How to Set Up a Basic E-Commerce Facebook Ad Funnel

What is a Facebook Ad Funnel?

Today we want to talk about setting up a Facebook ad funnel, which really means a series of retargeting ads on Facebook or Instagram that is intended to warm a customer up from their first interaction with your brand to an excited buyer pulling out their credit card.

Think of this whole process like courting someone…

You likely wouldn’t meet someone you find attractive and immediately propose marriage. You would first engage in casual conversation, then ask them on a date, and then after a series of dates, you may end up sealing the deal and getting hitched.

Facebook ads work a lot like this.

Moving Potential Customers Along a Purchasing Journey

Facebooks Ad objectives work in a 3 pillar system.

First, there is brand awareness: getting your name and business out there to as many people as possible. Next, there is the consideration pillar: getting people to take an action, whether it be watching a video, clicking a link, or interacting with a post. Sort of “considering” making a purchase or doing business with you. Finally, there is the conversions pillar: signing up for something or making a purchase.

While the general idea of a funnel is to stick to this pillar system, you don’t necessarily have to follow it to a T. Yes, you need to “court” customers and move them along a journey, but you can break out of this pillar system a bit.

Brand Awareness and Reach

Unless you are Coca-Cola or a major brand, brand awareness and reach are better served for advanced retargeting strategies.

Your ads won’t be shown to people ready to engage and interact, and you will burn through your budget without much to show for it. Plus, you’ll have minimal retargeting potential since these people are not taking any action on the ads.

Objectives such as engagement (also known as PPE) and video views, even though they are in the consideration column, will allow you to reach the maximum amount of potential customers for the least amount of ad spend while ALSO gaining more substantial retargeting potential from future ads.

Then, retarget these potential customers with different layers of consideration and conversions-objective ads to further entice them to make a purchase or multiple purchases across categories and products.

This moves them nicely along the customer courtship journey and will really help you form an engaged group of buyers.

The E-Commerce Funnel

We’re going to show you our version of this three-step process using e-commerce products as an example. (This case study shows exactly how we helped an e-commerce business scale using Facebook Ads alone!)

First, let’s start with Step 1 of the funnel: getting eyes on your content and brand and getting social proof.

There are 6 forms of social proof that we would ideally leverage in a funnel, although the basic funnel focuses on “wisdom of the crowd” social proof– likes, comments, and shares on your posts.

Here are the six forms explained:

  • Expert: When an expert in your industry recommends your products or services or is associated with your brand.
  • Celebrity: When a celebrity or influencer endorses your products.
  • User: When current users recommend your products and services based on their experiences with your brand.
  • Wisdom of the crowd: When a large group of people is seen to be endorsing your brand.
  • Wisdom of friends: When people see their friends use, purchase, or endorse your product.
  • Certification: When you are given a stamp of approval by an authoritative figure in your industry or a certification.

During the first step of the funnel, we will be both warming up cold audiences– people who have never been to your website or interacted with you on social channels– and putting new products in front of warm audiences, in order to remain top-of-mind.

It is likely that potential customers already in your “warm” audience will purchase during this step, though it’s not the objective, so we include them here as well.

For all of the key metrics to monitor and benchmarks of where they should be, check out the case study. This includes relevance score, cost per action, and your ad frequency score. And again, if you’re not sure of any of these terms, there is also a glossary.

To reiterate, we mainly want to get new eyes on your brand and get some social proof to warm up these new potential fans and customers.

During the second step of the funnel, we will be directing people who engaged in a Step 1 post

to visit your website, the product page, or an opt-in page. We recommend split testing these to see which performs best for your products.

We do this by setting up custom audiences. Examples of custom audiences we use are, people who watched the video in your Step 1 ad, people that have engaged with your page in the last x number of days (which will include your ad), or people that clicked over to your website from a Step 1 ad.

We will also include any other warm audiences (Instagram engagers, Facebook page engagers, website visitors) into this step as well.

Check out the case study for all of the objective, targeting, and creative choices we recommend testing during this step.

Though “Conversions” is listed as the ideal objective, we test traffic objectives for Step 2 as well.

Some other notes:

To scale this step, either increase the budgets of Funnel Step 1 OR begin also targeting cold audiences. Frequency should be monitored closely and creative at the ad-level should be refreshed as needed.

During the third step of the Facebook ads funnel, we will be retargeting your website visitors who did not make a purchase during their visit by showing them the products they looked at while shopping on your site, reminding them to complete their purchase.

Check out the case study for all of the objective, targeting, and creative choices we recommend testing. (We love doing really cool catalog sales ads using carousels and canvases here!)

Even though this is technically the last piece of the funnel, you can continue retargeting and up-selling to your “warm audience” as much as you like, especially if you offer a wide variety of products or services and up-selling or cross-selling is a source of revenue for you.


To recap, we just moved your customers all the way through the customer journey to ultimately make a purchase, and hopefully, they will continue shopping with you through your retargeting ads.

If a piece of your ad funnel isn’t working or meeting the benchmarks we present in the case study, it may be worth it to hire an outside eye to look it over. Often we are so close to our own products and services that we gloss over important product details or selling points, or we miss targeting opportunities.

And don’t forget, download the complete case study guide we made for you at It’s got all of the screenshots, targeting examples, and information you need to be successful with this training!

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