Facebook Ads for Retailers: Tactics to Get the Most ROI for Your Marketing Dollars

Facebook Marketing for Retail | Shopify Retail blog

With so many options available for social media marketing, it’s important for retailers to get the most ROI for their money. Despite all of the choices, as the world’s largest social media network, Facebook remains one of the top platforms for retailers trying to reach new markets.

After all, recent research shows that almost eight out of 10 Americans use Facebook. And around 70% of Facebook users visit the site every day. These statistics alone can be a compelling enough reason to try to tap into Facebook’s massive audience.

But where do you start? Creating your first set of Facebook ads can feel overwhelming. But here, we’ll walk you through the steps of setting up an effective Facebook ad and cover some tactics that are especially useful for retailers with brick-and-mortar operations.

First Steps: Setting Up Facebook Ads

You’ve decided you’re going to try Facebook ads, and your business page is locked and loaded. You can just go ahead and run an ad from here, or you can set up a Business Manager account.

There are a few advantages to this:

  • It allows you to separate your business page from your personal page.
  • It’s more secure than running a regular Facebook page
  • It makes it easier to manage your team if multiple people will be accessing your ads

Again, it isn’t 100% essential that you set up a Business Manager account, but you’ll definitely want one as your business expands to avoid the pain of a transition later.

From the Business Manager page, click on the Ads Manager link — Facebook will then walk you through the steps to create your campaign, starting with your campaign objective.

Facebook Business Manager | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Social Media Examiner

What’s the Difference Between Facebook Ads and Boosted Posts?

Technically, a boosted post is the most basic form of Facebook ad. It’s just taking a regular, everyday post that you would put up on your Business Page and then make it visible to a larger audience.

When you create an actual Facebook ad, there are a lot more targeting options, ways to engage, and more powerful metrics involved so that you can get the most value for your dollar.

Which Type of Ad Should You Use?

There is a nearly endless list of the type of Facebook ad that you can create. Here, we’re just going to go over a few of the most popular options that are helpful for retailers.

Domain Ads

Facebook Domain Ad | Shopify Retail blogThis is exactly what it sounds like – a simple click-through ad with the goal of sending people to your website. This ad includes one static image and optional additional text.

Multi-Product Ads (Carousel Ads)

Shutterfly Carousel Ad | Shopify Retail blog

As the name suggests, this type of ad is great for – you guessed it – brands selling multiple products. This ad allows you to fit up to 10 images or videos in a rotating, carousel format. The images link straight back to the corresponding product on your website.

Offer Ads

Facebook Offer Ad | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Sprout Social

Rather than sending customers to your website, this ad has the option to send a customer an offer or discount once they’ve input their email address.

Video Ads

Macy's Facebook Video Ad | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Lyfe Marketing


These ads are pretty much the same as the Domain Ads, only more dynamic. Videos tend to capture more attention, so if you have a few good quality videos, you can use them as video ads for your retail business.

Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ad | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Social Media Examiner

At first glance, these ads look pretty similar to the Domain Ads. But when you click the call-to-action button, Facebook will prompt your potential customer to enter their contact information in exchange for something like a newsletter or ebook.

💡 ADVERTISING TIP: Another great way to sell more of your inventory is by setting up Google Shopping Ads. Bookmark our 11-step guide to walk you through how to set them up!

Sponsored Mentions

Facebook Sponsored Mention Ad | Shopify Retail blogThese allow you to partner with other brands for your posts. The benefit of Sponsored Mention Ads is that the post will reach both brands’ audiences — so you can potentially get much more reach out of a single post.

How to Target the Right Audience

Facebook will give you the option to target your ad to a given audience based on everything from their age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors. And because there are so many factors at play, targeting the right audience can take a little trial and error.

In the beginning, it can be easiest to go with the target demographic of your overall brand or product. After running a few ads, you’ll start to get a feel for what’s working, and get a better idea of how to target your audience accordingly.

You also have to strike a balance between going too specific or too broad with your audience selection. So, here are a few tips on the different types of targeting that could work for your retail brand on Facebook.

Interest-Based Targeting

This option allows you to target your ads based on the interests selected by Facebook users. For example, let’s say you’re selling vegan ice cream bars; there’s a pretty good chance that folks who “liked” veganism on Facebook will probably be in your target audience, while people who “liked” bacon, probably won’t be.

Behavior-Based Targeting

Maybe the most powerful type of targeting for retail brands. You can target your ads based on things like previous buying behavior, relationship status, and travel behavior. It’s a pretty good bet that if someone recently changed their status to “engaged” that they might be interested in wedding products.

One retail success story is ASOS, an apparel retailer that used dynamic ads based on products shoppers have looked at in the past.

ASOS carousel ad | Shopify Retail blog

The personalized ads helped the retailer gain three times as many orders and increased their ROI on ad spend more than twice over.

Demographic- and Location-Based Targeting

Finally, basic demographic information – like age, location, and gender — allows you to refine your target audience. Especially if you’re trying to get customers into your brick-and-mortar shop, location-based targeting is an absolute must.

Pura Vida bracelets used broad audience targeting to sell 20 times more unique products than with previous ad campaigns.

Now Set a Budget and Get Posting

Pricing on Facebook ads is based on the audience you choose to target, and how many other people are targeting that audience at the same time. It’s a bit like an auction. Once you really know what you’re doing, setting your ad bids to “manual” can afford you complete control over exactly where you’re spending your money.

In the meantime, setting your ad on auto-bidding with a maximum daily spend limit is the way to go.

How Can Facebook Ads Bolster My Brick-and-Mortar Business?

You might think of social media marketing as a way to get customers visiting your website or as a way to get them to sign up for your email list. While these are definitely valuable outcomes, there are tangible things that you can do that will actually get potential customers to walk away from their laptops (or follow their smartphones) straight into your real-life retail location.

Create Events

While Facebook events are no longer an accurate way to see who’s showing up where they’re still a great way to get your event in your customer’s calendar. Throwing an in-store sale? Make a Facebook event. Launching a new product? Create a Facebook event.

Run Promotions

Everyone loves a good deal. Offer your potential customers a discount code, or special offer via Facebook that’s only redeemable if they come and check out your store in real life.

Share Real-Time Shop Info

When you get new items in your shop, share them via a Facebook ad to let potential customers know what’s in-store. They’re more likely to make the trip if they already know you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for.

And Facebook’s Store Visits feature allows retailers with multiple locations to create ads with call-to-action buttons, maps, and ad copy that corresponds to the location closest to the person seeing the ad.

Facebook Store Visits | Shopify Retail blog

Image: Facebook

Be Playful

Running time-sensitive offers that have an interactive component can add an element of playfulness to your Facebook ads. For instance, running a promotion that the first 10 people through the door at opening get a surprise with their purchase creates buzz, and incentive to get into your shop ASAP coupled with a bit of FOMO.

And the Basics Still Apply…

Of course, on top of specific strategies geared directly toward getting people into your brick-and-mortar location, basic tips and tricks for increasing customer engagement through Facebook ads work just as well here.

Use Images

Doubly true if you want your customers to get offline. They want to know that if they make the journey to your store that they’ll find what they’re looking for. Heavy image use will offer them the assurance they need and help them to connect with your physical location.

Create a Story

The more a customer feels connected to your brand and your store’s physical location, the more likely they are to come in on a regular basis. Creating posts about products, but also your store itself, can help customers to feel like they’re connected.

Mix It Up

While posting product shots is important, customers might feel bombarded by a steady stream of carousel ads. Switch things up by posting gift roundups or staff picks — anything that changes up the photo format every now and then.

Taking Your Facebook Ads to the Next Level

Once you’ve got your ad game down pat, there are a few extra features you can add to your to help your ads be more effective than ever.

Power Editor

Once you’ve been through the process a few times, Facebook’s Power Editor is a tool that’s similar to Ad Manager, but with a little more power. Learn more about the difference, when you’re ready, here.

Facebook Pixel

Pixel gives you the power to take your audience targeting to the next level, and to collect more meaningful metrics on your ad campaigns. It does require a bit of technical savvy to get it up and running, but we’ve got you covered in our Facebook Advertising Guide.

Dynamic Ads

Once Pixel is up and running, you can enter your full product line into your ad bank, and then the dynamic ads feature will target your customers with the products they’re more likely to be interested in.


Retargeting is a way of re-engaging with a customer that has already engaged with your website in some way. Once you’ve installed Pixel, it’s possible to target customers based on which pages they visited on your site. Noticing a lot of folks swinging by your websites contact and location page? Try retargeting with your address and contact info to give them the extra nudge they need to get in-store.

Moving Forward With Your Facebook Ads

Facebook ads may seem complicated at first, but with practice and some trial and error, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Have you tried Facebook ads to promote your retail store and products? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.