How To Use Facebook's Dynamic Product Ads
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Ever since people started selling things, they have been faced with one very hard challenge: how do you pitch the right product to the right person efficiently? Sure, salespeople can sometimes do this, but that’s expensive. Not all of us can hire a real sales team.

Now, with Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads, we’re a step closer to solving that problem for even the smallest sellers.

In this deep dive, we’ll explore how you can use Dynamic Product ads today (and why they are so powerful).

What are dynamic product ads?

First thing’s first: what exactly are dynamic product ads?

To put it as simply as possible, dynamic ads are a type of ad Facebook offers that lets you semi-automate the advertising of all your products. That’s a broad, but accurate, definition. What does this mean to you? The main things you can do with dynamic ads that you can’t do without other ad types include:

  • Automatically generate ads based on your product catalog. This means you can create hundreds, or thousands, of ads automatically — obviously powerful if you have a big catalog.
  • Automatically show ads for a product that people have already visited on your site. Because of the way this works across your entire site, dynamic ads make the process of remarketing far easier to manage.
  • Automatically adjust targeting based on purchase behaviour. For example, with dynamic ads you could automatically stop showing someone an ad for something they have purchased and start showing them an ad for an up-sell product.

I’m sure there are plenty of other niche use cases for dynamic ads we haven’t yet thought of. This is a new ad type so there is still plenty of innovation to be done.

Why use dynamic product ads?

Dynamic product ads are perfect for medium to large e-commerce businesses (and as we’ll see, even non e-commerce businesses). Even someone with a product catalog of 20 items can benefit from these. Would you rather sit there and manually create 20 different ads for each of your products, implement tracking for each product, etc or have Facebook handle it for you? With dynamic product ads, you get a campaign that is:

  • Scalable. Running ads for hundreds of products used to be possible, but a huge pain. Dynamic ads make it relatively straightforward.
  • Automated. Dynamic ads are not just generated automatically, they also run automatically, removing people who purchased from your audience, retargeting people with the right products, etc.
  • Across devices. Dynamic ads are available across devices and track your customers’ behaviour across their laptop, phone, tablet, whatever.
  • Relevant. Because dynamic ads offer automatic retargeting (and, importantly, removal of purchasers from retargeting pools) you are showing people products they have already shown some interest in.

It should be clear that dynamic ads are a no-brainer for most e-commerce businesses with more than a few products.

In fact, dynamic ads could also be used by just about any sort of business. Imagine you are a realtor and you want to advertise houses — what better way to do this then uploading a list of for-sale houses as your ‘product catalog’? Don’t feel that just because you aren’t strictly e-commerce you can’t use dynamic ads.

Next we’ll get into how to actually go about creating dynamic ads. Be sure to follow through the entire process, it does get a bit technical.

Step 1: Login to your business manager account (or create one)

Okay, let’s start simple — go and setup the basic tools you’ll need for dynamic ads. You will need:

  • Business Manager account.
  • A Facebook page to associate with the ads.
  • An ad account.
  • A product catalog hosted online.
  • The Chrome browser and the Pixel Helper extension.

Once you have all of those, login to your Business Manager account and let’s get started.

Step 2: Upload your product catalog

We now need to get our products into Facebook’s system. There are two ways to go about doing this: either with a product feed that meets their requirements, or a .CSV upload.

If you happen to have a feed on your website that works, that’s great! But I suspect most of us won’t have that, so we’ll have to go the .CSV upload route.

To do that, open a new Excel document and include the following fields:

  • ID – Unique identified for your product, maximum 100 alphanumeric characters.
  • availability – The stock status of the item, options include: in stock, out of stock, preorder, available for order. Available for order means the item will ship in 1-2 weeks.
  • condition – Accepted options include: new, refurbished, used.
  • description – A short description of the item, max 5000 characters.
  • image_link – Link to an image of the item. Use an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. Images will be displayed at 1200x630px.
  • link – Link to page where you can buy the product.
  • title – Name of the item.
  • price  – Price of the item. Include currency. Example: $4.99 USD.
  • gtin, mpn, brand – Only one of these is required. GTIN is the global trade number. MPN is a manufacturer unique number. Brand is the name of the product’s brand.

These are just the required fields. There are a bunch of optional fields you can use as well. To browse all the available fields, check out Facebook’s API documentation.

Once you have filled out your spreadsheet, save it and go to Business Manager. Follow these steps to upload your .CSV as a product catalog:

  1. Hover over Business Settings, select Product Catalogs.
  2. Click Add New Product Catalog.
  3. Select Create a New Product Catalog. Assign it a name.
  4. Select your new product catalog and choose Add Product Feed.
  5. Pick a name for your Feed, and then select whether you want to do recurring uploads or a single upload. If you are uploading a .CSV, just pick single upload for now. If you have a hosted online feed that gets auto-updated, then you may want to pick the recurring option. I suggest using the ‘Auto-Detect’ option for encoding, and ‘Comma’ for the delimiter.
  6. Upload your .CSV and it will begin importing your products immediately.

It’s common to get errors and warnings the first time you upload your CSV. Just go fix them and try again until your file clears Facebook’s checks.

Using Product Groups

When uploading your catalog, you may want to take advantage of product groups. Product groups are variations of the same product. For example, all colour variations of the same shirt would constitute one product group. It can be useful to setup product groups to avoid retargeting customers with very similar products they have already purchased. If someone buys a small graphic t-shirt from you, you probably don’t want to show them an ad for the same t-shirt in a medium size.

You define a product group with the item_group_id in your catalog — all items in the group should share the same item_group_id.

Using Product Sets

Product sets are a way of better organizing your catalog based on certain parameters. You should aim to create a few high-level product sets to start, and then consider adding more segments over time.

A product set you could start with might be something like “Women’s Shoes”. This is fairly broad and should encompass a good number of products for any clothing retailer.

As you add more products and see the need for more granular product sets, you can add more. Here are some product sets, for example, that a clothing store might use:

  • All denim clothes (organized by type)
  • All clothes that are on sale (organized by promotion)
  • All clothes that have a profit margin of at least $50 (organized by margin)
  • All winter coats (organized by season/theme)

Get creative and develop product sets that make sense for your business. Everyone will need different categories.

Step 3: Set up your custom audience pixel

Note that this step involves some coding. If you are more comfortable having someone else do this, a reasonable developer should be able to do this job in a couple hours. Beware anyone charging thousands of dollars to do this job!

If you want to try it yourself, read on. Otherwise skip to Step 4.

Setup the basic pixel across your site

The first step here is to ensure you have the new Facebook on every page of your site. You can grab this from your Advertising Manager and follow the prompts to get it running.

Add the ViewContent event to product pages

Every time someone lands on your individual product pages, you want to register that event using the ViewContent event in your pixel. To do this, you need to modify the pixel on each of your product pages.

Here is an example of the ViewContent event added to a pixel:

The key part starts with fbq(‘track’,’ViewContent’… — this is the start of the event. We then feed in the content_id and the content_type. The content_id must match the product_id in your product catalog. This is how Facebook matches the product page on your site to a page in your catalog.

Add the AddToCart event to your add to cart button

Now we’re going to setup the AddToCart to event to fire either when someone clicks the Add To Cart button on your site, or when they visit the dedicated Add To Cart page (if your website is setup that way).

For a separate add to cart page

For an add to cart button

Now when people add a product to their cart, this will be registered and sent to Facebook to improve your targeting.

Add the Purchase event to your purchase confirmation page

Finally let’s add the Purchase pixel to whatever confirmation page people are sent to after purchasing something.

This event will send the purchasing data to Facebook. You should merge all the IDs of the purchased products into an array so they all get passed to Facebook. Again this is something you may need a developer to help with.

Step 4: Verify your pixels are working

Now you’ll want to verify your pixels are setup properly.

To do this, visit a product page on a browser with the Pixel Helper installed. Click the Pixel Helper and make sure the pixel is found and the correct event (ViewContent) is being found.

Then make a test purchase and visit the confirmation page. Again, check Pixel Helper and make sure the Purchase event is registered.

Finally, you’ll need to verify the AddToCart event is firing. If you have a dedicated Add To Cart page, just visit that page and check the pixel helper. If you are using the button click method, you’ll need to verify the event has fired in your Facebook Ad Manager.

Step 5: Launch your dynamic product ads

You are now ready to get your ads up and running. You can do this either in Ad Manager or Power Editor. The steps below are for Ad Manager — if you’re using Power Editor you should be able to adapt these pretty easily.

  1. Create an ad and select Promote a product catalog as the objective.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-22-55-pm
  2. Choose your product catalog and click Continue.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-23-01-pm
  3. Configure your placement, audience, budget, and click Continue.
  4. Enter your ad’s text — you can also click to add dynamic elements.
  5. Add a call to action and preview your ad. Click Place Order.

5 Ways To Sell More With Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads

Click here to read part two of this article.



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