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How to Advertise Your eCommerce Business on Facebook and Instagram (Podcast)

Andrew is the co-founder of Foxwell Digital, a social media advisory firm based in Madison. He collaborates and consults with Wisconsin Brewing Company, Fortune 500 companies, eCommerce entrepreneurs, and local startups on Facebook and Instagram advertising, online fundraising, and digital marketing strategies. He has been advertising since the start on Facebook and has spent over $100MM through the platform.

  • How to build Facebook advertising for eCommerce
  • How to build Instagram advertising for eCommerce
  • The perfect ingredients for eCommerce advertising


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Robert: welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast. Today’s guest is Andrew Fox well. Andrew is the co-founder of Fox well digital. A social media advisory firm based in Madison. He collaborates and consults with Wisconsin Brewing Company, fortune 500 companies, ecommerce entrepreneurs and local startups and he advises them on Facebook, Instagram advertising, online fundraising, in digital marketing strategies. He has been advertising since the start on Facebook and he has spent over 100 million dollars through the platform. Welcome to the podcast Andrew.

Andrew: Hey thanks so much for having me.

Robert: Is that correct? Over million dollars in advertising.

Andrew: it’s not an exaggeration. A lot of the spend came when I worked in an agency and then since then I have started my own agency. So yeah it’s kind of nuts and I have been really with it since the beginning.

Robert: Okay and the agency started Fox well digital. What’s the website for that in case listeners want to visit the website and check you out?

Andrew: Sure our website is and you can check it out and check out the story. My wife and I own the business together and we, it’s just us. We have a one part-time employee and yeah we do Facebook and Instagram advertising and we help people figure it out and help navigate that landscape for a lot of people. So you can check it out, check out our testimonials at as well.

Robert: okay so let’s jump into it. Today we are going to be talking about Facebook and Instagram advertising. We’re going to be talking about how to build it the right way. The proper foundation and what are the required ingredients to have successful advertising campaign in Facebook and Instagram. So let’s jump into it and you can just come and let us know how businesses should be strategizing on capitalizing when they market on Facebook and Instagram.

Andrew: Sure well I think you know the first thing is thinking about all of the fundamentals of what you need in order to really have an impactful campaign on Instagram and on Facebook. I think one of the biggest ones that I see people miss right away is creative. So creative and what you’re going to say and what the images of your products look like. So are they good? Do you have product shots that are of you know of that product that makes sense and if not, if you’re selling information, if you’re selling people to sign up for webinar, is that offer compelling. Do people actually want to sign up or does it feel like spam or are you trying to get their email and you know maybe that landing page is not something that Facebook would like. So that’s a big fundamental right there of the creative in the ad. Whether it’s a video, whether it’s a photo or whether it’s a combination of things. Is that something that is really impactful? Another foundational aspect of it is, do you have the Facebook pixel properly installed on your website in order to really have impactful Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns that are through paid strategies, you absolutely have to have the Facebook pixel installed and the Facebook pixels is so great. Because it’s got so many features to it that you can do. Once it’s in there not only can you of course create free marketing pools. But you can do things with some new features like page engagement custom audiences or like website custom audiences that are based on events that happen with the pixels. So maybe somebody’s gone to that site more than once and had gone twice and they’ve fired the event that’s the Add to Cart event. So they’ve added something to cart twice in the last 90 days. You can send an ad to those people. So having that Facebook pixel in there allows you to not only create great audiences, but also have your attribution and your ROI much clearer and much easier for you to translate and hopefully continue to grow.

Robert: Okay and before we move along as far as the creative and this elements that people should be paying attention to and what are some like good examples of brands that listeners can look at to try and get inspiration and see what’s actually really working.

Andrew: yeah I mean I think the general concept with creative framework that I like to go off of now is what thumb is stopping. What is somebody going to be going through their newsfeed on their phone and seeing because that’s where obviously the majority of the impressions are being shown. Where somebody going to be going through and they are going to see it be like whoa interesting what that is and how can you go about that. There are a lot of brands that do this really well. You know I mean I saw an example of really creative, piece of creative the other day that I wanted to talk about from Mandalay Bay. Which is really interesting. They actually created like a fake newsfeed and it looks like sand is filling your news, your screen. Which is pretty crazy. But you know there’s a brand name bombas, an e-commerce brand and they have really really mastered you know the creative. What is it, using video, using their products in a creative and interesting way and creating visuals that are really really like something that’s captivating to see? But generally the rule of thumb that I follow and there’s definitely exceptions to this rule. But if you’re an e-commerce company that has a product that you’re trying to sell. Lifestyle photos are just not what they used to be. I think a lot of people and a lot of social advisors used to say, hey you should put on lifestyle photos of people wearing your product walking down the street or you know the classic one that we saw a ton of which was the product sitting next to an iPhone with a shot down looking at a desk. We’ve all seen that photo a hundred times right? And so that stuff doesn’t work. It doesn’t work as it used to and it doesn’t really drive sales. So the question is how you can have an interesting and visually creative and captivating shot that is of your product. You know that something’s going to catch people’s eye and is product-centric without you know just kind of shoving it in their face too much. So that’s really the type of thing that I would do. It’s a lot of colors that people don’t explore. So you know what are bold colors that you could put your product against that it would stand out and would stand out in the newsfeed and think about visually what you stop on as well. These are some of the kind of components that I like to follow.

Robert: Okay so far, as far as having a successful Facebook and Instagram campaign you’ve mentioned the creative and I did the Facebook pixel to the website. What are the other ingredients that make up this success formula for Facebook and Instagram advertising?

Andrew: yeah the other components that I really believe are you know the audience’s that you have available to you. So if you’re going to start from scratch, it’s a very difficult proposition to do that if you don’t have an email list or you don’t have a previous customer list. because you can definitely start with Facebook or Instagram paid from scratch, but it is harder and so if you have audiences of email opens or your email list or your customer list or even maybe you have a best customer list or a multiple purchaser customer list, that is going to make that work a lot easier for you on e-commerce and so having those lists is a foundational piece is really really great and important to having success. because you can create look-alike audiences from those and those local like audiences are modeled by Facebook to be exactly like the people on those core lists based on 2,000 factors of similarity. Which is super cool. So that’s really what you’re going to want and that’s going to be a foundational piece to really seem the success that you want to do. So those look like audience and having lists is another one and then the final ingredient is really what we started to touch on earlier, which is your website right. So if your website is converting at less than 1%, it is going to be really tough to get people in there to buy something from Facebook that are cold traffic. They’ve never been there, they don’t know you and if your website isn’t converting at 1% at a minimum, it’s going to be tough and so you know you’re not going to be really seeing the success you need. So question is how can you just redesign your website? How can you redesign some landing pages to make people aware of what you’re doing quickly so that the path for them to purchase is as easy as possible, especially on mobile. I heard six months ago that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t even look at products anymore that people bring to him that Facebook’s trying to roll out on desktop. He doesn’t even look at it. Everything that gets brought to him and the experience it gets brought to him has to be on mobile. And so that’s the type of mentality that I think we really need to have and I know I have it, clients that we work with have it. Not everybody does. but I would encourage you to start thinking that way of looking at it purely on a mobile device and saying, if I didn’t know this and I wasn’t familiar with this what would I learn about it, what would it be like.

Robert: Yes well that’s, it’s definitely something that a lot of people have been preaching. You have to get your mobile right, you have to get your mobile right. But slowly businesses are just picking up and getting to that realization and starting to optimize their websites for that. But it is taking a lot of time. But unfortunately a lot of the internet and a lot of users mainly access everything through mobile. So yeah it’s definitely something that businesses need to be working on. You’ve mentioned there are four ingredients you need for success. Are there some mistakes people should be avoiding when they’re running campaigns on Facebook and Instagram that you know of?

Andrew: I think there’s a couple mistakes that people make that. Well there’s, a lot of mistakes that are common. I’ll mention some of the top ones. one of the first mistakes that I say I would say is very common is when people launch a Facebook or Instagram ad for the first time and they let Facebook choose the placements and they don’t deselect the Facebook audience Network. They don’t deselect the Facebook right-hand column and they don’t deselect things like the instant articles on Facebook. It’s not that those placements can’t perform and audience Network really can’t at this stage, it’s not mature enough as a placement for Facebook and we can talk more about what that is and the instant article certainly can perform in certain cases the right-hand column on Facebook desktop can certainly perform in some cases. But if you don’t deselect those things, Facebook will spend some of your money there and you potentially can be wasting money. So that’s one thing that I would say is a common mistake that I see. Another common mistake that we’ll see is people using the wrong ad unit or the wrong objective. So they’re saying, hey I really want to try to sell this to people and I’m going to boost a post at them. Well that’s fine and boosting a post will get you engagement and gets you likes, comments and shares which is okay. but it doesn’t necessarily drive sales and one of the main value propositions of Facebook is that you can say to them I am looking to make a sale off of this ad and I want to launch an ad for conversions and what that does is, then you launch it and it finds people within your target audience that are the most likely to convert and so that’s just really awesome right. that’s a perfect way to do it and there’s no reason to waste your money just trying to get likes comments and shares, when you can actually launch an ad for conversions and then the ad units, a lot of people say yeah have this great photo of my product and they’ll upload it as a photo post and put a link in it. Well that also doesn’t really work. It can occasionally. But what happens when you click on a photo in your newsfeed? It enlarges the photo. Which is like, doesn’t take you anywhere. so in many cases switching over to either a link post ad, which is when it drives you right to the site or something like a carousel ad can be a really great way to show off multiple parts of that product or multiple value propositions of that product. So those are some of the, those are I would say the top two. I would say the third one is kind of common that we see is a challenge around attribution. So they have pressed play or launched a Facebook ad without setting sort of an expectation with it and making sure that all of your tracking and attribution is correct. so making sure that your pixel is firing, make sure that you have a way to track it to some degree off of Facebook with Google Analytics and making sure that you know you’re able to just see what some numbers are and how they align to one another and that’s another really big one and there’s a whole bunch of others like naming conventions and other things that I think people don’t plan their bill before they actually get in and build a Facebook ad is another common one. But those are what I would say at the top common things that we see in terms of mistakes people make.

Robert: Okay again we are talking with Andrew Fox well from Fox well digital. Do you have any resources that you can share that people can check out when they’re trying to come up and optimize their Facebook and Instagram advertising and also maybe what are some cool tools that people can use?

Andrew: Sure yeah I mean so there are, you know the best resources you can find if you’re looking to get more advanced with some of the tactics and tools that you’re using is to check out Jon Loomer website. Jon Loomer digital. he is, I’m on his podcast every month and John’s a good friend of mine and he is really the advanced Facebook guy and you can also book time to talk to me through his site if you want to and so he’s got a ton of resources on there. All the newest things and all the newest kind of tricks and tips and gadgets that you can use which is really great. One of my personal favorite resources is at espresso. They have an incredible amount of content on their website about things that you can try and there a software that you launch ads through. but that’s really a big one that’s really really helpful is to kind of look at espressos content and see what they’ve got going on and then you know really tools. There isn’t anything fancy that I use. I actually don’t use any tools to manage our campaigns. Facebook even has automated rules and I don’t use those actually. Because I’m kind of a control freak. So I can’t necessarily say that there are big ones for reporting or anything that I use. Because my belief on this and my friend Antonio at espresso loves to make fun of me when I talk about this. But you know my big thing is the platform changes so much that to me as a Facebook advertising and Instagram advertising expert and consultant. I have to be as close as possible to that platform. I’ve got to know if a button changes. I’ve got to know if something is broken on a day-by-day basis. Because if I don’t, I lose my value to my clients and my customers. So I don’t really use a lot of the tools for anything. but there are things that I’ve seen people starting to use like you know people will do animated photos cinema graphs and they will you know use flixel for kind of animating those images and things like that. So there’s things like that people have been using more. But I have still kind of stuck to the platform itself. but the big one I mean if you’re not using the power editor to launch and optimize your campaigns on Facebook, that is an absolute necessity if you are going to go to step two and if you’re really going to start to take advantage of the dollars, take advantage of how you’re spending and take really control of your Facebook campaigns you have to know how to use the power editor in the right way.

Robert: Okay Andrew thanks for being on the podcast. If people wanted to reach you how come to reach you?

Andrew: Thanks for having me yeah. My email is You can reach me on twitter

@andrewfoxwell and I look forward to hearing from you and let me know if you listen to this and where you located. I always love to get emails from all over the world and some of the podcasts that I’m able to be on.

Robert: And any final thoughts?

Andrew: I tell you, the biggest thing right now that I would say if you are not doing is checking out that engagement page view custom audience piece that I mentioned earlier on Facebook. That is just doing so so great. So make sure that you check that out of saying you know hey if people have been to this URL multiple times, they’ve gone to this URL and then they’ve done this and creating those conditional website custom audiences is really going to have impact on your campaigns right away.

Robert: Okay again thanks Andrew for being on the podcast.

Andrew: Thank you.

Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. Join the e-commerce marketing podcast Facebook group to learn, connect, collaborate and grow with other e-commerce marketers at Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for e-commerce marketing podcast and please leave a rating and a review. Thanks for listening, see you next time.


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5 Response to "How to Advertise Your eCommerce Business on Facebook and Instagram (Podcast)"

  1. Comment From Harry Rictor

    Its always been hard to figure out how to advertise on Instagram. This podcast helped alot. I now know where to start.

  2. Comment From Yael Lindberg

    I have seen so many creative ads on Facebook, what I usually do is take note of them to get ideas of what I can do in the future.

  3. Comment From Benjamin Lane

    The key is to think mobile first. Most peoples engagement on social medial is through a mobile device. If you focus on that you can save time.

  4. Comment From Adam Flanner

    What I usually do is come up with a whole host of creatives that I can rotate on Facebook and Instagram. This insures that I always have fresh posts.

  5. Comment From priya

    Your site having very informative content. Thank you for sharing. Keep blogging.

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