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Out-thinking the Facebook Ads Algorithm

Out-thinking the Facebook Ads Algorithm

I have a client who drop ships lingerie on Facebook and Instagram through Shopify. I got her store ready to go in about six weeks. Set up samples to come in for photo shoots and replace the stock images you get from AliExpress. Setup split payments, SMS and a host of other enhancements. Even figured out an no-lose option on letting women return product at any time.

In other words, we showed up to the knife fight of drop shipping looking like John Wick (wearing a satin and lace dressing gown).

Until none of our ads were accepted by Facebook.

The following images were ruled as “adult” by the Facebook Ads algorithm.

I got a little angrier at the algorithm’s repeated verdicts after Facebook Marketing emailed me a case study on the success of a lingerie marketer using Facebook Ads.

It was clear that we were being looked at by machines and not people. The company cited in the case study featured similar settings, product shot setups and model positions we did.

It was obvious how badly they were abusing algorithms, to the detriment of small advertisers. So I had to do something, you know, “for the algorithms”.

I cooled off, got Zen, plugged into my inner Bill Bernbach, and came up with a new idea.

This worked. The ads took awhile (3+ hours) to be approved. The algorithm so wanted to eff with us, but couldn’t. These ads hit the ground with engagement. They were a test to see how we might have to course-correct until a human at FB had the chance to see what we were up to.

In each ad we turn our product into the “MacGuffin”, the most valuable object in the story we never see; but really want to. The Oxford Dictionary calls it “an object or device in a movie or book that serves merely as a trigger for the plot.”

In our case it triggers customers to click through and see what these women thought were valuable. What made them comfortable. What they were willing to spend their money on.

These were tests to get us past the FB guards. We haven’t sunk a lot of money into campaigns. If we adopt this, we’ll need to get better at copy.

We would need to think through using it as a thematic foundation to build a new store on.

That being said, the Facebook algorithm may decide our strategy for us.