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Mastering Social Dynamic Ads (DPAs)

8 MINUTE READ | November 29, 2017

Mastering Social Dynamic Ads (DPAs)

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Leyla Foschi

Leyla Foschi has written this article. More details coming soon.

Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs) utilize information gathered from your Facebook pixel that can retarget users who have previously viewed a product, as well as reach potential customers with prospecting audiences. These ads pull product images from your data set creating a unique ad experience for users. Dynamic ads can even utilize several different versions of creative. Based on your goal, you can set up an ad with a single image, video, or carousel unit. DPAs can be personalized for your brand or even industry. Facebook recently released a set of dynamic ads focusing on the travel industry, which include: hotels, flights, and destinations.

Additionally, DPAs are a necessary ad unit addition for many industries, especially retail. From a retargeting perspective, these assets can provide the final push a customer may need to make their purchase. For example, you can retarget individuals that have viewed certain products on site. On the other hand, if you are searching for potential buyers this can be a great opportunity to showcase products that they might be interested in. Once that purchase is made, that consumer will be taken out of the prospecting audiences and be retargeted within your CRM audiences lists.

DPAs are the most sophisticated form of retargeting and prospecting on Facebook and Instagram as they provide advertisers with the ability to automate and personalize ads directly from their products feeds. DPAs require a minor creative lift, but as we dive into below, there are numerous variables that can be applied to the setup of these campaigns. Since all advertisers are different, it’s essential to continue to strategically optimize and adjust the dynamic campaigns to fit the needs of your client.

facebook audiences

Sourced from Facebook Ad Targeting Page.

DPAs can be utilized across both Facebook and Instagram; however, there are significant differences between the two platforms that must be noted. Imagery on Facebook may be single product photos taken directly from the data set. On the other hand, it is best practice for DPAs on Instagram to showcase lifestyle creative that appear to be more native to the platform. Recently, we have found that auto-optimizing between Facebook desktop and mobile drives a higher click-through-rate and return on investment, as well as a lower cost-per-click.

To get started with DPAs, there are a couple of requirements to complete before setting up the campaigns. This includes a product catalog and a facebook pixel, both of which help ensure the ad is showing the right products and targeting the right people. We’ll quickly walk through the specifics.

    • A catalog will contain an overall list of products and its individual attributes like category, landing page URL, price, etc. This is also known as a product feed. Additionally, Facebook requires certain product fields, and it’s important to note and include these to have a successful upload. For detailed uploading instructions on Facebook, reference here. With a direct API connection, the product catalog can be uploaded on a daily basis and will have the most up to date product inventory representation.

    • Once the Product Catalog is uploaded, we can move onto creating multiple product sets. We will typically break out product sets across different filters and run these in separate ad campaigns. This gives us a little granularity into performance. So for example, we’ll create product sets that contain one consistent product line like only women’s sweaters or a set of products over a certain price for the highest AOV. We can even have a little fun with it by creating custom labels within the product catalog to get super customized product sets. We recently created a “Best Seller” product set for one of our clients by looking at transaction data within a 30-day lookback. The top 50 products are identified and assigned a custom label of a best seller within the product catalog. We then created a product set that specifically filters this custom label and ran it in its own DPA campaign. And again the best thing about this – the entire process is fully automated and refreshes daily!

    • You may need to grab your web development team for this step and send these instructions. To create audiences for your DPAs and retarget any users who have visited a specific website or app, you must have a pixel in place. In the simplest terms, the pixel is lines of code that is added on every webpage and tracks a user’s action. All this data is then sent to Facebook. The most important part of this implementation is to make sure the pixel is firing for certain events: View Content, Add to Cart, and Purchase.


Sourced from Facebook Dynamic Ad Developer Page.

With these requirements all out of the way, you should be all set up to start the campaign creation process. Leggo!

You can create multiple types of retargeting audiences based on the interactions the user completed or did not complete. Let’s run through these.

    • Pretty self-explanatory – this will target users who have viewed the product within a specified past amount of days.

    • Even further down the funnel of potential customers who abandoned their carts.

    • Now this option will help increase AOV or even LTV down the line. Let’s say a customer viewed a lower profit margin shoe; you can then retarget these users with a product set featuring high priced shoes to essentially “upsell.”

    • Next up is cross-selling and this essentially targets someone who’s purchased from one product set with another product set in the attempt to increase repeat purchases.

    • Finally, you can create your own custom audience based on any combination of these mentioned interactions.

Once you have chosen your custom audience, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

  • Make sure to exclude recent purchasers to reduce ad waste.

  • Test out the retention window depending on your audience size. The longer it is, the larger your audience will be. However, too much scale could reach a point of lower ROI. There’s definitely a sweet spot you’ll need to determine.

  • Segment, segment, segment. This will need to be either by product types or by retention windows or actions. The further you segment your campaigns, the more visibility you’ll have into your performance on what’s working and not working.

  • Copy matters. Cater your copy to the intended audience. Use copy that serves as kind of a reminder like “Don’t let your favorites pass you by.”

DPAs for prospecting allow an advertiser to utilize the creative within their product feed to target against prospecting audiences, including broad interest targeting and lookalike targeting.

While the technical product feed and creative setup mirrors the Retargeting DPAs, there should be a large shift in strategy when talking to new consumers. Best practices to keep in mind are:

  • Don’t hit new customers with your entire product feed. Do your transaction-level data research and curate a list of top-selling products purchased by new customers.

  • Be sure to exclude current customers and site visitors to minimize ad waste.

  • Use large audiences. Keep your targeting broad while still qualified. Test using 2% lookalikes and larger competitor interest sets.

  • Utilize Prospecting DPAs as a way to reactivate lapsed customers and bring them back to the site.

  • Once again, copy matters. Cater your message to someone who has shown interest, but has never interacted with your brand. Use suggestive copy like, “It’s time for something new.”

  • Given that these ads are intended for new users use custom creative as a static first card in the carousel that allows for a better-branded experience.

DPA Text Overlays is a fairly new functionality that rolled out in August 2017. This feature allows you to place and customize one of four overlays on your dynamic ads. Below are all of the variables that can be included and personalized with an overlay:

Overlay Message: Current Price, Strikethrough Price, Percentage Off, Free Shipping

Shape of the Overlay: Square, Circle, Corner Triangle

Position of the Overlay: Each corner of the ad is an option

Overlay Background & Text Color: Note: There are only eight standard colors to choose from

Font: Note: There are limited available, and these cannot be custom

Similar to the product feed setup needed to pull in the creative for DPAs, the product feed needs to include specific columns for Text Overlays. These columns include sale_price, sale_price_effective_date, and shipping. For specifics, you can reference Facebook’s guide here.

Utilizing these overlays in a way to draw attention to your dynamic ads and provide either an enticing offer, such as free shipping or percent off or provide more context for the products, such as price. Additionally, the customization of the overlays allows your ad to stand out amongst competitors.

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Lastly, while the focus of this post was on the retail vertical, it is important to note that there are also DPAs available for the travel and real estate verticals, as well.

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