How to create, analyze, and optimize Facebook Ads campaigns for ecommerce with Savannah Sanchez

Looking to grow your ecommerce brand with Facebook Ads? Awesome. Because joining us today is Savannah Sanchez, an expert in ecommerce growth.

You'll learn

  • How to set up and optimize a Facebook Ads campaign
  • How to choose the right creatives
  • What type of marketing reports you should have in place
  • The best resources to learn about Facebook Ads for ecommerce brands

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Anna Shutko:

Hey everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Marketing Analytics Show, the podcast that helps you get better at marketing analytics. I’m your host, Anna Shutko, and today we’re joined by Savannah Sanchez.

Savannah is a paid social expert specializing in e-commerce growth, with over five years of experience working as a media buyer and ad creative strategist. She’s the founder of The Social Savannah.

In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about which kinds of e-commerce brands use Facebook Ads, Savannah’s process for setting up and optimizing Facebook Ads campaigns, which includes working with creatives, the types of marketing reports which are good to have in place, as well as the great resources to learn from when it comes to e-commerce advertising on Facebook. I hope you’ll enjoy this episode.

Today, we have Savannah Sanchez. Savannah, thank you so much for joining me today.

Savannah Sanchez:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

Anna Shutko:

All right. So let’s start with the first question. If we’re talking about different types of e-commerce brands, what kinds of brands would benefit the most from Facebook Ads?

Savannah Sanchez:

For sure. So I would say that there’s no limit to what types of e-commerce brands can benefit from Facebook Ads. Essentially, what Facebook Ads allows you to do is drive qualified traffic to your website, to ultimately make sales. So if ever you’re delivering a physical product or an info product, even service-based businesses can benefit from running Facebook Ads, having the pixel on your e-commerce site.

Anna Shutko:

And now, let’s talk a little bit about the process. So let’s say you have a new client. Could you please walk us through your process of setting up these first e-commerce campaigns on Facebook Ads, maybe some tips for our audience or something they could learn from?

Savannah Sanchez:

Yeah, for sure. So for the types of clients I work with, I work with a lot of large e-commerce brands in the makeup industry; I’ve worked with ColourPop. I’ve worked with brands like Peel Phone Cases. I’ve worked with different outdoor furniture companies. So it’s a wide range of products I’ve done ads for, but the process is all really similar for each industry.

So essentially, what you have to do on your Facebook Ad site is set up your funnel. So what that means is that you want campaigns for prospecting, which is cold audiences, people who have never heard of your product before. So you could be targeting lookalike audiences, interests of people who are in your target demo, different demographics. That would be your prospecting campaign. And typically, 70 to 80% of the budget goes towards prospecting for new customers.

And then, the second part of your funnel that you would want is re-engagement. And what this refers to is re-targeting people in the middle of your funnel. Typically, those are people who have interacted with your Facebook page before, your Instagram page, maybe people who have watched one of your Facebook or Instagram videos, that haven’t gone to your website recently. So that would be considered a warm audience, and that would usually take about 10% of the budget.

And then last, but not least, is re-targeting. So this is really important to set up in your funnel. Anyone who’s been to your website recently but hasn’t purchased, you want to be able to re-target them on Facebook with an offer to get them over the finish line to purchase. So again, that’s about 10 to 20% of the budget, depending on how much you’re spending on prospecting.

But as long as you have all three stages set up, prospecting, re-engagement, and re-targeting, then you’ll be able to successfully bring people through your funnel and use different messaging for each part of your funnel with Facebook Ads.

Anna Shutko:

I love this framework. And thank you very much for sharing the budget breakdown by percentage. I think this is super-interesting information for all our listeners. And now, if we talk about the optimization of it. So now that these campaigns are running, how would you analyze and optimize each type of these campaigns?

Savannah Sanchez:

For sure. So there are a few key metrics that I look at in order to determine the success of my campaign, the number one being ROAS, which is Return On Ad Spend. So for e-commerce brands, that’s ultimately what I’m being judged on as their media buyer is, are your ads bringing in more money than we’re spending on ads? So that’s always what I get asked about the most, is what the ROAS is? So if you hear that term, that’s what that means.

But there are other leading metrics that I also care about that I want to be able to monitor once I launch my ads to see if these are going to be successful. So not only do I have ROAS on my dashboard, but I also have number of purchases, cost per purchase, purchase conversion value, so I can see, what is the average order value of people who are shopping at my store?

And then, some leading indicators I also look at are cost per add to cart and cost per checkout initiated. So what this does is that Facebook picks and will track if someone goes to your website, adds links to their cart, or gets to the checkout stage, but doesn’t end up purchasing, that will fire a checkout initiated. So I’m always looking at, what is my cost per add to cart, cost per checkout initiated? Because these are really great leading indicators of whether someone will end up purchasing. If I have an ad that’s getting a ton of cheap add to cart, that’s usually a good indicator that some of those will end up converting.

Then, of course, I’m looking at my cost per click and click-through rate. Click-through rate can be an indicator of your copy and your creatives, how convincing it is to get someone to your site. If your click-through rate is really low, like let’s just say 1%, then you could think, “Okay, I need to improve on my creatives to make it clickable and get that click-through rate up.”

And then lastly, I’m monitoring my CPM, so that’s cost per thousand impressions. So now that we’re heading into Q4, it’s something that I’m monitoring much more closely because as more advertisers enter the auction, it’s going to get more and more competitive up until Christmas. So your cost per thousand impressions is bound to go up. So as there’s more competition in the market, it’s going to be more expensive to reach your target audience, which is going to affect your ad performance. So those are the metrics I look at when I’m analyzing Facebook Ads.

Anna Shutko:

Great. Awesome. Thank you very much. This is a very, very good response. A couple of questions and a couple of things to unpack here. First of all, about the metrics. You talked about different kinds of indicators you are looking at. So if we now take a look at these metrics from a broader reporting perspective, what kind of reports do you usually have in place? And what kind of timeframes you’re using in these reports and maybe, more specifically, what kind of metrics you’re looking at in each report, depending on the client’s use case?

Savannah Sanchez:

For sure. So I’m a huge fan of Supermetrics. There’s no secret about that. I’ve been using Supermetrics for the last few years in order to create reports on how my Facebook Ads are doing, but not only Facebook. I also use it for Google Ads reporting, Snapchat Ads reporting. It’s so great because you can pull in any custom metrics, any timeframe. So what I’ve found, after two years of now playing with Supermetrics, I’m really happy with the report that I’ve come up with as a standard for my client.

It has all of those metrics that I just named, ROAS, purchases, CPA, add to cart, all that good stuff. But on the report on Google Sheets, I’m able to break it down by, “Okay, what are these metrics month to date?” Because my clients want to know, “Okay, what’s my total spend and return for the month?”

I also have a report breaking down; what do the last four weeks look like? So we can monitor if there are any trends that are happening week over week. Like if we’re seeing, “Okay, CPM’s rising week over the week,” it’s easy to look at the weekly breakdown report.

And I have a daily breakdown report of all the metrics so that my clients can see if there was one day where we spent too much or spent too little. Sometimes it’s easier to see on the day-to-day if there were any call-outs, rather than looking at the week or the monthly breakdown.
And then I also have a report by campaigns. It means they can see for just the re-targeting funnel or just the prospecting funnel, what are my metrics for there and how much are we spending on each stage of the funnel?

Love Supermetrics. Supermetrics makes it so, so easy. What I think my clients like about it the most is that it refreshes every morning, you can schedule the refresh in emailing so that every morning they get brand new data, they get the email in their inbox, what’s happening in their account, and makes it seem like I’m doing all this hard work of putting in the numbers and creating all these crazy reports. But with Supermetrics, what’s cool is that you can create the report once, you can set up the refreshing and the emailing, and then you don’t have to really touch it ever again. Or at least, I hope I don’t. And then I can make the same reports for every client. It’s really easy just to copy and paste with a template. But it’s really impressive for my clients, and they’d say like, “Oh, every morning I get brand new metrics, and it’s all up to date.” That’s what’s really important to them.

Anna Shutko:

Thank you so much for your kind words, and I’m definitely super-excited to hear that Supermetrics simplifies your life and your reporting tactics a lot.

Savannah Sanchez:

It does.

Anna Shutko:

All right. Yeah. And also, I know you’re very big on creatives. And as a creative master, can you please tell us some tips or maybe techniques on, first of all, improving on your existing creatives, and maybe some ideas on how marketers could create creatives that basically work and bring the brands their revenue?

Savannah Sanchez:

For sure. I always say that creative is the most important ingredient with Facebook Ad success because that is the video or the photo that someone’s looking at, the text they’re reading; how convincing is it to get them to click to your site? So I spend a lot of my time thinking about how can I make really great creatives? Now, I could probably talk for an entire day about creative best practices, but there are a few key principles that I think every good ad follows.

So number one is being mobile optimized. And that means that the dimensions are fit for the platform. And so, for Facebook and Instagram, you want to be able to design your videos in a square format. And then also be able to design videos for Instagram Stories, which is nine by 16 dimensions. And first things first, have the right dimensions.

The second thing for great creatives is, get to your point really quickly. So when people are scrolling through their Instagram and Facebook feed, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention and make them stop and watch your video, and then ultimately click to your site. So I always tell my clients is, you need to make sure that people know what your product is and what your number one value prop is within the first three seconds. If they can’t tell what your product is and why it’s great, in the first three seconds, they’re going to keep scrolling, and you’re not going to get their attention. So keeping your ads short, sweet, and to the point.

And then my third tip is making it native for the platform. So this goes along with the theory of, people don’t like ads. They inherently want to avoid ads. But they also want to find products that add value to their life or watch something that’s maybe slightly entertaining while they’re scrolling through their phone. So what’s really important is that, when you’re making your ads, make them not look like an ad. Make them look like it is just something that they would happen upon in their feed, whether posted by a friend or another influencer that they follow.

A really great way to do this is to use user-generated content and influencer content in your ad creatives. So, for instance, if you were advertising a car and you had just played a regular car commercial that you would play on TV, but you wanted to run it on Facebook, that’s probably not going to get really engagement because people are going to immediately identify, “Okay, this is a boring car commercial, looks like a TV ad. I’m scrolling right past this.” Alternatively, if you wanted to design for the platform, what I would say is like, “Why don’t you get an influencer who is taking a selfie while they’re walking around the car? They’re holding their iPhone up as if they were filming an Instagram Story, and they’re just talking about how excited they are that they bought the car.” When someone happens upon that ad in their Instagram Story feed, they’re not going to immediately think, “Oh, this is an ad.” They might think for a split second, “This is my friend. This is an influencer that I follow.”

And it’s much more relatable. It’s much more native to the platform. So it’s really important when you’re designing creatives to always think about what’s going to make this look, not like an ad and make it look like it’s just someone scrolling through their friends’ content.

Anna Shutko:

Awesome. And thank you so much for sharing all these great tips. I do definitely agree with you on that one. I also think that content that looks less like an ad and more like a normal human interaction content is definitely going to be better perceived by the audience. And now that we’ve talked about the creatives, could you please tell us a bit more about maybe some common mistakes e-commerce brands or marketers make when it comes to Facebook advertising?

Savannah Sanchez:

I would say the number one mistake people make is over-complicating it. So I’ve been doing Facebook advertising for the last three years. And when I first started, especially on Facebook Ads Manager, they don’t make it necessarily intuitive or easy to set up your campaigns or know what’s working. And I think people get too bogged down in being afraid that they’re doing something wrong or that they’re not using the right strategy. And so they’ll end up over-complicating it.
But the best thing you can do, now that I’ve been Facebook advertising for the last few years, is to just simplify everything, make it easy for yourself. So that means limiting the number of campaigns you have going, limiting the number of audiences you’re testing, limiting the number of creatives you’re making. Have a limited amount of variables so that your account doesn’t just end up being an explosion of data, and you don’t know what to do with it because there are too many variables to look at.

So be intentional with your testing. So if you have a new creative, pick one audience, make one campaign for it, and see how that one creative does to that audience. If you launch too much stuff at one time, you’re going to end up being paralyzed by this fear of, what does all this mean, and am I wasting money? So I would say that’s the number one mistake I see from people who are just starting out, is being too timid of like, “Am I doing something wrong?” And then secondly, just over-complicating it, when really they should just be making it as simple and clean as possible, which is going to make interpreting the data just so much easier.

Anna Shutko:

Yeah, simplifying everything definitely sounds like a very actionable strategy. And now, if we discuss, on the other hand, what went well, could you please provide us some examples marketers should pay attention to when they’re designing campaigns?

Savannah Sanchez:

For sure. So a strategy that is always a great idea, that’s something that I follow for all of the accounts I manage, is the Power 5 strategy. If you look at Power 5 Facebook, you’ll find plenty of resources of what I’m talking about for this strategy. But essentially, it’s leveraging machine learning. And it’s, again, going back to simplifying the account structure and the number of variables you’re testing, as well as leveraging Facebook’s machine learning to produce results.

So part of the Power 5 is using campaign budget optimization, opting into automatic placement, limiting the number of ad sets you have running, auto advanced matching, and broad audience, I think is the last pillar of the Power 5. But Facebook has a lot of great resources about Power 5 and why that this is the recommended campaign structure to set up your campaigns. I’m a hundred percent behind it. I did a speech on this just last year, where I tested out the Power 5 with a large budget to see what happens. And I would definitely recommend looking at resources around the Power 5 if you want to improve your Facebook account campaign.

Anna Shutko:

Yeah, definitely. And I do agree that the Power 5 is a great strategy for all our listeners. Feel free to check out Savannah’s video on this at Savannah, where would people find you? And what other resources would you recommend marketers check out if they want to learn more about e-commerce marketing?

Savannah Sanchez:

For sure. So I would say if you want to learn more about Facebook Ad creatives, I have a really great resource. It’s a Facebook group. It’s called Facebook Ad Creatives Only. That’s the name of the Facebook group if you want to look it up and join. And essentially what this group is, it’s a group of over 5,000 marketers, and every day we’re sharing a new ad inspiration. So great ads from other brands that we wanted to share with the group so that people can see what really great Facebook Ad creative looks like. So definitely check out Facebook Ad Creatives Only.

Also on Twitter is a treasure trove of great information from marketers who are running Facebook Ads. On Twitter, my username is @social_savannah, if you want to check me out. But there’s such a great community on Twitter of Facebook marketers and brand strategists. It’s really amazing, the community that we have on Twitter right now, of people who are working in this industry. So I always look to Twitter to see what strategies are people using on Facebook? And people also share really great ad creatives.

So Facebook and Twitter, the Facebook group, and being active on our Twitter in this community is a really great way to get updated on Facebook information. If you’re just starting out with Facebook Ads, I would highly recommend the Facebook Blueprint course. It’s a hundred percent free, and you can take all the courses by Facebook on how to set up your campaigns, what your metrics mean. It’s really going to help you get the basics down. So if you’re just starting out, if you just want to learn how to set up your campaigns, definitely look into taking the Blueprint courses. That’s the number one place I point people to when they want to get started.

Anna Shutko:

Right, Savannah. Thank you so much for sharing all these great tips and coming on the show today.

Savannah Sanchez:

Thank you so much, Anna. I really enjoyed being here.

Anna Shutko:

And that’s the end of today’s episode. Thanks for tuning in. Before you go, make sure to hit the subscribe button and leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you’re listening. If you’d like to kickstart your marketing analytics, check out the 14-day free trial at

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