Over the last few years, Facebook has been pushing for a more immersive and visual mobile shopping experience.
This is not just down to the wealth of statistics showing an ever-increasing amount of mobile traffic. Rather, research from Facebook shows that users find mobile advertisements clunky and not at all user-friendly.
With that in mind, in 2016 Facebook released a fully mobile optimized ad format – Canvas. Canvas was a step in the right direction for Facebook in its efforts to create a seamless, interactive mobile shopping experience. Canvas ads are a mix of video, still images, text and call-to-actions buttons, that open to a full-screen interactive user experience.
2017 has already seen the next instalment of its mobile optimized product ad formats being rolled out in April, Facebook Collection mobile ads.
Facebook Collection is a new mobile advertising format from Facebook that is particularly relevant for ecommerce advertisers. According to Facebook, the aim is to ‘increase the likelihood of discovery and purchase by featuring a primary video or image above relevant product images’.
With Collection, each advert will consist of one main video, slideshow or image, combined with images from other products in your catalog.
So, when a user clicks on the advert, they can see images of up to 50 other relevant products from a retailer’s inventory. Those that wish to purchase can be directly linked to a retailer’s website or app through a clickable call-to-action button.
Users will see your ad (which can be a video, slideshow or image), along with 4 other product images below.
Once users tap on the ad, they can browse up to 50 products from your catalog in full screen mode. If a user taps on a specific product from the set, they will be able to view the product in full screen mode. From here, users can click through to your mobile website or app, where they can make a purchase.
Currently, Collection only supports Facebook’s mobile app’s News Feed placement, meaning they are not currently compatible on desktop, nor with Instagram or on Facebook’s Audience Network.
Collection ads are particularly useful for online retailers looking to effectively advertise their products on mobile.
Firstly, the format allows a much more visually immersive and enjoyable mobile browsing experience. Retailers can utilize videos or slideshows to show inspirational or educational content in addition to their product inventory.
With the possibility to display additional product images alongside the main content retailers can really drive product discovery on mobile devices. This offers a more engaging and relevant customer experience too, as users are able to seamlessly shop within the Facebook app on mobile.
Ultimately, you can convert demand and interest into sales by offering engaging, dynamically targeted mobile optimized ads.
Setting the foundation
Product advertising with Facebook Collection works in a similar way to Facebook canvas ads. The core requirement is your so-called product catalog. If you’ve already uploaded one to Facebook for other ad formats, you can use your existing one. Otherwise, you’ll need to create and / or upload one.
Creating the ads
You can create your Collection ads in the Ads Manager area in Facebook. See below for a full run down of how to create an advert or check out Facebook’s own instruction guide.
The cost depends on which ad objective you select. With the traffic objective, you’ll be charged based on the number of clicks to open the ad’s product set. For conversion, the advertiser will be charged based on how often the ad has appeared in peoples’ News Feeds.
Facebook is testing a new “outbound clicks metric” over the rollout period. This will track the number of users that click through to a product outside of the Facebook platform.
Previously, mobile metrics could only show how many people had clicked on an advert. This new metric should provide much better insight into performance, so that merchants can see real data on the click through rate of their mobile adverts.
These outbound clicks will be reported for ads appearing on Instagram too. At this point, ads linking to a destination on Facebook will be described as outbound clicks. However, Facebook reports that this will shortly function as on Facebook, with outbound clicks only counted for clicks to links outside of Facebook.
The new tracking metric – along with the Collection format – is currently rolling out globally.
Facebook Collection is just one of many Facebook advertising opportunities for ecommerce advertisers and online retailers. For a look at what else Facebook offers, download our comprehensive Facebook advertising guide for ecommerce.