Nick Shackelford Spent $85 Million on Ecommerce Facebook Ads. Here’s What He Learned:

While it’s true that you have to spend money to make money, as business owners, we have to be careful about what we spend our hard-earned dollars on. There’s nothing more painful than investing in a marketing strategy that fails to make returns.

And while in business there are no guarantees, there are some things you can do to boost your chances of seeing an ROI from your marketing budget. Facebook ads are one marketing channel that can be well worth your time and money. According to data from Adobe, 80.4% of social referrals to ecommerce sites came from Facebook in the first quarter of 2019; this platform is powerful for driving traffic and sales to your online store.

Here to give you concrete advice on how to use Facebook ads for ecommerce is paid media expert and multi-time founder Nick Shackelford. During his career, he’s spent upwards of $85 million on Facebook ads across multiple industries. He’s so good at what he does that we invited him to be an instructor for our Ecommerce Masters course.

And lucky for you, we’re sharing a sneak peek of one of the lessons from the Ecommerce Masters course. Enjoy it for free below! Then read on as we go into detail about the advice Shackelford shares.

Nick Shackelford Breaks Down the Key Ingredients for High-Performing Facebook Video Ads

Before we dive into the detailed analysis Shackelford provides on Facebook ads for ecommerce, I wanted to point out two things you’ll notice about the seven example ads:

  • They’re all video ads.
  • They’re all top-of-funnel “prospecting” ads. This means they’re targeting an audience that has probably never heard of the product before. Prospecting ads need to pique viewers’ interests and quickly introduce them to your brand.

Example 1: Vessi Footwear

First up is an ad from Vessi Footwear, the makers of waterproof knit shoes. Within the first few seconds, the video grabs your attention by showing something unusual (knit shoes splashing through water) and highlighting a value proposition (“100% waterproof knit shoes”).

The takeaway here is to show your product and communicate your value prop within the first three seconds. “That is the most valuable information I can share with you,” Shackelford says, “because the average dropoff happens around second number five.” The quicker you can get the first value prop with the product in place, the better.

Another strong element of the Vessi ad is that it addresses objections the viewer might have, such as, “If the shoe is waterproof, is it still breathable?” The answer is yes, which is another value proposition of the product.

But how do you know what common objections your viewers might have? Shackelford and the team at Vessi read comments and reviews from their audience, and that’s how they knew that breathability was a concern for prospective buyers. So what did they do with that knowledge? They addressed it in the ad.

Vessi Footwear

It’s not enough to just show shots of your beautiful product. An essential part of any effective Facebook ad is to show people using and enjoying the product.

Vessi Footwear

Here’s another example of grabbing your viewer’s attention with an appealing shot. An easy way for Vessi to show that it’s easy to clean their shoes was to add a shot showing someone hosing down the shoe. This is an example of showing a customer’s pain points (dirty shoes) getting solved (these shoes can be hosed down because they’re waterproof).

We get it, you’re an entrepreneur, not a copywriter. So what do you do when it comes to the all-important part of writing the ad copy? Leverage product reviews! You can see it in action in this Vessi Footwear ad, which features a stellar review from customer Howard T.

Vessi Footwear ad

Example 2: The Oodie

One of the first things you’ll notice about this Oodie ad isn’t visual at all, but audio. Shackelford recommends using upbeat music in your Facebook ad.

Next, it shows text overlays challenging all the reasons someone might object to buying this oversized blanket hoodie. A persuasive marketer always anticipates objections.

“Frankly, it’s a giant snuggie,” Shackelford says. “That’s all it really is, but we’re able to frame it in such a playful light that who wouldn’t want to buy this thing?”


Oodie highlights an important feature for its audience: “It comes gift wrapped.” By analyzing the data, the Oodie team and Shackelford realized that people weren’t buying Oodies for themselves but for others as a gift. So they wanted to highlight that in the ad.

Oodie highlights an important feature

Shackelford also likes that the ad shows both men and women using the product.


And to wrap it up, there’s a strong call-to-action at the end paired with a discount code.

Oodie call to action

Example 3: DribbleUp

This ad is only seven seconds long, and it was able to communicate its value prop within that short timeframe! DribbleUp sells a smart soccer ball that enables you to practice at home.

“Nothing special about the copy, but it’s okay because it’s direct,” Shackelford says. When it comes to copywriting, clear is better than clever.


Why does the video show the girl dribbling a soccer ball in the house? Well, DribbleUp knows its target audience. Their ideal customer lives in the city, doesn’t have much space to practice, and can’t afford a private coach. To speak to this audience, they featured shots of a girl practicing inside a house and outside in a city park.

EXCLUSIVE FREE TRAINING: Ex-Apple Marketer Nick Shakelford Shows You How To Run Facebook Ads Like A Pro

Example #4: Men’s Luxury Watches

Next up is Men’s Luxury Watches. When you’re targeting top-of-funnel traffic, it’s essential to get them familiar with your brand and product. They’ve never seen your product before, so you’ll need to display a lot of detail to overcome their hesitation toward buying it.

Notice again the use of text overlay to convey the message even if someone doesn’t have the sound on. That’s important because when it comes to Facebook videos, up to 85% are viewed with the sound off.

Men’s Luxury Watches

This particular ad received over 1,000 comments and over 1,000 shares.

Men’s Luxury Watches ad

Shackelford recommends engaging with the commenters. When people leave comments, that’s another opportunity to close a sale.

Example 5: Gleamin

This Facebook ad from ecommerce clay mask brand Gleamin grabs your attention by immediately stating the target audience’s problem in big, bold text.


Because of the text and the visuals, you can watch this video with the sound off and still get the full picture. Gleamin does a great job showing before and after visuals to give viewers a concrete idea of how the product works.

Gleamin ad

The ad copy takes it further by hitting on the emotional aspects of the ideal customer’s problem. What Gleamin chose to highlight in the ad copy is based on what they’ve seen in the comments and from past purchasers. Again, conduct customer research! It’ll give you the best ideas for what to include in your ad creative.


Example 6: Fidgetly

It’s the company that started the fidget spinner craze, Fidgetly. In 2017, when they launched the brand, they knew that their main buying demographic was students in school, which is why many of the scenes in this Facebook ad were shot in a school.


This is yet another example of knowing your audience well so that you can cater your ad to them.

Example 7: Arkadia Supply

The interesting thing about this Arkadia Supply Facebook ad is it has no sound at all! Even so, through the use of stunning graphics and text overlays, it effectively conveys its value prop in about six seconds.

Arkadia Supply

Arkadia Supply ad

“This is the best part about building a brand,” Shackelford says. “You get to create the creative, you get to tell a story, you get to convince someone to buy what you’ve put so much time, effort, and money into.”

You’ll also notice that the Arkadia Supply video ad (like nearly all the videos in this analysis) is square, which takes up more real estate on a mobile device. In a Buffer case study, square videos outperformed landscape videos on Facebook in terms of likes, comments, shares, and views.

Recap: Nick Shackelford’s Top 7 Tips for Creating Facebook Ads for Ecommerce

Nick Shackelford’s prospecting ad tips

#1 Show the product and value proposition within the first 3 seconds.

As Shackelford mentioned, the average viewer dropoff happens after about five seconds, so you must show the most important details first: what the product looks like and how it’s going to improve your viewer’s life.

#2 Include people enjoying the product.

Plain old shots of your product feel stale after a while. Be sure to show people interacting with and enjoying your product.

#3 Show customer’s problems being solved.

The more you can show pain points—and how your product solves them—the more conversions you’ll have.

“If you can speak to it and tell why your product can overcome it,” says Shackelford, “you’re gonna have their intrigue for them to reach out and try your product.”

#4 Leverage reviews as copy.

Coming up with witty copy isn’t for everyone. But if you think about it, you’ve already got winning copy right at your fingertips: Search your inbox, comb through your social media comments, and do a Google search to find reviews from happy customers. You can incorporate these words into your ad copy.

#5 Choose upbeat music.

No, you can’t just grab any song you like and use it in your advertising. If you need help finding music you can legally use in your Facebook video ads, check out:

#6 Use text overlays to address common objections.

Remember that most Facebook videos are watched without the sound on. Because of this, it’s crucial that you make the video comprehensible even when viewed in silence. You can do this with text overlays.

When writing those text overlays, address common objections to your product. How can you find out what those common objections are? Do your research. Comb through reviews, social media comments, and even ask friends, family, and strangers for their opinions on your product.

#7 Show details of what the product looks like.

Because these are prospecting ads, you have to assume the viewer has never heard of you or your product before. To overcome their hesitation over seeing an unfamiliar product, show them lots of detailed shots of your product so they feel like they know it inside and out.

#8 Engage commenters.

The comments section is a great opportunity to close a sale. Think of it like people passing through on the sales floor in a brick-and-mortar store. They may have questions, they may have objections, and your job as a marketer is to address their concerns as quickly as possible. You may gain a new customer this way!

EXCLUSIVE FREE TRAINING: Ex-Apple Marketer Nick Shackelford Shows You How To Run Facebook Ads Like A Pro

Try Your Hand at Facebook Ecommerce Ads

There’s a good reason why an estimated 87.1% of U.S. marketers will use Facebook for social media marketing in 2020. If you want to cash in on this profitable platform, set yourself up for success by following Shackelford’s advice for crafting high-converting Facebook video ads.

What do you think if the most effective way to do Facebook ads? Let us know in the comments below!

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