people can ace the quiz, and then promise a discount just for finishing it. In short, you’d have to be a real idiot not to click on this! (Only half kidding).

As someone whose culinary knowledge stopped progressing in the 7th grade, this quiz was tough as f*ck. Yet despite my score of 16.67%, I was still rewarded with a great participation prize: $50 off my first order.

After clicking the button I was then redirected to the registration page so I could complete my purchase. Simple quizzes like this that are short, simple, and promise a reward are a great way to engage your ideal customers (ie. not me, in the case of Blue Apron).

Something interesting that would be cool to see would only be promising the discount if the person scores above a certain number, eg. they have to get 4/6 correct, of course with the option to re-take the quiz. This would make people more invested in using discount after they finally win, as they’d feel a sense of accomplishment or that they’d ‘earned’ their discount.

Text On Images – Not As Bad As Facebook Claims

Facebook generally does not take well to images with text on them. In fact, before 2016 they used to disapprove ads where the image was covered with more than 20% text. Luckily, they removed this rule and have since been much more lenient with text on images.

Another example from Blue Apron. In this case, Blue Apron uses text on the image to more easily capture people’s attention with a question:

Someone scrolling through Facebook would be much more likely to see the question and respond now that’s within the image, rather than just the text. These sort of engagement campaigns would be great for smaller brands that are looking to build up an audience on their page that they could then create a LAL off of.

Find What Works, And Do More Of That

Lots of marketers make the process of creating and managing campaigns way too complicated. When it comes down to it, marketing really is as simple as finding what works and doubling down on that.

Odds are if you put in $100 in testing something, putting another $100 into it isn’t going to yield any different results. Be agile and quick to adapt, and twice as quick to double down on your winners.

Have you seen any eCommerce Facebook Ads recently that have really stuck out to you? If so, you should link them down below in the comments.

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