Practical Ecommerce

Using Facebook to Target International Buyers

An ecommerce business can sell and deliver products anywhere in the world. Yet, oftentimes, Facebook ad campaigns by U.S.-based merchants target just the U.S., and maybe Canada. Why is this?

To be sure, international shipping and fulfillment can be expensive for certain products. Language and customer service can also present hurdles. But for merchants with suitable products, selling internationally can open new revenue streams and new markets.

In this post, I’ll review how to set up Facebook campaigns for international selling, to target buyers outside of the U.S. — or whatever is your domestic market. In fact, for U.S. sellers, Facebook campaigns with an international reach often result in lower click and impression costs. So the cost to obtain international buyers can be less. There are exceptions, such as buyers in the U.K. and Australia, but generally it will cost less, in my experience. Sometimes the difference will be huge; other times, it’s only a few cents.

Moreover, adjusting a Facebook campaign to an international audience requires minimal effort — assuming you are not using lookalike targeting. If, instead, your targeting is based on interests, you can expand it internationally with a just few clicks, thanks to Power Editor.

International Targeting Based on Interests

1. Open Power Editor. The new version automatically syncs your campaign updates, no more downloading for the latest account structure.

The new Power Editor automatically syncs your campaign updates.

The new Power Editor automatically syncs your campaign updates.

2. Choose the ad set (or campaign) you want to expand by checking the box next to it.

Check the box next to the ad set or campaign you want to expand.

Check the box next to the ad set or campaign you want to expand.

3. Click on the button in the middle of the screen that looks like two squares on top of each other.

Duplicate the campaign by clicking the button with two squares.

Duplicate the campaign by clicking the button with two squares.

4. Choose where you want the ad sets (or campaign) duplicated.

Choosing where you want the ad sets or campaign duplicated.

Choosing where you want the ad sets or campaign duplicated.

5. Change the targeting settings to the countries you want to show ads to.

Target the countries where you want your ads to appear.

Target the countries where you want your ads to appear.

6. Upload the changes by clicking on the green “Review Changes” button. That’s it. You’re all set.

As a final step, click on the green “Review Changes” button.

As a final step, click on the green “Review Changes” button.

The reason this is so easy is because the interest targets can cross borders. You may have to add regional definitions for the interest targeting, such as a specific spelling. But campaigns or ad sets that target interests are easy to replicate.

International Lookalike Audiences

International targeting with lookalike audiences is more challenging. I love lookalike audiences. They are my preferred way to advertise on Facebook. In my experience, they are very effective at reaching relevant prospects. I addressed lookalike audiences last fall, in “Creating Facebook Custom and Lookalike Audiences, to Drive Traffic.”

Recall that lookalike audiences are based off a custom audience or “seed” — a list of users. That list can be from your website, emails, or even phone numbers, as examples. From that list, Facebook finds other users who match the attributes of those in your list. But Facebook’s custom audiences are limited to the same country. That’s our problem.

If you’re a business that does more than 300 orders a month for a given country, then you should not have a problem of targeting lookalikes in the country. Why 300? That’s my estimate of the number of emails you’ll need for a meaningful lookalike audience, recognizing that not every one of those 300 customers will be on Facebook. At best, in my experience, 50 percent of the emails will be matched. That’s 150 in this example. And Facebook requires at least 100 matched users to create a lookalike audience.

This means most small businesses that sell internationally and that target new customers primarily on Facebook via lookalike audiences will be limited to two or three countries, in my estimation. Nonetheless, international lookalikes are pretty easy to get active.

To get started, follow all the steps in Power Editor for interests targeting, from above. After that, change the audience to that new lookalike. That’s it. Once you upload the list, you’ll be targeting international prospects.

Changing to a lookalike audience in the Power Editor.

Changing to a lookalike audience in the Power Editor.

Have you expanded your Facebook ads to target international users? How is it going? Please share your experience in the comments, below.

Michael Stancil

Michael Stancil

Bio   •   RSS Feed


email-news-env

Sign up for our email newsletter