Disclaimer: While sharing suggestions that help brands sell more stuff, I am ethically against any eCommerce companies selling low-quality mass-produced products that people don’t really need. Think fast fashion, soulless beauty & lifestyle products, dropshipped goods, etc. Hang on to integrity and sell high-quality & authentic stuff. 🌹

Ok, getting to the article now…

How to get good results with your eCommerce Facebook ads?

Based on most blog articles on the topic, you’re supposed to mess around with complex ad formats and set up a Facebook ad campaign structure based on a five-level conversion funnel.

But in reality, the key to successful eCommerce Facebook campaigns is to keep them simple.

If you’ve ever looked at the Facebook and Instagram ad creatives used by big-name brands, you should already know that most of them run basic single-image ads. No Collection ads, no dynamic remarketing, no carousels.

In the past couple of years, I have audited many online stores’ Facebook ad accounts and helped them to scale the results while lowering Facebook ads cost.

What we’ve seen s that detailed customer segmentation and exotic campaign objectives only damage the performance.

So in order to succeed, how should you set up your eCommerce Facebook ads and how to create world-class Facebook ad visuals?

Moomin GIF

GIF source

🍩 Here are 12 suggestions to keep in mind:

  1. Keep your marketing funnel simple
  2. Use a minimal Facebook ad campaign structure
  3. Avoid creating new ad sets for each new promotion
  4. Keep your target audiences broad
  5. Do not over-optimize your campaigns
  6. Optimize on conversions, not clicks
  7. Perfect your Facebook Pixel setup
  8. Use the optimal number of ad creatives
  9. Use a mix of static and video ads
  10. Create ad visuals in two formats: feed + stories
  11. Copywrite the perfect headlines + texts
  12. Experiment strategically and document key learnings

We’re gonna expand on each of these suggestions in a moment. 

In case you’re rather interested in perfecting your eCommerce ads design, scroll ahead until you reach the 20 eCommerce Facebook ad examples that I personally consider to be smart and inspiring (and that I assume are bringing good results to the brands using them).

Rule #1: Keep your marketing funnel simple

One of the main mistakes I have seen eCommerce businesses make with their Facebook ads is that they tend to overcomplicate their marketing funnel and customer segmentation.

You don’t need to create an ad campaign for every one of your 5 marketing funnel stages:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration/lead
  • New customer
  • Existing customer
  • Churned customer

You can’t have it all as it will spread your budget too thin and each campaign and ad set will collect too few conversions to perform optimally.

Raccoon GIF

You can’t have it all – GIF source

Setting up Facebook ad campaigns for three different audiences is enough:

  • Prospecting
  • Remarketing
  • Retention

Also, you should split your campaigns per country or per region, so that countries with similar behavioral patterns and cost of advertising are bundled together.

For more detailed suggestions, read more about my approach to Facebook ad campaign structure.

Rule #2: Use a minimal Facebook ad campaign structure

Another big mistake that many brands fall upon when setting up their Facebook campaigns is creating a separate ad set (or even a separate campaign, even worse) for each customer segment.

Sometimes, companies end up with 5-10 different target audiences, each having different ad sets with specific creatives and messaging.

While hyper-segmentation works well in some areas of marketing, it doesn’t perform well in the Facebook Ads Manager.

Always keep the number of your Facebook ad campaigns and ad sets minimal.

I usually suggest the following approach to my eCommerce clients:

🍪 One Prospecting campaign with up to 3 active ad sets:

  • One value-based LAL (lookalike) audience of your past 60 days top purchasers (start with 2% LAL and expand up to 8% LAL)
  • One broad audience of all people living in your target area, aged x-x
  • One interest-based audience that signifies one of your more specific customer segments (you can switch these over time, but don’t have 5 different ones running at the same time)
Ecommerce facebook ad campaign structure

🍪One Remarketing campaign with up to 2 active ad sets:

  • Past 30 days website visitors
  • People who added something to the shopping cart in the past 60 days

If you also run Awareness video ad campaigns (which I do not recommend), you could add a third remarketing ad set for video viewers.

Ecommerce facebook ad campaign structure

🍪 One Retention campaign with up to 2 active ad sets:

  • Past customers who haven’t bought anything for 30 days
  • Past customers who haven’t bought anything for 90 days

Sometimes, a single retention ad set is also enough.

You can multiply the above campaign structure for each target country or region.

Rule #3: Avoid creating new ad sets for each new promotion

Continuing with eCommerce Facebook ad mistakes, here’s another one: creating a new ad campaign or ad set every time you want to promote a special offer or a new collection of products.

Facebook ad sets work in a way that the algorithms learn based on your conversion data. If you create new ad sets all the time, you will lose all your historical data (and will have higher CPA costs).

Raccoon GIF

GIF source

It makes much more sense to collect all your Purchase conversions under one ad set so that Facebook’s algorithms can learn more about your target audience and deliver ads to increasingly relevant people in your audience.

Instead of creating new campaigns and ad sets, try to re-use the existing ones. 

You can even change an existing ad set’s audience and fully replace all the creatives inside it, should you want to advertise a different offer to another audience.

Rule #4: Keep your target audiences broad

Facebook Prospecting-level ads bring the best results when you keep your ad sets’ targeting broad

And by broad I mean at least 5% of a small country’s population and 2% of a large country’s population.

For example, when setting up Prospecting ad campaigns in the US, I like to keep the audience size 3M or broader.

Facebook ad campaign structure

Don’t forget to exclude the past 60 days’ purchasers

You can go a bit more narrow when using lookalike audiences and use a 2% LAL audience even if it means reaching fewer people.

When it comes to Remarketing campaigns, each ad set’s audience should have at least 1,000 people in it. Facebook won’t usually deliver good results for an audience smaller than that.

Rule #5: Do not over-optimize your campaigns

Facebook Ads Manager offers unlimited options for optimizing every single detail of your campaigns, from custom ad placements to hourly scheduling of your ad delivery.

But in fact, the fewer special optimization features you use, the better job Facebook algorithms will do.

This is especially important when creating Prospecting campaigns (which probably take up 60% or more of your budget).

  • Use campaign-level budget optimization
  • Use automated ad placements
  • Do not use customized ad scheduling

And while it’s tempting, do not make changes to your ad sets more than once a week. Otherwise, your ads will remain in the Learning Phase forever and won’t deliver optimal results.

It’s a best practice to do all the changes to your ad campaigns at once. So if you want to update the budget, audience, and upload new ad creatives, do it simultaneously and not on separate days.


Less work = better results – GIF source

This doesn’t mean that you should leave your eCommerce Instagram and Facebook ad campaigns running for months without a single change.

Keep working on new ad creative ideas and experiment with new ad visuals at least twice a month.

Rule #6: Optimize on conversions, not clicks

Companies that do not have their Facebook Pixel set up often tend to optimize the campaigns on link clicks.

And I’ve also seen the Facebook ad accounts with perfect Pixel setup still running Traffic campaigns instead of Conversion campaigns.

Here’s the problem: if you tell Facebook that you want to get clicks from an ad campaign, the algorithms will deliver just that: clicks. 

But those clicks rarely turn into conversions.

That’s because Facebook doesn’t know that you also want Purchase conversions. It is bringing you cheap clicks from people who are in the habit of browsing the websites but not buying.


You reap what you sow, as they say – GIF source

If you optimize your ad campaigns on conversions (website Purchases), you are signalling to Facebook that you’re interested in reaching people who’d make a purchase. And that’s what you’ll get.

Which scenario would you rather prefer:

  1. You spend $500 to get 2000 website clicks at $0,25 cost-per-click + 10 purchases at $50 cost-per-purchase
  2. You spend $500 to get 500 website clicks at $1 cost-per-click + 50 purchases at $10 cost-per-purchase

Always optimize your eCommerce ad campaigns (Prospecting, Remarketing, and Retention campaigns each) on Purchase conversions.

Rule #7: Perfect your Facebook Pixel setup

Setting up the Facebook Pixel takes about 1 hour and there’s no excuse for skipping this.

Essentially, you can’t get proper results from Facebook advertising without passing important website events like Add-to-cart and Purchase to the ad platform.

To ensure that your Pixel is correctly set up, compare the event count in Facebook Events Manager with your other website data sources, e.g. Google Analytics.

There might be small discrepancies in the data, but it shouldn’t fluctuate more than 20%.

Review the most important event’s count on Facebook v.s. other reporting platforms on a weekly basis to ensure that your Pixel receives correct data.

Rule #8: Use the optimal number of ad creatives

Let’s move on to the fun part: the ad creatives.

The rule that ad visuals contribute hugely to your results doesn’t only apply to eCommerce brands but any other industry as well.

But there’s a limit to how many active ad creatives you should have per ad set. 

If you have too few, there won’t be enough variety. If you have too many, it’s going to hurdle your campaign performance due to a time-consuming learning curve.

💎 The optimal number of active ad creatives per ad set is 6-8 visuals.

Rule #9: Use a mix of static and video ads

When working on my clients’ ad campaigns, I like to set up a varied selection of creatives in each ad set:

  • 2 single-image static ads in one style
  • 2 single-image static ads in a different style
  • 2 video ads with different lengths (15 sec and 30+ sec)
  • 1 carousel ad

Based on the initial results, you can either create more static or video creatives and keep experimenting with new ideas.

The main reason for including a mix of static and video ads is that they often appear in different ad placements. If you only use single-image static ads, you will miss out on video-only placements.

People often complain that creating video ads is super difficult. That’s not necessarily true. You don’t need to film original content in order to have video creatives. Use stock videos or animate some static product images and mix it with animated typography.

eCommerce Facebook ad example

You can slightly animate your static ads to get a video ad

For creative inspiration, see these collections of Facebook ad examples:

🔥 P.S. When reading a couple of blog articles on eCommerce ads, I came across recommendations to use all of the following ad formats:

  • Collection ads 
  • Video ads 
  • Domain ads
  • Instant Experience ads
  • Lead ads 
  • Carousel ads
  • Facebook Dynamic ads

In fact, I have never seen an eCommerce brand get good results with Collection ads, Instant Experience ads, Lead ads, and Dynamic ads. 

As far as I’m concerned, I do not recommend using them (or first testing as an experiment).

Rule #10: Create ad visuals in two formats: feed + stories

Quite often when auditing Facebook ad accounts, I see brands using only the 1:1 (square) format ad creatives.

This means that they’re missing out on good-looking visuals in the portrait-format placements: Facebook stories, Instagram stories, Messenger stories.

And a large share of Facebook ad views happens exactly in-between the stories.

Here’s a comparison of how an ad visual in 1:1 format v.s. Story format will appear in the Instagram stories placement:

eCommerce Facebook ads

That’s probably not the brand image you’d want to cultivate. Rather, you’d want to have something looking like this:

When creating and uploading creatives to your Facebook ad campaigns, always add a special format for the story placements.

eCommerce Facebook ads

Upload both 1:1 and Story format visuals

🍊 Pro tip: Make sure to leave the top and bottom 20% of your story-format ad designs empty of any content and Instagram will add automatic overlays on top of your ad visual.

Read more about Facebook specs and size.

Rule #11: Copywrite the perfect headlines + texts

While the ad visual is the make-or-break element of any Facebook ad creative, the texts you use still contribute to the overall performance.

The most important text of your Facebook ads is the in-image headline.

I almost never upload a Facebook ad creative that only includes an image without adding a short headline with the USP (unique value proposition) on top of it.

If people aren’t attracted by your ad visual, they will never read the ad text. That’s why, you should include the most important slogan in the image itself.

eCommerce Facebook ad example

When it comes to eCommerce ads, there might be some use cases where you wouldn’t want to include an in-image text. For example, if you’re advertising an image from a photoshoot. But if possible, I’d still recommend testing both options: with and without a headline.

eCommerce Facebook ad example

You can also mix a text, logo, and photo

Another important principle to keep in mind: do not expect people to know your product.

Avoid catchy slogans and ad texts that do not explain what your product and its main benefits are. Think of Facebook ads rather as your website, not on-street brand ads.

Here are a couple of additional tips for perfecting your Facebook ad copywriting:

  1. Keep it short and simple
  2. Talk about the most relevant product benefits and value props
  3. Address the user instead of talking about your brand (“we did X”)
  4. Use active language: do, get, make, create, be, etc.
  5. Assume that most people only read the first 2 lines of your ad text (the one that appears above or under the image of in-feed ads)

Read more: 16 Copywriting Tips for Facebook Ads and Social Media Posts

Rule #12: Experiment strategically and document key learnings

Most brands that I’ve worked with do not have a well-documented ad experimentation strategy. The PPC Manager just runs various experiments and keeps the results in their head.

If a new person were to join your Marketing team, would you be able to point them towards a document that gives an overview of all the Facebook ad experiments and top-performing creatives?

Or what if the agency or team member managing Facebook ad campaigns leaves the company? You would lose a lot of valuable information…

Unless you’ve properly documented all the experiments.

Whenever I start working with a new client’s Facebook ad account, we establish a spreadsheet for documenting all ongoing and completed experiments.

Facebook ad experiments

How the experiment tracking sheet looks like

I also like to keep track of all the Facebook ad creatives that we’ve created and tested.

Creative reporting could either be done:

  • On a Figma page where you design your ads
  • On a dedicated page in Notion, Confluence, or other documentation platform
  • On a spreadsheet together with the PPC experiments log

Personally, I use a mix of all three + sometimes also write quarterly reviews that look back into all past 3 months’ experiments and tested ad visuals.

If I’m setting up a specific Facebook ad campaign for testing new creatives each in a separate ad set, I like to later add the test results to a Google Sheet, so that it will be easy to catch a quick overview in the future.

Example creative test report

Example creative test report (with dummy data)

I have written about Facebook ads A/B testing in this blog before. Check it out for some ideas for your next experiments.

Or if you’re looking for inspiration specifically for your eCommerce business, gather new ideas from the 20 brands below. 

🍋 20 eCommerce Facebook ad examples

When browsing the following ad creatives, notice the following best practices used by almost all of the showcased brands:

  1. They use a mix of video and static ads
  2. There’s almost always an in-image text in the ad visual
  3. All ad creatives are brightly colored and eye-catching
  4. All photos and images used are of the best possible quality
  5. There’s a lot of variety between the ad creatives by the same brand
  6. Many eCommerce Facebook ads feature a promo offer
  7. Almost all ad creatives use the “Shop Now” call-to-action
  8. The focus is on the visual, not the ad text

While I have included a wide mix of various ad formats like Collection ads, in general, single-image ads, carousel ads, and simple video ads tend to perform the best.

But you can never know, so test with a variety of creative ideas and ad formats.

#1 Made.com

Facebook ad example

See the full video ad on this link.

#2 Nike

Facebook ad example

#3 AirBaltic

Facebook ad example

As you can see, there’s a different ad visual for the story placements.

Instagram ad example

#4 COS

Facebook video ad example

See the full video ad on this link.

#5 NARS Cosmetics

Facebook ad example

#6 NARS Cosmetics 

Facebook ad example

See the full video ad on this link.

#7 & Other Stories

Facebook ad example
Facebook ad example

#8 Finnish Design Shop

Facebook eCommerce ad example

#9 The Sill

Facebook eCommerce ad example

See the full video ad on this link.

#10 Starbucks

Facebook eCommerce ad example

See the full video ad on this link.

#11 La Roche-Posay

eCommerce ad example

#13 Teabox

#14 Vagabond Shoemakers

facebook ads

#15 Sandqvist

eCommerce ad example

#16 Click & Grow

#17 Ferm Living

eCommerce ad example

#18 Goli

eCommerce ad example

#19 Pärla

eCommerce ad example

#20 Mytheresa

eCommerce ad example

Thx for reading, thx for watching!

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In case you’d like to work together on your Facebook ad campaigns, reach out at marketing@karolakarlson. I’m booked with ongoing projects until the end of 2021, but then again I’m bad at saying no to brands with cool products.