Today we are chatting with Romans Ivanovs from Riu Media about how to structure and run your Facebook ad account. Romans provides some great fundamental structuring advice to make sure you have your ad funnel set up correctly and are not wasting adspend. He also provides details on how to test new campaigns as well as which creatives to test for eCommerce.
My summary on how to structure your Facebook ads account based on the interview:
- Create a Top Of Funnel (TOFU) and Bottom Of Funnel Campaign (BOFU)
- Have 3–4 adsets, starting with large audiences, each made up of a group of interests
- Then refine these by breaking focusing on the audiences that convert and breaking up groups of interests into their parts
- Aim for 4–6 creatives per adset
- 3 videos, 2–3 static images and maybe a slideshow
- Create a Testing Campaign
Read the full interview below for more details.
Tell us a little about yourself. What are you currently doing in eCommerce?
Romans: So yeah, my name is Romans Ivanovs and I run an eCommerce growth agency called Riu Media. We specialize in helping digital and eCommerce brands grow through a data-driven customer acquisition approach. We work mainly with Facebook advertising, Google advertising and generally paid media to drive strategic growth for all partners and clients.
Does paid advertising work better for some eCommerce verticals than others?
Romans: Yes and no, to be quite honest. It all depends on the audience that we’re after or the end customer that we’re working with.
Obviously, Facebook and or Facebook remains the prominent advertising platform out of all at the moment, obviously because of the wealth of data that they have.
However, you know, when we make a decision where we want to advertise on which platform we want to use, there are several factors that we look at. All of them need to be investigated.
On Facebook, one of them is the cost of the CPMs. There are other platforms like Tik TOK or Snapchat. They have lower CPMs and therefore a customer cost of customer acquisition.
However, Tik TOK doesn’t have the adult, or the senior audience. For example, when we work with a premium skincare brand, or brands that target a more sophisticated buyer.
So, it really depends on several factors.
It’s all theoretical when you, as a brand or as an advertiser, when you look at it.
When you’re thinking which platform to use to drive traffic or when you look at your customer acquisition strategy or which platform specific they need to use, it also depends on the stage of growth that you’re at.
If you’re a startup and you’re bootstrapping yourself, then it most probably going to be Facebook and Instagram and usually, you will need to master one platform before going onto the next channel, like Tik Tok or Snapchat or Google ads.
But again, it all depends again on the audience that you ask, there’s a relatively younger audience on Instagram, and we’ve had success with brands that target a relatively young audience perhaps in their early twenties and advertising on Instagram.
But yeah, Tik Tok tends to be more appealing to advertisers and brands nowadays because of the low advertising costs, but it doesn’t guarantee anything yet because Tik Tok it doesn’t contain as much data about the audience as Facebook does.
How should people structure their Facebook ad accounts for eCommerce?
Romans: Simplification is the key.
I think there is a tendency to overthink the structure of the ad accounts.
Obviously, you know, my answer to is “it depends”, like any expert guru marketeer would probably use that word, but often it truly depends on the situation.
However, there are a few principles that marketeers or brand owners need to keep in mind when starting with let’s say a fresh ad account, or they think that maybe they look at their ad account and they see a bit of mess here in there.
First of all, it’s a simplification and organization. Everything derives from understanding what happens, what’s actually happening in your ad accounts.
For example, when you’d be logging in different brands ad accounts and you see in 95% of cases, we see a bit of a mess.
So, people just try to do it in a rush. They’re not diving too deep and seeing the structural part of the advertising. They just trying to test to see what works, what doesn’t, and kind of, you know, see what sticks and go on for that.
I think like anything else in your business or in your marketing, you need to take, you need to consider that advertising and customer acquisition is one of the most important parts of your business, or you need to take it seriously.
So therefore, the devil is in the details. Every part of your ad account needs to be structured and organized.
Number two is unit economics.
Before you start advertising, plan out your budgets before you start diving into creatives and add copy. Knowing the numbers. And this is more to do with your business rather than it is about advertising.
You wouldn’t believe how many conversations we have, even with seven-figure brands, brand owners who do not know that unit economics clearly.
It’s crucial that they know their KPIs including:
- base unit economics
- current customer acquisition costs
- target customer acquisition costs
- target ROAS
- target CPM
- Industry average CPMs for their products
- LTV or CLV
As well as being able to understand how all of these numbers work for the customer acquisition for the retention side and how customer numbers influenced the rest of the business and so on and so forth.
It’s not rocket science. However, it takes a bit of time to get into the nitty-gritty or the numbers and obviously it comes with experience.
The more you test, the more you dive into your own numbers, the better you become at them.
The third part is creative.
I would say I wouldn’t prioritize them at the beginning as number one. While I think all of these points are equally important, though.
This is especially important for six figure brands or the ones who are looking to reach that seven-figure mark and their own.
Often they think that the media buying team or the agencies they will do some magic, they will switch some knobs here and there and they will get better results than the, the brand owner or the team that is employed.
Obviously the greatest team needs to work closely with the agency. But if it’s just the media buying agency and being able to execute on the ad creative that actually converts, or find out where they drive the clicks, then they need to understand the purpose of the ad creative.
How should the ad account be setup?
Romans: Back to simplicity: it’s your top of the funnel (TOF) and your bottom of the funnel (BOF).
This is where you put your lookalikes, which are supposed to be a prospecting audience. I see a lot of brands and agencies try to put their lookalike audiences at the bottom of the funnel, which is incorrect because lookalike audiences haven’t come across your brand or your business.
Sometimes we would typically have top of the funnel with three to four ad sets, depending on how many markets that we work with.
Sometimes the accounts that we take on work with several markets simultaneously so they have different campaigns each devoted to a single market.
So, for example, the US, Canada, Australia, or Europe. Obviously, the structure would be a little bit different then, but it all comes down. So, understanding which markets work and then combining them into one or just a couple of bigger campaigns, the same with sets of three to four.
Every account needs to strive to have around three to four ad sets per campaign and I would say three to four, maybe three to six at creative adsets.
And on top of that, you should have a sandbox campaign, which is essentially a testing campaign where you would test either audiences or creatives.
That’s one of the most standard ways to structure ad accounts.
Now because we work with different platforms that aggregate data in pre and post-purchase customer experience we use different structures because of the sophistication of the inside of the funnel.
Benjamin: I’ve seen ad accounts that I’ve worked on and I have made ad accounts where you end up with way too many assets and you end up with way too many creatives.
Romans: Yeah. That’s true.
Should you use broad match targeting on Facebook Ads?
Benjamin: In terms of targeting, there’s a lot of information out there at the moment about Facebook pushing broad targeting rather than multiple detailed audiences. What is your perspective?
Romans: That’s true.
We’ve seen that across most of our client ad accounts as well as from talking to other agencies and seeing what’s happening on social media, on forums, etc.
Should eCommerce sellers use broad interest or more targeted settings?
I think it’s because we see that lookalike audiences do not perform as well as they did. In most cases, the performance has dropped by 25, 30% across all of the ad accounts that we manage since May/June this 2021.
At the end of the day, when we look at the bottom line at the revenue that we’re generating, it hasn’t changed much on the macro scale because the problem is more about tracking and the analytics and attribution.
The simple answer is yes, broad audiences perform much better with bigger ad accounts and those who spend probably about 2–3k at least on a daily basis.
When we were looking at smaller brands and smaller spenders who spend up to 1000 per day, we noticed they have challenges across the board, not just broad targeting. It’s just generally difficult for them to break even in some cases.
Benjamin: Wow. That makes a lot of sense. It didn’t seem like it used to be that way. It seemed to be as a result of what you mentioned made you all the smaller guys getting crushed and all the big guys have enough budget to survive.
How should you do testing in Facebook ad accounts?
Romans: That’s a good question.
We’ve been experimenting with different testing approaches.
The first one is a traditional testing approach where you’d have if you start from scratch.
Recommended number of adsets
Let’s say you have a fresh ad account. You would go and find some interest-based audiences. Create a campaign with those audiences. Let’s say you’d have four adsets.
If you’re on a limited budget, the first thing that I would recommend is not isolating each interest for each asset, but approach it from my segment point of view.
So basically, you would have one group of interests related to, let’s say we’re advertising premium skincare, which we actually do quite a lot of, and you’d have one ad set full of interests that are related to luxury shopping for example.
The second adset would be full of interests related to premium fashion.
The third adset would be related to, cooking for example, and each adset would contain anything from five to ten interests.
That is quite efficient from an advertising point of view when you’re on a limited budget.
So, then down the line, we’ll dissect this asset and would once we find out which adset is actually performing with then take out all of the interests out of the asset and again, divide them into individual adsets with individual interests in each of them.
For creatives, you need to decide on what you’re testing first.
Obviously, in our example, we usually start with creatives because when we enter ad accounts, we already see that there are some winning some audiences in place.
If you have a completely blank ad account, you would need to test both creatives and audiences at the same time.
To do that effectively, you would need to start testing one way or another. I’d say depending on what you’re more confident about.
If you’re more confident about the fact that you’re targeting the right people, then test your creatives first. Launch the audiences that you’re confident about, but then test out the creatives.
Recommended number of creatives per adset
I would suggest that’s no more than four to six creative assets at the time.
What kind of ad creatives should you use for eCommerce?
Benjamin: Fantastic. In terms of creatives, Facebook’s version of the story is dynamic product ads, they’re pushing very heavily and there’s also carousel, just general carousel lifestyle video.
Do you have any suggestions on what creatives people should focus on the top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel?
Dynamic vs Standard creatives
Romans: We tend not to use the dynamic creatives as much as we want to, because again, it depends on the account and what’s been historically done.
Maybe it has been trained to use dynamic creatives rather than single standard creatives.
There are some accounts that just perform better with single standard creatives. Then there are some accountants that tend to perform better with dynamic creatives.
If you are looking to collect more data about your creatives, then you have more control with single standard creatives where you know that you can duplicate the creative into different adsets and collect more social proof.
I’d prefer pushing that side regardless, especially when you start with scratch with a fresh ad account.
Which ad formats to use?
In terms of the formats, usually it should be at least three videos, perhaps two static images, maybe a one slideshow if you have the resources to do so.
But again, it depends on where we come in or where you start as an advertiser or as a brand.
If you already have quite a bit of data in the ad accounts you should know the nature of that account. As I said, you need to kind of feel what works best, what’s been working best, and take the account in a similar trajectory.
But if we talk about a simple approach, it would be about three videos, two static images and perhaps one slideshow or one animation per adset.
How much budget should you budget for eCommerce on Facebook ads?
Benjamin: So, in order to do a proof of concept I guess you could either go like absolute amount, don’t bother, unless you’re willing to at least try $3000 as an example or some people say ah, reverse engineer, what it costs to get 10 conversions or something like that, and have that as your testing budget. Did you have any thoughts?
Romans: Regards to budgets, it’s relatively simple, again, it goes back to your AOV.
You should know your average order value and understand that you shouldn’t be spending less than your average order value a day, per adset, which is quite a lot for a lot of some brands.
Because, that’s how Facebook learns about your audience and learns how to work.
I would think for most brands that have the AOV below a hundred dollars would need to start with anything about $5,000 to $6,000 and that is a slow process. I would say slow process phase because it’s not a lot of budget, but I would think it would take about three to four weeks to set the initial KPIs, to understand what your customer acquisition cost is, what your conversion rate is, what your CTR is.
How to connect with Romans
Benjamin: Fantastic, the last question was how can people connect with you?
Romans: The best way to connect with me is on LinkedIn. Find the link here.
We have an opportunity for people who want to book a discovery session with me, which is actually a real discovery session. We can see if the brand is the right fit for us to work with. But also, it’s not just a sales call, we do provide value on that call in terms of consulting and guidance, regardless of whether they want to work with us or not.
Benjamin: Thank you Romans!