Facebook Ads is one of the biggest marketing channels for thousands of small businesses especially e-commerce companies. If your business is about selling things and you know you need to spend some marketing budget on it, then you can’t ignore Facebook. It has become too big of a behemoth to ignore!!

There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses who derive all their customers from Facebook & Facebook with its large user base and unique data insights, allows you to find customers whatever be your niche. But though everyone knows that they gotta spend money on FB Ads, only a few actually know how to optimise and get the best results.

How to optimise FB Ads?

We at HelloMeets along with 18 other startup founders sat down with Muheet Mehraj, Founder of bootstrapped and profitable e-commerce company KashmirBox from Kashmir to learn more about the best ways to optimise FB Ads (KashmirBox has managed to grow its sales massively through FB Ads).

As a beginner Muheet remembers experimenting with FB Ads. He set up an Ad & it got exhausted in 2 hours. He lost more than INR 2000. Inspite of receiving a lot of hits, the bounce rate was 95%.

It’s easy to burn money on fb ads — Companies spend millions of dollars without any conversions. Before you even think of running ads on fb, the first thing you have to do is identify who your target customer is.Though FB has a large network of billions of users, its hard to find where your target customer lies. With so much data available to Facebook, it has been kind enough to allow marketers to leverage the data and run better targeted ads.

But it all comes down to how well you understand your target customer

Muheet, frustrated with his personal experiment, started working with a couple of agencies. He spent more than 5 lacs, but his return was pretty frugal, less than 20%. If you invest 5L on ads, you would at least expect more than 50% margin or drive from sales.

Then it struck him that it was he himself who understood his consumers better than anyone else!!!

To explain his lessons, he shared his learnings from selling Pashmina shawls. Pashmina shawls are one of the most demanded products from Kashmir. Muheet assumed that Pashmina being one of the most warm blankets, would be in high demand in places where the cold hit hardest. So he selected Delhi, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh as his targeted geography. But he was awed by the demographics of orders he actually received.

Turns out the highest number of orders came from people who lived in Bengaluru !!!

This kind of data about consumer behaviours often causes big marketers to take a back seat. So before you start investing in FB Ads, you need to actively think about everything to related your potential customers.

Some of the factors worth pondering on are as follows:

  • The Demographics of your Customers
  • The Consumption Behaviour of your Customers
  • What kind of Other Products or Services do most of Your Consumers Purchase
  • The Income Bracket of your Potential Customer
When Muheet analysed the data of his past customers he was able to target his audience better. There were certain ads that gave him 50X returns, which was pretty incredible and doesn’t usually happen always.

But, the key takeaway is that if you are routinely losing money on Ads, then you seriously need to rethink your strategies.

Hack —

  • Create a CSV file of your past customers and upload that to FB custom audience. Facebook will automatically convert that to a targeted audience & most probably 50–60% of those customers will have the same email id associated with their Facebook login. This way you can target your customers pretty well.

Few members within his audience had a pretty good number of subscribers list, one of them had about 46K subscribers. It’s much better to retarget your existing customers than to woo new customers. Thats because your past customers will have a more trustworthy relationship with your service.

What are you looking to achieve?

One metric that you need to think about carefully before you start doing FB Ads is to find out what you want to achieve through your Ads.

  • Is it more visibility for your brand?
  • Getting more visitors and then eventually subscribers to your website?
  • Drive more sales for your e-commerce site?
  • Get more installs for your mobile app?
  • Get trial users for your product?

Depending on what you are trying to achieve, your strategy will vary.


  1. With Facebook’s new Power Editor tool, it has become easier for marketers to target their potential customers.
  2. Head over to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/powereditor/

3. You get 3 options to choose: Custom Audiences, Saved Audiences, Lookalike audience. On further clicking, you would be shown a dialog box where you can upload your own customer file.

4. Muheet created a new Custom Audience- “SaffronTest” because he was trying to sell Saffron.

5. By default, the location is India. For further targeting, you can zoom in to specific cities. Since he wanted to sell Saffron, he was targeting Metropolitan cities where people are more concerned about their health and have the money to spend on exquisite stuff like Saffron.

6. Next comes the age bracket. Since 18 year olds are highly unlikely to buy Saffron and people older than 55 would also be highly unlikely to buy things online or surf Facebook for that matter, the ideal age bracket would be 25–55. This brought the audience size from 203 million to a mere 16 million.

Always go with Data —

7. The next question was whether he should target women or men. Conventional wisdom says women are more likely to buy Saffron, but based on historical data from his website, he found that men are much more likely to buy things online, even household items and food. Therefore, he selected men, which brought down the audience size to 12 million.

“The smaller your audience is, the better your ads will perform.”

8. Next up is detailed targeting. This is where things spice up and you have to be really creative.

Since Muheet was trying to sell saffron which is considered a very healthy ingredient for food & and is used by people who are health conscious, it would be wise to target people who would have the following preferences:
* People interested in Yoga
* People who like Sanjeev Kapoor (a very famous TV Chef in India)
* People who like Baba Ramdev
* People who are into Indian Cuisine

Add as many interests as you can think your target customers might have!

9. This brought down our target audience from 12 million to mere 2 million

10. You can further go delve deeper and find out the Top 10 pages your target audience might like and add them to the Interests as well.

11. A further level of targeting can be done in the following way:
-People who like Manyavar, an ethnic fashion brand
-People who stay in 5-Star hotels since they are most likely affluent and health conscious

12. Next up are the Ads Set themselves. Facebook gives you multiple formats for your ads from videos to a carousel of images.

13. Here you have to really get creative and customise your Ads with the appropriate graphics and a catchy text with action words. And what’s important is that you create at least 2 different Ad sets and then let them run for a day or two. After that, disable the one which is not performing as good as the other one.

14. Muheet had 2 ad sets — one highlighting the anti-cancerous property of saffron and the other depicting the aromatic property of saffron.

Muheet had the following texts “Fight Infection This monsoon”, “Saffron directly from Kashmir to your home”, “EXTRACTED from the Himalayas at 15% Off”.

It’s a wise move to capitalise the strong keywords to attract attention. Also, there will be certain images which perform really well and that’s where you need to experiment and get creative.

If there is any post in your page which is performing really well, you can even convert that to an ad.

15. Your landing pages are super important as well — when a Facebook user clicks on your ad and arrives at your website, it is important for your page to be straight to the point and be structured in a way that achieves the best conversion.

16. Target those customers who visited your website but didn’t convert — You can show specific targeted ads to those users by installing a retargeting pixel. This allows you to target those customers who come to your website and visit specific pages but not others.

17. One more important thing to remember is that your Ads are competing with the ads of your competitors. If you are trying to sell a big ticket item, your customer acquisition cost will also be higher. Therefore, you have to be clear about the margin you have on your products and the amount you are willing to spend.

KashmirBox for example has acquisition costs ranging from Rs 200 to even Rs 3000 for big ticket items. The cost also goes on increasing as you go on zooming into specific audiences. For example if you are trying to sell products which are worth 100,000 INR, your audience size will be very small and you have to do very specific targeting according to your target audience interests.

Muheet also shared some very interesting anecdotes about a Facebook Ad campaign from the 2017 US Presidential elections —

A company that goes by the name of Cambridge Analytics handled the social media campaigns for President Trump. What they did was remarkable, they segmented out people who hated Trump and pushed more hateful messages against Trump to those people. Their intention was to prevent those people from turning up during the election day.

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Blog credits: Written by MD Halim, Product Analyst, HelloMeets Editing

Some of our upcoming events:

Our FB Ads Workshop with Muheet Mehraj at Springhouse, Qutub