Categories
Digital Marketing Google Ads Shopify Shopping

Add Sale Price to Shopify’s Google Shopping feed

As of Aug 12, 2020 Shopify’s Google Shopping app does NOT send compare_at_price to Google Merchant Center. This means that you are unlikely to receive the SALE annotation in your Google Shopping ads when your products are on sale:

Sale annotation in Google Shopping
SALE labels and price markdown annotations usually only appear if you provide Google Shopping with both your regular price (compare_at_price) and your sale price.

To fix this, you must create and upload a supplemental data feed to Google Merchant Center.

Create a Price Feed in Shopify

The first step is to create a data feed in Shopify containing your products sale and regular prices. We can accomplish this by creating a custom Shopify Collection Template that will output XML data instead of HTML:

1. Create a new Collection Template called collection.xml-sale-pricing.liquid with the following code:

{% layout none %}<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0" version="2.0">
{% paginate collection.products by 1000 %}
{%- assign CountryCode = 'US' -%}
{%- if shop.currency == 'CAD' -%}{%- assign CountryCode = 'CA' -%}{%- endif -%}
<channel>
<title>{{ shop.name }} {{ collection.title | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' | replace }}</title>
<link>{{ shop.url }}</link>
<description>{{ collection.description | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>
{% for product in collection.products %} 
  {% for variant in product.variants %}
    {%- if variant.compare_at_price > variant.price -%}
      {%- assign OnSale = true -%}
      {%- assign Price = variant.compare_at_price -%}
      {%- assign SalePrice = variant.price -%}
        <item>
            <g:item_group_id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
            <g:id>shopify_{{ CountryCode }}_{{ product.id }}_{{ variant.id }}</g:id>
            <g:price>{{ Price | money_without_currency }} {{ shop.currency }}</g:price>
            <g:sale_price>{{ SalePrice | money_without_currency }} {{ shop.currency }}</g:sale_price>
        </item>
    {%- endif -%}
{% endfor %}
{% endfor %}
</channel>
</rss>
{% endpaginate %}

Also available on github

2. Create a new collection called “google-feed-sale-price” and choose xml-pricing-feed as your collection template.

3. Preview the collection and copy the url. Your url should look something like this: yourstoredomain.com/collections/google-feed-sale-price

Add a Supplemental Data Feed in Google Merchant Center

1. Open Merchant Center and go to
Products > Feeds > Supplemental Feeds > Add Supplemental Feed

  • Name: Sale Pricing Update
  • Feed Type: Scheduled Fetch
  • File Name: google-feed-sale-price
  • File Url: yourstoredomain.com/collections/google-feed-sale-price

Leave everything else as default values and click Continue

2. Make sure there’s a checkmark beside Content API and click Create Feed

3. You should now see your newly created feed in the Supplemental Feeds section. Click on your feed’s name and then click on Fetch Now to update pricing data immediately.

Done

It may take up to 30 minutes for your main feed to be updated. Any new sale pricing will now be uploaded once per day.

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads

Facebook Campaign Structure for Long-Term Success

Evergreen Campaigns

An Evergreen Campaign Structure doesn’t change much year over year: The Campaigns and Ad Sets are continually in use, and only the ad creative is changed.

Evergreen Campaigns add some structure and sanity to your Facebook Ad management. They prevent the typical disorganized Campaign sprawl that plagues most Facebook Ads Accounts. Evergreen Campaigns encourage continuous improvement and optimization, facilitates data analysis, and lowers maintenance costs.

Campaign Structure

The campaign structure is relatively simple: 3-4 primary campaigns targeting 3 main segments: Past Purchasers, Remarketing, and Prospecting.

Past PurchasersRemarketingProspecting
People who have previously purchased from you.People who have interacted with your brand via your website, social media, or otherwise, but have not purchased from you yet.People who have never purchased from you, and who have not interacted with your brand in the past 180 days.
CPA $CPA $$CPA $$$
Budget $$Budget $$$Budget $
Facebook Evergreen Campaign Structure

Audiences

Before you can create your campaigns, you will need to define some base audiences to capture purchasers and website visitors. A full description of the essential Facebook audiences that should be created is available here.

Building the Campaigns

Campaign #1: Past Purchasers

This campaign targets people who have previously purchased from you. Generally your cost per acquisition will be low, and your budget will be a function of how many customers you have.

Campaign NameBuying TypeObjective
Past PurchasersAuctionConversions

Ad Sets for Past Purchasers Campaign

At it’s most basic, the campaign contains a single Ad Set containing all your past customers:

Ad Set NameAudiences
Past Purchasers All TimePurchase 10d
Purchase 30d
Purchase 180d
Purchaser All Time

For high volume businesses that have large amount of customers, multiple Ad Sets could be create, one for each audience to have more granular control based on past purchase date. However, a single campaign targetting all past purchasers is also quite effective, trusting Facebook’s algorithm to take purchase recency into account.

Campaign #2: Remarketing

This campaign targets website visitors and people who have previously engaged with your brand on facebook, instagram, or otherwise, but who have NOT previously purchased from your business.

Your Cost per Acquisition (CPA) will be relatively low, and therefore you should manage to have a relatively large budget while maintaining a profitable CPA.

This campaign actually needs to be setup as two separate campaigns

Campaign NameBuying TypeObjective
RemarketingAuctionConversions
Dynamic RemarketingAuctionCatalog Sales
The Remarketing campaign needs to be split into two: one for regular ads, and another for dynamic product ads.

Ad Sets for Remarketing Campaigns

Ad it’s most basic, the Remarketing Campaign contains only two Ad Sets targeting visitors who engaged with your brand up to 30 days ago, and another for people who engaged with your brand up to 180 days ago (the Facebook maximum)

Ad Set NameAudiencesExclude
Remarketing 30dAdd to Cart 30d
Visitors Top 25% 30d
FB Engagement 30d
IG Engagement 30d
Purchase 30d
Remarketing 180dAdd to Cart 180d
Visitors Top 25% 180d
FB Engagement 180d
IG Engagement 180d
Purchase 180d
Add to Cart 30d
Visitors Top 25% 30d
FB Engagement 30d
IG Engagement 30d

For higher volume sites, you can consider adding more granular Ad Sets for 10, 60, 90 day etc… remarketing audiences.

Ad Sets for Dynamic Remarketing

Ad Set NameAudiences
Product View 30dRetarget Ads:
Viewed or Added to Cart
but not Purchased: 30d
Product View 180dRetarget Ads:
Viewed or Added to Cart
but not Purchased: 180d
Cart Abandon 30dCart Abandon 30d
Cart Abandon 180dCart Abandon 180d

For high-volume sites, or for periods of high sales such as Black Friday, you can also consider creating 10, 4, or even 1 day Ad Sets.

Campaign #3: Prospecting

This campaign will target “brand unaware” customers. People that have never purchased from you, and that have not interacted with your brand or site in at least 180 days.

This campaign will feed your Remarketing campaigns. You can expect your Cost per Acquisition (CPA) to be relatively high and your budgets will need to be relatively low to remain profitable. But the more you can manage to spend here, the more you will be able to spend on Remarketing.

Ad Sets for Prospecting Campaign

At it’s most basic, the prospecting Campaign should target a 1% look-a-like audience (based on the Purchase pixel event).

More advanced campaigns can also target 2%-10% look-a-like audiences, or custom interest based audiences. But it is important to always exclude your Past Purchasers and Remarketing audiences so that there is no overlap with your campaigns.

Ad Set NameAudiencesExclude
1% Look-a-like Purchase1% Look-a-like PurchasePurchase All Time
Purchase 180d
Add to Cart 180d
Site Visitors Top 25% 180d
FB Engagement 180d
IG Engagement 180d

The Big Picture

Once all the above is setup, your Campaign and Ad Sets should look something like this:

Facebook Ads Evergreen Campaign Structure
Facebook Ads Evergreen Campaign Structure

All that remains now is to create ads or duplicate your posts into these campaigns. But that is a topic for another day.

Related Reading

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads

Essential Facebook Audiences

Below is a list of the Essential Facebook Audiences the every e-commerce site should create in their Facebook Ads Account. Even if you don’t plan on using them right away, creating them now will ensure that you can serve ads to these users in the future.

Past Purchasers

Past Purchasers audiences will be used to target users that have previously purchased from you. There are 4 audiences with varying time periods, to allow you to target your past purchasers by how recently they purchased from you.

To create these go to
Audiences > Create Audience > Custom Audience

Audience NameSourcePixel Criteria
Purchase: 10 dayWebsitePurchase: 10 days
Purchase: 30 dayWebsitePurchase: 30 days
Purchase: 180 dayWebsitePurchase: 180 days
Purchase: All TimeCustomer ListCustomer list upload*
* The “Purchase: All Time” audience will need to be updated every 180 days.

Visitors and Social Fans

These audiences include website visitors, cart abandoners, and people who have engaged with your content on Facebook and Instagram. These are all people that are “brand aware” and are some of the lowest hanging fruit in terms of generating sales.

To create these audiences go to
Audiences > Create Audience > Custom Audience

Audience NameSourcePixel Criteria
Add to Cart: 1 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 1 day
Add to Cart: 4 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 4 days
Add to Cart: 30 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 30 days
Add to Cart: 180 dayWebsiteAddToCart: 180 days
Site Visitors: Top 25%: 10 dayWebsiteVisitors by Time spent:
Top 25%: 10 days
Site Visitors: Top 25%: 30 dayWebsiteVisitors by Time spent:
Top 25%: 30 days
Site Visitors: Top 25%: 180 dayWebsiteVisitors by Time spent:
Top 25%: 180 days
FB Engagement: 10 dayFacebookEveryone who engaged
with your page: 10d
FB Engagement: 30 dayFacebookEveryone who engaged
with your page: 30d
FB Engagement: 180 dayFacebookEveryone who engaged
with your page: 180d
IG Engagement: 10 dayInstagramEveryone who engaged
with your business: 10d
IG Engagement: 30 dayInstagramEveryone who engaged
with your business: 30d
IG Engagement: 180 dayInstagramEveryone who engaged
with your business: 180d

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences are a good base to use for new customer prospecting. If you target multiple countries, you will need to create a separate set of these for each country.

To create these audiences go to
Audiences > Create Audience > Lookalike Audience

Lookalike SourceEventNumber of
Audiences
Audience Markers
Facebook PixelPurchase40%, 1%, 2%, 5%, 10%
Choose 4 audiences, and set markers at 0%, 1%, 2%, 5%, and 10%

Next: Campaigns

Once you’ve created your audiences, the next step is to create a Facebook Evergreen Campaign Structure properly segmented into Past Purchasers, Remarketing, and New Customer Prospecting.

Related Posts

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads Shopify

Fix Missing Fields in Shopify’s Facebook Product Feed

Last Update: September 18, 2020

If you use the Facebook Channel on your Shopify store, you will notice that some product attributes are missing in the product catalog:

  • Google Product Category
  • Gender
  • Material
  • Additional Images

Below is the solution to add these missing details. This will give you finer control over your Facebook Product Sets and will let you create richer dynamic ads with multiple product images.

Pre-requisites

Before we start, make sure all of the following are done:

  1. Install the Google Sales Channel
    The script leverages some of the metafields that are created on by the Google Sales Channel
  2. Install the Facebook Sales Channel
  3. Setup Empty Field Rules
    This is not actually a pre-requisite, but it’s a good backup in case things break down with your feed. This sets some default values for fields such as condition and availability.
  1. Go to Facebook Business Manager and then
    Commerce Manager > Catalog > Data Sources
  2. Click on your data feed and go to Settings
  3. Scroll down to Data Feed Rules and click on Add Rules > Set Default Values
  4. Create default values for age_group, gender, availability, condition, material, and any other fields that make sense for your business.

Step 1
Create the Facebook Product Feed Template

To create the Facebook product update feed, we will use a “hack” to transform a standard Shopify Collection page into and XML data feed:

  • In the Shopify admin, go to
    Online Store > Themes > Action > Edit Code
  • Under Templates, choose Add a new Template
  • Choose collection from the drop down and name your template facebook-feed-template

Paste the code below into your newly created template file and click Save.

{% layout none %}<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rss xmlns:g="http://base.google.com/ns/1.0" version="2.0">
{%- paginate collection.products by 1000 -%}
{%- assign useSEOdescription = true -%}
{%- assign additionalImagesForVariants = false -%}
{%- assign filterVariantImagesByColor = false -%}
{% comment %}
This template is used to add additional information to the Facebook product catalog
</comment:title>
{% endcomment %}
<channel>
<title>{{ shop.name }} {{ collection.title | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</title>
<link>{{ shop.url }}</link>
<description>{{ collection.description | strip_html }}</description>
{% for product in collection.products %}
{%- assign GoogleProductCategory = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.google_product_category -%}
{%- assign Gender = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.gender -%}
{%- assign AgeGroup = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.age_group -%}
{%- assign Material = product.metafields.mm-google-shopping.material  -%}
{%- assign Color = "" -%}

{%- if product.variants.size > 0 -%}
{%- for variant in product.variants -%}
{%- for option in product.options -%}
{%- if option == 'Color' -%}{% capture Color %}{{ variant.options[forloop.index0] }}{% endcapture %}{%- endif -%}
{%- endfor -%}

{% assign additional_images = product.images %}
{% if filterVariantImagesByColor %}{% assign additional_images = product.images | where: "alt", Color | sort: 'attached_to_variant' | reverse%}{% endif %}

<item>
<g:id>{{ variant.id }}</g:id>
<g:brand>{{ product.vendor }}</g:brand>
{% if useSEOdescription and product.metafields.global.description_tag.size > 0 %}<description>{{ product.metafields.global.description_tag | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>{% endif %}
<g:google_product_category>{{ GoogleProductCategory | replace: '&', '&amp;'  }}</g:google_product_category>
<g:item_group_id>{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
<g:content_id>{{ variant.id }}</g:content_id>
<g:availability>{% if variant.available %}in stock{% else %}out of stock{% endif %}</g:availability>
<g:material>{{ Material }}</g:material>
<g:gender>{{ Gender }}</g:gender>
<g:age_group>{{ AgeGroup }}</g:age_group>
{% if additionalImagesForVariants %}
{% if additional_images.size > 1 %}{%- for image in additional_images offset:1 limit:10 -%}
<g:additional_image_link>https:{{ image.src | product_img_url: 'master' }}</g:additional_image_link>
{% endfor %}{% endif %}
{% endif %}
</item>

{% endfor %}
{%- else -%}

<item>
<g:id>{{ product.id }}</g:id>   
<g:brand>{{ product.vendor }}</g:brand>
{% if useSEOdescription and product.metafields.global.description_tag.size > 0 %}<description>{{ product.metafields.global.description_tag | strip_html | strip_newlines | replace: '&', '&amp;' }}</description>{% endif %} 
<g:google_product_category>{{ GoogleProductCategory | replace: '&', '&amp;'  }}</g:google_product_category>
<g:item_group_id>{{ product.id }}</g:item_group_id>
<g:availability>{% if product.available %}in stock{% else %}out of stock{% endif %}</g:availability>
<g:material>{{ Material }}</g:material>
<g:gender>{{ Gender }}</g:gender>
<g:age_group>{{ AgeGroup }}</g:age_group>
{% if product.images.size > 1 %}{%- for image in product.images offset:1 limit:10 -%}
<g:additional_image_link>https:{{ image.src | product_img_url: 'master' }}</g:additional_image_link>
{% endfor %}{% endif %}
</item>

{% endif %}
{% endfor %}
</channel>
</rss>
{% endpaginate %}

or download from Github

Although the script above will work as is, there are two items that you can configure:

additionalImagesForVariants = false
Setting this to true will upload all your product’s additional images. If you use variants, all your variants will have the identical additional images (their primary image will be as-configured in Shopify)

filterVariantImagesByColor = false
Setting this to true will only upload additional images for a variant IF the ALT text of the images exactly match that variant’s color attribute.

Step 2
Select the Products to Send to Facebook

Now select which products will be included in your feed.

  • In Shopify Admin, go to
    Products > Collections > Create Collection
  • Enter a Title: “Facebook”
  • Add Products to the collection (either manually or using conditions). If you want to include all your products, then add a rule similar to “Inventory Stock is greater than 0”.
  • IMPORTANT!
    Assign the Facebook Feed Template to this collection.
    In the bottom right column of the page, you should see a section called Theme templates. Choose collection.facebook-feed-template otherwise none of this will work.
  • At the bottom of the page, click on Edit Website SEO and enter “facebook” as your collection url handle. (optional – but helps with remembering your feed url)
  • Save and Preview the collection. You should see unformatted text on the screen. This is your Facebook feed. Do a “View Source” in your browser to preview the XML data.
  • Copy the url of this page. It should look similar to https://www.yourstore.com/collections/facebook

Step 3
Upload your Product Feed to Facebook

  • Go to your Facebook Business Manager and go to Commerce Manager
  • Expand Catalogs in the left hand menu and select Data Sources
  • Click on your data source name and then on Settings
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on Single Upload and select via URL
  • Paste in the feed url generated in Step 2 and select Update your data feed
  • Click Upload File
  • Wait for Facebook to finish fetching your feed

Done

Your products should now have the missing information added. You will probably want to repeat STEP 3 anytime you modify or add new products to your shop.

It’s just a matter of time before Shopify starts uploading the full data specs to Facebook, but until that time, this is the workaround!

Related Reading

Categories
Digital Marketing Google Ads

Recommended Remarketing Audiences for Google Ads

Google’s Built-in Lists

Before you begin creating your own lists, you should first install the Google Ads Dynamic Remarketing Code which will cause Google to automatically create some built-in Remarketing Lists:

  • Shopping cart abandoners (30 days)
    People who added products to the shopping cart in the past 30 days but did not complete the purchase
  • Product viewers (30 days)
    People who viewed specific product pages on your site in the past 30 days but did not create a shopping cart
  • Past buyers (30 days)
    People who purchased products from you in the past 30 days
  • All visitors (30 days)
    People who visited pages that contain your remarketing tags in the past 30 days
  • All converters (180 days)
    People who converted on your site in the last 180 days. Based on your conversion tracking tag. This is not necessarily people who have purchased from you, but anyone who has triggered a “conversion”. (eg: Phone call from an ad)
  • General visitors (30 days)
    People who visited your website in the past 30 days but did not view any specific products

Additional Audiences

The additional audiences to create follow the same pattern used in Google’s built-in audiences, but with expanded membership durations. The main focus is on Shopping Cart Abandoners, Product Viewers, and Past Buyers.

Shopping Cart Abandoners

Google will have already created a “Shopping cart abandoners” audience with 30 day time window. We will create the following additional audiences:

  • Shopping cart abandoners: 7d
  • Shopping cart abandoners: 14d
  • Shopping cart abandoners: 90d
  • Shopping cart abandoners: 180d

Setup these audiences as follows

  • List Members: Visitors of a page who did not visit another page
  • Visited page: URL contains cart
  • Unvisited page: URL contains thank_you
  • Membership Duration: 5 / 10 / 90 / 180 days

Past Buyers

Google will have already created a “Past buyers” audience with 30 day time window. We will create these additional audiences:

  • Past buyers: 14d
  • Past buyers: 90d
  • Past buyers: 180d
  • Past buyers: 365d
  • Past buyers: 520d

Setup these audiences as follows (Assumes you are using Shopify)

  • List Members: Visitors of a page with specific tags
  • Tags: Purchase
  • Membership duration: 14 / 90 / 180 / 365 / 520 days

Product Viewers

Google will have already created a “Product viewers” audience with 30 day time window. We will create these additional audiences:

  • Product viewers: 14d
  • Product viewers: 90d
  • Product viewers: 180d
  • Product viewers: 365d
  • Product viewers: 520d

Setup these audiences as follows (Assumes you are using Shopify)

  • List Members: Visitors of a page who did not visit another page
  • Visited page: URL contains product
  • Unvisited page: URL contains cart
  • Membership Duration: 14 / 90 / 180 / 365 days

General Notes

  • The Membership Durations are somewhat arbitrary. You can get more or less granular, best to start with something simple and get more granular if your site volume warrants it.
  • A Remarketing Audience needs a minimum of 1,000 members to be eligible to serve. So in particular for your Shopping Cart Abandoner audiences, consider how much time it takes you to generate 1,000 abandoned carts, and that will probably be the shortest duration you should initially start with.
  • You should generally add all these lists as “Observations” to all your campaigns.

More Reading…

Categories
Digital Marketing Facebook Ads

How to Adjust and Scale Facebook AdSet Budgets

This article describes a simple systematic approach to adjusting and scaling your Facebook Ad Set budgets.

Some assumptions:

  1. You are using daily budgets at the Ad Set level
  2. You have an ROI focused e-commerce business
  3. You are tracking sales and know your incremental profit margins
  4. You have a well defined Ad Set structure that changes infrequently
  5. You are adjusting budgets at most once per day, and ideally only once a week. (If adjusting budgets hourly, a different approach needs to be taken)

The General Approach

  1. Determine an acceptable ROAS range. (eg: Between 3.0 and 5.0 ROAS)
  2. Review and adjust budgets once per week.
  3. If your ROAS is below the minimum range, decrease budgets by 10%
  4. If your ROAS is above the maximum range, increase budgets by 10%
  5. Do NOT increase budget if the frequency is greater than 10
  6. Do NOT decrease budget if the total cost is very low
  7. If ROAS is 0 but cost is high, decrease budget by 10%
  8. Consider multiple time periods when deciding on budget adjustments

Increasing Budgets

  1. Set your date window to the last 7 days
  2. SELECT any Ad Sets with an ROAS greater than 5.0
  3. UNSELECT any Ad Sets that have a frequency > 10
  4. Change date window to 30 days (your previous selections will remain)
  5. UNSELECT any Ad Sets with an ROAS less than 5.0
  6. Edit > Edit Budget and increase budgets of the remaining Ad Sets by roughly 10%

Decreasing Budgets

  1. Set your date window to the last 7 days
  2. SELECT any Ad Sets with an ROAS lower than 3.0
  3. SELECT any Ad Sets with an ROAS of 0.0, and a total spend of more than 100% of average order value.
  4. Change date window to 30 days (your previous selections will remain)
  5. UNSELECT any Ad Sets with an ROAS greater than 3.0
  6. UNSELECT any Ad Sets that have zero sales, and a total spend less than 50% of average order value.
  7. Edit > Edit Budget and decrease budgets of the remaining Ad Sets by roughly 10%

ROAS and Cost of Sales Targets

It is important to know your profit margins, and to determine what percentage of your sales you are willing to spend to acquire a customer.

For past customers and remarketing audiences, I like to keep cost of sales below 30%, and ideally around 20%. (eg: If I sell a $100 product, I want my cost of acquisition to be below $30; and ideally around $20). This translates to a ROAS of between 3.0 and 5.0.

For new brand unaware audiences, I am willing to spend more to introduce that customer to our product. In these cases, I am willing to spend up to 50% of sale price. This is an ROAS of 2.0.

Audience Target
Cost of Sales
Min ROAS Target ROAS
Past Customers 20%-30% 3.0 5.0
Remarketing 20%-30% 3.0 5.0
Prospecting 30%-50% 2.0 3.0
Categories
Facebook Ads

Never Boost Facebook Posts. Convert them into Ads Instead

The Proper Way to Promote a Post

There are generally two ways to promote a Facebook page post:

  1. Boost the Post
  2. Convert the Post into an Ad

Always choose the second option.

Never boost a post unless you are technically unable to convert the post into an ad. Post boosting should be considered as backup option when technical limitations prevent you from using the Facebook Ads Platform.

Benefits of Post Ads vs Post Boosts

  • Post Ads can reuse your existing campaign structure
  • Post Ads have more granular budget allocations
  • Post Ads have more specific and flexible audience targeting
  • Post Ads keep your existing campaign structure clean

How to Convert a Post into an Ad

  1. Create your post as you normally would.
  2. In Facebook Ads Manager, go to Create & Manage > Page Posts
  3. Select Published or Scheduled Posts in the left side menu
  4. Find the post you want to promote and select it using the checkbox.
  5. In the Actions menu select “Create Ad
  6. Choose Ad Post Location: Choose “Use Existing Campaign” and “Use Existing Ad Set” and select the Campaign and Ad Set where you want to create the Post Ad, and click Save to Draft.
  7. Rename your Post Ad to something meaningful, and continue editing the ad as you normally would.
  8. (optional but recommended) Enter these dynamic utm tracking parameters into the URL parameters field: utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign={{campaign.name}}&utm_content={{ad.name}}&utm_term={{adset.name}}

Duplicate your Post Across Multiple Campaigns and Ad Sets

Now that you have an Ad version of your post, you can duplicate it across all your accounts Campaigns and Ad Sets (if applicable). This allows you to assign more budgets to key audiences, target specific geographies, etc…

  • Select your Post Ad and click the Duplicate button.
  • Select a Campaign to duplicate to
  • Select Ad Sets within your Campaign to duplicate to. It is often fastest to click the “Add to All” link and then remove the Ad Sets that you don’t want to copy to. Important to note that the “Add to all” link will add both disabled and enabled Ad Sets, and will only add to a maximum of 20 Ad Sets.
  • Click Duplicate
  • Remove “Copy” from the Duplicated Ad names. Duplicated Ads will have the word “ – Copy” appended to the name. This should be removed to keep things neat and tidy. Once the ads are duplicated, they will open up in the Ads Editor with all duplicated ads selected. Take this opportunity to edit the title and remove the word Copy from it. If duplicating multiple ads, exit the ad editor and use the Find & Replace functionality to strip “Copy” from the ad names.
  • Verify and Publish Changes. Ensure your copied ads are active / inactive as required, and publish your changes.
  • Repeat this process for each Campaign you wish to copy your Post Ad into

Schedule Individual Ads

You can use Rules to schedule the launch of your Post Ads in sync with your actual page post:

  1. Copy the name of your ad
  2. Create a new Rule: In Facebook Ads Manager, click the Rules > Create New Rule button. Alternatively in the Ads Editor you can click the three dots in the top right corner and select Create Rule
  3. Action: Turn on Ad
  4. Apply Rule to: All Paused Ads
  5. Conditions: Name contains (your ad name from step 1 above); Current Time is greater than (your ads launch date and time)
  6. Rule Name: Name your rule something meaningful and consistent. You can rename this later if you want. eg: Dec 27 9AM Post Launch
Categories
Attribution Digital Marketing

How to avoid getting Screwed by your Remarketing Platform

Summary
Many popular Remarketing Platforms purposely report misleading metrics. Their goal is to fool advertisers into increasing ad spend. Here are the tactics they use and the ways you can protect yourself.

Common Deception Tactics

View Through Conversions

  • A View Through Conversion is when a user sees your ad, DOES NOT CLICK on the ad, and later makes a purchase.
  • A Click Through Conversion is when a user sees your ad, CLICKS on the ad, and later makes a purchase.

For a sales driven remarketing campaign you should exclusively focus on Click-Through Conversions and ignore View-Through Conversions. The incremental sales generated by a simple ad display in a remarketing campaign is almost zero.

Remember that we are working with a Remarketing campaign. We are targeting customers that are aware of your brand. Customers who have already visited your site. In many cases, customers that have added a product to their cart and are very close to purchase.

Consider this scenario: A long time customer visits your site, quickly finds the product he is looking for and starts the checkout process. In the middle of checkout, he receives an e-mail from a friend. He opens the e-mail and clicks on a link. That link takes him to a news site to read an article. Since he is in your remarketing audience, that news site shows him an ad and records a “View”. The customer finishes reading the article and returns to your site to complete his purchase. Your remarketing campaign has now taken credit for that sale because an ad was displayed to this customer.

If your customer visits any webpage during the purchase process, or if they have another browser tab open, they will likely be exposed to an ad view. That ad view will get View-Through credit for that conversion.

The number of View Through Conversions recorded in a remarketing campaign can be more than ten times that of Click Through Conversions. It is no wonder that remarketing platforms and ad agencies are eager to include View Through Conversions in ROI calculations. If you include View Through Conversions you will see fantastic performance results. This will cause you to double or triple your budget. It’s easy money for them.

Here is what a fictional remarketing campaign with a typical distribution of view vs click conversions might look like:

 Ad Spend Click Conversions Click Sales View Conversions View Sales
 $12,000 50  $10,000  400  $80,000

If we use Click Conversions to calculate performance, we lose $0.17 for every $1.00 in ad spend. We have a negative ROI. The campaign is not profitable. We need to DECREASE our bids and budget.

 Ad Spend Conversions Sales CPA ROAS ROI
 $12,000 50  $10,000  $240  0.83 -16%

If we add View-Through Conversions to our calculation, we come to a totally different conclusion: The campaign is now performing fantastically well. We profit $6.50 for every $1.00 in ad spend. That’s a 650% ROI! The campaign is super profitable. We should INCREASE our bids and budgets. This is exactly what your remarketing platform wants you to do, but is exactly the OPPOSITE of what you should do.

 Ad Spend Conversions Sales CPA ROAS ROI
 $12,000 450  $90,000  $26.60  7.5 650%

The (unfortunate) reality is that the 400 view-through sales above were not a result of your remarketing campaign. The ad display is simply poaching attribution from your other channels.

Note: View Conversion metrics are valuable and useful in many scenarios. However, in the context of a sales driven remarketing campaign they should be excluded.

Cookie Bombing and Fake Impressions

Compounding the problem of View Through Conversions are fraudulent ad impressions and cookie bombing.

Over 50% of Display Ads never actually appear on the user’s screen. They are fraudulently served in a hidden iframe, or are stacked underneath other ads, or are compressed into a 1×1 pixel image, etc… These hidden fraudulent ad impressions still record a “View” in the user’s remarketing cookie. When that user eventually purchases on your site, that invisible fraudulent ad gets credit for the purchase.

If a particular ad network’s website can generate many conversions for advertisers, then those advertisers will want to spend more with that website. Fraudulent sites engage in “cookie bombing” to maximize the number of conversions they can “capture”. They serve as many ads to as many unique users as possible, so that as many users as possible have their cookie. The more users have their cookies, the more conversions will be credited to their sites, and the more ad budget money they will be paid.

To be clear, these sites are not actually serving any visible ads to any users. They are generating fraudulent ad impressions to set cookies on as many users as possible in order to “poach” conversion attribution (and budget) from your other channels. If a user with their cookie ever makes a purchase in the future, that site will get a view-attribution for that purchase, causing more ad budget money to flow to them.

All these hidden impressions distributed to as many users as possible cause View Through Conversion metrics to skyrocket. As mentioned before, View Through Conversions reported by an ad platform can easily be more than 10 times the number of Click Through Conversion reported. It is no surprise that ad platforms want you to believe in and count View Through Conversions.

New Attribution Models: View Throughs Disguised as Click Throughs

The simple way for an ad platform to fool you into counting View Through Conversions is to simply have a single “Conversions” column and lump all conversions in there. The platforms are however getting more sophisticated at transforming view conversions into click conversions, using new attribution models as a guise:

  • YouTube TrueView Conversion is any conversion that occurs after the user has watched 30 seconds of a video. Even if no click happened. TrueView conversions get counted in the Conversion column in AdWords along with the regular Click Through conversions. This makes it seem like an actual click happened, when none did. What makes this even more confusing and misleading, is that YouTube will still report View Conversions in a separate column. Since there are two separate columns, one tracking View Throughs explicitly, you will assume that the Conversions column must only contain clicks. This is not the case, and if not careful, you will significantly overspend on your YouTube remarketing campaign.
  • Steelhouse’s “Verified Visit” model counts any View-Through visit to your site within 1 hour of seeing an ad as a “Verified Visit”. Any conversion that happens within 30 days of this “Verified Visit” is counted as a Click Conversion (even though, no click ever occurred). Steelhouse will skirt the View Through question by saying that they only count conversions from “Verified Visits”. This will mislead you to think that they only count Click Through Conversions. But that is incorrect. The stats they report definitely include View conversions, which inflate your ROI, and cause you to overspend.

I spent months believing that SteelHouse’s numbers were based solely on clicks and post-click conversions. SteelHouse’s conduct made it appear to perform better than it actually was performing. Toms made spending allocation decisions and marketing vendor choices based on SteelHouse’s inflated performance.

Anna Hordov
former Online Demand Generation Manager, Toms

How to protect yourself from View Through Conversion “fraud”?

  • Insist that your platform report on Click Through and View Through Conversions in two separate columns. It is OK to include View Conversions in a report if they are in a separate column. It is NOT OK to combine View Conversions with Click Conversions in the same column.
  • Validate all data with your site analytics. Your analytics platform should report the actual accurate click through conversion data. Always compare the reports your remarketing platform generates with your own analytics data.
  • Don’t run Conversion focused YouTube remarketing campaigns. There is currently no way to opt-out of the TrueView model, therefor your conversion column will be overstated. Read more about TrueView…
  • Don’t use Steelhouse. Their Verified Visit model is designed to fool you. They also use their tracking pixel to inject data into your analytics. Scary stuff. Avoid.
  • Don’t use Criteo. They won’t tell you where your ads are displayed and their network has much more fraudulent sites participating in cookie bombing than anyone else. Avoid.

Fraudulent Automated Clicks

Fake clicks are an evolution of Cookie Bombing, except in this case clicks are auto generated onto the invisible ads, sending invisible visits to your site, and claiming Click credit for your purchases.

How Fake Clicks Work

  1. A legitimate customer visits your site but does not purchase. He is now placed into your remarketing list.
  2. This customer now visits another site on the internet. That site serves up an invisible ad and automatically “clicks” on that ad.
  3. That click causes an invisible visit to your website, by that customer. That customer’s remarketing cookie records a click and a site visit.
  4. Your legitimate customer now has a remarketing cookie set that says he saw an ad, clicked on that ad, and visited your website from that ad.
  5. When that customer comes back to your site to make a purchases, that ad will take credit for the conversion.

There are two issues here: The first is that you’ve paid for a fraudulent click. The second more important issue is that a conversion has been attributed to that fraudulent click. As a result, your remarketing platform appears to be performing better, meaning you will likely increase your budget in order to buy more of those fraudulent clicks.

Obfuscation and Lack of transparency

Anytime the remarketing network is hiding data from you, that’s an opportunity for them to fool you. For example, Criteo refuses to be transparent with the list of publisher sites where you ad appears and where your clicks and conversions come from.

3.6% of Criteo’s ‘users’ generate 25% of its clicks. Such behavior by real human users is highly unlikely. This behavior is indicative of adware, bots, click farms, or other code created by Criteo or its affiliates to generate clicks and drive up Criteo’s click-count numbers.

Steelhouse

How to protect yourself?

  • Insist on detailed and transparent reports on where your ads were served, and where the clicks came from. If certain sites seem to have unusually high click and conversion rates, dig deeper into those sites to see if they are legitimate or not.
  • Avoid using platforms that lack transparency. Don’t use Criteo for this reason, as they refuse to provide transparent reports of where your ads are served, preventing you from doing a proper audit.

Hijacking Visits and Overwriting Analytics

When you install 3rd party javascript pixels on your site, you give the owner of that script a lot of power. In particular that script can overwrite referral data, popup hidden pages, and generate clicks to your site. It can even directly write to your analytics platform!

You may think that your analytics data is safe, but think again. When you install any 3rd party javascript on your site, you also expose your analytics account for injection.

This is super alarming and you should be very concerned about this capability. Any Advertising Platform that has any javascript installed on your site can be overwriting and modifying your analytics data. They can override referral data for direct and organic visits to make it look like they are coming from their network. They can highjack e-commerce transactions and attribute them to themselves. They can make it seem like they are out-performing all your other marketing channels.

SteelHouse used “malicious code to make it appear as though an internet user clicked on a SteelHouse-placed advertisement, even though no such click occurred.”

Leah Bliss
former Global Retargeting Manager, VistaPrint

Steelhouse, under their Verified Visit model, uses their javascript pixel to generate clicks on ads, visits to your site, and to attribute conversions to themselves directly in your analytics.

How this works:

  1. A legitimate customer visits your site but does not purchase. He is now placed into your remarketing list.
  2. This customer now visits another site and is shown an ad. The customer DOES NOT click on the ad, but the remarketing cookie records a View.
  3. An hour later, the customer revisits your site from an organic source. The pixel script on your site detects that the customer has a recent ad view recorded.
  4. The pixel script loads an invisible iFrame, in the iFrame it loads the original ad and generates an automatic click and visit to your site.
  5. Your legitimate customer now has a remarketing cookie set that says he saw an ad, clicked on that ad, and visited your website from that ad. Your analytics data also says that this customer came from an ad click, and not from the original organic source.
  6. When that customer comes back to your site to make a purchases, that ad will take credit for the conversion.

Worst still, when you look in your analytics, it will appear that your Remarketing Platform is sending you lots of visitors and conversions, which will cause you to spend more with them. The reality is that these visitors are organic visits that were hijacked by the remarketing pixel.

“SteelHouse’s practice of inserting a code into an internet user’s browser to make a view of an advertisement appear indistinguishable from a click on Decker’s Adobe Analytics system is not, in any way, common or acceptable industry practice. Nor should it be because it is deceptive.”

Graham McCulloch
Director of eCommerce, Deckers

 

How to protect yourself?

  • Insist on an image only tracking pixel. Although this is rarely a viable option, try to avoid 3rd party javascript when possible.
  • Keep your analytics private and hidden. The less they know about your analytics platform and setup, the more difficult it will be for them to inject data. Avoid giving them any access, and ideally don’t even tell them what platform you use.
  • Get a written declaration from the Remarketing Platform that they will not inject data into your analytics, that they will not modify referral data, that they will not generate clicks, nor do anything that will simulate visits to your site or in your analytics.
  • Don’t use Steelhouse

More steps to protect yourself

Be very skeptical

Be very skeptical of all data provided by the 3rd party platform. By default assume they are lying to you and are trying to take your money. Always rely on your in-house analytics data first (although even this can be messed with via 3rd party pixels) and always try to deeply understand how their platform and algorithms work. Explicitly ask what they are doing about ad fraud.

Beware of secret sauces, black boxes, and magical artificial intelligence powered predictive self optimizing algorithms. If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Never ask the barber if you need a Haircut…

The ultimate selfish goal of any Advertising Platform is to MAXIMIZE your ad spend. You are THEIR customer and they want YOUR money. They want you to allocate as much of your budget to them as possible. They are incentivized to fool you.

Therefore be very skeptical with the data they give you and the stories they tell you.

Recommended Platforms

I would explicitly AVOID using either Steelhouse or Criteo due to first hand bad experiences with both. Here are the only three remarketing platforms that I currently recommend:

  • Google Display Network with my recommended remarketing campaign setup and segmentation. Also continually audit the ad placements site list for fraudulent sites.
  • Facebook but ignore the “Results” metric and configure your attribution model for Click Through Conversions only. You can configure this in Ads Manager by clicking on Columns > Configure Columns > Attribution Window > Comparing Window and only selecting 1, 7, or 28 day click attribution.

More Reading about this topic:

Categories
Analytics Attribution Digital Marketing Google Ads

YouTube Campaigns are not performing as well as you think!

I recently ran a conversion focused YouTube video campaign that performed extremely well: According to AdWords I spent $10,000 and generated $100,000 in revenue.

However, looking at our analytics data showed a much different picture: That same $10,000 spend only generated $3,000 in sales.

Why the huge discrepancy? Something wasn’t right…

View Through vs Click Throughs

First a quick explanation of the difference between View-through Conversions and Click-through Conversions:

View Through Conversions (VTC) occur when someone sees your ad but does not click on it, and later buys your product. These types of conversions generally are only counted in the “View-through Conversions” column in AdWords.

Click Through Conversions (CTC) occur when someone sees your ad, Clicks the ad, and then later buys your product. These types of conversions are counted in the “Conversions” column in AdWords (and are generally the only conversions tracked by Google Analytics).

YouTube Campaigns count Conversions differently from other Campaign types

Standard Campaigns

For all campaign types except YouTube, a conversion is only counted in the “Conversions” column if someone clicked on your ad and then purchased your product. If a user sees your ad but does not click, but purchases anyway, that conversion is only counted in the “View Through Conversion” column.

This is the normal expected behaviour.

AdWords Search and Display conversion attribution

YouTube Video Campaigns

For YouTube campaigns, things behave differently. Click-throughs behave as expected, but View-Through conversions are handled very differently, and are divided into two categories:

Impression View-Through: A user briefly sees your video ad, does NOT click, but then buys your product. This conversion is counted in the “View-Through Conversion” column. (This is normal expected behaviour)

Video 30s View-Through: A user watches your video ad for at least 30 seconds, does NOT clickbut buys your product. This conversion is counted in the “Conversions” column, just like a Click-Through conversion. THIS IS NOT EXPECTED BEHAVIOUR!

YouTube conversion attribution

From Google:

Keep in mind: An impression is different than a “view” of a video ad. A ‘view’ is counted when someone watches 30 seconds (or the whole ad if it’s shorter than 30 seconds) or clicks on a part of the ad. A ‘view’ that leads to a conversion is counted in the ‘Conversions’ column. 

https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6270625

Misleading Data

A “Video View” is more like an Impressions than a Click

A 30 second video view is much more like an impression that it is like a click, so why are these conversions being lumped in with click-through conversions? They should clearly be lumped into the View-Through Conversion column, or if YouTube wants to explicitly report on this metric then create another column type. Don’t lump it in with click-through conversions.

Unexpected Behaviour

The problem with all this is that suddenly the “Conversions” column behaves differently in one campaign type vs another. Suddenly the clean click-through conversion data is being polluted and mixed in with View-Through conversion data. This will make the campaign appear to perform better than it should. Which will lead you to incorrectly increase spend.

In our specific case, this issue led to AdWords over reporting campaign revenues by 3000%

This could also affect your regular display campaigns

This issue could also affect your regular display campaigns if they are setup to serve ads on the YouTube network. Any of your regular display ads displayed on YouTube network will count View Through Conversions as if they were Click Through Conversions. This leads to attribution poaching, and makes your display campaigns appear to perform much better than they actually do. This ultimately causes you to increase bids and budgets, and overspend.

To exclude YouTube placements, go to: Campaign Settings > Additional Settings > Content Exclusions and select all of the following for exclusion:

  • Live streaming YouTube video
  • Embedded video
  • In-video

Notes:

  • This should only be an issue if you use Google AdWords Conversion tracking. If you import your conversions directly from Google Analytics, then this should not be an issue (as Analytics only counts click throughs)
  • If you are running  a pure brand awareness campaign, this is probably less of a concern for you.
Categories
Digital Marketing Google Ads Shopify

Shopify Dynamic Remarketing Setup

Last Updated: April 8, 2019

Here is how to properly install Google Ads Dynamic Remarketing Tags on your Shopify store.

The code needs to be installed in two places:

  1. At the top of your theme.liquid in between the HEAD tags
  2. In the “Additional Scripts” field in your Store’s Admin > Settings > Checkout section

Theme.liquid

Step 1: Create a Remarketing Snippet

In your store’s admin section go to:

  • Online Store > Themes > Edit HTML/CSS
  • Expand the Snippets section and click “Add new snippet”
  • Call the snippet “adwords-remarketing”
  • Paste the following code into the snippet
  • Update the google_conversion_id to use your specific conversion Id (you will find it in your Google AdWords account)
{% comment %} Enter your google conversion id below {% endcomment %}
{% assign google_conversion_id = 123456789 %}

{% assign shopify_store_country  = 'US' %}
{% if shop.currency == 'CAD' %}
{% assign shopify_store_country  = 'CA' %}
{% elsif shop.currency == 'AUD' %}
{% assign shopify_store_country  = 'AU' %}
{% endif %}

<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) -->
<script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=AW-{{ google_conversion_id }}"></script>
<script>
  window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
  function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
  gtag('js', new Date());
  gtag('config', 'AW-{{ google_conversion_id }}');
</script>

<script>
  function getUserId() {
    if(typeof __st !== 'undefined' && __st["cid"]) {
      return __st["cid"];
    } else {
      return;
    }
  }

  var _data = {'send_to': 'AW-{{ google_conversion_id }}', 'ecomm_pagetype':'other', 'user_id': getUserId()};

{% if template contains 'cart' %}
  _data["ecomm_pagetype"] = 'cart';
  _data["ecomm_prodid"] = [{% for item in cart.items %}'shopify_{{ shopify_store_country  }}_{{ item.product.id }}_{{ item.variant.id }}'{% unless forloop.last %}, {% endunless %}{% endfor %}];
  _data["ecomm_totalvalue"] = '{{ cart.total_price | money_without_currency  | remove: ','  }}';
  
{% elsif template contains 'collection' %}
  var _prodid = [{% for item in collection.products limit:5 %}'shopify_{{ shopify_store_country  }}_{{ item.id }}_{{ item.variants.first.id }}'{% unless forloop.last %}, {% endunless %}{% endfor %}];
  _data["ecomm_pagetype"] = 'category';
  _data["ecomm_category"] = '{{ collection.handle }}';
  
{% elsif template contains 'index' %}
  _data["ecomm_pagetype"] = 'home';
  
{% elsif template contains 'product' %}
  _data["ecomm_prodid"] = 'shopify_{{ shopify_store_country  }}_{{ product.id }}_{{ product.selected_or_first_available_variant.id }}';
  _data["ecomm_pagetype"] = 'product';
  _data["ecomm_totalvalue"] = '{{ product.selected_or_first_available_variant.price | money_without_currency  | remove: ','  }}';
  
{% elsif template contains 'search' %}
  _data["ecomm_prodid"] = [{% for item in search.results limit:5 %}'shopify_{{ shopify_store_country  }}_{{ item.id }}_{{ item.variants.first.id }}'{% unless forloop.last %}, {% endunless %}{% endfor %}];
  _data["ecomm_pagetype"] = 'searchresults';
		
{% endif %}

  gtag('event', 'page_view', _data);
</script>

This code is also available on GitHub: Shopify Remarketing Code Snippet

Step 2: Include the snippet in your Theme file

Open up the theme.liquid file and add the following line of code before the closing </head> tag:

{% include 'adwords-remarketing' %}

Checkout Scripts

In your Shopify Store’s Admin, go to:

  • Settings > Checkout
  • Scroll down to the “Additional Scripts” field.
  • Copy and paste the code below into the “Additional Scripts” field
  • Make sure you update the code with your own custom google_conversion_id and google_conversion_label
  • NOTE: The code below also includes Google Ads Conversion Tracking. If you already have conversion tracking installed, make sure you are not duplicating conversions.
{% if first_time_accessed %}
{% comment %} Enter your account specific values below {% endcomment %}
{% assign google_conversion_id = 123456789 %}
{% assign google_conversion_label = "abcdefghijklmnop" %}

{% assign shopify_store_country  = 'US' %}
{% if shop.currency == 'CAD' %}
{% assign shopify_store_country  = 'CA' %}
{% elsif shop.currency == 'AUD' %}
{% assign shopify_store_country  = 'AU' %}
{% endif %}


<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) -->
<script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=AW-{{ google_conversion_id }}"></script>
<script>
  window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
  function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
  gtag('js', new Date());
  gtag('config', 'AW-{{ google_conversion_id }}');
</script>

<!-- Event snippet for Web Order conversion page -->
<script>
    function getUserId() {
      if(typeof __st !== 'undefined' && __st["cid"]) {
        return __st["cid"];
      } else {
        return;
      }
    }

    // Conversion
    gtag('event', 'conversion', {
        'send_to': 'AW-{{ google_conversion_id }}/{{ google_conversion_label }}',
        'value': {{ checkout.subtotal_price | money_without_currency | remove: ',' }},
        'currency': '{{ shop.currency }}',
        'transaction_id': '{{ order.order_number }}'
    });

    // Remarketing
    gtag('event', 'page_view', {
        'send_to': 'AW-{{ google_conversion_id }}',
        'user_id': getUserId(),
        'ecomm_pagetype': 'purchase',
        'ecomm_prodid' : [{% for item in order.line_items %}'shopify_{{ shopify_store_country }}_{{ item.product.id }}_{{ item.variant.id }}'{% unless forloop.last %}, {% endunless %}{% endfor %}],
        'ecomm_totalvalue' : '{{ total_price | money_without_currency | remove: ',' }}'
    });
</script>

{% endif %}

Download the code from Github here: Shopify Checkout Remarketing Code

Final Step: Verification

Once you’ve installed all your code, it’s time to run through your site and main pages (collection, product, cart, and purchase pages) with Google Tag Assistant installed. This will help you troubleshoot any errors.

Additional Reading…