- Digital advertising is getting more expensive.
- The solution is to launch ad campaigns that move shoppers through the sales funnel.
- You can accomplish this with content ads — ads promoting blog posts and other website content instead of your products.
- Content ads can grow your site traffic and email list at a 90% lower cost than product ads.
- Pair the right content with the right ad strategy to drive traffic, leads, and sales.
Raise your hand if your ecommerce store’s ads are too expensive.
You’re not alone. In fact, that’s part of the problem.
Every day, over 500 new online stores are launched on Shopify alone.
And you’re not just competing for clicks against other small businesses. You’re competing against everyone who runs ads online, from retail giants to Silicon Valley tech companies with cash to blow.
Today, the average cost per click for a Facebook ad is $1.72. That’s 225% more expensive than just five years ago. (Source: WordStream)
That number varies by industry, with apparel brands getting $0.45 clicks while businesses in the financial sector pay $3.77, but the bottom line is that it’s getting more and more expensive to bring people to your ecommerce website. That makes it harder than ever to acquire customers at a sustainable rate.
And that’s just what it takes to get clicks! When you’re optimizing for other goals, like leads (new email subscribers) or purchases, your digital ads will cost even more.
But don’t panic!
In this guide, you’ll learn how you (yes, you!) can use digital advertising to:
What most small businesses get wrong about Facebook advertising
Most ecommerce businesses make one dire mistake when they advertise on Facebook.
They treat Facebook like Google.
When you go to Google, you’re going there to answer a question.
Thai restaurants near me
How to get gum out of hair
What is the best mattress?
But when you go to Facebook, you’re there to be social. To be entertained. Maybe even to see what your high school sweetheart is up to now. (No judgments.)
Product ads make sense on Google, where consumers are actively searching for what you have to offer. But Facebook is a different animal entirely.
So, how do you approach Facebook advertising for your ecommerce store?
Content ads get people in the door and build trust
The solution to the Facebook marketing problem is to run ads that span the entire ecommerce sales funnel.
Instead of focusing only on the 2% of people who are likely to buy something from you today, focus some of your budget marketing on building a community of people who are likely customers.
That means bringing them to your website and capturing their email addresses so you can continue marketing to them for free. It’s the most cost-effective way to build your own audience.
That’s where content marketing — and especially blogging — comes in.
Content ads will help you attract and convert the other 98% of visitors.
Next up, we’ll look at how content ads help. Then, we’ll dive into the fun stuff: setting up your campaigns and making them work for you.
3 reasons content ads work for ecommerce
1. Content ads drive clicks at up to a 90% lower cost than product ads.
Ecommerce businesses running content ads see CPCs in the $0.04 – $0.20 range.
2. Content ads drive low-cost leads so you can build your email list.
Brands using content ads that are optimized for leads convert, on average, 7.9% of visitors into email subscribers.
3. Content ads let you engage new audiences at the top of the funnel.
Content ads help you reach new people and familiarize them with your brand. Consumers who read an educational piece of content are 48% more likely to buy one week later, according to research from Conductor.
Learn how luxury watchmaker DuFrane Watches uses content to build their brand.
There’s no argument that content ads work.
Now, let’s look at how you can create a digital advertising strategy that helps you reach your goals.
Build a Facebook ad strategy that serves your goals
High-performing ecommerce brands use two key types of content ads: cost per click and cost per lead. You can (and should) be using both, but it all depends on what you’re trying to do.
The end game, of course, is to drive sales, but we’ve already established that most people won’t buy anything from you on day one. So, how will you get them from point A to point B?
- Assume consumers on Facebook are ready to buy right now
- Talk only about your brand and your products
- Expect that people know who you are or why you’re awesome
- Engage your audience with compelling stories and content
- Speak to your target audience’s interests, emotions, and problems
- Build awareness and trust before trying to sell them
To do this, you need to align your Facebook ads to each stage of the sales funnel. The basic sales funnel is made up of three stages: awareness, consideration, and conversion. As a marketer, your goal is to move people through each stage, building relationships with them until they’re ready to buy.
Using content and digital ads, that looks like this.
Here’s a simple breakdown of what assets to promote across different campaign types, as well as which metrics to measure for each one.
The goal of your ad campaign
What type of content or offer to promote
What you’re paying Facebook for
The key performance indicators to report on
|Increase brand awareness and drive high-quality traffic||Blog posts||Clicks||– Cost per click (CPC)|
– Clickthrough rate (CTR)
|Capture email addresses and grow your subscriber list||– Locked blog posts (gated behind a form)|
– Quizzes and other interactive content (gated behind a form)
|Leads||– Cost per lead (CPL)|
– Lead conversion rate (CR)
|Drive sales||Product pages||Conversions||– CPA (cost per action)|
– Conversion rate (CR)
7 steps to content advertising success
Here comes the fun part: actually launching your campaigns! There are 7 steps you need to take to set up and optimize your campaign so you can reap all the benefits of content ads on Facebook.
- Define the goal of your campaign.
Of course, the long-term goal is sales — but what is the goal of this specific campaign? Do you want to reach a new niche audience? Grow your email list? This will inform how you set up your campaign. See the chart above to learn more.
- Define your audience.
Who will you target with your ads? Consider:
– Targeting a lookalike audience based on website visitors, current customers, or email subscribers.
– Testing a new niche audience (such as trying certain geographic targeting, different age groups, interests, etc.).
– Retargeting past blog readers.
- Select content to promote.
Use the chart above to help you decide which content format will work best for your goal. When you promote blog content to people who haven’t engaged with your brand yet, make sure the topic is audience-focused (no product pitches disguised as blog posts, please!). And — this is absolutely critical to get good results — align the topic with something that’s interesting to the niche you’re targeting. Not sure what will work? Consider A/B testing a few different blog posts to see what drives the best results.
- Build your ads.
Create your ad creative (images) and ad copy. This is another area where you can use A/B testing to learn what works and get more efficient results.
- Set a budget.
How much money will you put toward your content ads? For CPC campaigns, your budget can be as low as $5 per day. For CPL campaigns, you should plan to spend at least $10 per day. Overall, between 10% and 30% of your advertising budget should be allocated to content ads.
- Measure and optimize.
Use the KPIs listed above to measure the success of your campaign. As time goes on, you can turn low-performing ads off and add new variations to continue testing and optimizing.
- Follow up.
It’s not just about getting people to your site and growing your list — it’s also about what happens afterward. That usually means retargeting your blog visitors and nurturing your new subscribers with targeted email sequences.
Get started with content ads today
When ecommerce businesses promote valuable content alongside their product ads, they have the opportunity to engage more potential customers at a fraction of the cost. People who have never heard of your business will move into your sales funnel, even if they’re not ready to buy on their first visit to your site.
Then, you can capture their email addresses, retarget them, and convert them when the time is right.
Start publishing today with Match’s 7-day free trial!
No content to promote yet? No problem! You, too, can drive cost-efficient traffic and subscribers using the power of licensed content. When you create a free Matcha account, you’ll get access to explore a library of 10,000+ instantly-publishable premium articles, as well as our suite of content marketing tools for converting subscribers and measuring content results.
As an added bonus, Shopify stores can benefit from the low-cost of content ads and still feature their products with Matcha’s product listings feature. Why not start exploring what Matcha can do for your business?
Try the Matcha Blog Creator with a 7-day free trial. No credit card required.
Feature image provided by Anthony Rosset