A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads Campaign Structure for eCommerce in 2021
Having a well-planned Facebook Ads account structure is one of the most important steps in the success of your campaigns.
This structure will ensure that you’re able to advertise successfully along the entire marketing funnel and, more importantly, that you position yourself in a way where you can learn from the results – even if the campaigns aren’t as profitable as you’d want them to.
After all, managing Facebook Ads is all about testing and learning – so it’s crucial that you build a great account structure that allows you to do just that.
If you’re new to Facebook Ads, we hope this post will help you out in planning ahead before you build your next campaign, and improve your results.
The Starting Point: Consumer Journey
The campaign structure we’ll discuss in this post is built with the customer’s journey in mind.
The consumer’s journey generally refers to the level of familiarity a consumer has towards your brand – from an early awareness stage to an eventual purchase, consumers have different levels of interest in your product.
It is crucial we understand this concept and build the structure of our campaigns on top of it, so our ads and messages can resonate with our consumer at its maximum effectiveness.
In this post, we won’t cover all the common stages marketers often refer to.
We will instead refer to the stages as below, which indicate the level of proximity between consumer, and brand.
- Cold: These are the consumers who have never heard of our brand, visited our website, or engaged with us in any form
- Warm: These are the consumers who have visited our website or interacted with us in some form – but didn’t make any purchase, or any meaningful action.
- Hot: These are users who have shown strong indicators of intent – such as adding a product to cart, initiating checkout, or even simply filling a form.
- Loyalty: Users who have previously bought from our store.
You can already see the outline for the campaign structure in these bullet points.
Most importantly, you can already see the outline of a marketing funnel, which will guide our entire advertising efforts.
But let’s get on to it.
The Basic Campaign Structure
Our mantra for Facebook Ads account structures is that “less is more”.
In other words, we try to keep accounts as simple and lean as possible, where each campaign plays a role in the consumer stages described above.
Because smaller, well-planned account structures make it easier to:
- Report: this structure makes it easy to understand where our revenues are being generated from, and report on them clearly, and easily.
- Exit the Learning Phase: with a smaller, simpler structure, it makes it easier for our ad sets to exit the learning phase successfully. Remember, each ad set should consistently generate +50 conversions a week.
- Save Time: long gone are the days of the Michigan-method management style in Facebook Ads. With smaller structures, we can spend more time on building better creatives, better landing pages, and better overall user experiences.
Here’s what an account looks like.
Let’s break that down.
Campaigns at this stage have the role of bringing new users into our funnel and attracting potential buyers.
For that reason, it’s critical to ensure that all previous visitors are excluded from these campaigns.
There are two different campaign types that target cold audiences.
Dynamic Creative Testing
These are campaigns where we rotate new creatives in to discover new combinations before moving them into our “main” ones.
This feature enables advertisers to “automatically deliver high-performing combinations of their creative assets to their audiences”.
In other words, you’re allowed to select multiple different images and text variations, and Facebook will automatically find the best combination – or the combination that drives the most of your desired results.
To enable this feature, you can simply toggle the dynamic creative option within the ad group section of your campaign.
- Lower Budgets: You don’t want these campaigns spending as much as your main prospecting campaigns – although you should have enough for your ad set(s) to exit the learning phase. If you can’t afford more than one ad set, run with one ad set only.
- No More Than 5 Images: this depends on your budget but, for most cases, you shouldn’t test more than 5 images at once. With lower budgets, you’re not likely to reach any statistical significance for your results.
Prospecting: Lookalikes & Interests
Then, we have what we call our “main” campaigns, as these are where we end up placing the “winners” from our DCT campaigns.
There are two reasons for which we keep lookalike and interest-based campaigns separate.
- It’s Easier to Evaluate Performance: It’s a mess when we dive into campaigns with lookalikes, custom audiences, and interests all bundled together. It makes it hard to assess and compare results when audience sizes are way too different, and makes exclusions a little harder.
- Lookalike Audiences Can Fluctuate: More than once, we’ve seen changes to the Facebook algorithm have a negative impact on our lookalike audiences. Once we started separating them, we started seeing this even more clearly.
Here are some considerations for campaigns at this stage.
- Fewer Ad Sets: as we’ve mentioned before, we prefer to keep accounts as lean as possible. The number of ad sets will depend on your budget, but most accounts shouldn’t have more than 3-5. Ideally, you’ll want enough so that all ad sets can exit the learning phase with +50 conversions per week.
- Audience Size: on both campaigns, we tend to keep audience sizes within the 500k-2 million range. Again, this depends on budget – if you’re in the 6-digit figure each month, you might want to consider bigger audiences before scaling.
- Fewer Ads: in each ad set we won’t usually go over 3-5 ads.
- Different Formats: this applies to most campaigns in the account, but we try to keep at least one single image, one video, and one carousel in each ad set.
In this stage we’ll be targeting users who have interacted with our brand, although with lower levels of purchase intent.
As for audience targeting, we often run different ad sets for:
- Website Visitors: users who have visited our website, or viewed specific products.
- Social Media Engagers: users who engaged with Facebook or Instagram posts, page, or any other form of engagement.
It’s very important to exclude users who have added products to the cart, or initiated checkout so we can avoid audience overlap with the bottom-funnel campaigns.
But why don’t we target both warm and hot audiences in the same campaign?
The reason for that is because hot audiences are much more valuable than the warm ones, and we want to be able to adapt the message, creative, and offer for those users.
Campaigns at this stage are where you will likely get the highest ROAS.
This happens because these are users who have already expressed their interest in purchasing a product, so it should just be a matter of nudging them into the right direction.
Here are some ways on how you can easily do just that.
- Dynamic Remarketing: with catalog sales campaigns, you can showcase product ads depending on the exact product a user has viewed – and added to the cart in your website.
- Coupons: it’s common practice to include a discount code for users who abanonded cart. However, do this at your own risk, as it might lower your margins.
The audiences will consist entirely of abanonded carts, or checkouts. You can change the window from users who added to cart over the last X days – for example, last 7/14/30/60 days.
Often one of the most overlooked campaigns in Facebook Ads accounts, this is an important campaign to consider – especially if your product can be frequently bought (food, supplements, cosmetics, etc).
The two most common methods of targeting these users are:
- CSV Lists: upload a custom audience of previous buyers;
- Pixel Events: create an audience from standard events from users who have bought over the last 30-90 days (or within the window that makes sense for your product).
Each account is different, and no structure should be the same.
There are different nuances to each account, so you should take all this with a grain of salt and think about what’s best for you.
Here are some considerations we think of when structuring accounts.
- Budget: if your budget is low, you might not be able to build out all these campaigns. After all, we don’t want to have our budget spread too thin.
- Learning Phase: this is still related to the point above, but due to its importance, we’re stating it separately. It’s very important that your ad sets are completing the learning phase successfully – and for that, you’ll need somewhere between 25-50 conversions per week.
- Audience Size: if your remarketing list for all visitors in the last 30 days is under 30,000, you might want to combine them into a single campaign. Again, frequency is your enemy.
There are a lot of other considerations we could mention, although that would deserve an entirely different post – and these should be more than enough to get you started.
Do you have any thoughts about this Facebook Ads account structure?
Feel free to reach out to us and let’s talk!