The Simple Guide to Growing Your Sales Funnel with Automated Ads

Kalle Tiihonen Nov 16 2015 11 AM | 4 min read

Dynamic Product Ads are an effective tool for retargeting customers with ads of products they viewed while visiting your site or mobile app, but how do you grow your online sales funnel and get more qualified leads? In other words, how can you reach new people and show them the products that they’re most likely to buy from you? Automated Ads is a little known advanced feature designed for this purpose. Here’s a short overview of how it works.

Dynamic Product Ads have been available as a tool for dynamic retargeting since early 2015. It’s an audience tracking technology developed by Facebook, that’s user-specific and works across devices. While DPA allows you to retarget efficiently and automate ad creation, advertisers who have seen good results using it are now looking for ways to scale.

Traditionally the term prospecting refers to the first part of the sales funnel, where leads are either found by researching prospective customers or by purchasing lists of contact information. Now it’s possible to automate prospecting on Facebook.

Feed-Based Ad Creation in a Nutshell

Smartly’s Automated Ads are based on a product feed (e.g. a CSV file with all your product data and images). After uploading the product feed, you can use Google Analytics data that matches with product IDs or performance data in the feed itself to filter for the best performing products. It’s worth focusing on bestsellers as they’re the products that are most likely to convert into sales.

If you’re not able to filter based on Google Analytics or performance data in the feed, it’s best to pick these products manually since you’re a better judge of which products are bestsellers than a random selection of products from the feed.

After you’ve picked the best-selling products, it’s time to focus on targeting. You’ll need information about the visitors to your mobile app or site, which you can collect with a mobile app SDK or Website Custom Audience (WCA) pixel. You can then use that data as a seed audience to create Lookalike audiences on Facebook for prospecting campaigns. If you don’t already have a mobile app SDK or a WCA pixel on your website, it’s worth setting them up even though you don’t have plans for any retargeting or prospecting campaigns just yet.

Taking Marketing Automation to the Next Level

Customers with big and/or frequently updating product catalogues stand to benefit most not only from automated ad creation but also other automation tools including Predictive Budget Allocation and triggers.

The old sales adage says it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old one. To some extent this will hold true for automated ads with prospecting; it does likely cost more to reach new people than it does to retarget ads to people who’ve already visited your site or mobile app. However, just optimizing for the end of your sales funnel doesn’t address the problem of growing your marketing reach.

Automation also allows you to go granular i.e. build campaigns for, say, all 20 of your different product categories and for different audiences e.g. 1%, 3%, 5% and 7% Lookalikes. The smaller percentage in the Lookalike, the closer the match to you origin audience. While it may feel intuitively most effective to target as similar an audience as possible, to reach a larger number of people, it can be good strategy to test different % Lookalikes. You may find that e.g. 5 and 7% Lookalike audiences have equal ROI. Smartly’s triggers make it possible for you to compare ad set performance automatically and allocate budget based on ROI.

Case Example: Travel Site with Fully Automated Ads

One of our customers, a travel site, has been able to fully automate advertising for flash sales of the theme park vacations that they periodically offer. These offers are often up for only 24 hours before they’re sold out. Using Smartly’s Automated Ads, the travel site has been able to advertise them on Facebook without any manual work necessary. When they post the offer to their site, it’s automatically updated to their product feed and filtered to be included in their campaign, which is promoting special offers. They’ve also incorporated performance-focused triggers based on ROI to optimize for the best performing ad sets and audiences during this time.

Case Example: Promote Best-Selling Products to Category Visitors & Lookalikes

Create a campaign for each major category with two types of audiences: product category visitors and Lookalikes. Targeting bestseller products to Lookalikes will drive more traffic to the mobile app or website, and those visitors can be converted through retargeting with DPA. However, people who visited categories, but didn’t view any specific products are not included in the DPA retargeting audiences. We don’t want to miss these people! Target the product category visitors with the same bestsellers in order to engage them and get them back to your webshop. customers can read more about getting started with Automated Ads here.

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Kalle Tiihonen

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