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How to make your e-commerce ads more personal?

Advertising fundamentals you can learn form Coca-Cola and Coolblue to sell more products online.

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The old saying, “You can't be everything to everyone” certainly applies to your social ads. 

After all, different audiences have different needs. If you want to appeal to everyone at once, you'll end up appealing to no one. If you do address the specific needs of a group, then you have an advantage:

👉 You stand out from the competition. 
👉 Ad relevance goes up.
👉 You pay less for purchase.

But how do you cleverly respond to the needs of your customers?

For this, we go back to the basics of advertising. Byron Sharp, author of How Brands Grow, describes advertising as: 

  1. Building memory structures
  2. Reminding people of occasions to use your product (or service). 

To explain this further, let's examine one of the world's best-known brands.


What e-commerce brands can learn from Coca-Cola

Before you continue reading, answer the following question: When do you crave a can of Coke?

The answer varies greatly from person to person. I think of Coke while lying on the beach and looking for refreshment, and someone else always thinks of it at a party. Yet, someone else on a Friday night with a pizza and their favorite series on Netflix.

So these are occasions we connect in our minds with certain products or services. 

As online marketers, our job is to help people develop memory structures around our products.

Coca-Cola understands this well. They connected occasions like going out, sunbathing on the beach, and watching a movie to their product for years.

For example, Coca-Cola was already advertising around the occasion of going out in the late 1980s: 

Now I can imagine you thinking: Coca-Cola has one of the largest marketing budgets in the world and only has to promote one product. What can I learn from them as an e-commerce advertiser with a smaller budget and over a hundred different items?

A lot! Because you can advertise more successfully if you divide your products into relevant segments or occasions.

Let's look at how one of the most successful online stores in the Netherlands does this.


How Coolblue segments ads

Coolblue, like Coca-Cola, advertises around occasions when you use a product (group). 

An important occasion for Coolblue is working from home. Coolblue uses Dynamic Product Ads to promote this occasion. They advertise a collection of products you can purchase for the ideal home office. 

Another occasion for Coolblue is setting up your home theater. You'll find televisions and speakers in this segment. 

Yet another segment of Coolblue is gaming. The funny thing is that products can fall into gaming and home entertainment groups. However, a gamer has different needs; therefore, Coolblue appeals to this group differently.

If you also respond cleverly to occasions, your ads will be more striking, personal, and fun to watch. 

And more importantly: it will boost your conversion.


How you deploy product segmentation

Now it's your turn. Ask yourself the following three questions.

  1. On what occasions do customers use my products together?
  2. What products fit these situations?
  3. What are the main benefits of the product sets for my customer?


1. On what occasions do customers use my products together?

Try to think of the three most meaningful occasions for your store.

Sometimes these occasions are very obvious. As a webshop in sporting goods, customers use your products together by playing their favorite sports, such as soccer, tennis, and Hockey. 

However, the same store can also use a different type of occasion in their advertising. For example, giving a nice gift during the holidays. By mentioning this explicitly in your ads, they become more relevant. In addition, people will build memory structures about your brand and a nice gift for the holidays. 

Expert, a dutch electronics store, also makes clever use of this event. They advertised a segment of suitable products as holiday gifts. 

Ad example Expert (created with Adflow)


2. What products fit these situations?

For each situation, try to think about what is happening now and which products are relevant. 

For example, has the soccer season just started? Then think about the products that fit in well with this. Is cold weather coming? Then filter products that will protect you from the cold. 

In your Facebook catalog, you can create a filter for product sets. Create a product set for the 3 situations and add relevant products.


3. What are the main benefits of the product sets for my customer?

Answer this question to make your Ad Copy or Ad Creative more personal. 

It is important to empathize with your customer as much as possible. 

Who is a typical customer buying soccer products? 

Think mainly about the group's behavior, not demographics like gender and age. So what does this group do on the weekend besides soccer? What are they triggering? How do they talk to each other? 

Your customer always has an underlying reason for making a purchase. It could be one of these reasons:

To be liked
To be appreciated
To be right
To feel important
To make money 
To save money
To save time
To make work easier
To be safe
To be attractive
To be sexy 
To be comfortable
To stand out 
To be happy
To become smarter
To be healthy
To satisfy your curiosity
For convenience
Out of fear
Out of greed
Out of guilt

Think about which reasons are relevant for each product group. 

Let's return to the sporting goods store and the holiday gift. For this segment, the reasons to be liked, appreciated, and for convenience are relevant. 

Then try to capitalize on these reasons in your ad copy or ad creative.

“Find the perfect gift for the soccer fan ⚽️. Without leaving your home.”.

Or start with a question where the answer is YES:

“Looking for the best gift for a soccer fan? They'll love these products👇”

That sounds more personal, right?

Want to get started with segmentation too?

In this video training (Dutch), Juul explains how to get started.

When do you deploy segmentation?

Segmentation is suitable for most online shops' ads in the Top Funnel. In this phase, people don't know about you yet, so you want to address them as personally as possible. 

However, try not to over-segment. Testing three segments at a time is enough. Facebook's algorithm needs time to learn, and it can't if you work with too many ads.

In addition, try to keep your product sets large enough. This allows the algorithm to learn which products produce the best results.

In the Bottom Funnel, the target audience is generally small, making it wiser to advertise with your entire catalog.

If you start segmenting in the Bottom Funnel, you risk your ads getting stuck in the learning phase for too long, which ensures that your ads do not perform optimally. 

In the Bottom Funnel, it is better to work with persuasion techniques. I will write another article about persuasion in an upcoming blog post.

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