The following is an excerpt from The Shopify Merchant’s Guide to Holiday Engagement, a free eBook featuring 10 incredible Shopify experts. In this post, Michael Perry, Founder & CEO of Kit, shares some common misconceptions and best practices for Facebook advertising, plus his actionable tips to help you boost your sales this holiday season.

Why Facebook Advertising Matters

Advertising is critically important for all merchants. Platforms like Facebook have become so sophisticated in what they can offer advertisers—the data is so rich, merchants are able to engage the kinds of customers who will actually drive sales for their business.

I remember when Facebook Pages came along and killed off organic. People were upset, but the truth is, the real money is in advertising. It always has been. For years we ran billboards and print ads, and advertisers had no real control. People saw it, but you didn’t know anything about who those people were or how they responded. Today, paid advertising really allows you to manicure the audience in a way that has meaningful results for your business.

We all have to make investments in life. In the brick-and-mortar world, merchants pay for foot traffic. They try to put themselves in a position where customers will walk in the door and give them a shot at making a sale. The idea with paid advertisements on social is largely the same—you’re giving yourself an opportunity to make a sale.

Common Misconceptions

“Facebook advertising doesn’t work.”

For some reason, people don’t believe that Facebook ads or Instagram ads or Google product listing ads actually work. And that’s absolutely false. We work closely with Facebook. We have pixels that let us see return on ad spend for merchants, so we know with complete certainty that when done well, paid advertising can drive a tremendous amount of traffic and sales. Businesses that use Kit are buying 3-4 advertisements per month, making sales off of these ads, and outperforming market averages. I think the ultimate sign of success is that people keep buying. If it’s not working, why are people continually investing into it?

“I shouldn’t have to pay for Facebook ads.”

A lot of merchants think organic posts should have the same type of impact as paid ads, and that they should be able to get 100% reach. And that’s just unrealistic. We pay for ads because they help us make very strategic investments, ensure that the right people are seeing and engaging with our products, and give us the best chance at having success.

I can’t stress this enough: it is a pleasure to have access to the type of data Facebook makes available. In the brick-and-mortar world, you don’t get to pick and choose who walks into your store. You could get stuck with a customer who’s going to take up two hours of your time and not buy anything. In the online world, you very much get to pick and choose who sees your products, and you can make sure those opportunities drive meaningful results. At the end of the day, you’re fortunate to have the opportunity to invest in your business in this way.

Best Practices

Trust the platform and stop trying to game the system.

Have some faith in Facebook that they are optimizing bidding for you. It is an incredible platform for advertisers. Period.

Spend some time handcrafting your audience.

When we talk about manicured advertising opportunities on Facebook, it is absolutely necessary to spend some time crafting your audience. With Facebook, that means creating a Custom Audience (made up of your existing customers) and then using that to create a Lookalike Audience (made up of people who are similar to your existing customers). This can be time-consuming, but it helps you get the right eyes on your ads. Kit does this for you.

Be simple with your messaging.

People have short attention spans. No one wants to read paragraphs. Look at how other brands successfully leverage advertising platforms. Look at how Nike and Warby Parker and Shinola do things. They understand that their audience doesn’t want to read every detailed thing about the product. The point of an ad isn’t to convert the customer in that moment. The point of an ad is to drive them to a place where they can be converted. As a merchant, you should treat ads as a gateway to your landing page, where you can then provide the appropriate information about your products—and then convert them.

Action Items

Implement a Facebook pixel in your store.

With Facebook advertising, there are very clear cut wins. You should be able to know what kind of effect an ad has on your business. For this reason, having a pixel in place is highly important. It allows you to measure your success and make adjustments.

Try to run Carousel ads if possible.

Generally speaking, we find that products that run in Carousel ads get more clicks than those that run in single-product ads. Showing lots of pictures can make a big difference, so play around with the types of product photography you use.

Forget about the extended network.

There’s an extended network that runs ads from Facebook onto other sites. When you build an ad on Facebook, by default it selects everything. Many people don’t turn that off, and it ends up eating through their budget. If you’re working with a limited budget, your ad really only needs to be shown on mobile and desktop newsfeeds. Most of the other stuff you can avoid. I wouldn’t recommend spending money on boosting posts, for example. That’s not the point of spending money on Facebook advertising, unless you have an unlimited budget.


Make It Happen

Facebook has become an extremely powerful advertising platform for online stores. If you’re like most merchants and don’t have the time to manually set up Facebook ad campaigns, Kit is a revolutionary solution that helps run your marketing for you. For as little as $10 a month, Kit’s virtual marketing assistant will take care of your Facebook and Instagram advertising, email marketing, social posting, and more. It’s more than worth the investment.

Read more in our free eBook!

The Shopify Merchant's Guide to Holiday Engagement

For more lessons on how to engage holiday shoppers and boost traffic and sales, be sure to check out The Shopify Merchant’s Guide to Holiday Engagement. It’s free to download—no email address required. Consider it our gift to you this holiday season!

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